I believe Grudziadz is among the most underrated places to visit in Poland. I don’t know many travelers who have visited the city yet this is such an interesting place, full of history and beautiful monuments, and definitely worth going to.
I’ve been to Grudziadz twice. Some 10 years ago a friend of mine suggested a quick trip there. I didn’t know much about Grudziadz but after a quick google search and a look at the pictures, I knew I want to go there.
It was December, the weather was gloomy but I still enjoyed the city so much more than I expected. In fact I liked it so much that when planning my recent trip in northern Poland I’ve included the Kuyavian-Pomeranian region in my itinerary mostly so I could return to Grudziadz.
The city was even better the second time around (partly because of the weather, partly because I knew what I’m about to see there) and now I can wholeheartedly recommend visiting Grudziadz to everyone.
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Where is Grudziadz, Poland
Grudziadz, the city of almost 100.000 inhabitants is located in the northern part of Poland, on the Vistula riverbank in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian region. Torun is 65 km away, Bydgoszcz 75 km away and Gdansk 110 km away. Warsaw, the capital of Poland, is located 250 km away from Grudziadz.
Why visit Grudziadz
The main reason to visit Grudziadz is the complex of granaries, some of them even from the 13th century.
But there are more Grudziadz attractions worth seeing – the remnants of the Teutonic Orer castle, city walls and beautiful Old Town.
It’s a really pleasant city to visit and besides all the monuments and sightseeing options it also offers some really nice cafes where you can relax.
How to get to Grudziadz
If you use public transport you can reach Grudziadz by train from Torun, Bydgoszcz and a few other cities in tthe region. There are also bus connections to Grudziadz, mostly from within the Kuyavian-Pomeranian region.
I arrived to Grudziadz by bus from Chelmno and then continued my trip by train to Bydgoszcz.
A brief history of Grudziadz
Grudziadz is one of the oldest cities in Poland. It was first mentioned already in 1065 but it got its city rights in 1291, when Grudziadz has been under the rule of the Teutonic Order already for 60 years. The city returned to Poland in 1466 but during the next turbulent centuries it was under the attack of Swedish or Russian tropes.
Grudziadz was given to Prussia already during the First Partition of Poland in 1772 and briefly, at the end of the 18th century, it was the seat of the Prussian king. The city again returned to Poland in 1920 but as soon as the World War 2 has started, Grudziadz was peacefully taken by the Nazi army.
When the city was liberated by the Red Army in 1945, 60% of the city was destroyed. Still today you can find many monuents and remnants of the Grudziadz’s rich past.
Things to do in Grudziadz
The biggest attraction of Grudziadz is the granaries complex, unique not only for Poland but for Europe.
The first granaries were built here already in the medieval times when the Teutonic Order ruled the place. That’s when the Vistula river became an important trade route.
From the 15th century on Polish grain was seeked hence it was transported along Vistula river all the way to Gdansk. That’s why granaries were needed along the way.
Those in Grudziadz were (and still are) the largest and most impressive ones in Poland. Besides the storage purpose the massive bricked wall was also used to protect the city.
Back in the glory times there were 16 granaries but over the years they were destroyed and rebuilt or divided and today there are 32 of them. Unfortunately, many of them are closed today and it’s a bit difficult to see the interior (however one of the granaries is used as the museum).
The best place to admire this impressive structure is either from down the riverside (there is a nice park and a walking path) or from across the Vistula river.
Granaries were part of the city walls – back in the times there were surrounding the whole town and had 4 gates and 10 towers. Today only a small part of the walls with one gate remained intact, you can see it on the southern side of granaries.
Another remnant of the old times in Grudziadz is the ruin of the Teutonic Order castle. It was originally built in the 13th century and survived until World War 2 when it was destroyed by the German troops.
The castle looks really impressive in the old paintings (although not as spectacular as Malbork Castle) but today only tower (rebuilt recently) and some strewn around ruins are available for tourists. Still, it’s worth visiting the place as from the top of the tower you can admire a beautiful view of Grudziadz, Vistula river and beyond.
The center of the city is the Market Square surrounded by beautiful townhouses. After the destruction of World War 2 not a single building around the Market Square remained intact hence what we can see today is the rebuilt version of pre-war townhouses. Still, they are all really pretty, adding to the charm of the place.
The whole Old Town is a really charming place, perfect for wandering around, with cobbled lanes and beautiful architecture.
You can also find there some perfect Instagram spots, like the lane between the Market Square and granaries, where Cafe Fado is located. It’s one of the most picturesque places in Grudziadz, with colorful umprellas hanging above and numerous flowers and plants decorating the place.
There is one more Grudziadz attractions I didn’t have time to see as it’s located a bit away from the center – the citadele. It was built at the end of the 18th century and was created to protect the city and strategically located bridge on the Vistula river from the Russian troops. In fact it was used only three times, when the Napoleone army was crossing the area and during World War 2.
Today the citadele is used by the army so visiting it isn’t always possible. There are also other forts surrounding the city that are possible to visit.
Final thoughts on visiting Grudziadz
I’m always surprised how few tourists actually visit Grudziadz. It seems like the city is one of the best-kept Polish tourist secrets yet the granaries alone should put the place high on any bucket list.
If you are in the area be sure to stop in Grudziadz, even if just for a few hours to wander around, see the incredible granaries complex and drink a coffee in one of the charming little cafes the city has. I bet you will be impressed with Grudziadz too!
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A few of the pictures above were taken by my friend Osmol who visited Grudziadz too.
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