Torun has always been one of my favorite places to visit in Poland and I’m always more than happy to return there.
Recently, during one of my trips around my home country, I spent a few days there again, to do proper sightseeing in Torun and its surroundings. Not only I revisited some of the well-known places, but I also discovered new ones that charmed me.
I’m always surprised that Torun isn’t so popular among international travelers as the city has really a lot to offer. And so in today’s article, I’m sharing all the best things to do in Torun to hopefully convince you that you should visit Torun too!
Table of contents
- 1 Why visit Torun
- 2 How to get to Torun
- 3 How many days for visiting Torun
- 4 Where to stay in Torun
- 5 How to get around Torun
- 6 Things to do in Torun
- 6.1 Wander around the Old Town
- 6.2 See Torun from above
- 6.3 Admire the impressive Gothic architecture in Torun
- 6.4 Learn more about cosmos in Torun’s planetarium
- 6.5 See old city walls
- 6.6 Marvel at art nouveau gems
- 6.7 See the remnants of the castle
- 6.8 Find the Leaning Tower
- 6.9 Look at the Old Town from the distance
- 6.10 Learn more about Nicolaus Copernicus
- 6.11 Visit Bydgoskie Przedmieście district
- 6.12 Learn about famous Torun gingerbread
- 6.13 Find the dragon
- 6.14 Visit museums
- 6.15 Go for day trips
- 7 Final thoughts on visiting Torun
- 8 Travel Resources
Why visit Torun
Torun is one of the most popular destinations in Poland and it gets numerous visitors for a reason.
The place got its city rights already in the 13th century and since it’s never really been badly destroyed today you can admire some impressive buildings and structures dating back to Middle Ages. In fact, medieval architecture and urban planning were the reasons why Torun was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997.
Torun was also the birthplace of the world-famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus and you can find many places connected to this great persona all over the city. And then there is delicious Torun gingerbread that is already a good reason to visit Torun.
How to get to Torun
Getting to the city is really easy with numerous train and bus connections from many places in Poland. The nearest airport is in Bydgoszcz.
How many days for visiting Torun
Since Torun’s center is not very big and most of the best places to visit in Torun are located near each other, you can see the city in one day. However, I recommend spending there a bit more time, to get to know the city properly, visit some of the museums and go on day trips to discover the nearby region too.
Where to stay in Torun
Since Torun is a popular place to visit there are numerous accommodation options to choose from. During my last trip, I stayed in Hotel Gotyk (8.8/10 on Booking) and it was fine with a central location in the Old Town. You can check reviews and current prices here.
Other recommended places to stay in Torun:
- Hotel Pod Orłem (8.9/10 on Booking)
- Hotel Spichrz (9.4/10 on Booking)
- Hotel Czarna Róża (8.8/10 on Booking)
- and more!
How to get around Torun
Most of Torun attractions are located in the Old Town and can be easily reached by walking.
You might need to use public transport to get from the train station to the center since it’s located on the other side of the Vistula river, some 2km away from the Old Town. Fortunately, there are frequent buses connecting these two places.
Things to do in Torun
And here is the overview of the best things to do in Torun – hopefully it will help you plan your own trip to Torun!
Wander around the Old Town
The best way to get a feel of Torun’s Old Town and fall for the place is to explore it leisurely. It’s not a very big area but hides some real gems.
The main pedestrian street is Szeroka and that’s where you can find some of the most beautiful houses (be sure to look up when walking this street!).
But it’s worth getting into the maze of backstreets too, preferably without the map. There are some picturesque lanes and charming corners around. I especially enjoyed the brick arches between the houses (on Ciasna street), a mural with the old map of Torun, or small puppets sitting on the walls.
The Old Town in Torun is packed with details that make the place so interesting and special and it’s up to you to find them all.
See Torun from above
Everywhere I travel to I try to find a viewpoint where I can admire the city from above, to get a better perspective of the place. And so one of the first places I visited in Torun where the Town Hall tower. Not only it’s a great place to see Torun’s vista, but the tower itself is also one of the oldest monuments in the city.
It’s the oldest part of the Town Hall, dating back to the end of the 13th century (it got its current look over a hundred years later, in 1385). It’s also the oldest tower of this kind in Central and Eastern Europe and a great example of medieval Gothic architecture.
The entrance to the tower is located near the Nicolaus Copernicus monument. You need to walk 175 stairs to get to the top but the view is definitely worth it. From the viewing platform, you can admire the beautiful panorama of Torun’s Old Town, Vistula river, and beyond.
Another place to look at Torun from above is the nearby cathedral tower where you can also see the largest medieval bell in Poland – “Tuba Dei”.
Admire the impressive Gothic architecture in Torun
Since 1997 Torun’s Old Town has been included in UNESCO World Heritage List and that’s mostly thanks to its exceptional and authentic medieval Gothic architecture.
The city, founded in 1233, has never been badly destroyed and today has the second-largest (after Krakow) number of Gothic buildings in Poland. Many of them are real masterpieces from medieval times, the perfect examples of brick architecture from that time.
It’s not difficult to find impressive Gothic buildings in Torun’s Old Town, when wandering around you will easily stumble across them every few steps. Some of the most important ones include churches (including the cathedral), city gates, towers, and numerous townhouses.
In the past Torun also had the Teutonic Order castle (not as spectacular as the one in Malbork but still), however, it’s in ruins today.
Learn more about cosmos in Torun’s planetarium
One of the biggest attractions in Torun is the local planetarium where you can learn more about the cosmos, universe, and stars. It’s located in the 19th-century industrial building in the Old Town and was opened on 17th February 1994, on Copernicus’s birthday.
The shows are held in Polish, English, German, Spanish and Russian languages so you can easily add the planetarium to your Torun itinerary.
See old city walls
Torun got its city walls already in the first half of the 13th century (expanded in further years) but sadly they were mostly taken down in the 19th century. Fortunately, there are numerous remnants of old fortifications that you can still find all over the place. There are still 3 gates (out of 11) and 9 towers (out of 12) standing as well as parts of the walls.
The most impressive part of the city walls is on the side of the Vistula river (this part, especially near the Leaning Tower, is the oldest city wall in Poland).
To make the walls even more special and interesting you can spot some tiny puppets and other details that decorate the brick construction – sometimes you need to take a closer look to spot them but it only adds up to the charm of the place.
Marvel at art nouveau gems
Even if I’m a huge fan of art nouveau architecture, it took me a few visits to Torun to finally realize how many splendid townhouses there are around. But when I did – I was overwhelmed with all the beauty of townhouses.
In the Old Town, I found the most impressive ones along the main pedestrian street – Szeroka. When wandering around be sure to look up to see some of the fine details and features.
There are even more beautiful art nouveau houses in the center and beyond (like Bydgoskie Przedmieście neighborhood) so if you like this style of architecture as much as I do, you will surely appreciate this feature of Torun.
See the remnants of the castle
Torun castle dates back to the mid 13th century and was one of the oldest construction of this kind, erected by the Teutonic Order, in the area (but still not as impressive as Malbork Castle).
Since it was built in the place where the former borough was located, the castle had a unique horseshoe shape. It was used by the Teutonic Order as their base in their conquests of Prussia.
The place was expanding and thriving until the mid-15th century when the castle was besieged and eventually surrendered. It was then decided that the castle will be demolished, to prevent the Teutonic Order from recapturing it.
For centuries this part of Torun’s Old Town was neglected and only in the second half of the 20th century the castle’s area was restored and is now open to visitors. Even if the castle is mostly in ruins it is a very interesting place to visit that can give you a good impression of the greatness of the medieval Teutonic Order and a glimpse into the history of Torun.
Find the Leaning Tower
The most distinctive part of the Old City Walls in Torun is the Leaning Tower, located at Pod Krzywą Wieżą street, near the Vistula River. It dates back to the second half of the 13th century and, as the name indicates, it is known for its leaning structure.
It got its shape already in the 14th century, due to not so stabile grounds, and after a few renovations, it is still standing firmly in Torun’s Old Town. Until the mid-19th century, there was a similar leaning tower nearby but sadly it doesn’t exist anymore.
Torun’s Leaning Tower is one of the biggest attractions of the city and together with nearby cobbled streets and other bricked structures, it’s one of the most charming parts of the Old Town that easily lets you imagine how the medieval Torun must have looked like. This is definitely one of the must-visit places in Torun!
Look at the Old Town from the distance
The best view of Torun’s Old Town can be found across the Vistula River, near the train station, on Majdany street. It’s a bit away from the Old Town itself but definitely worth visiting. The best way to get here is to take one of the buses that go to the main train station (or walk around 2 km from the Old Town).
In the past that’s where one of the bridges was located, connecting this side of the Vistula River with the Bridge Gate in the Old Town. Today this place offers a splendid panorama of Torun’s Old town in its full glory, with the towers and brick city walls surrounding the place.
The view is beautiful both during the daytime and in the evening when the whole place is illuminated.
Learn more about Nicolaus Copernicus
Nicolaus Copernicus, the world-famous astronomer who proved that the Sun is the center of the Universe, was born in Torun in 1473, in the house located at 15 Kopernika street (today you can find the museum dedicated to this great person there where you can learn more about him, his life and work).
The city is full of remnants and places connected to the great astronomer and you can visit many of them. Besides the museum mentioned above, other spots connected to Nicolaus Copernicus include the cathedral where he was baptized and where you can find the oldest monument in the world dedicated to him (dating to 1766) or the most popular of Torun’s statues – Nicolaus Copernicus standing in front of the Town Hall.
The local university and the gingerbread factory were also named after this great citizen of Torun.
Visit Bydgoskie Przedmieście district
While the majority of Torun attractions are located within the Old Town, there is one district located not too far away that is worth visiting too.
Bydgoskie Przedmiescie is completely different than what you can see in the Old Town. This area was known as the upscale district in the 19th century and when wandering around you can find numerous beautiful houses and real gems of architecture in the eclectic or art nouveau style. The buildings are rich in details, some of them are built in the wattle and daub method, others have distinctive features like little towers.
It’s definitely worth coming here and seeing a different, really pleasant and charming side of Torun. To get to Bydgoskie Przedmiescie district you can either walk (around 1 km from the Old Town) or take the tram.
Learn about famous Torun gingerbread
Torun is known for its gingerbread, this sweet treat has been made here since the Middle Ages.
In the Old Town, you can find two different museums dedicated to gingerbread where you can learn more about its history in Torun, and in one of them (Żywe Muzeum Piernika) you can even learn how to make these delicious cookies. I definitely recommend visiting one of these museums as gingerbread is part of Torun’s experience.
There are also plenty of shops around where you can buy locally made gingerbread to taste and bring home with you as souvenirs. There are a few different kinds of Torun gingerbreads (and all of them are really good) but the most popular ones are “Katarzynki”.
Find the dragon
While the dragon is one of the biggest attractions in Krakow, not many people associated this mythical creature with Torun too. Yet you can find a small dragon in the Old Town too, at the corner of Szeroka and Przedzamcze streets.
Apparently, the dragon appeared in Torun twice in the same year – 1746 when locals saw the beast, mentions of these events are present in the historical books. What makes this dragon different than all the other dragons is that the story is based on true facts, not legend.
Even if what citizens described seemed like a rather mortifying creature, the ceramic dragon you can find today is rather cute and charming.
Torun has some really good museums so if you would like to see fine exhibitions you can definitely find something interesting there.
Besides already mentioned gingerbread museums or the one dedicated to Nicolaus Copernicus, other places worth visiting include The Town Hall, The Explorers’ Museum, or The Ethnographic Museum.
I really enjoyed the museum located in the baroque House Under the Star where the exhibition called “World of the Orient” is shown. Not only it’s interesting and some of the artifacts are really beautiful but the townhouse itself and its interior are impressive.
Go for day trips
Torun can be also used as a good base for visiting other interesting places in the region.
Some of the options to consider include Grudziadz (with the medieval old town, impressive city walls, and granaries), Chełmno (known as the town of lovers, a charming place with the beautiful town hall), Bydgoszcz (the capital of the region, recently named one of the best European destinations to visit, with numerous attractions and things to do), Ciechocinek (a well-known spa town in Poland) or Golub-Dobrzyn (with impressive Teutonic Order castle). And these are only the most popular places to visit near Torun!
Final thoughts on visiting Torun
As you can see above Torun really has a lot to offer and it’s worth spending there a few days and getting to know the city and its heritage. The Gothic architecture there is really splendid and the local gingerbread is to die for, and these are only a few of the great things to do in Torun!
I’m already looking forward to my next trip to Torun and I wholeheartedly recommend you include Torun in your next Poland itinerary – you will not be disappointed for sure!
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