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Szczecin na weekend

Weekend in Szczecin

 Does the capital of West Pomerania still seem like undiscovered land? Would you like to see its most interesting places in 48 hours? It surely looks like too little time but definitely enough to feel the atmosphere of the city and see what it has to offer. Let that weekend be a foretaste which will make you come back and stay in Szczecin longer.

Saturday – let’s meet at Jasne Błonia (2h)

Jasne Błonia w Szczecinie
 

Good day!... is a day we start with a delicious coffee. If this is what you believe plus you like to surround yourself with greenery, then you must start your visit in Szczecin at Jasne Błonia. Drinking coffee from a local coffee-roasting shop, you may listen to birds singing and in early spring – see a carpet of crocuses in bloom. The aromatic drink is served by a coffee-bike, which will also satisfy your hunger with its assortment of home-baked cakes. You simply can’t miss this mobile café, and after the caffeine kick-start it’s time to walk around the Kasprowicz Park.

The park alleys will lead you down to the Helena Majdaniec Summer Theatre. It is one of the biggest amphitheatres in Poland and in the 1960s it hosted the Young Talent Festival. If you follow the guideposts, you will find yourself in the Rose Garden, located near the amphitheatre. On summer Saturdays and Sundays the Rose Garden organises various concerts, workshops for children and dancing parties.

Architectural gems and a bit of history (2h)

Centrum Dialogu Przełomy Plac Solidarności

After a coffee in the fresh air, it is time to get acquainted with a piece of history. Let’s walk – along the John Paul II Avenue (al. Jana Pawła II) and Flower Avenue (Aleja Kwiatowa) – to the Solidarity Square (Plac Solidarności). Are you there? Then it is time to immerse yourself in the city’s history – quite literally, because under your feet there is the Centre for Dialogue “Przełomy”. The museum tells Szczecin’s history from the end of the World War II to the fall of communism. It is one of the most important places in the post-war history of Szczecin. The facility won many prestigious architectural awards, including World Architecture Festival – World Building of the Year 2016 and European Prize for Urban Public Space contest, Barcelona 2016.

Before you leave the Centre for Dialogue “Przełomy”, you should try a sandwich with herring or with the famous paprykarz szczeciński, served at the exit. These are the city’s true specialities! As you go out, you surely see another distinctive building. Across the street there is the Mieczysław Karłowicz Szczecin Philharmonic (which won the Mies van der Rohe Best Building Award in 2015). The philharmonic looks like a cross between an iceberg and Hanseatic tenement houses. If there is no closed event inside, you may enter the building and see what has left you more impressed – the outside shape or the hall.

Both places – since they are so young – are relatively new on the list of Szczecin’s landmarks. Since time immemorial, however, this list is opened by Wały Chrobrego.  The name is literally translated as Chrobry’s Embankments – even though the first Polish king Bolesław Chrobry certainly had never visited them. They are situated just a short walk along Małopolska Street from the Philharmonic. The place was created as the initiative of Herman Haken. The original name of this place – Haken’s Terraces – was chosen in his honour. The central building in the area is the National Museum, on top of which you will find a viewing terrace.

Szczecin Boulevards and Cranosauruses (3h)

Szczecińskie bulwary

Once you are at Wały Chrobrego (Haken’s Terraces), you may also want to take a walk along the nearby boulevards. You can start for instance at the Piast Boulevard (Bulwar Piastowski), where the famous Sailors’ Alley (Aleja Żeglarzy) is situated. The Alley features many elements emphasising the marine nature of the city, e.g. sculptures of sea captains Ludomir Mączka and Kazimierz Haska, but also a cat-sailor Umbriaga or navigational instruments such as astrolabe, chronometer, compass or sextant.

 

Additional charm to the Boulevard is added by three historic cranes, affectionately called Cranosauruses (Dźwigozaury). It’s impossible to miss them, especially at night, when they are illuminated in various colours. After coming back from the walk along the banks of the Oder, you can treat yourself to a little cruise in one of the Szczecin’s motorboats, which wait for you at the Long Bridge (Most Długi). You don’t need a sailing licence to see interesting places, such as water nooks and crannies of the Święta river, Szczecin’s Venice, Lake Dąbie and many canals and islands. This trip is also a great chance to encounter wild nature! You can take a close look at herons, white-tailed eagles, otters and rare plant species. Each of the motorboats will hold up to five people.

 

This has been a truly exciting day, therefore it must be topped with a good supper. The boulevard will surely offer you a choice of culinary inspirations and there is also good news for the connoisseurs of the amber fluid: along the Gdynia Boulevard there is a zone where you can legally drink low-proof alcoholic drinks, such as beer.

Sunday – Central Cemetery and Old Town (4h)

Cmentarz Centralny w Szczecinie

A new day wakes but let’s keep it traditional and start the day surrounded by nature. You should know that Szczecin calls itself a Floating Garden. 25% of the city’s surface is water and 20% is greenery. In the city centre – apart from parks and Jasne Błonia – you will find it at… the Central Cemetery. You can easily get there by trams No. 8 or 10 or buses No. 61 or 81. It is Europe’s largest necropolis. The total surface area of the Central Cemetery is almost 170 ha. Start your walk at the Main Gate. Behind it, you will see a wide road and an arrow pointing left. Follow this way to discover two tourist routes in the cemetery: the historical route and the botanical route. Don’t worry about the fact that you are on a graveyard. This vast necropolis is in fact a unique park.

 

In the vicinity of the Cemetery you will find a Bike_S station, i.e. a place where you can rent a Szczecin City Bike. Maybe it’s worth registering in the system and taking a short bike ride? You can do it at the SRM website and it will only take a couple of minutes. We hope that our extraordinary botanical garden has left you impressed. Once you have your bike, you can go back to the Old Town, which is next to the boulevards. This charming place is famous for its restaurants. This place will certainly satisfy the palates of amateurs of Asian, Brazilian, Italian and traditional Polish cuisine. And now for a little fun fact: the Old Town is not as old as the name would suggest. This part of Szczecin was obliterated during World War II. Only the Old City Hall and a few tenement houses have been rebuilt according to their original state. Other houses, which bring the Old Town into the 21st century, are much newer. It doesn’t change the fact that Podzamcze (Castle Borough) is well worth a visit and it’s full of life. Once you’re there, you may want to visit the Museum of Szczecin’s History, located in the Old City Hall.

Underground route and a trip to the past (4h)

Podziemne trasy szczecina

Do you know that now you are only 15 minutes away from the Central Railway Station? Let’s go there but we’re not leaving the city yet! Under the station there is another site of our trip: the largest civil air-raid shelter in Poland. Guided tours are organised only once a day and start at noon. You can buy the tickets at the site. The entrance to the shelter is at the first platform.

Did you like that? You won’t be saying good-bye to history, though, as vis-à-vis the railway station there is a stop where you can catch tram line No. 3. When you go in the direction of Las Arkoński, in 20 minutes you will find yourself at a stop called “Muzeum Techniki” – Museum of Technology. The old tram depot has been transformed into a real mecca for motorheads who look for gems from eras past. Do you know how the transport looked like in the times of the Second Polish Republic? What vehicles were the most popular before the war or how has the public transport changed? You might find answers to these (and many more!) questions in the museum. Apart from titbits about the exhibits, you can also listen to the old motors’ roar and even feel like a real tram driver. This is made possible by the simulator in the 105N-type tram. This seemingly small tram depot is a true time machine, where it is worth to spend some… time. The tour will take you about 90 minutes.

So maybe now it’s time to go back to present day and eat something? Go back to the city centre by the same tram line and get off at the “Plac Żołnierza Polskiego” stop. You will find many restaurants there, including Spiżarnia Szczecińska, which offers local cuisine, or Jak Malina with vegan menu. Whoever would have thought that it is already the second day of your trip to the capital of West Pomerania. And there is still plenty to see, walk around Lake Szmaragdowe and Seven Mills Valley, or maybe jump from the tallest platform in Europe. The list of mandatory places includes also the oldest cinema in the world and canoeing along the Lower Oder Valley. These are just a few reasons why you should come back here. There’s so much to do in West Pomerania!