Szczecin at a glance
This border city has shaken off its former Iron Curtain tag and regained its historic stature while also providing visitors with some fine dining options.
Project ‘Floating Garden’ is creating a network of canals, parks and leisure zones on an island in the Oder.
You probably didn’t know
Szczecin’s Pionier is the world’s oldest cinema still in operation.
Suggested reading and viewing
To read: The Captive Mind (Czeslaw Milosz, international edition 1990). To watch: the 2014 Polish comedy Kobiety bez wstydu (Women Without Shame) was filmed in Szczecin.
- Population: 400,000
- Annual visitor numbers: 382,784 (2013)
- January mean temperature: 0°C
- August mean temperature: 20°C
Things to do in Szczecin
The contemporary Biala Trufla (‘White Truffle’) is all about getting the best out of the high-quality products of western Pomerania – game, eel, fruit –without having to resort to enhancers or glutamates. Even the bread and pasta are prepared in situ with organic flour. Meat and fish dishes are prepared sous-vide to feature on a concise menu that changes weekly.
High up in the retail and leisure tower of the landmark Pazim building, panoramic Café 22 offers far more than just pretty vistas. Blue-cheese, spring and barbecue salads are served, along with smoked-salmon sandwiches and classic burgers.
Zdrugiej Strony Lustra
Zdrugiej Strony Lustra (‘Through the Looking Glass’) leans on regional products – fish from the Baltic, goats’ cheese from Wolczkowo – to create fresh dishes in relaxed surroundings. There are themed dining evenings too.
Modern-day bistro Fabryka provides a daily special of three mains and three soups, usually a meaty dish and imaginative salad among them. The fact that it’s all very affordable doesn’t mean it skimps on quality. Done out in industrial style, the place is also known for its cakes, its regional beers and its house vodka.
Radecki & Familia Restauracja
You’re on the Oder, you’re near the Baltic – it’s got to be fish. Salmon and halibut are the most popular choices at the Radecki & Familia Restauracja, although you’ll also find tasty warming soups in winter and any number of pastas. It may look formal but the staff are very friendly.
New in 2015, Nowy Browar is a sparkling brewery restaurant set in a building that dates back to the mid 19th century. Formerly a house of culture then a theatre, the venue now provides four types of house beer – lager, pils, wheat and dark – along with quality mains such as trout, steak and pork cutlets. It’s a decent spot for breakfast too.
Set out in the basement of a former granary, the weekend-only Klub Patio draws a young, mainly student crowd (it’s located near the Medical University) to its dancefloor, two bars and, in summer, an outdoor patio that’s perfect for drinks with mates.
Elefunk the Club
Elefunk the Club brings funk, R&B and rap DJs, plus top Polish pop stars, such as Kari Amirian, to an intimate interior done out by local artists for every major event.
Moda Klub Szczecin
Elzbieta Ornowicz’s Moda Klub Szczecin is the place for women’s wear by Gerry Weber and sensible menswear by Roy Robson. Look out for the regular sales.
Kocham Szczecin (‘I Love Szczecin’) trades in original and tasteful local souvenirs, such as 100% cotton bags, coffee mugs and the like.
Szczecin’s Museum of Technology and Transport
If it’s on wheels, charmingly retro and Polish, you should find an example parked at Szczecin’s Museum of Technology and Transport. With a focus on cars, pre-war and post-war – you’ll love Communist Poland’s version of the Mini, the Mikrus – the museum also features trams, motorbikes and cycles.
Sightseeing by tram
On Sundays throughout the summer, an old tram trundles around the main sights of Szczecin – Zeromskiego Park, Wojska Polskiego Avenue, the Krolewska Gate – for the price of a couple of zlotys. The journey starts at the main railway station, Dworzec Glowny.
Every day at noon, a guide takes visitors around the vast network of tunnels bored under Szczecin during World War II. The tour may last from between one and two hours and commentary is delivered in English. The same company also stages screenings of the war-time drama Escape to the North, a film based on actual events that took place here in 1944; an English-language version is provided.
Events to look out for:
- Szczecin Music Fest (March-July)
- Days of the Sea (June)
- Literary City in Szczecin (June)
- Street Artists’ Festival (July)
- Szczecin European Film Festival (October)
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