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.
It has been one of the capitals of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999, and was the capital of the Toruń Voivodeship from 1975 to 1998 and of the Pomeranian Voivodeship from 1921 to 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 the birthplace of the 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.
The nearest airports that offer commercial flights are in (60 km) Bydgoszcz (low cost airlines across Europe), Poznań - Ławica airport (140 km, low cost airlines across Europe), Gdańsk - Lech Wałęsa airport (~180 km, low cost airlines across Europe, connected by motorway) and Warsaw - Okęcie airport - long haul airlines (230 km) - or Modlin airport.
Toruń's main railway station 1 Toruń Główny is across the river Vistula from the city. To walk into town takes 35 minutes. A taxi into the old town will cost less than 20 zł. 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). You don't need an additional ticket for the bag, as long as you don't put it on the seats.
2 Toruń Miasto railway station 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.
Toruń's Old Town is quite small, and has no public transportation system. Walking around is your best option. During summertime it is possible to hire a pedicab.
Outside of the Old Town, there are plentiful buses and trams. There are more and more ticket machines in buses and trams. Still there is a small possibility that you will find one without a ticket machine, and will have to buy a ticket from the driver (they rarely speak English). You can also buy a ticket in one of the many kiosks (newspaper shops), but only for cash, unless you buy something more than a ticket.
Best bet is to walk, or if you can speak Polish or have your destination written down. Taxis are quite cheap. To get further afield, cars can be hired for around 100 zł a day.
- Stare Miasto (Old Quarter). A UNESCO World Heritage List site dating back to medieval times. Almost intact medieval street layout. In fact, it consists of two, formerly independent cities - Stare Miasto (Old Town) at the West, founded in 1233, with the most tourist attractions, Nowe Miasto (New Town) at the Northeast, found in 1264, and ruins of Teutonic Knights' Castle (one of the oldest in Poland) between them.
- 1 Nicolaus Copernicus' House (Dom Mikołaja Kopernika), ul. Kopernika 15-17 (Old Town). The Copernicus' House is closed till January 2018 due to renovation works. Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Toruń in 1473. The museum is in a house which belonged to the Copernicus family in the 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 a Gothic house refurbished throughout the centuries. The museum's "collection" mostly comprises copies and facsimiles with very few explanations.
- 2 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! 13 zł, reduced 9 zł; combined ticket for Old Town Hall and for the tower is 21 / 16; 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. 13 zł, reduced 9 zł.
- 4 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. The interior is partly renovated, and work continued in 2013. Now the Gothic stellar vault in the nave is restored. The furnishings and decorations are witnesses of history of religion in Toruń - besides Gothic wall paintings and fresco from 1380 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. The church hosts occasional concerts with performers from around Europe. Entrance is not free, additional fees apply for taking photos and filming. On the southern exterior of the tower is the Digitus Dei clock 'the finger of God', as only an hour hand shaped as a pointing finger denotes the time.
- 5 Church of Virgin Mary (Kościół Najświętszej Marii Panny), ul. Panny Marii 2 (Northwest corner of Old Town Market Square (Rynek Staromiejski)). Open all day, except during prayers. Gothic church, built in 14th century by Franciscan Order, now parish church. Notably this church has no steeple, instead are three octagonal fleshes of the chancel. This three aisled interior was the tallest nave in the area. The very high interior is filled with precious works of art: Gothic wooden stalls, Renaissance organ, Renaissance and Mannerist epitaphs of Toruń's citizens, monumental Baroque main altar and a Gothic crucifix from the early 16C. This is also a burial place of Anna Vasa of Sweden, Polish and Swedish princess, the youngest child of King John III of Sweden and Catherine Jagiellon. In the southern aisle monumental Gothic mural paintings from 14th century, depicting Christ, St. Mary and saints. Entrance is free.
- 6 House Under the Star (Kamienica Pod Gwiazdą), Rynek Staromiejski 35. Open daily except Mondays. Oct-Apr 10:00-16:00, May-Sep 10:00-18:00. The house, built in 13th century and rebuilt several times up to 19th century. Baroque richly decorated facade and reconstructed interior - one of the best preserved houses from that period in Poland. You must climb the wooden spiral stairs decorated with sculpture of Minerva. The painted wooden Renaissance ceiling at the back is one of the best examples such a decoration in Poland. The interior hosts small exhibition of Far East art - not abundant, but really interesting. 10 zł, reduced 7 zł.
- 7 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 the corner of Piekary Str. and Rabiańska Str, near Leaning Tower. Its top is decorated with window bands. Another granary, so-called Swedish Granary, is adapted for a hotel.
- 8 Krzywa Wieża (The Leaning Tower), ul. Pod Krzywą Wieżą. Part of old Toruń defense wall system built in the 13th century. Poor foundations caused by the sorting of the clay subsoil led the tower to lean at a sharp angle around 140 cm soon after its construction. Check out if you can stand with your back and heels against the wall and your arms outstretched in front of you (it's pretty much impossible)
- 9 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.
- 10 Vantage point on the left bank of 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.)
- 11 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, a city park, and a zoobotanical garden. The most interesting are timber-framed houses at Bydgoska and Konopnickiej Streets.
- 12 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 remains the highest building in Toruń.
- 13 Ruins of Teutonic Knights Castle (Ruiny zamku krzyżackiego), ul. Przedzamcze. 10AM-6PM. An outdoor museum. One of the first Teutonic Knights castles in Poland, built already in 13th century. It was extended and rebuild through 14th-15th centuries. In 1454, the Toruń citizens demolished the castle, and that was the beginning of a war between Poland and Teutonic Knights. Then the castle served as a bastion and garbage dump. In 1950s the castle was unearthed, as until then the whole ground floor was covered by earth and litter. The best preserved part is so-called gdanisko, used by Teutonic Knights as toilet tower. Admission: 2 zł.
- 14 Ethnographic Museum. An open-air museum showing the folk architecture of many regions of Poland. Includes a windmill.
- 15 Dybowski Castle Ruins, opposite the river and small walk from the bridge on the west most side of the city (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). A skeleton of what is left of the old Castle, built by Polish king Władysław Jagiełło (Jogaila) in the 15th century (1424-1428). You can explore the ruins at your 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).
- 16 Motoarena Toruń. The biggest and most modern purpose-built speedway stadium in the world, in use since 2009. It has been one of the sites for FIM Speedway Grand Prix since 2010.
- 17 Piwnice Radio Observatory (Piwnice). A radio observatory with two dishes (diameters: 32 meters and 15 meters).
- Old-Town Market Square (Rynek Staromiejski), Rynek Staromiejski.
- 18 Museum of Toruń Gingerbread (Muzeum Toruńskiego Piernika), Strumykowa 4, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. May-Sep 10:00-18:00, Oct-Apr 10:00-16:00; closed on Mondays except May-Jun. Description from Museum's website: The Museum of Toruń Gingerbread, a branch of the District Museum in Toruń, in the 19th c. gingerbread factory formerly owned by the Weese family, can be found at 4 Strumykowa St. It has taken three years to convert the building into a museum and prepare an exhibition space of some 1200 sq m. The Museum of Toruń Gingerbread is likely to become a unique tourist attraction. Not only is it Poland’s largest museum dedicated to the history of gingerbread but it is designed to be modern and interactive and solely dedicated to the long-standing European tradition of gingerbread making. Exhibition and gingerbread baking workshop – normal: PLN 13, reduced: PLN 9; gingerbread baking workshop (excluding exhibition) – normal: PLN 8, reduced: PLN 6; exhibition - normal: PLN 10, reduced: PLN 7.
- 19 Złotoria Castle Ruins (Zamek w Złotoria), https://goo.gl/maps/yaYasHaB9VD2 (Bus Line 23 & 46 run every hour; or drive 10km). Anytime. Built in 1343 it was one of the most important locale during the conflicts between Poland and the Teutonic Knights and is now in ruins. A picturesque setting only meters from the Visła river. Free.
A list of events, entertainment, culture in Toruń - updated daily (also in English) can be found online: 
- 1 Bake traditional gingerbread at Gingerbread Museum, Rabianska street, very centre of the old town, ☎ . 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 for which Toruń is famous.
- 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 people to start show, this condition does not apply at 4PM. Need more information? Phone the museum or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Trails. There are several city trails although all poorly signed and requiring a map. The easiest to follow runs alongside the Gothic city walls of Toruń. Ceramic statues made by local artists add an artistic atmosphere and draw attention to otherwise missed features. Look out for historic townsfolk, a Teutonic knight, angles and a dragon!
There are many shops, boutiques in old town selling clothes, souvenirs, jewellery, music, food, drinks, vegetables and fruits (on New Town market), etc.
- 1 Galeria Copernicus (40 min walk from old town, reachable by bus #15, 19, 21, 30, tram #2). Large shopping centre
- 2 Toruń Plaza, Broniewskiego 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 centre
- 3 Dom Towarowy, Rynek Staromiejski 36/37 (in houses on Old Town Square). Shopping centre
- 4 Toruńskie pierniki, Rynek Staromiejski 6, Żeglarska 24. Specialized gingerbread shops.
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 cafés 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.
- 2 Manekin, ul. Wysoka 5, Rynek Staromiejski 16, ☎ . Delicious, huge naleśniki (filled crêpes) with a large choice of fillings for only about 10 zł 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.
- 4 Karotka (Restaurant & Bar), ul. Łazienna 9. Budget vegetarian and vegan food. 6 zł for soups, 12-15 zł for main dish.
- 6 Luizjana (Restaurant), ul. Mostowa 10, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Mo-Th 12:00-22:00, F-Sa 12:00-23:00, Su 12:00-21:00. Restaurant serving Creole food. 11-16 zł for soups, 24-64 zł for main dishes.
- 7 Jan Olbracht, Szczytna 15, ☎ . 11:00-24:00. Excellent food (mainly Polish cuisine) at a reasonable price. You can sit 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. 11-16 zł for soups, 24-64 zł for main dishes.
- 8 Piccolo Grande, Wysoka 12, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Restaurant serving mainly Italian-style food (pizzas and pastas). 8 zł for soup, 12-20 zł for main dish.
- 9 Szeroka No 9, Szeroka 9.
- Grota, Rynek 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
- Togun, ul. Żeglarska 24.
- Kawalerka, Rynek Staromiejski 1 (Old Town Hall building, cellar, entrance in front of the Post Office).
- 1 Klub NRD, ul. Browarna 6 (Near New Town Market Square (Rynek Nowomiejski)). Pub, but also centre of alternative culture.
- Dwa Światy, ul. Ducha Świętego 10/12.
- 2 Lizard King, Kopernika 3, ☎ . 17:00-04:00. Good club with rock and pop music. Two bars (two levels), dance floor, live concerts
- 3 Krajina Piva, Rynek Nowomiejski 3, ☎ . 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.
- 4 Kadr, Żeglarska 5, ☎ . 14:00-01:00. Good place to have a drink or two. Walls filled with still pictures from movies.
- Desperado, ul. Kopernika 45.
- 5 Kona Coast, ul. Chełmińska 18 (near Old Town Market Place). One of the best cafes in Toruń, serving wide range of coffees. You can also eat some soup, pasta or panini. 5-13 zł for coffee, 16-18 for pasta.
- 6 Pijalnia czekolady E. Wedel, ul. Szeroka 40, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Mo-Sa 9:00-22:00, Su 10:00-21:00.
- 7 Atmosphera (Kawiarnia), ul. Panny Marii 3 (near Old Town Market Square, opposite the St. Mary church), ☎ .
- 8 Cukiernia Lenkiewicz, ul. 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 have the best ice-cream 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.
- 1 Angel Hostel, ul. Rynek Staromiejski 8 (right on the Old Town Square), ☎ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Placed in the Old Town Square, with a view over Town Hall. Contains eight-, four- or two-bed rooms. 35-100 zł.
- [dead link] Camping Tramp. Open spring & summer.
- Orange Hostel, ul. Prosta 19 (in the Old Town, 5 minutes walk from the river), ☎ . Dorm bed: 30 zł.
- Freedom Backpackers, ul. Szeroka 31/4 (right on the main street (ulica Szeroka)), ☎ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. 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 zł.
- 4 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.
- 6 Heban, Małe Garbary 7 (Old Town). 3-star hotel
- 7 [dead link] Hotelik w Centrum, Szumana 2 (Old Town). 2-star hotel. Watch out for bell from a nearby church, ringing every hour, even at the night!
- 13 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.
- Trzy Korony, Rynek Staromiejski 21 (Old Town). 2-star hotel
- [dead link] B&B, Leona Szumana 8 (Old Town). 2-star hotel
- 17 Mercure Helios, Kraszewskiego 1/3 (within 0.5km from the Old Town). 4-star hotel
- Chełmno - beautiful well-preserved medieval town 40 km north from Toruń.
- Chełmża - old small town with Gothic cathedral, situated by the lake. 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, with unique graduation towers, 25 km south from Toruń
- Biskupin - archaeological reservation of the Lusatian Culture settlement (650-550 year BC), 90 km from Toruń
- Poznań - city where Poland has started; with beautiful Old Square and Cathedral Island
- Bydgoszcz - second capital of the Voivodeship, on the Brda river, with art nouveau architecture, opera house, and Brda waterfront, 50 km from Toruń