Nicknamed the ‘Venice of Poland’, Bydgoszcz is bursting with picturesque river banks, unique architecture and budget friendly price tags. Escape reality and book a mini break to one of Poland’s best kept secrets for a weekend of wandering through serene, historical streets, quirky museums and pure relaxation. Here’s a list of what to do and see when you visit Bydgoszcz.
Possibly the most photographed sight in Bydgoszcz, the tightrope walker or Przechodzacy przez rzeke in Polish, is a statue stretching across the Brda river. The sculpture of a naked man holding a pole and two arrows creates the illusion of a balancing act. Located in the city centre, this iconic landmark is hard to miss and was created by Jerzy Kedziora. Unveiled to the city in May 2004, the structure is a reminder of the day Poland joined the European Union.
Sitting right in the middle of the city, Mill Island was Bydgoszcz’s central industry hub from the Medieval Times. Surrounded by wide open green spaces, the island still has a few old mill buildings that have been transformed into a series of museums, the best being dedicated to modern art in a refurbished factory. A real highlight of the area, spend the afternoon renting out a row boat, pottering around charming specialty shops and finish off with a meal and drink at Hotel Przystan. Truly unique, Mill Island is definitely one to add to your list of what to do in Bydgoszcz.
Running through the centre of the city, the Old Canal links the Vistula and the Oder rivers via their tributaries and was first dug in the mid 1770s. Partly embedded in a park, since then the banks of the waterway have become a major spot for relaxation and picnics in the warmer months. Take a cruise down the river on the famous Water Tram and see the city’s sights and beautiful architecture from a new vantage point. Make sure to explore the five historic locks lining the canal and if you’re feeling adventurous, rent bikes and spend time cycling along the picturesque towpath.
The only one of its kind in the world, the Museum of Dirt and Soap is located very close to the main square, Stary Rynek. Housed in a tenement building on the north side of Ulica Dluga, the exhibition space was opened in 2012 and has been attracting hordes of tourists ever since. The museum features a timeline of hygiene with artefacts including cast-iron bathtubs from the 19th century, washing machines, vintage detergent ads, dryers, soaps from across the globe and a replica of a Medieval bathhouse. Visit the lab and create your own soaps, choosing your favourite fragrance and textures to take home as a souvenir. A weird and wonderful place, this is one attraction in Bydgoszcz you won’t forget!
Located next to the Town Hall and Old Market Square, the cathedra dates back to 1346, the year that Bydgoszcz became an actual city. As intricately decorated outside as it is inside, the doors of the cathedral were carved in the 17th century and bear the city’s coat of arms as well as the initials of city guilds and townsmen. A complete sensory overload, step inside and marvel at the brightly coloured walls all painted in ornate detail by Henryk Nostitz-Jackowski and gaze at the Baroque high altar featuring the famous painting of the Madonna and Child from the 15th century. A pillar in the city’s past, this is a real must see when visiting Bydgoszcz.
Hosting regular concerts and public gatherings, the Old Market Square in the centre of the Old Town, still plays and important role in the local society. Surrounded by outdoor seating for bars and restaurants, it’s best to visit here in the warmer months and sip on a cold beer whilst listening to the sound of music wafting through the historic air. Ringed in by tenement houses dating back to the 18th and 19th century, the picturesque square is a real sight for sore eyes. Find the City Hall here as well as St. Martin and St. Nicholas Cathedral.
Planning a weekend away to Bydgoszcz soon? Make sure to tag us in your photos of what to do in Bydgoszcz using the hashtag #ryanairstories, for the chance to be featured on Ryanair’s social media channels.
Flights to Bydgoszcz
- Lucy Norris