Why visit Bydgoszcz Poland? Poznan to Bydgoszcz is just two hours by train. In addition, Bydgoszcz to Torun Poland (Poland's gingerbread capital and home to Copernicus) takes less than hour by bus. Bydgoszcz has a ton of heart. When we visited the World Travel Market in London last year, the Bydgoszcz tourism board handed us a thick brochure. The locals clearly take pride in their city and that's one of the key reasons that we decided to visit.
Logistics of a Bydgoszcz Poznań Weekend in PolandCombining Bydgoszcz, Poznan, and Torun into a single long weekend city break makes a lot of sense. Fly into Poznan from various cities in Europe on Ryanair. Take the two hour train ride from Poznan to Bydgoszcz (the cost for first class train tickets can be less than $15 USD each). Base yourself in Bydgoszcz for a couple days and take the less than one hour FlixBus from Bydgoszcz to Torun for an enchanting day trip. Fly out of tiny Bydgoszcz Airport (Bydgoszcz Ignacy Jan Paderewski Airport to be more precise) with cheap flights to a variety of destinations on Ryanair. Stay at centrally located Hotel Mercure Bydgoszcz Sepia.
|Bydgoszcz Poland architecture|
|Bydgoszcz train station|
Things to do in Bydgoszcz
What types of things to do can you expect to find in Bydgoszcz? Read on to find out.
Visit Mill IslandMake a quick circuit around Mill Island (Wyspa Młyńska) in Bydgoszcz. Mill Island is a historic area of the city located in Old Town Bydgoszcz. You'll find locals out and about sunning themselves on a nice Spring day. Keep an eye out for historic half-timbered architecture which simply adds to the atmosphere.
|Things to see in Bydgoszcz: Mill Island|
Baked Pierogi at PierogarniaGet in my belly! Cross the Brda River and take a seat at Pierogarnia Stary Młyn. Pierogarnia Stary Młyn is known for baked pierogi which look like mini-calzones. We sampled baked pierogi filled with smoked cheese with a side of cranberry sauce and spicy meat pierogi with dill sauce. The meal washed down well with semi dry Polish black lilac wine.
|What to eat in Bydgoszcz: Baked pierogi|
Tour the Museum of Soap and History of DirtBydgoszcz is nothing if not quirky. Head to the Museum of Soap and History of Dirt in Bydgoszcz for a highly entertaining tour. Most tours are in Polish but the Museum of Soap and History of Dirt does do at least one tour a day in English. Start by making your own bar of soap that you can take home. While the soap is cooling and solidifying, follow your tour guide (who will be wearing Medieval costume, by the way) through the small and packed exhibit. Learn about the history of hygiene through the centuries and see various tools for getting yourself and clothes clean. The exhibit is interactive. Climb into a bathtub that would have accommodated at least two people. Practice what it would have been like to scrub clothes by hand. Why does this museum exist in Bydgoszcz? There was a long tradition of quality soap manufacturing in the city.
|Museum of Soap and History of Dirt in Bydgoszcz|
Check out the Old Market SquareIf you visit Bydgoszcz on a sunny day, make sure to take a spin around the Old Market Square (Stary Rynek). Admire the architecture, take a few pictures, and maybe even grab a drink.
|Bydgoszcz Stary Rynek (Old Market Square)|
Hike Up to the Water Tower MuseumAnother fun thing to do in Bydgoszcz is hike up to the late 19th century Water Tower located on the outskirts of town. You'll find local exhibits inside and an observation deck with views over Bydgoszcz. You'll find great views but you have to work for it! It's an uphill climb from the city then about 200 steps up the tower. Also, watch out if you suffer from vertigo. The platform is pretty open to the elements.
|Bydgoszcz Water Tower|
Seek out the Bydgoszcz Tightrope WalkerCross the River Brda at Mostowa to catch a glimpse of Bydgoszcz's most famous daredevil: The Tightrope Walker. This sculpture somehow captures the thrill of what it might be like to balance and walk across the river.
Drink Polish Craft BeerBydgoszcz also has some fun craft beer bars. When the clock strikes beer o'clock in Bydgoszcz, head over to Kraftodajnia. A mango sour ale from Browar Zamkowy Cieszyn was perfect on hot June day.
Things to do in Bydgoszcz
left: check out the tightrope walker
middle: drink Polish craft beer
right: eat ice cream
Take a Water TramAnother thing to do in Bydgoszcz is take a water tram. We took a sunny evening ride on the water tram. I give the experience a "meh". It was a cheap boat ride at 8 zl per person (about $2.00 USD) but the pilot and his assistant were pretty surly and it's hard to get good photo ops from inside the boat. In fairness, I went outside and did get a nice picture of the modern bridge that runs through Bydgoszcz. There are two directions you can ride the water tram. I think we caught the last tram and it was going in the less historic direction. If you do decide to ride the water tram, head in the direction of Mill Island. I suspect that boat ride would have been more interesting.
Eat Ice Cream for DinnerBecause many restaurants are closed on Sunday, we decided to have ice cream for dinner. Queue up with the locals at one of many lody shops in Bydgoszcz Old Town.
1. Along the Brda River
2. On the water tram
3. Code Breaker Rejewski street art
4. Potato pancakes
Learn about Code Breaker RejewskiDid you know that Polish mathematician Rejewski broke the Enigma code used by Germany in WWII? Check out street art that pays homage to Rejewski on Gdanska, one of the main streets running through Bydgoszcz.
SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for other ideas of off-the-beaten track cities to visit in Europe? Why not consider:
Visit the Deluge FountainTake a walk to se the Deluge Fountain in Park im. Kazimierza Wielkiego. The Deluge Fountain depicts the biblical flood.
|Deluge Fountain in Bydgoszcz|
Have a Beer at Bierhalle BydgoszczGrab a beer and a snack at Bierhalle Bydgoszcz. Located near the FlixBus stop. The potato pancakes are pretty rad.
Day Trip from Bydgoszcz to Torun Poland
One of the most fun things to do in Bydgoszcz is take a day trip to Torun. Why visit Torun? Torun is one of very few Polish cities to have been spared destruction during World War II. The city, situated on the Vistula River, also boasts a strong celestial connection: the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Torun. If that's not enough to justify the trip, Torun is wild for gingerbread.
Getting from Bydgoszcz to TorunIt takes less than an hour to travel from Bydgoszcz to Torun on FlixBus. If you advance book bus tickets, the prices can be mindblowingly cheap. We paid the equivalent of less than $2 USD each way.
Things to Do in Torun PolandTorun is one of the best preserved Medieval cities in Poland. Let's explore some of the amazing things to do in Torun, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Visit Copernicus' Birth HouseFamed astronomer Copernicus was born in Torun Poland but sadly his birth home and associated museum is closed on Mondays so we could only look from the outside.
Things to see in Torun Poland (from left)
1. Nicolaus Copernicus' birth house
2. Leaning tower of Torun
3. Medieval Town Hall
4. Torun Town Wall
Seek out Torun Town Wall and Leaning Tower of TorunTorun Poland is a walled city and even has its own leaning tower. Take some time to follow the wall and explore the perimeter of the city.
Torun's Medieval Town Hall
The centerpiece of Torun in the Old Town Square. The tower of Old Town Hall in Toruń
(Ratusz Staromiejski) is simply stunning. While most Polish cities have a similar layout, there is one key difference here. The Medieval Town Hall in Torun is original. In most other cities, the historic cores were rebuilt after WWII.
Pop Into Torun CathedralSt. John's Cathedral in Torun (Katedra rzymskokatolicka św. Jana Chrzciciela i Jana Ewangelisty) has the distinction of being the place where Copernicus was baptised in the 13th century. Of course, when Copernicus proposed that the sun and not the earth was the center of the solar system, he ran afoul of the church. Check out the sumptuous interior of St. John's Cathedral and be transported back through the centuries to the times of Copernicus.
|Inside Torun Cathedral|
Eat All the Torun GingerbreadTorun is positively obsessed with gingerbread. You can get it ornately decorated, make it yourself or try it in ice cream, pierogi, and beer. Eat all the gingerbread in Torun, from fabulously decorated cookies to Gingerbread ice cream. Drink a gingerbread beer at Jan Olbracht Browar Staromiejski.
left: heart-shaped gingerbread
middle: gingerbread beer
right: gingerbread ice cream
Enjoy a Pierogi LunchMeat, veggie, and sweet pierogi equals lunch perfection at Pierogarnia Leniwa in Torun Poland. The mushroom and nut, meat and cabbage, and sour cherry pierogi with a spicy chocolate sauce were filling and delicious.
|Pierogi at Pierogarnia Leniwa in Torun|
Make Your Own GingerbreadToruń Gingerbread Museum (Muzeum Toruńskiego Piernika) is another must see attraction on a day trip to Torun from Bydgoszcz. Start your tour by kneading, rolling out, and molding your Medieval recipe gingerbread. Apparently this gingerbread is more for decoration than eating and would likely break a tooth if you did attempt a nibble. We still had fun making it though. While we were waiting for our gingerbread to bake, we wandered through the exhibits of the museum. There were free (edible) gingerbread samples to try in the museum exhibits so we did get our fix in the end.
|Toruń Gingerbread Museum|
Visit Torun Castle RuinsTake time to visit the remains of Torun Castle. The ruins of the Teutonic Castle in Torun featured a trebuchet, scary dungeon room and medieval torture devices. The red brick also really lends itself well to photographs. The castle ruins really capture the imagination.
|Torun Castle ruins|
And with that, our weekend in Bydgoszcz and the surrounding area draws to a close.