16 Fun Things to Do in Szczecin, Poland (+Photos)

Both the capital and largest city of West Pomerania, Szczecin is a fascinating place to visit with a rich history to uncover. Often overlooked by visitors to Poland, the important seaport has lots of lovely green spaces, scenic streets and striking architecture to check out.

Since its rise in the Middle Ages, everyone from the Dukes of Pomerania to the Swedes and Prussians has ruled the strategic Baltic port. While much of its old town was unfortunately destroyed in WWII, its many museums and landmarks shine a light on its interesting past.

Besides strolling along its riverside promenade, taking in its sights, there are tons of shows and concerts to enjoy at its Philharmonic Hall or Ducal Castle. Offering the perfect mix of history, nature and art, Szczecin certainly makes for a great weekend getaway.

16. Royal Gate

Royal Gate

Once an important part of the city’s extensive fortifications, the elegant yet imposing Royal Gate is now home to a cosy chocolate cafe. While stopping for some coffee or cake, you can admire both of its impressive old arches that overlook the Solidarity and Żołnierza Polskiego squares.

Built between 1725 and 1727, the grand gate features some beautiful Baroque architecture with elaborate emblems, carvings and statues adorning its immense stone walls. In addition to a Prussian eagle and golden royal crown, these include the mythological figures Mars and Hercules.

After snapping some photos, you can always head to either the National Museum or Philharmonic Hall right next to it.

15. National Museum Main Building

National Museum Main Building

The largest cultural institute in West Pomerania, the National Museum in Szczecin has six different sites to visit. One of the best is its massive Main Building that lies along the iconic Waly Chrobrego Promenade. Overlooking the Oder River, it contains lots of incredible artefacts and artworks from Africa, Asia and Oceania.

One of the city’s most distinctive landmarks, the hulking great Historicist-style building has two sprawling floors to wander about. As well as interesting ethnographic exhibits, there are plenty of paintings and sculptures to see by Pomeranian artists. Other parts instead focus on religious art or Szczecin’s relationship to the Baltic Sea.

14. Galeria Kaskada

Galeria Kaskada

If after all the art, history and architecture you’d like a bit of retail therapy, Galeria Kaskada is a great place to go. Located right in the centre, the colourful, contemporary mall has tons of cool clothing shops and designer boutiques to peruse. Numerous cafes, restaurants and fast food outlets are also dotted about its sleek, stylish complex.

First opened to the public in 2011, it now has around 140 establishments for visitors to explore, set across five enormous floors. Very modern, the mall’s layout consists of three sparkling rotundas, each with dome roofs. Once you’ve shopped til you drop, you can easily visit the Be Happy Museum or Royal Gate alongside it.

13. Puszcza Bukowa

Puszcza Bukowa

Covering a huge area directly east of the Oder River is the picturesque Puszcza Bukowa (Beech Forest). Amidst all its towering beech trees, you can hike and bike along its woodland trails or forage for mushrooms on the forest floor. Very quiet and peaceful, its scenic confines are also home to loads of little local animals and birds.

Particularly pretty in spring and autumn, the vast forest is now protected as one of Poland’s Landscape Parks. Other than hiking along all its winding paths, many people head to see its vivid green Emerald Lake. Known as Jezioro Szmaragdowe, its reflective waters and woody shores make for some fabulous photos. Various viewpoints and a rather eerie underground bunker from WWII can also be found right beside it.

12. Central Cemetery

Central Cemetery

Another attractive and atmospheric spot to stroll around is the city’s Central Cemetery. One of the largest in Europe, its lush green grounds contain thousands of graves with striking monuments and moving sculptures scattered throughout. Lying just a ten-minute tram ride southwest of the centre, its tree-lined paths are a treat to amble along.

Now recognized as a national monument, the ginormous cemetery was established in 1901 with it still expanding today. Thought to house over 300,000 graves, it is most known for its charming neo-Romanesque chapel and elongated entrance gate. Its eye-catching Monument of Brother in Arms which is shaped like jagged hussar wings also attracts lots of attention.

11. Underground City Trails

For those interested in history, Szczecin’s Underground City Trails right beneath Stettin train station are an absolute must. Now home to countless artefacts and exhibits, the humongous bunker was once used to shelter citizens from air raids. Its superb museum has three routes to choose from, focusing on WWII, the Cold War or Communist times in Poland.

Remarkably descending five floors underground, its maze of long, low corridors and gloomy, claustrophobic rooms were largely built during the Second World War. Roughly 5,000 people could hide here with its reinforced concrete tunnels also later serving as a nuclear bunker. A fascinating place, it provides an invaluable look at the country’s twentieth-century history.

10. Jasne Blonia Square

Jasne Blonia Square

Lying alongside the gigantic Kasprowicz Park is the gorgeous Jasne Blonia Square. A popular spot to relax and unwind, its green grassy spaces and cheery flowerbeds are overlooked by Szczecin’s colourful City Hall which is itself painted a distinctive dark green. Besides walking about, taking in its ambience, architecture and nature, you can examine the various statues dotted about.

Often known as the ‘Bright Meadows’, the immaculately maintained lawns are lined by long alleys of trees on either side. Laid out in 1925, the square now also has a fine fountain and the fantastic Monument of John Paul II for visitors to admire. Just before you reach the adjacent park, you’ll also come across the majestic Memorial of the Poles’ Feat which honors three generations of the city’s citizens.

9. Szczecin Philharmonic

Szczecin Philharmonic

Even if you don’t manage to catch one of its world-class concerts, it’s still well worth visiting the Szczecin Philharmonic for its striking architecture. Very unique, its bright white, jagged exterior is designed to look like all the old Hanseatic townhouses around it. In the evenings, its glass facade is magically illuminated, standing out delightfully against the dark sky.

Since being unveiled in 2015, the concert hall has won numerous awards for its imaginative design and excellent acoustics. While sensuous curves, sharp angles and various shades of white decorate most of its interior, its main auditorium is decked in glittering gold and black. Aside from watching an orchestra performance or electronic music show, you can take tours around the building and learn all about its unusual architectural features.

8. Be Happy Museum

While you’re certain to get some lovely shots in Szczecin, the Be Happy Museum’s colourful, quirky scenes provide yet more memorable photo ops. Guaranteed fun for all the family, its themed rooms have everything from magic unicorns and banana swings to giant donuts and ice cream cones for you to strike poses with.

Located not far from both the Royal Gate and Galeria Kaskada, the museum has a couple of dozen, brightly-colored sets where you can snap some pics and selfies. While some feature foam pools and ball pits, others have cool light installations or create weird optical illusions. Perfect for couples, friend groups and Instagrammers, the Be Happy Museum certainly lives up to its name!

7. Galaxy Shopping Center


Another great spot to head if you want to pick up some gifts, souvenirs or new clothes is the enormous Galaxy shopping center. Just a short walk from the Waly Chrobrego Promenade, the mall also has a large food court, cinema and bowling alley to check out. After days spent sightseeing, trawling its stores and entertainment options makes for a nice change of pace.

Now boasting roughly 200 shops, restaurants and cafes, its sprawling, three-storey complex first opened its doors in 2003. Thanks to recent renovations, it still looks very shiny and new with big brands like Calzedonia, H&M and Puma found alongside more local businesses. The mall also has a tall, twinkling fountain for you to see in its central atrium.

6. Szczecin Cathedral

Szczecin Cathedral

Not to be missed, the stunning Szczecin Cathedral is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. One of the tallest churches in Poland, its lofty spire can be seen for miles around. Other than enjoying phenomenal views of the Old Town from its tower, there are amazing altarpieces, paintings and stained-glass windows to see inside.

While the Archcathedral Basilica of Saint James the Apostle (to give it its full title) was first built in 1187, its current design dates to the nineteenth century. This is because fires, storms and various wars have either damaged or destroyed it over the years. After taking in its vast facade and 110 meter-tall tower, its cavernous interior has elegant arches, organs and old relics to amble past.

5. Stare Miasto

Stare Miasto

Jokingly referred to as the ‘Brand New Old Town’ by locals, Szczecin’s Stare Miasto was only rebuilt in the nineties after almost all of the area was levelled during WWII. Set below the Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle, right by the Oder River, it still acts as the lively heart of the city.

While most of its buildings are modern, a handful of cheery Hanseatic-style townhouses now line its cobblestone squares. The best photos can be taken at Hay Market Square where Polish bars lie next to Brazilian, Thai and Japanese restaurants. Aside from enjoying the ambience, make sure to visit the Szczecin History Museum in its attractive Old Town Hall.

4. Park Kasprowicza

Park Kasprowicza

A must for nature lovers, the picturesque Park Kasprowicza covers a massive part of Szczecin. Starting at Jasne Blonia Square and the City Hall, its lawns, lakes and gardens stretch away endlessly before you. Besides walking and cycling, you can always picnic or watch shows at its outdoor amphitheater in summer.

Now named after the famous poet and playwright, its scenic woods and sparkling waterways were turned into a park in 1900. Scattered about countless statues and sculptures with cute cafes and restaurants also found here and there. As well as a fragrant rose garden and fun water park, its large lake has a small beach and playground for visitors to make use of.

3. Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle

Pomeranian Dukes' Castle

Also occupying a huge area is the immense Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle in the Old Town. For many centuries, it was home to the city and region’s rulers with a concert hall, museum and cinema now instead dotted about its complex. Its shady courtyards also host various shows, markets and cultural events throughout the year.

While the origins of the castle date to the fourteenth century, most of its gigantic walls and wings were reconstructed after WWII. It now displays an eclectic mix of architectural styles with epic views on offer from its sturdy tower. In addition to attending one of its events, you can learn more about its history and the important figures who lived here in its museum.

2. Museum of Technology and Transport

Museum of Technology and Transport

Along with its castle and cathedral, the Museum of Technology and Transport is certainly one of the top places to visit in Szczecin. Lying along the north side of Park Kasprowicza, the old tram depot contains loads of classic cars and vintage vehicles. Informative plaques explain everything about the collection which was mostly made in Central and Eastern Europe.

One of the largest museums of its kind in the country, it was established back in 2006 with hundreds of old cars, motorcycles and trams now studding its humongous exhibition hall. As you wander around, you’ll find buses, ambulances and fire engines, all dating to Communist times too. The museum also has some exciting simulators to try which are sure to entertain young and old alike.

1. Waly Chrobrego Promenade

Waly Chrobrego Promenade

The highlight of most people’s time in town though has to be slowly strolling along the iconic Waly Chrobrego Promenade. Overlooking the Oder River, its elevated embankment offers outstanding views over its waters and all the architectural marvels alongside it. You can also watch boats coming and going from its port or take a sightseeing cruise yourself.

Stretching more than 500 meters in total, the pretty, peaceful promenade was designed and constructed between 1902 and 1921. Now named after Boleslaw I the Brave, the first King of Poland, it takes you past the majestic National Museum and equally impressive Szczecin Voivodeship Office. Amidst its grand terraces and gardens, there are plenty of cafes where you can stop off for a drink as you take in its vivid sunsets.

Where to Stay in Szczecin

Where to Stay in Szczecin

As most of its main tourist sights are located nearby, you’re best off staying in or around its Old Town. You can then walk everywhere or take short tram or bus journeys to ones a bit further away like the Beech Forest or Central Cemetery.

A fantastic option is the four-star Hotel Zamek Centrum which lies right by the Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle and Waly Chrobrego Promenade. Aside from its central setting, it has comfy, modern air-conditioned rooms with a fitness center and sauna also on offer. The quiet hotel has an international restaurant and wine bar with buffet breakfasts also available.

Just a few minutes’ walk up the river is the three-star Focus Hotel Szczecin which promises a relaxing stay. Very comfy and clean, its simple rooms each come with flatscreen TVs and tea and coffee making facilities. Many also offer views over the Oder River below. Breakfasts are included with guests also benefiting from its gym and sauna facilities.

How to get there

Szczecin Train Station

Tucked away right in the very northwest of Poland, Szczecin lies just inland from the Baltic Sea, on the border with Germany. While it has its own airport – Szczecin Goleniow – Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport has many more connections. Regular buses and trains can whisk you to the German capital in around 2.5 hours.

Other options are to land at either Warsaw or Poznan. While the former is around 5 hours away by train, the latter can be reached in roughly 2.5 hours. Gdansk is also a bit quicker to get to than the capital.

Once you arrive, almost all the city’s sights are within walking distance of the center. If not, it has a well-developed public transport system with trams and buses going to most places.

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