Szczecin is a large city in north-western Poland. It is located near – but not by – the Baltic Sea, and separated from it by Szczecin Lagoon and Wolin Island. The city is divided by the Odra River into several parts, with two: Srodmiescie and Prawobrzeze being the most important. In this article, you’ll read about the top things to do in Szczecin.
Ducal Castle in Szczecin (Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle in Szczecin)
The Ducal Castle in Szczecin is a Renaissance 14th-century castle located at Castle Hill in the Old Town, next to the Odra river. It was built in the gothic and Pomeranian mannerism architectural style. The castle was the residence of the dukes of the House of Pomerania, who ruled the Duchy of Pomerania from 1121 to 1637. Duke Barnim III began the construction of the ducal housing complex in 1346, and until 1428, it was regularly expanded and finally turned into a castle. Ducal Castle suffered heavy damage during the Second World War but was rebuilt to its original shape.
Today, the Ducal Castle houses cultural institutions and a museum (however, due to technical problems, it’s impossible to visit the museum). You may visit the courtyard (free by yourself or with a guide with a ticket – but only in Polish). You may also visit the Ducal Castle tower (keep your head down), but the queue goes slowly, as there is limited space upstairs. Nevertheless, it’s worth going to the tower – it offers a good view of the city. Contrary to Szczecin Cathedral Tower, there is no glass window at the top so it is more convenient to take pictures. Climbing the tower for the view from the Ducal Castle Tower is definitely one of the best things to do in Szczecin.
Check the actual entrance fees at the Ducal Castle in Szczecin website.
Things to do in Szczecin – walk along Chrobry Embankment (Waly Chrobrego)
Chrobry Embankment is an observation deck located along the Oder river. It is 500 metres long and, together with the Szczecin Castle, National Museum and the Cathedral forms an urban and architectural plan. Although its name suggests it was erected during the reign of Boleslaw Chrobry, the first king of Poland, it’s just the opposite. It dates from the beginning of the XXth century when Szczecin was ruled by Germans. It was commissioned by the city mayor, Hermann Haken, hence its first name: Hakenterrasse. Now Waly Chrobrego is a popular walking area.
The Port Gate of Szczecin was built in Baroque style during the years 1725-1727. This is one of the two gates forming part of Prussian fortifications, that remained until today. One of the walls was decorated by the French sculptor Bartholomé Damart. Above the Latin sentence, stating the ownership of Szczecin, you may notice the city panorama.
Things to do in Szczecin – enter the Szczecin Cathedral
Szczecin Cathedral was erected outside of the city walls before the end of the XIIth century. in 1456 one of the towers collapsed and was never rebuilt. In 1677 the cathedral was seriously damaged during the war against Branderburg, and it was later reconstructed in Baroque style. Today, you may enter the Cathedral and use the lift to get to the terrace at a height of 56 meters (regular ticket 15 PLN). Contrary to Ducal Castle, the terrace has glass windows, which makes it hard to take a good picture.
Royal Gate is another gate that remained until today. It was built in the years 1725–1728 to commemorate the takeover of Szczecin by Prussia. It was built where the city wall once stood, but now it stands alone by the street.
St. Paul & St. Peter Church
This is a small, Gothic church with a long history. It was first built as a wooden church in 1124 and became the oldest religious building in Szczecin. It was burned down by Swedes in 1189 and was rebuilt in the XIII century as a brick one. It was destroyed again in 1677. Again was the church rebuilt, and again with changes to its construction. In 1703 a painting by Ernst Eichner appeared on its vault, and in 1817 all Baroque adornments were removed. On the outside walls, you may see sculptured portraits of Szczecin inhabitants of the medieval ages.
Old Town Cityhall
The Old Town Hall was built in the XV century and replaced a wooden building that was located in this place. It served as the City Hall until 1879. After the Second World War destructions, it was rebuilt in 1975 partially in Gothic and partially in Baroque style. Now it houses the National Museum in Szczecin.
Loitz House in Szczecin is one of the most valuable buildings in the city, and one of the few burgher houses in the city. It was commissioned by the Loitz Family in the XVIth century, and after they went bankrupt, it was taken over by the Duke of Pomerania. In 1944 Loitz House’s interior was almost completely destroyed. After the post-war reconstruction, it house an artistic school.
Things to do in Szczecin – visit Szczecin Boulevards (Lasztownia)
Located on the Odra riverbanks, until recently Szczecin Boulevards were the port area. Or rather, the area of the former port in Szczecin. But since 2006 the city has been converting this part of Szczecin into a meeting area. And so it is – a popular place to have a walk, drink, party, or just have a look at the Old Town. Part of the boulevards is marked as an area, where drinking alcohol is legal in the open air.
Things to do in Szczecin Boulevards
Maritime Science Center
Maritime Science Center clearly stands out, as this is the largest, ship-shaped building on the Boulevards. It is not yet open to the public, but it looks great both during the day and in the evening.
Krzysztof Jarzyna Monument
You will not recognize the name, but Krzysztof Jarzyna ze Szczecina is a best-known, fictitious citizen of Szczecin. The idea comes from the cult Polish comedy “Poranek Kojota”, where Krzysztof Jarzyna (played by Edward Linde-Lubaszenko) was a gangster. The monument was constructed because the inhabitants of Szczecin voted for this idea in the Szczecin budget.
Things to do in Szczecin – eat Paprykarz Szczecinski and see the monument
Paprykarz Szczecinski is a cult canned food originating from Szczecin. It’s a mix of fish, rice tomato, onion, salt, and spices. It was first produced in 1965 as a way to use fish leftovers and became the most recognizable polish food in the communist era. It was exported to over 30 countries. The Paprykarz Szczcinski monument may be only seen during the summer season.