Toruń

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Toruń (Kashubian: Torń, German: Thorn) is a beautiful, medieval city in North-Western Poland, situated on the Vistula River. Its architecture was not hit by bombs during World War II, and as such represents one of the few examples of true Gothic architecture in Poland. It is still reasonably off the radars of most European travelers, so one can expect to have an amazing Polish experience here without the nightmares of a million and one Interrail travelers.

One of the capitals of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship (since 1999), previously the capital of the Toruń Voivodeship (1975-1998) and the Pomeranian Voivodeship (1921-1939), the city is located near the Geographic Center of Europe.

Toruń's medieval Old Town or Starówka is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Toruń is a birthplace of world famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. The house where Copernicus was born and the chapel where he was christened are still standing in the city. From Middle Ages the town is known for its gingerbreads.

As of the last census in 2004, Toruń has 208,386 inhabitants.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

The nearest airports that offer commercial flights are in Bydgoszcz (60 km) [1] (low cost airlines across Europe), Poznań - Ławica airport (140 km, low cost airlines across Europe)[2], Gdańsk - Lech Wałęsa airport (~180 km, low cost airlines across Europe, connected by motorway)[3] and Warsaw - Okęcie airport - long haul airlines [4] (230 km).

By train[edit]

Polish State Railways operates train connections to Toruń from Warsaw, Poznań, Gdańsk, Łódź, Katowice and Olsztyn.

Toruń's main railway station, Toruń Główny is situated across the river Vistula from the city. To walk into town takes 35 minutes. Alternatively, buses #22 and #27 run directly to the old town. These depart from both sides of the railway station; however, the kiosk for buying tickets is on the south side of the station. Take the bus two stops to Plac Rapackiego (You'll also notice the old town as you cross the bridge - it's the stop that immediately follows the bridge). As for 2012, you don't need an additional ticket for the bag, as long as you don't put it on the seats.

Toruń Miasto is another railway station which is smaller but situated much closer to the old town. Not all trains stop there, but if your train does then getting off at Toruń Miasto is the simplest solution.

By car[edit]

Highway A1 runs between Toruń and Gdańsk - quick way (170km). You can reach Łódź by A1 highway (175km) since May 2014. Connection with Warsaw via route 10 (220km) or via A1 + A2 motorways (260km).

By bus[edit]

There are many bus connections to Toruń, and the bus station is just a short walk from the Old Town. (see Poland::By bus).

Get around[edit]

Toruń's old town is quite small, and has no public transportation system. Walking around the old town is your best option.

Outside of the old town, there are plentiful buses and trams. However there are no bus ticket machines, ticket offices in the city. You can only buy tickets aboard the bus on its first stop, or Instead, in purchase a bus or tram ticket, you will need to contend with angry little old ladies in the 20 cm x 20 cm windows of kiosks scattered around the city. If these are open, these women seem to only accept exact coin change. If you attempt to pay with say a 20zl or 50 zl note, prepare to be screamed at in Polish!

The operators have an English version of the timetable available [5], but good luck, the network map [6] makes the Tokyo metro look like a piece of cake.

Best bet is to walk, or if you can speak Polish or have your destination written down the Taxis are quite cheap. To get further afield, cars can be hired for around 100 zł a day.

See[edit]

Old Town Hall in Toruń
Statue of Raftsman playing the violin
Panoramic view of the Old Town
  • Nicolaus Copernicus' House (Dom Mikołaja Kopernika), ul. Kopernika 15-17 (Old Town). Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Toruń in 1473. The museum is situated in house, which used to belong to Copernicus family in 15th century, and where probably Nicolaus Copernicus was born. The architecture of the building dates back to the 15th century, and its interior is a fine example of Medieval house refurbished throuhout the centuries. Unfortunately the museum's "collection" mostly comprises copies and facsimiles with very few explanations. 10 zloty.
  • Old Town Hall (Ratusz Staromiejski), Rynek Staromiejski 1 (at the centre of Old Town Market Square (Rynek Staromiejski)). Open daily except Mondays, Oct-Apr 10-16, May-Sep 10-18. One of the most beautiful Gothic town halls in Europe. Despite its many treasures it is however not too rewarding for foreign visitors as it is almost entirely explained in Polish. Translations are very sparse or non-existent. The Museum consists of Gallery of Gothic art, including a collection of a 14th-century stained glasses from Toruń and Chełmno churches, Exhibition of old Toruń 1233-1793, Exhibition of Toruń coins, Court hall, Hall of Polish kings, collection of Polish 19th- and 20th- century painting, etc. Climb the tower for a beautiful view! 10 zloty; admission to permanent exhibition on Wednesdays is free.
  • Tower of the Old Town Hall (Wieża Ratusza Staromiejskiego) (at the centre of Old Town Market Square (Rynek Staromiejski)). Open daily, Nov-Mar 10-16, Apr and Oct 10-18, May-Sep 10-20. The Old Town Hall tower is the oldest town hall tower in Central and Eastern Europe. It is worth to climb the steep wooden steps to admire beautiful view on the historic center of Toruń. 10 złoty.
  • Cathedral of SS. Johns (Katedra świętych Janów), ul. Żeglarska. Main church of the city in the Medieval times, built during 14th and 15th centuries, since 1996 cathedral of Toruń Diocese. Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was christened here. On its tower hangs Tuba Dei bell from 1500, one of the largest Medieval bells in Europe. Interior is partly renovated, and the work is continued in 2013. The furnishings and decorations are witnesses of history of religion in Toruń - besides Gothic wall paintings you can see some epitaphs from protestant era, but the most prominent are Baroque and Rococo altars founded by Jesuit Order in the 18th century. Entrance is not free, additional fees for taking photos and filming.
  • Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Granaries. Between 15th and 18th centuries Toruń was a big center of grain trade, hence many granaries are preserved in the Old Town. The oldest and most interesting can be seen on Piekary Str., near Leaning Tower, and Mostowa Street. One of them, so-called Swedish Granary, is adapted for a hotel.
  • View from left bank of the Vistula River (From pl. Rapackiego go through the road bridge across Vistula, then turn left by the campsite). Excellent panorama from left bank of the river Vistula. Vantage point on Kępa Bazarowa island is accessible by foot or by bus from pl. Rapackiego (Rapacki Sq.).
  • Bydgoskie Przedmieście (west of the Old Town). Mostly residential district build in the late 19th and early 20th century. It comprises many monuments of architecture, as well as a city park and zoobotanical garden.
  • Przedmieście Świętej Katarzyny (Wilhelmstadt). Built in the late 19th and early 20th century east of the Old Town, is a specific combination of residential and military architecture. St. Catherine's church is located at Wilhelmstadt's main square; with its over 80-meter high tower it still remains the highest building in Toruń.
  • Teutonic Knights Castle Ruins (Ruiny Zamku Krzyżackiego), ul. Przedzamcze. 10 am - 6 pm. An outdoor museum. The castle is almost completely destroyed except for one tower and a dungeon that you can set foot on. Admission: 2 zł.
  • Dybowski Castle Ruinsopposite the river and small walk from the bridge (From the Old Town, cross the bridge to the other side of Vistula, then turn right and walk a cobblestone road you found under the bridge). An old skeleton of what is left of the old Castle, built by Polish king Władysław Jagiełło (Jogaila) in 15th century. You can explore the ruins at your own leisure and walk the walls (which can be dangerous).
  • Forts of 19th-century Toruń fortress (12) (Some are located close to old town, others like Fort No. 4 are just outside the city).
  • Motoarena Toruń. The biggest and most modern purpose build speedway stadium in the world, in use since 2009. It is one of the sites for FIM Speedway Grand Prix since 2010.
  • Piwnice Radio Observatory (Piwnice). A radio observatory with two dishes (diameters: 32 meters and 15 meters).
  • Krzywa Wieża (The Leaning Tower), ul. Pod Krzywą Wieżą. Part of old Toruń defense wall system built in the 13th century. Poor foundations led the tower to substantially lean at an angle soon after its construction. It's customary to see if you can stand with your feet against the wall and your arms outstretched in front of you (hint: it's pretty much impossible!)
  • Dwór Artusa (Artus Court, Artushof), Rynek Staromiejski 6. Monumental building on the place of medieval Artus Court in the end of 19th century. Now it hosts cultural centre.
  • Ethnographic Museum. An open-air museum showing the folk architecture of many regions of Poland. Includes a windmill.

Do[edit]

A list of events, entertainment, culture in Toruń - updated daily (also in English) can be found online: [7]

  • Bake traditional gingerbread at Gingerbread MuseumRabianska street, very centre of the old town +48 056 663 66 17. 9-18. Get involved in an interactive show throughout visitors are guided by Master of gingerbread bakery and the Witch. Having sworn the oath you become member of the guild. First you will prepare dough the way it has been done for centuries, you will kneed it. You will also use traditional baking-moulds then you'll bake your own gingerbread. As the museum is located in an old granary you'll be shown how to produce flour using old mill stones as well. And remember - should you break the oath you shall be punished... If you hace passed with flying colours little examination and endured hardships of working at bakery you'll be also promoted and become a craftsman. Show takes up to one hour. This museum forms part of gingerbread tradition which Toruń is famous for.

Check availability in advance on +48 566636617. During peak season you should book your visit beforehand unless you plan to show up on Sat - Sun. Open from 9AM to 6PM Off-peak season (from January to the end of March) open from 10AM to 6PM There must be at least 5 persons to start show, this condition does not apply at 4PM Need more information? Do not hesitate to phone this museum or e-mail them at muzeumpiernika@muzeumpiernika.pl

Buy[edit]

There are many shops, boutiques in old town selling clothes, souvenirs, jewellery, music, food, drinks, vegetables and fruits (on New Town market), etc.

  • Galeria Copernicus (40 min walk from old town, reachable by bus #15, 19, 21, 30, tram #2). Large shopping centre
  • Toruń PlazaBroniewskiego 90 (30 min walk from old town, reachable by bus #15, 17, 18, 26, 28, 34, 36, 40, tram #1N, 2, 3, 4, 5). Large shopping center
  • Dom TowarowyRynek Staromiejski 36/37 (in houses on Old Town Square). Shopping center
  • Toruńskie piernikiRynek Staromiejski 6, Żeglarska 24. Specialized gingerbread shops.

Eat[edit]

At warm times of year Toruń's old town is full of street cafes, restaurants where you can eat or drink outdoors and enjoy the medieval atmosphere. Some cafés are located on the bank of river Vistula, and at least two are on boats on the river. Various dishes - traditional and fast food, drinks - beer, soft drinks and ice cream are offered there. If you are a football lover there are many street cafes where you can watch a game on TV while drinking good Polish beer.

Toruń is known for its gingerbread (Toruńskie Pierniki). You must try it.

  • Leniwa (Pierogarnia), ul. Ślusarska 5 (close to New Town Market),  +48 564775403. 8-16 PLN.
  • Manekinul. Wysoka 5, Rynek Staromiejski 16 +48 566522885. Delicious, huge naleśniki (filled crêpes) with a large choice of fillings for only about 10 PLN each. It can get quite busy at peak times, but you will be warned if there will be a long wait. The staff are friendly and helpful and the restaurants have a nice ambiance. The restaurant on the old market square (Rynek Staromiejski) is particularly nice.
  • Metropolis (Restaurant & Bar), ul. Strumykowa, ul. Podmurna.
  • GreenWay (Restaurant & Bar), ul. Łazienna 13. vegetarian / vegan food for reasonable price :) nice location
  •    Jan OlbrachtSzczytna 15 +48 797 903 333. 11:00 - 0:00. Excellent food (mainly Polish cuisine) in reasonable price. You can seat at level 0 in a big barrel, downstairs in a pub or upstairs in a restaurant room. This place has its own microbrewery making 4-5 types of fresh beer.

Drink[edit]

Bars[edit]

  • Beka.
  • GrotaRynek Staromiejski 24 (north side of the Old Market Square, underneath the Orange shop). Friendly bar staff and locals, reasonable prices and an excellent range of spirits (including a terrifying assortment of vodkas!) makes this an excellent place to quench a thirst you may work up exploring Toruń's Old Town
  • NieboRynek Staromiejski 1 (Cellar of Old Town Hall, entrance near the Nicolaus Copernicus monument).
  • Szwejk.
  • Togunul. Żeglarska 24.
  • KawalerkaRynek Staromiejski 1 (Old Town Hall building, cellar, entrance in front of the Post Office).
  • Klub NRDul. Browarna 6 (Near New Town Market Square (Rynek Nowomiejski)).
  • Dwa Światyul. Ducha Świętego 10/12.
  •    Lizard KingKopernika 3 +48 56 621 02 34. 17:00 - 4:00. Good club with rock / pop-rock music. Two bars (two levels), dance floor, live concerts
  •    Krajina PivaRynek Nowomiejski 3 +48 607 589 607. 16:00 - 1:00. Great place for beer lovers. Over 100 types of beer in the bar, mostly regional Polish beer and many interesting tastes from all over the world.
  •    KadrŻeglarska 5 +48 56 621 1433. 14:00 - 1:00. Good place to have a drink or two. Walls filled with stand-still pictures from movies.
  • Desperadoul. Kopernika 45.

Cafés[edit]

  • Kona Coastul. Chełmińska (near Old Town Market Place).
  • Atmospheraul. Panny Marii 3 (near Old Town Market Square, opposite the St. Mary church).
  • Cukiernia Lenkiewiczul. Wielkie Garbary 14 (Old town, near the crossroad of Królowej Jadwigi, Szeroka, and Wielkie Garbary - there is an Empik store and concrete bench with clock on it. ~50 metres from there. They've got best ice-cream in Toruń),  (56) 62 256 35.

Sleep[edit]

Private Rooms[edit]

In Toruń if you would like to stay in one of the historic buildings in the old town, it is possible to rent a furnished apartment for the night from a local family. Go to the tourist information centre and ask them for a phone number, or have them call on your behalf if you don't speak Polish. It was less that 80 zloty per night during the summer in 2010.

Budget[edit]

  • Angel Hostelul. Rynek Staromiejski 8 (right on the Old Town Square),  +48 694 152 398. Check-in: 1400, check-out: 1200. Placed in the Old Town Square, with a view over Town Hall. Contains eight-, four- or two-bed rooms. 35 PLN - 100 PLN.
  • Fort YorckChrobrego 86 (5 km from downtown). In a 19th century Festung Thorn fort.
  • Freedom Backpackersul. Szeroka 31/4 (right on the main street (ulica Szeroka)),  +48 790 704 785. Check-in: 1400, check-out: 1200. A great, friendly hostel, right in the heart of the city centre, giving great access to the whole Old Town, Internet, solid breakfast. All in all, a great base to explore the city! 40 PLN.

Mid-range[edit]

  •    ibis Budget (formerly Etap), Popiełuszki 2a (within 0.5km from the Old Town). Offers a standardized budget experience by providing the simplest possible ensuite rooms made to the usual ibis Budget standards.
  • GotykPiekary 20 (Old Town). 3-star hotel
  • HebanMałe Garbary 7 (Old Town). 3-star hotel
  • KopernikWola Zamkowa 16 (Old Town). 2-star hotel
  • PoloniaTeatralny 5 (Old Town). 3-star hotel
  • RetmanRabiańska 15 (Old Town). 3-star hotel
  •    Solaris (3-star hotel), Panny Marii 9 (Old Town). Located in a historic townhouse with a timber frame and steep stairs, this charming hotel offers creature comforts such as Japanese washlets in its 23 rooms. Located over a nightclub, which may become an issue.
  • SpichrzMostowa 1 (Old Town). 3-star hotel
  • Trzy KoronyRynek Staromiejski 21 (Old Town). 2-star hotel
  • B&BLeona Szumana 8 (Old Town). 2-star hotel

Splurge[edit]

  • 1231 HotelPrzedzamcze 6 (Old Town). 4-star hotel
  • BulwarBulwar Filadelfijski 18 (Old Town). 4-star hotel
  • Mercure HeliosKraszewskiego 1/3 (within 0.5km from the Old Town). 4-star hotel
  • FilmarGrudziądzka 37 (within 1 km from the Old Town). 4-star hotel.

Headline text[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • Warsaw
  • Gdańsk
  • Chełmno - beautiful well preserved medieval town in 40 km north from Toruń.
  • Chełmża - old small town with a lake beach. 15 km.
  • Golub-Dobrzyń - former Teutonic Knights' Castle, 40 km east from Toruń
  • Szafarnia - Frédéric Chopin museum, 45 km east from Toruń
  • Ciechocinek - famous Polish spa, 25 km south from Toruń
  • Biskupin - archaeological reservation of the Lusatian Culture settlement (650-550 year BC), 90 km from Toruń
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