Located in northern Poland, the eighth-largest city of the nation sits on the Brda and Wisla (Vistula) Rivers and the Bydgoszcz Canal.
Bydgoszcz is a city that may stumble people with its pronunciation (Byd-gosh-ch) however it evolved as an important trade hub revolving around its waterways.
Today, the city continues to charm tourists with Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings, rejuvenated spichrze (granaries) and stunning churches.
What to see
Be awed by the first parish church of Bydgoszcz, the spectacular 15th century St Martin and Nicholas Cathedral with a lovely waterside setting. The interior is remarkable with Baroque altars, Gothic architecture and jewel-like walls of rich purple and orange highlighted with gold.
Stop off at the Mostowa bridge to see one of the symbols of Bydgoszcz, a unique sculpture by Jerzy Kędziora spanning across the Brda River. Entitled ‘Man crossing the River’, this gravity-defying sculpture is suspended on wires and was commissioned to celebrate Poland’s accession to the European Union.
Visit the Filharmonia Pomorska (Pomeranian Phiharmonic), one of the leading musical institutions in Poland housed in a stately building surrounded by water fountains and greenery. The 880-seat concert hall has excellent acoustics for the wide performance repertoire of chamber and symphonic music. Don’t miss the side halls that display busts of famous composers and tapestries and paintings commissioned by the Philharmonic.
What to do
Be surprised by the pleasant attractions of Wyspa Młyńska (Mills Island) positioned in the center of Bydgoszcz. There are many picnic areas, a children’s playground, historical spichrzes (granaries) converted to museums, an art gallery and marina.
If you’re searching for typical Bydgoszcz souvenirs make a detour to Cepelia (Gdańska 17), an Aladdins Cave of folk art, trinkets and handicrafts. Buy thimbles engraved with Bydgoszcz’s coat-of-arms, amber jewellery or artisan needlecrafts.
Myślęcinek is found a few kilometres from central Bydgoszcz and is a fantastic place for relaxation or sports year round. Try horse riding, wander the animal park, dinosaur park, botanical gardens or follow one of the lovely walking tracks for a picnic. In winter, you can ski on three small pistes or ice skate on the lake.
Nearby things to see and do
Situated 45 kilometers southeast of Bydgoszcz is the medieval city of Toruń, a desirable place to visit and much quieter than Kraków or Warsaw. The city was largely untouched by damage in World War II so retains many original monuments and Gothic buildings. Roam the streets of the UNESCO World Heritage listed Old Quarter, and enjoy the atmosphere at the Old Town Hall, the Teutonic Knights Castle and the Leaning Tower. Don’t miss sampling the famous gingerbread of Toruń that you can buy at most grocery stores – the city bakers pride themselves on the sophisticated designs and artistic form.
Drive 50 kilometers northeast of Bydgoszcz to the city of Chemno with a turbulent past involving Teutonic, Hanseatic and Prussian ownership. This heritage has resulted in many monuments and classic buildings. Walk through the 14th century Grudziądzka Gate that lies on the line of the city’s defensive walls, and marvel at the Town Hall in the middle of the market square which is one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture in the region.