Szczecin is one of those Polish cities that you don’t hear so much about. It’s not somewhere in the spotlight, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting. Szczecin has a long and dramatic history which you'll see while wandering though the city. It’s a long way from the most of the parts of Poland but if you ever get the opportunity to visit Szczecin don’t miss it.
Not everyone knows that Szczecin hides an impressive complex of underground tunnels and bunkers which is a leftover of World War battles. It's still unknown how long and vast the underground city is, but now only one part is available for viewing. It consists of 2 thematic tours: World War II and The Cold War. They will give you a disturbing feeling of those hard times. Remember to wear some warmer clothes as it's a bit colder than outside. Grab a helmet and explore history!
|Address||ul. Kolumba 1, Szczecin, Poland|
|Open||12 pm and 13 pm|
|Tram||3, 6 Dworzec Glowny stop|
|Bus||61, 81, 75 Dworzec Glowny stop|
Pomeranian Dukes Castle
A castle straight from medieval times, it was the seat of Pomeranian Dukes. It has been rebuilt many times, but it’s pure miracle it survived the bombings of World War II. Obviously, the Castle needed repairs, but now it impressively looks down on town houses and the river. It’s a place of many exhibitions and city events especially those connected with medieval and ancient times.
|Address||Korsarzy 34, Szczecin, Poland|
|Open||10 am – 18 pm|
One of the most recognizable places in Szczecin, if you buy a postcard from Szczecin it’s very probable it’ll have Waly Chrobrego as a picture. Located next to Odra river it's an apple of Szczecin inhabitants’ eye. The whole complex consists of terraces on different heights that overlook Jana z Kolna street, Odra River and Trasa Zamkowa, the main road entering the city center. A newly renovated fountain attracts attention with color changing lights and clean sandstone walls.
|Address||Wały Chrobrego, Szczecin, Poland|
|Bus||70 Teatr Wspolczesny stop|
St. Jacob Apostle Cathedral
St. Jacob Apostle Cathedral is the second highest building in the city. With a height of over 110 meters it peaks high above city roofs. Inside, the overall view is rather ascetic, but it’s doesn’t apply to the historic organs. The range of sounds it’s capable of making is simply astonishing. The observation deck on the top is open for everyone and the very good news is that there are two elevators installed so you don’t have to climb up thousands of steps.
|Address||ul. Św. Jakuba 1, Szczecin, Poland|
|Open||10 am – 20 pm (observation deck)
National Museum Szczecin
The National Museum of Szczecin has locations all around the city, but the main building is part of the Waly Chrobrego complex. It’s a place of many exhibitions, some permanent (such as an African village expo) and others are time restricted. Also, a very big advantage of the Museum is the observation deck on the top, yet another one in Szczecin. This one is a bit lower than the Cathedral deck, but has one big advantage: its open balcony in the fresh air. There’s no glass between you and the beautiful view.
|Address||ul. Wały Chrobrego 3, Szczecin, Poland|
|Open||Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday 10:00 am – 18:00 pm|
|Open||Sunday – 10:00 am - 16:00 pm
|Tram||6 Waly Chrobrego stop
|Bus||Teatr Wspolczesny stop
This is one of the biggest open-air amphitheaters in Poland with capacity of 4,500 people. Usually, when spring comes, the season for events in the Summer Theater begins. The great thing is that it’s open every day, even when no event are on schedule. People just sit and relax, look up at the sky and sunbathe. It’s situated in magical surroundings, next to a big pond named Rusalka, between the trees of Kasprowicza Park.
|Address||ul. Falata 2, Szczecin, Poland|
Market Square Szczecin
During II World War Szczecin (then known by the name of Stettin) was severely bombed during air raids. Many of the destroyed parts of the city never came back in their old form. Thankfully one of the oldest parts of Szczecin, Rynek Sienny wasn’t. The Market Square gets the most lively after sunset, when locals can really enjoy the nightlife. Before getting into eating and drinking you can enjoy the Old Town Hall and the National Museum in it.
Address: Plac Sienny
Opening hours: 24/7
Length of visiting: depends on your spot
Price: depends on what you order
Directions: 2, 7, 8 (from Wyszynskiego stop)
Jasne Blonia, located next to the Town Hall, is probably favorite place to spend free time. On sunny and warm days the park is full of people chilling out. You can rest there away from the buzz of the city or exercise. Jasne Blonia is a popular place for locals and visitors with many events to take in. In the park you can also find two monuments. First, one of the Pope John Paul II and second, called by inhabitants ‘three eagles’. It's in memory of three generations of polish citizens that initiated and continued converting Szczecin into polish city.
Opening hours: park is open 24/7
Length of visiting: unrestricted
Directions: bus: 67 (Piotra Skargi Stop), 70 (Urzad Miejski stop)
Museum of Technology and Communication
Probably the newest museum in the city, it is found in a place of old, unused tram depot. Now it’s not only a place for trams but also many old school cars, buses, bikes, radios and other machines you wouldn’t even think of. For tram fans always dreaming of riding a tram, the museum also organized a professional simulator. Every brave person sits in a chair of the tram driver and can really feel like they are cruising through the city.
Address: ul. Niemierzyńska 18A
Opening hours: Monday – closed, Tuesday: 10 – 15pm (Free entrance!), Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday – 10am – 18pm, Sunday: 10am – 16pm
Length of visiting: 1,5 h
Price: 10 PLN, reduced: 5 PLN, groups (a least 10 people): 5 PLN/person
Directions: tram: 3 ( Lenartowicza stop)
Odra river canals
One of the strongest advantages of Szczecin is water all around the city. The Odra river and Dąbskie lake give all the citizens and tourists the possibility to explore wildlife and water environments within a few kilometers of the city center. The easiest way to taste it is to rent kayaks, preferably with a group of friends, and just let yourself flow with the current.
The area to explore is huge so you can choose to go to Dąbskie lake and see the concrete shipwreck of “Urlich Finsterwalde”, built in 1941 and destroyed in 1945 by bombings and later left in the northern part of the lake. Or, if you have less time, visit Szczecin city center and the industrial atmosphere of the harbor.
Directions: by bus – lines: 79, 56(Camping stop – only on request)
Central Cemetery Szczecin Poland
Usually, sadness associates with graveyards and they aren’t visited very often. In Szczecin’s case it’s different because Central Cemetery is 3rd biggest one in Europe. And this may sound weird but it’s great for a walk especially in the autumn when the leaves are yellowish and falling from the trees. The cemetery offers thematic walks after the footsteps of pre-war citizens of Szczecin. The city is emotionally connected with the sea so one of the most important and worth seeing is the one in the memory of those
Are you tired of big city life, chaos, people running with insanity in their eyes? It’s time to pack your backpack, wear comfortable boots and trek at least a little into the wild. The Bukowe Hills and Forest offer total retreat away from it all. While wandering around the trails you can bump into some ruins of buildings and bridges built many years ago by Germans. If you have luck you can meet boars and deer (don’t go too close, obviously). In the middle of the backwoods there is also a hidden treasure: Emerald Lake. The name comes from green color of the water, which is an effect of the chalk mine that existed there years ago.
Directions: by bus – lines: 55, 64, 66 (Jezioro Szmaragdowe stop)
Szczecin Philharmonic Hall
The soaring white “palace on ice” to which members of the M. Karłowicz Philharmonic orchestra are just moving in, is one of the most awaited investments in Szczecin, proclaimed the city’s new symbol even before the construction began. Estudio Barozzi Veiga, a Spanish architectural studio which has some experience in concert hall design, designed the futuristic white block. The firm defeated NOW, an architectural office from Lodz, which had presented a project inspired by Szczecin’s pre-war Konzerthaus. The runner-up’s design was the city inhabitants’ favorite. The only thing that today’s philharmonic and the old Konzerthaus have in common is the place at the corner of Matejki and Małopolska streets in the very heart of the city.
The building combines two contradictory ideas: tradition and modernity. Tradition resides in the building’s shape, which looks like a historic frontage formed by high buildings that are characteristic for ports. But this tribute to tradition has been given a very modern form. The building is a white monolith with no windows. The creators tried to make it look immaterial.
The façade is the building’s weakest point. The purpose of the glass LED-lighted walls with steel razor blade-like blinds was to create a frozen mist illusion. But the last effect is quite heavy, and the building resembles a corrugated steel market stall. At night, it looks kitsch, like a circus or a night club. But it was an ambitious project, a great idea which simply failed to materialize.
Interior and design
However,the philharmonic’s interior design as one of the best in Polish public institutions. The philharmonic's design is according to international standards. Its concert halls are even more spectacular than its glass façade illuminated with lamps which can arrange into 20,000 different combinations. The hall of 951 seats for orchestral concerts is the fourth biggest concert hall in Poland and one of the most modern in terms of equipment and sound system. The ceiling hides sound curtains, while the black seats design make sure that they do not creak. Nothing can affect the pureness of sound.
An untrained eye will first notice the building’s sumptuousness - 3,000 gold-colored tiles cover the philharmonic, laid by employees of an antique restoration firm. Dorota Serwa, the philharmonic’s director, says that the symphonic hall symbolizes the Sun, while the smaller chamber-music hall of 192 seats symbolizes the Moon. The latter hall is much more modest, and illuminated by small lamps that look like stars.
Happy Orchestra members
Members of the philharmonic’s orchestra, who used to play concerts in one of the wings of the city hall, can't understand how they could do without this luxury. Apart from the great concert halls, they can also use sound proof rehearsal halls, as well as dressing rooms with lockers, wash basins, huge mirrors, and screens showing the stage.
The new concert hall’s inauguration lasted from 5 to 12 September 2014. Each day highlighted a different musical genre. Music lovers could enjoy classical music, while amateurs of opera were able to see a concert by internationally renowned singers. Enthusiasts of jazz, dance shows and choral music also found something for themselves.
However, the philharmonic has changed not only its concert venue, but also its logo. The letters FS replaced the old logo with the lyre, which are more modern and resemble a spreading sound wave. According to Ms Serwa, this logo is also easier to transform into 3-D forms, gadgets or statues. Atektura, a Szczecin design firm and the author of the logo, has opted for soaring letters in colors that correspond to those of the philharmonic’s concert halls.