Bydgoszcz, the eighth-largest city in Poland, sits on the northern rivers of Brda and Vistula.
As a co-capital administrator with Toruń, Bydgoszcz governs the Kuyavian-Pomeranian province, part of the agglomerated metropolitan area of the Bydgoszcz-Toruń region.
Bydgoszcz's dynamic industries, cultures, education, and architecture have earned the city the nickname of Little Berlin.
Walk through interactive exhibits detailing the medieval as well as the modern life of Bydgoszcz.
This military museum takes you back in time as you enter artilleries, equipment, and tank exhibits ranging from the Middle Ages to WWII.
Take a stroll through the flora and fauna, water streams, lakes, and rocks that inhabit this park.
The Museum of Soap and History of Dirt celebrates Bydgoszcz's salubrious past and present by showcasing its traditional soaps made from mutton fat, olive oil, Persil, and Cypisek.
This six-level opera house has stunning architecture, an observation deck, and a summer amphitheater overlooking the Brda river.
The jewel in the Old Town's crown, Bydgoszcz Cathedral has been administering spiritual sustenance to locals since the 15th century. However, although it seems grand enough, it's really only been a "cathedral" since it received a papal blessing in 2004. That won't matter a bit as you gaze at the elegant brickwork architecture, the richly hued polychromatic vault, the solid oak doors, and the generally colorful interior, which might surprise even seasoned European church visitors with its creativity.
Probably the most picturesque part of the Old Town, Mill Island stands stoutly in the flow of the Brda and is filled with enchanting historical attractions. As the name suggests, this was where medieval millers set up shop, allowing them to harness the river flow, and you can still visit the White Granary to see how flour was processed in the 18th century. Other highlights include the timber-framed Mill Tavern (which has been serving up beer and sausages since 1835), the Red Granary, which has now become the home of the city's modern art gallery, and the Museum of Energy, which is housed in a century-old hydroelectric plant.
On a par with the Cathedral, Poor Clares' Church can be found on Gdanska Street, and beguiles everyone who visits. The building dates back to the 15th century, but took its present form in the 1600s when nuns from the Poor Clares arrived in town and took control. After that, the building expanded, adding bits here and there to create an eccentric but beautiful red brick composition. But while the exterior is fascinating, it's the interior that has real wow factor, thanks to its stunning multi-colored ceiling murals featuring gorgeous floral motifs.
Bydgoszcz is very much a student city, as you'll soon find out when you wander its squares and islands, and music takes center stage in its education scene. That's mainly thanks to the town's stellar Music Academy. Founded in 1974, the academy turns out an annual roster of Chopin magicians, but for tourists it's the current crop that matters, as they regularly put on exceptional shows for the public. If you feel like hearing some heavenly airs, head to Gdanska Street, where performances are held throughout the year and ticket prices are always very reasonable.
This excellent art gallery can be found in a number of buildings around town, including a couple of the granary buildings on Mill Island, and centers around a rich collection of works by Leon Wyczółkowski. The artist was one of Poland's great early 20th century Realists, and his works are at the forefront here - although don't miss the archaeological exhibits from local digs as well. It's a museum with surprising depths.
Visit Bydgoszcz between May and September. In between cold periods, Poland's temperatures are pleasant and stay around 59 - 68 degrees.
Most people arrive at the Bydgoszcz Ignacy Jan Paderewski Airport (BZG). Direct flights to and from Bydgoszcz connect to Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Birmingham, London, Girona, and Dublin.
Bydgoszcz Główna is Bydgoszcz's main train station and serves as a hub for trains and buses that connect to both Polish cities and Berlin, Germany.
From Poznań and Gdańsk take the DK 5 main road into Poland. The DK 10 and DK 80 connect Toruń, Warsaw, and Łódź to Bydgoszcz. Take the DK 25 from Koszalin and Kalisz.
PKS and Polski Bus have direct transportation to all the large cities in Poland, Germany, UK, Czech Republic, and other countries.
Hotel Chopin Bydgoszcz is approximately six miles from Old Town Bydgoszcz. Accommodation includes free WiFi, private bath (per request), free toiletries, and a hair dryer. The Mercure Bydgoszcz Sepia is a 4-star hotel adjacent to the Opera Nova Conference Center and a few blocks from the Old Market. Its amenities include a fitness room, sauna, banquet, and a terrace overlooking the city.
Wyspa Młyńska (Mill Island) - Mill Island stands between Brda and the Old Market in the Old Town historic district. Its picturesque waterfront full of locks and dams, a canal waterfall, greenery, and buildings has become a cultural symbol for Bydgoszcz.
Dzielnica Muzyczna (Music District) - located near Gdańska Street, the Music District is great for a stroll to discover the Polish Theatre, Pomeranian Philharmonic Orchestra House, and music schools that make up Bydgoszcz's culture.
Stare Miasto (Old Town) - Old Town makes up Bydgoszcz's cultural and educational core. The city is enclosed by Medieval Gothic churches, architecture, and sculptures.
A bus and tram system runs through Bydgoszcz. One-way tickets are zł3 and monthly passes can be purchased at newsstands or kiosks for zł88.
Express Taxi Bydgoszcz is the highest rated cab company in Bydgoszcz. Taxi tariffs start at zł7 with an additional zł3.54 per subsequent mile.
Enterprise has a branch at the Bydgoszcz airport with rentals starting at zł1,340.39.
For a variety of local products, visit the Bydgoszcz Information Center. On Gdańska, Bydgoszcz's largest shopping street, you'll find clothes, food, sports equipment, books, and more.
For a taste of Bydgoszcz's homegrown fruits and vegetables, browse the local farmer's markets. Bydgoszcz is surrounded by copious supermarkets. Kaufland, Carrefour, and Sano sell food, toiletries, and home products. One gallon of milk is zł8.64 and a dozen eggs is zł6.80.
Restauracja i Kawiarnia Weranda is known for its Art Nouveau atmosphere and excellent Polish steaks and dessert. For a taste of Gamberetti al Forno, Dolce Vita (near the Old Town), serves the best Italian pizza in Bydgoszcz for zł33.