Population: 292,774

  • Katowice is a city in southern Poland, the capital city of the Silesian Region, and a center of the Upper Silesia and Dąbrowa Basin Metropolis. The wider Katowice urban area has a population of approximately 2 to 3 million people.

How to get there: 

  • By air: Katowice has a big airport with flights from major European cities.
  • By train: Big train station so trains from different locations are also arriving.
  • By Bus/ car: Highways in Poland are good, so either driving or by bus there are fair lot of connections.

What’s so special about the city: Katowice, the capital of the Silesian province of Poland, is famous for its industrial past and excellent art scene.

How long should you spend in Katowice: A weekend is fine including our wedding

Main things to do (Top 5)

(1) Nikiszowiec – the symbol of the city’s old history

Characteristic brick, red window borders, flower mosaics on the walls, attractive architectural details – if we were to mention one place that is inevitably associated with the past of Katowice and the entire region, it would certainly be Nikiszowiec. This workers’ housing estate, which was built for mine workers between 1908 and 1918 on the initiative of the mining and metallurgical company Georg von Giesches Erben, together with the nearby Giszowiec (also a must-see) is the best example of this type of architecture in Europe. It was designed as a self-sufficient housing estate offering workers all necessary facilities – such as shops, schools, inns, church, laundries or bread-baking ovens. Everything in a uniform but not boring architectural style.

(2) Culture Zone: The new Silesian Museum, NOSPR, MCK and Spodek

Today the area around the former “Katowice” mine is teeming with life and is the cultural and entertainment heart of the city attracting hundreds of visitors. It is a perfect example of making use of the post-industrial area and regaining urban space for residents.

  • The New Silesian Museum (https://muzeumslaskie.pl/en): the center of the former mine itself and the post-industrial buildings were used to build the new seat of the Silesian Museum. There we will find both the Gallery of Polish Art 1800-1945 with paintings by the eminent Polish painters
  • NOSPR (http://www.nospr.org.pl/en) : The huge red lump of the Polish National Radio Orchestra refers to the previously mentioned Nikiszowiec. It’s impressive from the outside, but it’s just a prelude to what’s waiting for visitors inside.
  • Spodek and MCK (http://www.mck.katowice.eu/en): The structure of the last building, which fits squarely into the city panorama and perfectly contrasts with the well-deserved and recognizable Spodek, was, on the contrary, inspired by coal. Although the MCK (International Congress Centre) is not a building that can be regarded as a typical sightseeing object, its unique shape and green roof effect made it something more than an ordinary conference venue.

(3) Mariacka street

Mariacka is a short, only 378 meters long street in the center of Katowice, which itself is a promenade along its entire length. This is where the party-life and culinary center of the city are focused. If you fancy cool drinks in a friendly atmosphere and a chat with your friends after a long day full of tourist attractions, you should direct your steps there. Mariacka cannot be missed!

(4) Valley of Three Ponds and Sztauwajery (Dolina Trzech Stawów i Sztauwajery)

Talking about relaxing and lazing about, the best place is the Valley of Three Ponds. Sztauwajery is the Silesian name commonly used to describe the green area situated several minutes from the city center – It’s a perfect place for roller skating, renting a city bike or reading a book while sitting or lying on a blanket. There are many paths, a skatepark, several restaurants, and three extensive ponds, where you can chill out enjoying the peace and quiet. In the summer, it is the venue of the music event.

(5) Silesian Park (Park Śląski)

Although one of the largest municipal parks in Europe is not centrally located in Katowice but on its border with the city of Chorzów, this place must be visited.  Created in the 1950s in the post-industrial wasteland, the green area is twice as large as the famous Central Park in New York and four times larger than London Hyde Park. In season you can spend a whole day there, due to various attractions such as Amusement Park, Planetarium, Zoological Garden, Rope Park, Skansen, Rosarium, the largest stadium in Silesia, narrow-gauge and cable railway, dozens of buffets, restaurants, and pubs. Everyone will find something for themselves and will certainly call in again, not just once.

Things outside Krakow/Katowice (day/half-day trip)

(6) Auschwitz – Birkenau (concentration camp)

Auschwitz Birkenau is perhaps the world’s most famous concentration camp and the site of the gravest mass murder in the history of humanity. It remains a memorial that can serve everyone as a mirror of the human soul and a prism for looking deep within ourselves. Go and see the barracks where prisoners were kept and the gas chambers where they were sent to die, learn the terrible history of the death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, and go the Birkenau camp to see where more than 125,000 prisoners of war were incarcerated.

Official website: http://auschwitz.org/en/visiting/

Free to access. You may need to book online for a seat. In case you want a guide, I think you get paid. Both options are good

(7) Wieliczka Salt Mine

Deep underground, just 20 min drive from Krakow, lies something remarkable. For centuries, miners have extracted salt there but left behind things quite startling and unique. It is the most unusual salt mine in the world and the only salt mine in the world preserved in such pristine condition.

Official website: https://www.wieliczka-saltmine.com/

This is paid to get into, cost around 100pln.