- Flight time from London: 2 hours 15 min
- Katowice International Airport: 31km from the city centre; transfer time about 30 min
- Nearest railway station: Katowice railway station
- Currency: Polish złoty
Katowice may not be a name that immediately comes to mind when you think of Poland, but it is, however, the main industrial centre of the country. Situated in the beautiful Silesia region, Katowice is bisected by the River Rawa and is famous for the culture that it offers in the form of interesting museums, stunning theatres and the well-known 'Spodek' concert hall.
Modern infrastructure and contemporary quarters sit alongside baroque and gothic architecture from the past in a city that is continuing to draw more and more people to this part of Eastern Europe. Nature lovers will enjoy a relaxing stroll through the many nature reserves and woodland areas, whilst the rest of the region is very accessible either on foot or through the hire of a bicycle.
Your Katowice city break should at least include a visit to the Silesian museum and a trip to the zoological gardens.
When you arrive in this area, you will be fascinated by some fine examples of international style and Bauhaus-inspired architecture, Art Nouveau and buildings dating from the Communist Era.
This complex of wooden churches in the Kosciuszko Park is worth a visit, as it is unique to the rest of the world and gives away some great information on the city's religious history. It is the oldest church in the city, built in 1510.
Go and see this church and its adjacent cloister of the Franciscan brothers under the invocation of Ludvig the King.
There are numerous interesting museums throughout town, such as the Museum of History of Katowice, the Silesian Museum or the Archdiocesan Museum.
Check out 'Mickiewicza', the marvellous market square in the middle of the pedestrian area and its surrounding cobble-stoned streets, where you will also find a number of imposing historic monuments and buildings.
Nikiszowiec is the historical settlement of Katowice. Its cathedral is a candidate to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Don't miss Katowice's landmark, the Silesian Insurgents Monument, which is known to be the country's largest and most enormous monument. It represents a delightful combination of architecture and sculptures, with a great deal of symbolism.
This 160ft tall lattice parachute tower was built in 1937 for training parachute jumpers. It was used in the first days of World War II.
This place is located directly on the great market square and is highly recommended by both locals and tourists. The grand pub has a lot on offer, from traditional hearty food to national drinks such as strong Polish beer and vodka.
If you are looking to do some serious shopping, the best place to go is the extraordinary Silesia City Centre, with some great shops and smaller boutiques all located in one gigantic mall, displaying interesting and independent brands and enterprises.
Other than that, there are further opportunities to purchase some brilliant bargains, mostly found in the area north of the train station.
© Fred. Olsen Travel.
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