Poland

17 Great Things to Do in Szczecin, Poland

Last Updated on 26/04/2024 by kami

Even if Szczecin, Poland, is one of the largest cities in the country, only a few tourists decide to visit Szczecin. And those who do usually come here as one of the day trips from Berlin. But despite the massive destruction during World War 2, the city has much to offer. There are plenty of things to do in Szczecin that I’m more than happy to share with you today.

things to do in szczecin poland

In the past, every time I visited Szczecin, it was in the passing, on the way somewhere else (mostly Berlin or the seaside). Recently I finally focused on the city only and decided to spend a weekend in Szczecin. I enjoyed it more than I expected, and as it turned out, I didn’t have enough to see and experience Szczecin attractions. That only proves what an underrated city it is.

Whether you only have one day in Szczecin or more, you are certainly in for a good time. With this Szczecin guide, you can plan your trip to Szczecin easily. And if you still have more questions about visiting Poland, join my Facebook group about traveling in Eastern Europe.

things to do in szczecin poland

Where is Szczecin, Poland

Szczecin, a city of around 400.000 inhabitants, is located in the very northwest corner of Poland. Warsaw, the capital of Poland, is about 550 km away from Szczecin, while Berlin, the capital of Germany, is only 150 km away. The Baltic Sea is less than 100 km north of Szczecin.

things to do in szczecin poland

Why visit Szczecin

Even if at first Szczecin might not seem like a very appealing place to visit, the city actually offers plenty of attractions.

The place has a long and turbulent history. It was first mentioned in the 1st century. It was incorporated into Poland in the 11th century, only to change its affiliation eight years later. Eventually, Szczecin returned to the Polish state after World War 2 (although the first years after the war were still uncertain), and for most of the time over the centuries, the city was part of Germany. This is why in today’s Szczecin, you will still find numerous German remnants, and some parts of the city might feel more like Berlin than any other place in Poland.

During World War 2, Szczecin was severely destroyed, and so the big part of the center is a peculiar mix of architecture that altogether might be hard to appreciate. But there are still numerous attractions that either survived the war or were rebuilt afterward, and that’s where you can see and feel the real beauty and charm of the city.

Since Szczecin is located not too far from the seaside, it is also known for its maritime industry, and you can clearly feel and enjoy its industrial vibe too. There are just so many layers to Szczecin, and it’s a pleasure to discover them all.

things to do in szczecin poland

How to get to Szczecin

The funny thing is, it’s easier to get to Szczecin from Berlin than from many places in Poland. There are numerous regular daily connections between the capital of Germany and Szczecin, both by train and bus.

Arriving from any other place in Poland, the train is the best option. The main train station is located in the central part of the city, only a short walk away from some of the main attractions of Szczecin.

Szczecin also has its own airport, with flights to/from Warsaw and Krakow and a few cities in Norway, Ireland, and England.

things to do in szczecin poland

Where to stay in Szczecin

Since this is a big city, there are plenty of accommodation options in Szczecin to choose from. Choose somewhere in the center to visit all the Szczecin highlights easily.

During my trip to Szczecin, I stayed in Moxy Szczecin City (9.1/10) and I can definitely recommend it. Here are a few other good places to stay in Szczecin:

things to do in szczecin poland

How to get around Szczecin

While many attractions are in the center and you can easily walk there, you must use public transport to get to a few interesting places (like the central cemetery or Jasne Błonia).

During my trip, I got Szczecin Tourist Card that provided free public transport and discounts in numerous places (such as the castle). It’s cheap, 20 PLN (less than €5) for 24 hours or 30 PLN (less than €7) for 72 hours. You can get it online or in the tourist information offices – that’s where I got mine.

With the Szczecin Tourist Card, you can explore the city using trams and buses. I used Google Maps to figure out where which tram I needed to get to my destination.

things to do in szczecin poland

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Things to do in Szczecin

And finally, without any further ado, here are the best things to do in Szczecin, in no particular order.

Find Szczecin’s Venice

One of the (literally) hidden gems of Szczecin is the so-called Venice, located conveniently only a few steps from the central railway station. You need to enter the random gate at 88/89 Kolumba Street, and you will be immediately transferred into a different world. The picturesque spot with the bridge leading to one of the islands on the Odra River is known as one of the seven wonders of Szczecin.

Along the waterfront, you will see rows of red brick buildings from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries: factory buildings and townhouses. It was a bustling area in the past, often visited by ships that loaded the goods directly from the factory buildings.

Today the place is a bit neglected, but you can’t deny its charm. Be sure to stop here when you are in the area.

things to do in szczecin poland

Explore the city center

Even if a big part of Szczecin was destroyed during World War 2, and you can clearly see that, especially in the center of the city, it’s still worth exploring the central part of Szczecin to find some real gems and interesting places. This area is a peculiar mix of architecture, where buildings that survived WW2 stand next to those dating back to modern times.

Some of the spots you can’t miss are two remaining city gates: a port one and a royal one, both built in the Baroque style in the first half of the 18th century in place of the former city walls. Still today, they are an impressive addition to the Szczecin’s scenery, and it’s worth paying them some extra attention to admire all the fine details.

Other remarkable buildings you might stumble across include the Art Academy, the main Post Office, or the Palace of the Pomeranian Land.

It’s also worth stepping into the yards, as those can hide some real gems, such as the townhouse at 1 Św. Wojciecha Street – if you are lucky and the gate is open, you are in for a real treat!

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

See the Szczecin Philharmonic building

The building of the Szczecin Philharmonic is a new addition to the city’s scenery, dating back only to 2014. Nevertheless, it has already won numerous local and international architectural awards and was named the most beautiful modern building in Europe in 2015.

The structure is impressive, albeit in contrast to the surrounding scenery. You either love or hate it (I’m definitely in the first group), but you can’t deny its unique shape either way.

It is possible to join the guided tour of the Szczecin Philharmonic building (in Polish, German, or English); however, they don’t run daily. Be sure to check the official website of the Philharmonic and get your ticket online, as their number is limited too.

Unfortunately, during my trip to Szczecin, there were no tours. Still, I’m ready to go there again to see this masterpiece inside and learn more about it.

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

Admire Chrobry Embankment

Chrobry Embankment is one of the most popular attractions of Szczecin and is well-known for a reason. The impressive observation deck was built in the early 20th century. It was previously known as Haken Terrace (the name was changed to commemorate Boleslaw Chrobry, the first king of Poland, once the city returned to Poland after World War 2).

Despite the extensive war destruction of Szczecin, Chrobry Embarkment survived the difficult times mostly untouched. Today we can admire this one of the most interesting and monumental urban and architectural complexes from the beginning of the 20th century in this part of Europe.

The observation terrace is around 500 meters long, located high above the Odra River, and offers excellent views across the river and beyond. You can admire Szczecin’s grandest buildings along the embankment – the National Museum, the Maritime University, and the Provincial Office.

Chrobry Embankment is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Szczecin, so don’t miss it during your trip!

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

Enjoy the Łasztownia island

Across the Odra River from Chrobry Embankment, you will find the Łasztownia island, which is quickly becoming a new hotspot to hang out in Szczecin. It was a mysterious closed port island in the past, but it has changed in recent years, and now it’s a popular place for locals and visitors.

You can still find numerous industrial remnants that give the site a unique look and feel, the most popular ones being port cranes that sparkle in different colors in the evening. There is a small marina, numerous food trucks serving food from all over the world, a small beach, and an amusement park, and these are only a few of the attractions that Łasztownia offers.

This is also where you can get one of the best views in Szczecin over the majestic Chrobry Embankment.

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

Wander along the waterfront

Once you are near the Odra River (either on the Łasztownia or Chrobry Embankment side), stroll along the waterfront. It’s such a pleasant area, with great views over the cityscape and numerous bars, cafes, and restaurants. You might even go for a boat tour from here to see Szczecin from another perspective.

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

Visit Podzamcze district

After World War 2, 90% of Szczecin’s Old Town was destroyed. Today you can get a glimpse into the past in the Podzamcze district that covers the area of the former Old Town.

Even if this part of the city was mostly reinvented and is a peculiar mix of architecture, some buildings were rebuilt to resemble those from the past. The street grid also remained in its pre-war shape.

The center of Podzamcze is Sienny Market, originally dating back to medieval times. Even if it also didn’t survive the war, this is where you can mostly feel the old times charm as some of the townhouses and the Old Town Hall were restored.

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

Visit the Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle

One of the biggest attractions of Szczecin and the whole region is the Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle. Its origins date back to the 14th century, but the current look in the Gothic and Pomeranian mannerism architectural styles came at the end of the 16th century.

Over the years, the structure was rebuilt a few times, but the past two centuries were also unlucky for the castle. First, during the Prussian rule in the 19th century, many of the valuable elements of the decor and interior were destroyed; it was also heavily damaged during the World War 2 Allied air raids. After the war, the Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle was rebuilt based on 17th-century paintings.

While this is not one of the most beautiful castles in Poland, it’s still an interesting place to visit. There is a good museum with some unique artifacts (like old maps or the witches’ chamber); you can also climb to one of the towers for the great panorama of Szczecin. Numerous details on the castle’s facade are worth paying more attention too.

An interesting fact about Szczecin Castle is that Catherine the Great, the famous 18th-century empress of Russia, was born and grew up here.

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

Admire the view from the Cathedral

Another great viewpoint to admire the panorama of Szczecin is the cathedral. This is Poland’s second-tallest church, so that you can expect some great views from the top. You only need to take the elevator to the upper part of the cathedral tower, and you can enjoy the panorama of the whole city.

This is also one of the oldest and most important churches in the region, dating back to the 12th century, with relics of a few saints inside, so besides going up to the tower, be sure to visit the cathedral inside too.

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

Visit the Central Cemetery

This might sound like a bit of a morbid attraction, but Central Cemetery is a must-place when visiting Szczecin. It is the largest cemetery in Poland and the third largest in Europe, with over 300 thousand burials since its opening at the very beginning of the 20th century.

But despite its sad function, it is a truly beautiful place, more like a park or garden than a cemetery, and a visit here will be an interesting addition to your Szczecin itinerary. Even if most graves are Polish, you can still find numerous German remnants around, showing the city’s complicated past.

The central cemetery is a bit far from the center, but you can quickly get there by tram.

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

Admire beautiful townhouses

One of the greatest testimony of Szczecin’s rich past is the beautiful townhouses lining the streets in the central part of the city. They mostly date to the late 19th and early 20th century and are a great example of the grand city architecture from that period.

The quarters where they were built survived the war (although not always in the best shape), and today, after major renovations, you can admire the beauty of the buildings around you. Take a closer look when wandering around, as some of the townhouses are really rich in detail. This whole part of the city reminded me a lot of Berlin actually, especially districts like Kreuzberg or Prenzlauer Berg.

One of the streets, Księcia Bogusława X, was turned into a pedestrians-only zone, and that’s where, besides the lovely surrounding, you can also enjoy numerous bars and restaurants.

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

Relax at Jasne Błonia park

Even if the park is located a bit away from the center, it’s worth taking the tram to visit this green oasis and relax in the beautiful surrounding. The Jasne Błonia Park was designed and created in the 1920s and is known primarily for the picturesque alley lined with the plane tree. There are 213 of them here, the largest number of trees of that kind in one place in Poland.

The whole park is a charming place, perfect for some lazy time. But there are a few spots here you don’t want to miss too (besides the plane trees), such as the beautiful building of the town hall or the interesting Monument to the Deed of Poles.

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

Visit Lentz Villa

Located near the Jasne Błonia Park, Lentz Villa has one of the most beautiful interiors in Szczecin (and it’s not too shabby from the outside too). Built between 1888 and 1889, this is one of the best examples of the Prussian eclectic style. Before World War 2, it was owned by local high society representatives who spared no expense on decor.

Even if the place was mostly renovated, you still can see and feel the vibe of the pre-war Szczecin here.

Explore the underground

Literally hidden at the train station, you will find one of the most exciting attractions in Szczecin – the underground. This is, in fact, the largest non-military shelter in Poland, dating back to WW2 times (although 18th-century underground corridors were used to create it).

At first, it was used as an anti-aircraft shelter, but after the war, it was transformed into the nuclear one. Around five thousand people could hide here, in the five underground levels. Today you can visit the place to explore the maze of underground corridors and learn more about 20th-century history on three dedicated routes.

You can access the underground from the train station, either from the street or the platform.

things to do in szczecin poland

Try Szczecin pasztecik

Pasztecik is a legendary local delicacy from Szczecin that you must try. It’s a deep-fried dough (crispy on the outside but soft inside) with various stuffing, either meat or vegetarian. Pasztecik is best served with red borscht. It’s a very simple dish that was very popular during the communist times and still works as a great snack now.

There are a few places dedicated to serving pasztecik in central Szczecin (some of the addresses are: al. Wojska Polskiego 46, Księdza Kardynała Stefana Wyszyńskiego 10, Aleja Bohaterów Warszawy 42), you can also get it at the train station.

Learn more about Szczecin’s recent history

Once Szczecin was incorporated into Poland after World War 2, its history wasn’t always easy. Among other events, this is where three massive social unrest took place in 1970, 1981, and 1989, eventually leading to the fall of communism in 1989.

Centrum Dialogu „Przełomy,” hidden neatly under the square that was the scene of the biggest protests (next to the philharmonic), tells the story of the 20th century in Szczecin, starting from the incorporation of Szczecin into the Polish state as a result of the Potsdam Agreements in 1945. If you want to learn more about the city and its turbulent past, this is the place to visit!

things to do in szczecin poland

Go for day trips

While Szczecin is often visited as one of the day trips from Berlin, you can plan your trip differently and use the city as a base to explore the surrounding area, both in Poland and Germany.

The Baltic Sea coast is pretty close; you can easily reach it by public transport from Szczecin. Places like Międzyzdroje or Świnoujście are just a short train trip away. If you have a car, you can also hop across the border and see German seaside towns.

The Wolin island in the past was an important pagan and Slavic center, and you can still find remnants of the past around. This is also where you will find Wolin National Park.

Another unique attraction is the crooked forest near Gryfino, only 30 km south of Szczecin. Nearby you can also visit Stargard, one of the oldest cities in Poland, packed with monuments and attractions.

Or you can go to the German capital, only 2 hours away, and spend an exciting day in Berlin. There are many options, and everyone should find something interesting for their taste.

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

things to do in szczecin poland

Final thoughts on visiting Szczecin

As you can see above, Szczecin has plenty to offer and can be a great destination both as a day trip from Berlin and a city break. It might not be as popular as other cities in Poland: Krakow, Wroclaw, or Gdansk, but it will surely keep you busy with all its attractions. I’m already planning my next trip to Szczecin to catch up on things I had to miss this time!

things to do in szczecin poland

Further reading

I published many articles about Poland that you might find useful when planning your trip there. Here are some of them:

If you are looking for articles about a specific destination – check out the map with all the articles I’ve published (and their locations). You can also join my Facebook group about traveling in Central Europe and ask your questions there.


Travel Resources

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things to do in szczecin poland


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