szczecin – a very tourist friendly city

….. and PYROMAGIC International Festival of Fireworks XII edition became the icing on the cake. The firework festival was the reason why I  introduced the event to my lovely blogging sister and friend Ann-Christine@Leya last year. Because I have made a decision that we are going on a new adventure every year together. Last year we visit the Fanø International Kite Fliers Meeting on the Danish island Fanø and we had a magical couple of days. And Ann-Christine’s husband, Lars join us, girls, both times.

Poland is one of my favorite destinations. For us Swedes with our weak krona … we get so much for our money. Plus that the people are very friendly and social … and provide fantastic hospitality.  Then there are restaurants … food, wine, and service. Nearly unbeatable. Where ever I been in Poland have I met exciting and very tasty places, but I do my research.

The easiest way to get to Szczecin is to fly to Berlin Tegel airport and there take the direct bus to Szczecin, we used FLEXIBUS (a German company that covers most of Europe). The bus journey very comfortable and it takes 2,5 hour, from the airport to the railway station in Szczecin. Excellent drivers both ways. World Class Service, in my eyes and cheap.

German Autobahn is fantastic …. very smooth and I think I can say that the German drivers are the best in the world, they have to be … because having no federally mandated speed limit for some classes of vehicles – the speed can be high. German drivers always use all mirrors. And most motorways are only double lanes. Our bus had a limit of 100 km/hrs.

Berlin Tegel isn’t the most exciting airport … but they have great currywurst at Terminal C bus station … NO calories whatsoever!!!!

Szczecin is a city on the Oder River in northwest Poland. It’s known for its 19th-century Wały Chrobrego, or Chobry Embankment, and the renovated Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle, now a cultural center. The vast St. James Cathedral has a 14th-century triptych, stained-glass windows and a tower with city views. Nearby is the Gothic Old Town Hall, hosting The National Museum’s exhibitions on Szczecin’s history and culture.

And the city also holds a The Maritime University. Szczecin has a very big and important deepwater port plus a still fully operating shipbuilding yard. In 2006, cargo traffic in the seaport equaled 9,965,000 tons, comprising 16.5% of all cargo traffic in Polish seaports. In 2007, the port was entered by 2895 ships with a gross tonnage of more than 100.

It has a population of 403,300 and during the firework weekend (during the second weekend of August every year), it must be at least the double amount if not more. Still, the city didn’t feel crowded, except during the firework events.

We rented a 2 bedroom apartment … in the old town with the Old City Hall as our next-door neighbor. A SUPER apartment with a sunny balcony, so well equipped, comfortable beds and a fantastic bathroom with everything on the doorstep. Our host Darek first class too. I  found it on Booking, of course. Apartamenty Starówka – Riverside IIOnly1,5 year old.

I will come back to our dining adventures, because …. they need their own space, we enjoyed both breakfast and dinner out in town every day.

The first day (very warm) we (girls) followed more or less the “Red Route”. The city had a fantastic system with different color (red and yellow) trials and they were painted on the streets. The City Tourist Route is a 7-km-long loop which connects 42 sites – the most interesting monuments and places worth seeing. The idea behind the route was to commemorate the 750th anniversary of granting town privileges to Szczecin. A fantastic idea, all cities should have it.

Besides the now so usual city bikes for rental all over the city ..  they also had city scooters, so trendy in lovely turquoise. Szczecin a very tourist-friendly city (Paris has a lot to learn for this city) … and their security guards had big smiles.

The city was getting ready for the firework events … main roads and bridges were closed and full action to get everything ready. On the little island of Grodzka the firework teams were busy getting everything ready. They were showing 2 displays per evening.

Some stalls were already up and running, and I bought a string of Obwarzanek (chewy dough ring sprinkled (usually extremely unevenly) with salt, poppy or sesame seeds) for 5 PLN. And it became my savior when I ended up on the ER the next day. I also had a chat with some ladies that were selling the most beautiful homebaked bread, they didn’t speak any English … but a nice young man became our interpreter.

We met some fantastic street art under bridges. We forgot about the time and our cameras had to work on overload.

We walked up Wały Chrobrego stairs to the Maritime University the National Museum, and the Board of Education building

… the stunning and impressive landmarks of Szczecin, so impressive … that it was really hard for me to get a good image of them, so I have to ask Google for help here.


We continue to follow the “Red Route” that took us the beautiful Orthodox Church. St. Nicholas, I wished that we had gone inside, because now looking at it on Google, we missed something stunning. Next time. Following repatriation after World War II, people coming to Szczecin included Orthodox from the East. By 1947 the fledgling parish had a small chapel. Priceless icons from a Lemko church in Zdynia were brought and are still in the church today. In the early 1960s, the parish moved to a previous Evangelical Church’s hospital chapel. On Easter Monday, 1997, some of the Lemko icons were stolen, but they have been recovered. Permission was given in 2000 for a new site for a larger church. A site in the city center has been secured and building plans began at the end of 2003. The church was completed by 2010.

What we didn’t miss was the magnificent concert hall that was just around the corner from the church, Karłowicz Philharmonic Szczecin. Very exciting and breathtaking on the outside and even more inside.

Szczecin Philharmonic (full name in Polish: Filharmonia im. Mieczysława Karłowicza w Szczecinie), or the Mieczysław Karłowicz Philharmonic Orchestra founded in 1948. In 2015, the new building of the philharmonic was awarded the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture.

The music venue covers an area of 13,000 square meters and contains the main concert hall with 1000 seats for concert-goers as well as a smaller hall with a capacity for 200 spectators and a number of conference rooms. The characteristic ice-like shape of the philharmonic and its translucent ribbed-glass façade, which gives the building a white glow at night, designed by Studio Barozzi Veiga from Barcelona.

Which has received numerous architectural awards such as First Prize in the prestigious Eurobuild Awards 2014 contest in the category of Architectural Design of the Year.

It was the urge for a cup of coffee that made us enter the amazing building … so glad we did.

The walk back to the apartment from the concert hall was … hot and less interesting. It was mostly about how to survive the heat. We decide to go back to the Brasilian restaurant where we had our first fantastic dining adventure the evening before, a 3-minute away from the apartment … for their fantastic fizz cocktail, just what we girls needed.

“Why is it called tourist season
if we can’t shoot at them?”

23 thoughts on “szczecin – a very tourist friendly city

  1. Enjoyed this tour, Viveka! The the new building of the philharmonic is remarkable. Beautiful photos. I know how it is like when taking a trip on a hot day. We visited Amsterdam last summer, it was 95 F for days. 😦

    • Amy, thank you … so much. We had a fantastic time. That concert hall was so amazing, hard to make it justice – and the coffee was like velvet. *smile If it can be any relief … it has been even hotter this summer in Amsterdam. *smile – It was to be raining most of our days in Szczecin. don’t have a clue what happened. We got a pleasant warm rain one evening, loved being out in it.
      The following day it was even hotter … but I was saved on the ER.

  2. Wonderful recapture, Viveka! We did have a great time – a bit tooo hot though. The dinners and drinks madeup for it in the end. You are such a perfectionista!

    • Perfectionista?????!!! Far from it *laughing … but I like to enjoy the good in life in the best way and to a reasonable price or free if possible. Not much that is free anymore. It was though hot, but as you said the evenings made up for it .. and the company had a big part in it too. Thank you so much for your lovely comment.

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