City Guide: Olsztyn
Olsztyn is a Polish city in the Warmian-Masurian Area and is actually largest and most important city in the North-Eastern part of Poland. Not only is the area known to be very nice for holidays, but Olsztyn is a beautiful city, too.
In this city guide, I’ll explain why visiting Olsztyn is well worth it, despite the city being not known at all. Olsztyn is located approximately two hours from Warsaw and thus isn’t all that hard to reach. At the time I was visting, there was even a direct flight from Munich. I took a rental car from the airport and explored the beautiful lakes around town before I arrived in the city, which has even more charm than I expected at first.
The Old Town of Olsztyn and the Town Hall
Olsztyn, also known under its old German name Allenstein, has a long past and survived the several wars surprisingly well. The core of the city, made up from what is today Old Town and the remainings of the city wall, including the popular Upper Gate, are very beautiful.
You’ll find several structures dating back to the 14th, 15th or 16th century. To my surprise, all of those are in immatuculate condition despite the region not being very touristy. Walking around the Old Town of Olsztyn is a very nice experience and can just be recommended.
There are lots of nice cafés and restaurants as well, which offer very good local food for extremely affordable prices. Just be aware that only few people are speaking English.
One of the highlights in the city center of Olsztyn is the Town Hall, which is located at the Marker Square. The building dates back to the 14th century and has a beautiful exterior.
Right next to the town hall, you can also find the biggest mall in the city center of Olsztyn, where you can do some shopping or just sit down as a break from sightseeing.
Olsztyn Castle and the many churches
Most likely, you are aware that Poland is a deeply religious (Catholic) country. Not surprisingly, you’ll find several beautiful churches and even a cathedral in Olsztyn.
However, it is interesting to note that one of the churches is a protestant church, which is rather surprising for a Polish city, especially as this church is located right in the city center.
Nevertheless, the highlight of the churches in Olsztyn definitely is the St. James Cathedral, which has a very fitting facade, which reminded me a lot of the buildings in Old Town. Definitely a special desigon for a cathedral!
Another highlight of Olsztyn are the remainings of the Olsztyn Castle, which was built by Prince-Bishopric of Warmia in the 14th century and is one of the most well preserved fortresses in whole Poland. You can enter the grounds for free and have a look at the inner courtyard.
If you want to learn more about the castle and want to see the rooms, you can also visit the museum, which is located inside the castle. However, there is a fee for that.
If you are in the castle area of Olsztyn, you may also stroll through the beautiful park, which surrounds the castle.
Here, you’ll also find a couple of interesting monumens as well as the Fish and Child Fountain, which is a nice place to sit down and enjoy the sun for a while.
Overall impressions of Olsztyn
Olsztyn is a relatively tiny city and as you’ve seen in this City Guide, you can explore the city in just a few hours. Nevertheless, visiting is totally worth it and even if it is just for a day trip. The city has a beautiful and very well preserved old town, several beautiful churches and a lovely castle. Additionally, there are lots of nice cafés and a beautiful park around the castle. I’m sure you’ll like Olsztyn as much as me. Off the beaten track, you can sometimes find real hidden gems!
Have you been to Olsztyn? Are there are any other cities in Poland you like?