The first time I had a chance to visit Sandomierz, Poland was still in the last century, when I went there on a school trip. I don’t really remember much from that trip, I only have vague memories of the market square with a beautiful town hall but that was it.
Over the years a lot has changed in Sandomierz and, thanks to the popular tv series, the sleepy town has become one of the most popular places to visit in Poland. But one thing remained the same – Sandomierz is still a beautiful and charming little town and if you manage to avoid crowds you will fall for it for sure!
I was more than happy to return to Sandomierz after all these years and rediscover the place. And I really liked it, I get why this town is so famous.
And so today I’m telling you more about things to do in Sandomierz and the town itself. Read on so you can plan your own trip to Sandomierz too.
Why visit Sandomierz, Poland
Sandomierz, often called “a little Rome (because of its location on seven hills), is one of the prettiest towns in Poland. Even if it is a fairly small place, there are so many various Sandomierz attractions: architecture, nature, historical spots, or a delicious local culinary scene.
It was also used as the scenery to a popular TV series about a brave priest who helped local police solve all the crimes – the plot might sound silly but it really showed Sandomierz in a beautiful way and helped the town gain popularity.
Best time to visit Sandomierz
My last trip to Sandomierz was in August 2020, in the middle of the week (on Thursday, to be exact, before the long weekend, in the year when 90% of local tourists stayed in Poland). When I arrived at the Old Town after 8 in the morning, the place was blissfully empty but at 9 am sharp everything has changed, it was like someone has opened some magic door and tourists suddenly started flowing into the area.
The town was full of people, you had to wait in line to get to a few attractions (this could have been also caused by the pandemic restrictions and limits) – in such a small place like Sandomierz, this was a bit overwhelming sometimes.
So, I would recommend visiting Sandomierz offseason, if you can, and avoid weekends. If you are traveling in the summer it’s better to arrive in the Old Town in the morning or stay overnight – many visitors are here only on a day trip and in the afternoon the town gets more bearable.
How to get to Sandomierz
Sandomierz is a small town of almost 25 thousand inhabitants, located in the Świętokrzyskie region in Poland, in the south-east part of the country. The nearest bigger cities are Kielce (90 km), Rzeszów (85 km) or Lublin (120 km); Warsaw, the capital of Poland, is 200 km away from Sandomierz.
If you are traveling by car getting to Sandomierz is really easy. It gets a bit more tricky (but not impossible) if you use public transport.
There are two daily trains to Warsaw and Przemyśl – that’s how I got to Sanomierz too. Just keep in mind that the train station is located a bit away from Old Town (3 km) and most likely you will need to walk.
If you prefer a bus, there are direct connections from Kraków, Lublin, Warsaw, or Kielce.
You might also go on a tour from Kraków to Sandomierz – click here for details.
Where to stay in Sandomierz
There are a few fine accommodation options in Sandomierz. I advise staying in the Old Town so you will be near all the attractions.
Here are a few recommended places to stay in Sandomierz:
What to see in Sandomierz
Sandomierz is one of the oldest towns in Poland, the first settlements were established here already in the 10th century. In the Middle Ages, together with Krakow and Wroclaw, it was one of the most important centers for Polish sovereignty and a royal city.
Due to its location on the shore of the Wisła (Vistula) river, Sandomierz developed as an important trade center. Still today you can admire the old urban planning from some 600 years ago and visit many monuments dating back to the golden times of Sandomierz. Even if it is a small town, it’s full of attractions and it will keep you busy for a few solid hours.
You should start your Sandomierz sightseeing at the market square, the center of the Old Town. There you will find some of the most valuable buildings in the town, including the town hall – it is among the most beautiful ones you will find in Poland.
This interesting building dates back to the 14th century and is a peculiar mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles. Be sure to walk around Market Square to take a closer look at all the houses – some of them are really pretty and rich in details!
From there you can go to the nearby Opatowska Gate from the 14th century, the only remaining one of the four gates that used to lead to the Old Town (you can also see part of the old walls, the so-called “needle’s eye” at Zamkowa street).
You can go to the top of the gate to see Sandomierz and beyond from above – the view isn’t spectacular but pretty enough that it’s worth climbing all the stairs. Inside the gate, you can also see a small exhibition about Sandomierz and other nearby attractions.
Before you continue further you should wander around the Old Town a bit and see some of the charming lanes. Since this is a rather touristy place there are plenty of nice cafes, restaurants, and small souvenir shops that you might want to stop at. And relaxing in one of those cafes on a sunny day is a pure pleasure.
You might also want to go to the underground – when Sandomierz was an important trading town the underground was used to store the goods and there was basically another town under the actual Old Town. Today you can walk the 500-meter route and get a taste of the old times.
There are also a few important churches in Sandomierz and some of them have a huge historical and cultural value. The most important one is the Cathedral which looks nothing extraordinary from the outside but as soon as you will step inside your jaw will drop with all the beauty around.
The interior is so stunning, so rich in details (including the most beautiful frescoes in Poland) that it can be a bit overwhelming and intimidating at first, you might not know where to look as everything seems so pretty. You should actually return there after a while to see everything closely again, when you know what to expect it might be a bit easier to digest.
A completely different yet also important is St. James Church – one of the oldest brick churches not only in Poland but also in Europe, dating back to the early 12th century. Inside it is a bit raw but peek into one of the chapels (on the left side of the altar) – the ceiling there is just stunning, reminding me a bit of the Boim’s Chapel in Lviv, Ukraine.
Outside the Old Town, towards the river, you can visit the Royal Castle, built in the 14th century by king Casimir the Great. The original castle was destroyed in 1656, only one wing remained, and eventually, it was turned into the Renaissance residence. It’s not as impressive as other castles in Poland (Malbork Castle or Książ Castle, just to name a few) but it is a nice place to visit.
Behind the castle, you can find the vineyard. Poland is still not very big on the wine scene but there are more and more local, often family-owned businesses starting wine production and one of the places you can try the Polish wine in is Sandomierz.
But the area around the town is more known for apples (it’s one of the largest apple regions in Poland) so be sure to try local cider or apple juice during your trip to Sandomierz.
While the city is popular mostly for its history, charming setting, and all the monuments, there are also some nice natural spots worth visiting. A bit further from the castle and St. James Church, you can visit the most popular of Sandomierz’s gorges – Holy Queen Jadwiga Gorge. It’s really pretty, with roots of majestic trees clearly visible on the slopes of the gorge (you can see similar gorges near Kazimierz Dolny a bit further north towards Lublin) and walking up or down the gorge is such a pleasant thing to do.
Near Sandomierz you can also find the Pepper Mountains (although the name “mountains” is a bit of an exaggeration here, they are more like hills). And of course, there is the Vistula river – the queen of the Polish rivers (and the longest one of them all) – flowing through Sandomierz.
Final thoughts on visiting Sandomimerz
As you can see above Sandomierz really is a lovely place to visit and it’s worth including it in your Poland itinerary. I was really impressed with how pretty and charming the town is and I found it much more interesting than I expected.
Sure, it is touristy but it can actually be an advantage as there are actually more attractions to enjoy and cafes/restaurants to sit down in. Sandomierz definitely lives up to its hype and I’m not surprised so many people fall for the place, I really enjoyed it too!
Where to go next
Once you visit Sandomierz you can keep exploring south-east Poland, there are so many great places in the area: Kazimierz Dolny, Lublin, Zamość, Przemyśl, Rzeszów, Łańcut, Jarosław and more.
Here are some of the articles I wrote that you might find useful when planning your trip in this part of Poland:
- 9 Reasons to Visit Lublin, Poland – One of the Best Cities in the Central Europe
- Zamosc, Poland – a perfect Renaissance town
- Visit Przemysl, Poland – the overlooked stop between Krakow and Lviv
- Visit Kielce, Poland – a Perfect City for the Weekend Trip!
- Bohemian Kazimierz Dolny, Poland in pictures
Revolut bank card is the best way to save money when traveling. It’s a pre-paid service that offers very good exchange rates and no fees for ATM’s use. Click here to learn more and order your Revolut card.
You can find the best accommodation options at Booking. They have many discounts and excellent customer service. Click here to look for the place to stay in Sandomierz
Never travel without travel insurance, you never know what might happen and better safe than sorry. You can check the insurance policy for Poland here.
I recommend joining organized tours to get to know the place better and to visit more places during your trip. You can find a great selection of tours at Get Your Guide – click here.
Make sure to have the offline map always installed on your phone, they can save you so many troubles. I always use the free app Maps.Me.
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