Szczecin is one of the few cities that can boast of over a thousand years of tradition. During the reign of the Gryfit dynasty, it was one of the most powerful ports and trade centers in Pomerania.
To this day, the city has retained its special charm and unique character. It is said that Szczecin is the second Paris - it was the Parisian street layout that inspired the design of starry squares in downtown. What impresses tourists today? Certainly great architecture and charming corners. At every step you can come across souvenirs of turbulent history, but also beautiful parks or squares. Tourists can go for walks, swim on the Oder or Lake Dąbie, or ride a bike in the surrounding forests, discovering the next beautiful places. Below we suggest what you must see!
The most famous monument of Szczecin is beautiful viewing terraces, known today as Wały Chrobrego. They were created at the beginning of the 20th century in the place of the demolished Fort Leopold. The initiator of the construction was Mayor Hermann Haken. It was from his name that they were originally named "Hakenterrasse". It is currently believed that this is one of the most interesting projects of that period in our part of Europe. An impression is made by the tree-lined walking alley located on the 19-meter escarpment rising along the Oder. It has a great view. The complex also includes a semi-circular terrace with a sculpture of Ludwig Manzel, a monumental fountain and lighthouse-styled towers. The whole is complemented by historic buildings, which currently house institutions: the Maritime University, the National Museum, the Contemporary Theater and the Provincial Office. Wały Chrobrego survived the war almost intact. Thanks to this, today we can admire them as they were seen by the old Szczecin residents.
Muzeum Narodowe - National Museum
The National Museum is the largest cultural institution in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship, taking care of over 150,000 objects, among which are works of ancient and modern art, archaeological, nautological, ethnographic and valuable numismatic items. The Museum also has the largest collection of material culture certificates in non-European countries (Africa, America, Oceania) in Poland. The museum focuses its interests primarily on Pomeranian and Baltic themes. In the spirit of multicultural, cross-border dialogue and cooperation, it builds the regional, national and European identity of Western Pomerania and its inhabitants. The National Museum building occupies a central place in the Wały Chrobrego complex. Built in 1907-1913 according to the design of Wilhelm Meyer Schwartau, from 1913 there was a City Museum.
Trasa Zamkowa (Castle Route)
The entrance artery to the city is almost 2.5 km. It consists of bridges over the Odra and Parnica rivers and flyovers over the island of Łasztownia. What's so special about it? Its pillars have been decorated with graffiti, which is today considered a street art gallery. Why is this route worth seeing? Street art here is one thing. Another reason is the amazing view that stretches over the city's panorama.
Zamek Książąt Pomorskich (Pomeranian Dukes' Castle)
The building of medieval origin is today the symbol of Szczecin, and at the same time the most important attraction of the city. It is also the largest cultural institution in our city. Every year, several hundred concerts, film screenings, theater performances and museum exhibitions are organized here. Various workshops and meetings in the field of art, literature and history take place here. The castle was the seat of the Gryfit family, rulers of the Pomeranian Duchy. In the years 1958-1980 it was rebuilt on the plan of the Renaissance prince's seat. The tower in the South Wing from 1503 is interesting. There is a clock on it that shows several dates - these are the years of its renovation. At the top of the clock are two Swedish lions and a navy-gold ball that rotates according to the phases of the moon. Being at the Castle, it is also worth visiting the museum, including the witches' cell, which is associated with the famous legend of Sydonia von Borck, accused of witch noblewoman. On warm days, sit down for a moment in the spacious castle courtyard and immerse yourself in thoughts about the turbulent history of Western Pomerania ...
The Opera - Opera na Zamku w Szczecinie
The opera was founded in 1956 as the Szczecin Operetta of the Society of Friends of the Musical Theater. Jacek Nieżychowski was its first director. Since 1978, the opera house is settled in the Castle of Pomeranian Dukes. After the reconstruction finished in 2015, the theater gained a modern stage and auditorium, and the interiors got a new glow. Safety, functionality and comfort were taken care of for both viewers and artists. The theater has been adapted to the needs of the disabled. The main hall, housing over 500 spectators, is equipped with the latest technological achievements, which makes it optimal conditions for listening and watching performances. It is the only institution of this type in the province and the only theater in Poland located in a medieval castle.
Photo: A. Słomski
Opera at the Castle offers viewers a varied repertoire. In addition to operas, operettas and ballets, it also hosts musicals, concerts, outdoor events, performances for children, adolescents and students. It also organizes open doors, discussion meetings with representatives of the world of art and science, film introductions to performances, educational workshops for children and guided tours of the building. For guests from abroad, the shows have subtitles in Polish and German. Bilingual programs are also available.
Rose garden "Różanka"
"Różanka" is one of the most beautiful and romantic places in Szczecin. We will find it in the area of Łękno (German: Westend), on the edge of Kasprowicz Park. The garden was founded in 1928, survived the war and today is undoubtedly one of the favorite holiday destinations for Szczeciners. In the summer there are concerts and picnics, which gives this place a special charm. In addition to beautiful flowers, you can also admire exotic shrubs and trees in the garden. An attraction is also the "Bird Fountain" reproduced on the model of the original from 1935. Its main elements are four concrete geese mounted on a pedestal.
Teatr Letni (Summer Theater)
The "Summer Theater" amphitheater is located in Kasprowicz Park, where it spreads its beautiful wings on a natural slope. In the summer, numerous concerts take place here. However, if you do not come across one of such events, you can end a pleasant walk in the park, sitting on one of the benches and admiring the view of the charming Rusalka lake with a fountain in the middle.
A wide green area almost in the heart of the city, which is one of the favorite recreation places of all Szczeciners. On sunny days, residents organize picnics on the grass, play football, stroll or enjoy coffee and ice cream from nearby cafes. The square was built in the 1920s in the lands of the Quistorp family. Currently, it is a well-tended lawn with floral compositions and walking paths lined with majestic plane trees. It's the largest concentration of these trees in Poland! We will also find here famous monuments: John Paul II, who celebrated mass in 1987 in this place, and the Monument of Poles' Deed, or "Three Eagles". On the one site, Jasne Błonia passes into Kasprowicz Park, and on the other is the beautiful, green building of the City Hall. Going straight from Aleja Jana Pawła II we reach the charming Grunwald Square.
Stare Miasto (Old Town)
In the Old Town of Szczecin you will find some very interesting monuments that you must see. One of them is the majestic Royal Gate (Brama Królewska) from the 18th century erected after Prussia took the city. A bit further, at the foot of the castle, stands the fourteenth-century Tower of Seven Coats (Maiden's) - Baszta Panieńska, which is one of the last remains of defensive buildings from ancient times. From the tower, it is worth heading towards the Market - Rynek Sienny, where the Old Town Hall is located. The beautiful red-brick building now houses the Szczecin History Museum, which is interesting and varied. The market square itself is wonderfully restored, it is adorned with tenement houses with beautiful facades, and just behind them the river flows. Heading up towards the cathedral and Port Gate (Brama Portowa), we will find a small but charming Orła Białego Square with the Palace "Pod Globusem", a beautiful fountain and a statue of Flora. In spring and summer, flowering shrubs turn the square into one of the most pleasant places in the center of Szczecin.
Bazylika archikatedralna św. Jakuba (Archcathedral Basilica of St. James) and Kościół św. Jana Ewangelisty (Church of St. John the Evangelist)
St. James's Basilica is the most important church of the city. It is impossible not to notice it - it is built of red brick and has a characteristic tower visible even from a distance. It is the second highest temple in Poland after the Licheń basilica! The tower has an observation deck with a beautiful panorama of the city. Also worth visiting is the nearby church of St. John the Evangelist at Świętego Ducha street. This is one of the oldest buildings in Szczecin. Inside, you can see antique tombstones and a fragment of exposed frescoes. The temple belongs to the most valuable objects of Gothic architecture in Pomerania. It is the only preserved building of the former Franciscan monastery complex.
Cmentarz Centralny (Central Cemetery)
Cmentarz Centralny is undoubtedly the most beautiful (and largest!) cemetery in Poland. It looks more like a park than a place of eternal rest. It owes it to numerous monuments, ponds with fountains, a beautiful chapel and wide walking alleys. The historic entrance gate is also characteristic. The creator of this place is the architect Wilhelm Meyer-Schwartau, whose goal was to design a park-like cemetery with a huge amount of plants. He has fully achieved this, which is worth seeing with your own eyes!
Kino Pionier (cinema Pionier)
Pionier is one of the oldest cinemas in the world! Its history dates back to 1907. From the very beginning it was distinguished by an amazing atmosphere. Even after a comprehensive refurbishment in 2002, during which it was modernly equipped, it did not lose its unique charm. In the "Kiniarnia" room located in the underground part we can watch a film from an analogue tape, sipping coffee from a cup at the table and feeling completely like in another era. There is no doubt that every movie fan should visit this place.
Filharmonia im. M. Karłowicza (M. Karłowicz Concert Hall)
The Szczecin Philharmonic Hall was built in 2014. It is nothing like other similar places! The glass facade and soaring iceberg shapes look really impressive, and the light illuminations only reinforce this effect. The five-storey building has actually two separate concert halls. The inhabitants of Szczecin call the new Philharmonic building 'a modern icon of the city'. In 2015, the building won the prestigious European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award.
Muzeum Przełomów (The Breakthrough Museum)
One of the most interesting Szczecin museums is the "Breakthrough" Dialogue Center (Centrum Dialogu "Przełomy" - CDP), which presents the latest history of Szczecin and Western Pomerania, including social rebellions and landmark events of the 1970s and 1980s. The exhibition is interactive, so that even young visitors will not be bored. In the underground rooms you can see photos, videos and recordings of participants of memorable events. In July 2016, CDP was recognized as Europe's best public space.
Jezioro Szmaragdowe (Emerald Lake)
The Emerald Lake is a less known, but very charming place, slightly away from the center. It is located in the Zdroje district, in the area of the Puszcza Bukowa Landscape Park. The water reservoir was created in the excavation of the former chalk and marl mine. It owes its name to the wonderful water coloring that results from the presence of calcium carbonate. The Emerald Lake is the perfect place for romantic walks or family recreation. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most beautiful natural attractions of Szczecin.
Muzeum Techniki i Komunikacji - Zajezdnia Sztuki (The Museum of Technology and Transport - Art Depot)
A very interesting museum that has been located in the historic tram depot in Niebuszewo. A visit here is like a journey back in time to the history of old Szczecin - we can see how public transport changed and admire old vehicles. You can also learn a lot about Szczecin's automotive industry. A visit to the museum is fun for young and old.
The Odra boulevards
One of the newest and most popular attractions of Szczecin, loved by tourists and locals. The beautifully revitalized area on the river is a perfect place for a walk or a moment of rest with a wonderful view. We can choose the left or right side of the river. From the left bank we will admire the Celne Quay leading to "Łasztownia", where we will meet "Dźwigozaury" ("Dino-cranes") - the coolest port cranes in Poland. From the right bank we will be enjoying the view of the castle, Old Town, and a bit further - Wały Chrobrego.