Rzeszow, Poland might not seem like the most exciting or prettiest of all the places to visit in Poland but the city definitely has its moments. I never really considered visiting Rzeszow but when I finally made it there in the summer of 2020 I was impressed with the vibrant atmosphere and beautiful architecture that sometimes reminded me a bit of Timisoara, Romania.
Even if my main reason to visit Rzeszow was to see the quirky Monument to the Revolutionary Act (such a concrete masterpiece!) I found more cool things to do in Rzeszow and enjoyed my time there much more than I expected.
If you are wondering what to see in Rzeszow (or if it’s worth going there at all) here is a small overview of the best Rzeszow attractions.
Table of contents
Where is Rzeszow
Rzeszow, the city of around 200.000 inhabitants and capital of the Subcarpathian province, is located in the southeast part of Poland, not too far from the border with Ukraine and Slovakia. The nearest large city is Krakow, 170 km away from Rzeszow. Warsaw, the capital of Poland, is located a bit over 300 km away.
Why visit Rzeszow
Rzeszow might not be packed with attractions but the city is still well worth visiting, even as one of the day trips from Krakow. There are some beautiful places to see there (like the stunning town hall) but what I enjoyed the most was the vibrant atmosphere of the place.
I visited Rzeszow in the summertime and the center was packed with people until late at night, either wandering around or taking advantage of numerous outdoor cafes, bars, and restaurants. Fans of brutalism should put Rzeszow on their Poland itinerary for the impressive Monument to the Revolutionary Act (that very much resembles female reproductive organs).
Overall, Rzeszow is so much more than it seems at first and it’s really easy to enjoy the city.
How to get to Rzeszow
Rzeszow is located on the main railway corridor between Krakow and Przemysl (and then further the border with Ukraine) hence the city is very well-connected with the rest of the country and abroad. There are frequent train connections from both Krakow and Przemysl as well as direct trains from Lublin, Wroclaw, Warsaw, or even from abroad (Berlin, Prague, Graz, Lviv).
Rzeszow also has its own airport serving flights from a few Polish cities as well as from abroad (mostly the UK, but also Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, or the US). The city can be a good entry point for you.
What to see in Rzeszow
Even if one day in Rzeszow is enough to see all of the city’s highlights it doesn’t mean the city is boring.
The heart of Rzeszow is its Market Square with a beautiful town hall, originally from the end of the 16th century (however it was destroyed and rebuilt a few times over the years).
The current neogothic and neo-renaissance look dates back to the 19th century when it was common to mix different architecture styles. This is actually one of the most beautiful town halls you can see in Poland, pretty unique in its architecture.
In the past, the bell on the town hall’s tower announced the beginning and the end of the market days, today you can hear the bugle call composed by the well-known Polish artist born in Rzeszow, Tomasz Stanko.
It is possible to visit the town hall inside but only during working hours from Monday to Friday.
Another structure in the Market Square that catches your attention right away is the old well. It dates back to the 16th or 17th century and back then it was the source of drinking water for inhabitants.
The well was rediscovered only in 2001, during the reconstruction works, and it quickly became a favorite hotspot and meeting place for the locals.
The Market Square is surrounded by townhouses from three sides. The oldest one, located at the number 19, dates back to the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries.
The townhouses give a nice vibe and charm to Market Square. especially that most of them are occupied by cafes, bars, and restaurants that are busy until late evening.
While you are at Market Square you should also visit the underground. The maze of hidden passages under the city served the locals for centuries, either as storages, shops, or shelters.
The tourist route you can take today is 369 meters long and takes you through 25 basements and 15 corridors that go as low as 10 meters underground.
From Market Square, you can take the pedestrian streets Kościuszki and then 3 Maja all the way towards Rzeszow Castle. Along the way, you can admire some of the most beautiful townhouses in the city, built in the art-nouveau or neogothic styles at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.
Rzeszow Castle might not be among the most incredible castles in Poland (it’s nowhere close to Malbork Castle or Ksiaz Castle) but it sure is impressive.
Originally it was built in 1458 but it was destroyed and rebuilt at the beginning of the 20th century. During World War 2 and afterward, until 1981 the castle served as the prison, today the court is located here. The massive structure is surrounded by the defense wall and a small park.
Nearby you will find a much nicer building that, like the castle, used to belong to the Lubomirski family. The Baroque summer palace served as the entertainment center for the noble family (i.e. the theatre was located here). Still today the building impresses with its beauty.
If you look closely you will notice that it was built in the shape of the letter H, from the name of the founder Hieronim Lubomirski.
Between the castle and the summer palace you can walk the prettiest street of Rzeszow – Aleja Pod Kasztanami (literally the “avenue under the chestnuts”). It got its name from the chestnut trees that grow here but that’s not the only reason why this street is so charming.
The cobblestone and beautiful art-nouveau villas from the very beginning of the 20th century can impress everyone.
Other Rzeszow places of interest you might consider seeing include numerous churches and synagogues. There is also the unique and quirky Museum of Bedtime Cartoons that I didn’t manage to visit (it was closed when I was in Rzeszow) but I’m more than ready to return to the city just for it.
And then there is my favorite highlight of Rzeszow, the reason why I wanted to visit the city in the first place – the Monument to the Revolutionary Act.
The memorial, commemorating fights in the Rzeszow region between World War 1 and 2, was erected in 1974, and from the very beginning, it was controversial for its quirky shape that reminded people either of the donkeys’ ears or female reproductive organs.
But despite the controversy and rumors of demolishing, the monument still stands intact in the center of Rzeszow as a great example of monumental architecture of the 20th century.
Where to go next
Once you are done with Rzeszow sightseeing there are other interesting places in the Subcarpathian province: Lancut (with one of the most beautiful palaces in Poland), Przemysl, Sanok, Bieszczady Mountains, or Jaroslaw, just to name a few.
Or you can continue your journey towards Krakow (with stops in Tarnow and Wieliczka Salt Mine along the way). Southeast Poland really has a lot to offer so no matter where you go from Rzeszow, you are in for a treat.
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