Things to do in Bialystok – Poland

Welcome to Bialystok, a charming city in northeast Poland known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and beautiful green spaces. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a history buff, or a nature lover, Bialystok has something for everyone, making it a must-visit destination for any traveller.

In this city guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the top things to do in Bialystok, from exploring its historical and architectural landmarks to indulging in its culinary delights, and experiencing its vibrant nightlife. We’ll also provide you with some insider tips on the best places to stay and how to get around the city, so you can make the most of your time in Bialystok.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bialystok is a charming city in northeast Poland, known for its rich history and cultural heritage
  • The city offers a range of activities for all types of travellers including art enthusiasts, history buffs, and nature lovers
  • Explore Bialystok’s historical landmarks, try its diverse culinary scene, and experience its vibrant nightlife
  • Stay at some of the best places in Bialystok and make the most of the city’s transportation options

Exploring Bialystok’s History and Architecture

Bialystok is a city with a rich history and impressive architecture to explore. From historical landmarks to cultural sites, there is plenty to discover for visitors with an interest in history and architecture.

Historical Sites in Bialystok

Bialystok boasts a number of remarkable historical sites, including Branicki Palace, the Great Synagogue, and the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Branicki Palace, built in the 18th century, is a magnificent example of Baroque architecture and served as the residence of the Branicki family. The Great Synagogue, built in the 17th century, is one of the oldest and largest synagogues in Poland and serves as a powerful reminder of Bialystok’s Jewish heritage. Lastly, the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a stunning example of Neoclassical architecture with a rich history dating back to the 15th century.

Historical SiteDescription
Branicki PalaceA magnificent example of Baroque architecture, built in the 18th century as the residence of the Branicki family.
Great SynagogueOne of the oldest and largest synagogues in Poland, built in the 17th century and serving as a reminder of Bialystok’s Jewish heritage.
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin MaryA stunning example of Neoclassical architecture, with a rich history dating back to the 15th century.

Landmarks and Monuments

Bialystok is home to numerous landmarks and monuments that reflect the city’s cultural heritage. The Monument of Branicki Family, erected in 1905, is a stunning bronze sculpture of Hetman Jan Klemens Branicki, while Monument to the Heroes of Ghetto Uprising of 1943 serves as a powerful reminder of Bialystok’s Jewish history. The City Hall, built in the 18th century, is a magnificent example of Classicist architecture, and the 1000th Anniversary of Poland’s Baptism Monument celebrates the country’s millennium of Christianity.

Monument of Branicki FamilyA stunning bronze sculpture of Hetman Jan Klemens Branicki, erected in 1905.
Monument to the Heroes of Ghetto Uprising of 1943A powerful reminder of Bialystok’s Jewish history and the bravery of those who fought against the Nazis.
City HallA magnificent example of Classicist architecture, built in the 18th century.
1000th Anniversary of Poland’s Baptism MonumentCelebrates Poland’s millennium of Christianity through a striking contemporary sculpture.

Whether you’re interested in history, architecture or simply curious to discover more about Bialystok, the city’s impressive collection of landmarks and monuments offer a fascinating glimpse into its cultural heritage.

Discovering the Best Tourist Sites in Bialystok

When it comes to sightseeing in Bialystok, visitors are spoilt for choice. From historical landmarks to modern architecture, the city has plenty to offer. Here are some of our top picks for must-see tourist sites:

Branicki PalaceThis palace is considered to be the most beautiful palace in Poland and is often called the “Polish Versailles.” It was built in the 17th century and boasts a large park and gardens.
Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin MaryThis impressive cathedral is the largest church in Bialystok and is known for its stunning baroque architecture and ornate details.
Białystok City ParkThis park is a great place to relax with its picturesque ponds, gardens, and walking paths. It also has a mini-zoo and a playground for children.
Ludwik Zamenhof CentreThis cultural centre is dedicated to the creator of the Esperanto language, Ludwik Zamenhof. The exhibition showcases his life, work, and contributions.
The Great SynagogueOne of the most important monuments of Jewish culture in Bialystok, the Great Synagogue was once the largest synagogue in the city. It has been restored and is now used as a concert hall.

These are just a few of the many tourist sites that Bialystok has to offer. Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or nature, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.

Recommended Places to Stay in Bialystok

Whether you’re looking for luxury accommodations or budget-friendly options, Bialystok has a range of places to stay that cater to different preferences and budgets.

Hotel NamePrice RangeLocation
Hotel Cristal Spa££££City Centre
Hotel Royal & Spa£££City Centre
Hotel Ibis Styles Bialystok££City Centre
Branicki Boutique Rooms££City Centre
Hotel Esperanto££City Centre
Zajazd Wiking£ – ££Suburbs

For those who want to indulge in luxury, the Hotel Cristal Spa and Hotel Royal & Spa offer top-notch facilities and service in the heart of the city. If you’re on a mid-range budget, the Hotel Ibis Styles Bialystok or Branicki Boutique Rooms are great options.

For those looking for a more budget-friendly option, Hotel Esperanto offers comfort and affordability in the city centre. Alternatively, Zajazd Wiking on the outskirts of the city provides a more affordable option with a homely feel.

Regardless of where you choose to stay, Bialystok’s accommodations offer a comfortable and convenient base to explore the city’s many attractions.

Indulging in Bialystok’s Culinary Delights

One of the best ways to experience a new culture is through its cuisine, and Bialystok does not disappoint. The city boasts a diverse culinary scene, with traditional Polish dishes, as well as international options.

Here are some must-visit restaurants and cafes in Bialystok:

  • Browar Stara Przepompownia: Located in a historic water pumping station, this brewery and restaurant offers locally brewed craft beers and traditional Polish dishes, using fresh, seasonal ingredients.
  • U Barana: This rustic-style restaurant serves up regional dishes, such as pierogi (dumplings) and bigos (hunter’s stew), in a cosy atmosphere.
  • Kurna Chata: For a taste of the countryside, head to Kurna Chata, which serves hearty Polish dishes, including roasted meats and sausages, in a charming setting that resembles a traditional village hut.
  • Papryczki i Wino: If you’re in the mood for tapas and wine, this trendy restaurant offers a variety of small plates and a wine list sourced from small vineyards around the world.
  • Green Cafe Nero: For a quick bite or a caffeine fix, head to Green Cafe Nero, a popular coffee chain that offers sandwiches, salads, and a range of coffee drinks.

Aside from restaurants and cafes, there are also local markets where you can sample and buy fresh produce and traditional snacks, such as oscypek (smoked cheese) and kabanos (dried sausages). One of the most popular markets is the Bialystok Farmers’ Market, located in the city centre.

“The food scene in Bialystok is a reflection of the city’s rich cultural heritage, with a mix of traditional Polish dishes and international flavours.”

Enjoying Bialystok’s Local Parks

Bialystok boasts a number of beautiful local parks, perfect for a relaxing afternoon stroll or a picnic with friends and family. These green spaces offer a breath of fresh air and a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Bialystok City Park

Bialystok City Park, also known as Planty, is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. The park features over 60 hectares of greenery, including a lake, lush gardens, and a playground for children. Visitors can also explore the park’s historic monuments, including a statue of Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz.

FeaturesLocationOpening Hours
Lake, Gardens, Monuments, Playgroundul. Zwierzyniecka 724/7

Awf Park

Awf Park is a popular spot for joggers, cyclists, and outdoor enthusiasts. The park features a 2-kilometre running track, as well as a skate park and basketball court. Visitors can also explore the park’s tranquil lake and surrounding greenery.

FeaturesLocationOpening Hours
Running Track, Skate Park, Basketball Court, Lakeul. Włókiennicza 324/7

Other notable local parks in Bialystok include Branicki Palace Park, Pilicka Park, and Zwierzyniecki Park.

Whether you’re looking for a scenic walk or a place to relax and unwind, Bialystok’s local parks are sure to please. Grab a picnic basket and head out to one of these beautiful green spaces today!

Exploring Bialystok’s National Parks

If you’re a nature lover, Bialystok will not disappoint. The city is surrounded by stunning national parks and nature reserves, offering visitors a chance to escape into unspoiled wilderness.

Biebrza National Park

Biebrza National Park is one of the most important wetlands in Europe and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Visitors can take a guided tour or explore the park on their own, following marked trails that wind through the marshes and forests. The park is also a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 270 bird species recorded within its boundaries.

AddressOpening HoursEntrance fees
Biebrza National Park, Osowiec-Twierdza, PolandOpen daily from 8am to 4pmFree

Knyszyn Forest Landscape Park

Knyszyn Forest Landscape Park is a beautiful woodland area located just outside of Bialystok. The park is home to abundant wildlife, including deer, foxes, and wild boar, as well as a number of historical sites and natural wonders. Visitors can explore the park by foot or bike, with numerous trails and cycling routes on offer.

AddressOpening HoursEntrance fees
Knyszyn Forest Landscape Park, PolandOpen daily from 9am to 5pmFree

Narew National Park

Narew National Park is a sprawling wilderness located along the banks of the Narew River. Visitors can explore the park’s vast wetland and forest ecosystems, which are home to over 1,500 plant species and a variety of rare animal species, including beavers and otters. The park also features several hiking trails, as well as opportunities for kayaking and canoeing.

AddressOpening HoursEntrance fees
Narew National Park, PolandOpen daily from 9am to 4pmFree

Exploring Bialystok’s national parks is an unforgettable experience that allows visitors to connect with nature and enjoy some of Poland’s most beautiful landscapes. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Bialystok’s national parks have something for everyone.

Uncovering the History of Bialystok

Bialystok has a rich and fascinating history that spans over 500 years. It was originally founded as a small village in the 16th century and gradually grew into a significant cultural and economic centre. Over the years, it has been shaped by a diverse range of influences, from Polish, Lithuanian, Jewish, and Russian cultures to the impact of two World Wars.

The Origins of Bialystok

The first recorded mention of Bialystok was in 1520, when it was a small village in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It remained a relatively unimportant settlement until the late 16th century, when the local aristocracy began to develop the area and attract new settlers.

Bialystok’s Role in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

By the 17th century, Bialystok had become a significant centre for trade, culture, and industry, with a thriving Jewish population and a strong connection to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. During this period, the town was renowned for its production of linen, wool, and leather goods, as well as its skilled artisans and scholars.

Impact of the World Wars

Bialystok’s fortunes changed dramatically during the 20th century, as it was caught up in the devastating events of two World Wars. During World War I, the town was occupied by German forces, and many of its buildings and cultural treasures were damaged or destroyed.

In World War II, Bialystok was first occupied by the Soviet Union and later by Nazi Germany, resulting in the displacement and death of many of its Jewish residents. The town was severely damaged during the Nazi occupation, with only a few historic buildings surviving to this day.

Bialystok Today

Despite its tumultuous history, Bialystok today is a vibrant and dynamic city that celebrates its cultural heritage and looks towards the future. Visitors can explore its historic landmarks, such as the Palace Branicki and the Great Synagogue, and learn about its rich cultural traditions at the Podlasie Museum.

Overall, Bialystok’s history is a testament to the resilience and spirit of its people, who have overcome adversity time and time again to build a flourishing community that welcomes visitors from around the world.

Getting Around Bialystok: Transportation Options

When exploring Bialystok, there are various transportation options available to visitors. Whether you prefer public transport or private vehicles, navigating the city is easy and convenient.

Public Transport

Bialystok has an extensive public transport system, including buses and trams, that cover all parts of the city. The buses are the most popular mode of transport, with frequent services running throughout the day and night. Visitors can purchase tickets from kiosks or directly from the bus driver.

One-day tickets are a great option for those planning to use the public transport system extensively. These tickets offer unlimited travel on all buses and trams, and can be purchased at various ticket machines and kiosks located throughout the city.


Bialystok has excellent rail connections, making it easy to travel to other parts of Poland. The city has two train stations – Bialystok Main Station and Bialystok Nowy Swiat Station – both of which have regular services to major cities in Poland, including Warsaw and Krakow.

Tickets can be purchased online, at the train station, or from ticket machines located at various locations throughout the city.


Taxis are readily available in Bialystok, and are a convenient way to travel around the city. Visitors can hail taxis on the street, or book them in advance through various taxi companies. It’s important to ensure that the taxi has a meter, or agree on the price before beginning the journey to avoid any misunderstandings.

Car Hire

For those who prefer to drive themselves, car hire is available in Bialystok. Visitors can choose from a variety of vehicles, including economy, luxury, and SUVs, depending on their preference. It’s advisable to book in advance to ensure availability.

Overall, navigating Bialystok is easy and convenient, thanks to its reliable and varied transportation options.

Must-Visit Cultural and Artistic Institutions in Bialystok

If you are a fan of culture and the arts, you will be pleased to know that Bialystok has a thriving arts scene, with many cultural and artistic institutions worth visiting.

Bialystok Philharmonic

The Bialystok Philharmonic is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, known for its unique architecture and rich history. It is home to the Symphony Orchestra of Podlasie, which performs a wide range of classical music.

Address:ul. Podleśna 2, 15-263 Białystok, Poland
Contact:+48 85 732 51 22

Branicki Palace Museum

The Branicki Palace Museum is a must-visit attraction for history buffs and art enthusiasts alike. The palace dates back to the 17th century and is famous for its opulent Baroque architecture. The museum showcases art and artifacts from the palace’s history, including paintings, sculptures, and furniture.

Address:ul. Pałacowa 10-152, 15-451 Białystok, Poland
Contact:+48 85 742 26 62

Bialystok Puppet Theatre

The Bialystok Puppet Theatre is a unique and family-friendly institution that provides entertainment for all ages. The theater features a range of puppet shows, from traditional Polish tales to international productions.

Address:ul. Sienkiewicza 16, 15-001 Białystok, Poland
Contact:+48 85 732 18 44

Museum of Podlasie

The Museum of Podlasie is dedicated to showcasing the history and cultural heritage of the Podlasie region of Poland, which includes Bialystok. The museum features a range of exhibits, including artifacts, artwork, and photographs, providing a fascinating insight into the region’s history and traditions.

Address:ul. Warszawska 19, 15-062 Białystok, Poland
Contact:+48 85 732 27 19

These are just a few of the many cultural and artistic institutions that Bialystok has to offer, providing a diverse range of experiences for visitors to enjoy.

Exploring Bialystok’s Vibrant Nightlife

After a day of sightseeing and exploring, Bialystok offers a plethora of options for those looking to enjoy the city’s lively nightlife. Whether you’re in the mood for a quiet drink or dancing the night away, Bialystok has something to offer.

The Best Bars in Bialystok

Bialystok’s bar scene offers a range of options from casual neighbourhood pubs to trendy cocktail bars. Pod Teatrem is a popular spot among locals, with a relaxed atmosphere and a wide selection of beers, wines, and spirits. For those who enjoy a more upscale vibe, Mojito Club is a great choice with its chic decor and extensive list of cocktails.

Clubs and Live Music Venues

If you’re looking for a night of dancing and live music, Bialystok has several clubs and venues that cater to different tastes. Gwint Club is a popular choice with its lively atmosphere, top DJs, and themed parties. For those who enjoy live music, Pogłos is a must-visit with its intimate setting and a variety of genres from jazz to rock.

Exploring Bialystok’s Late-Night Scene

Bialystok’s nightlife doesn’t end with bars and clubs. For those who want to keep the party going into the early hours of the morning, there are plenty of late-night options. Club Garnizon is a popular spot with its outdoor terrace, delicious food, and an impressive list of craft beers. If you’re in the mood for a unique experience, head to The Vodka Museum for a tour and tasting of traditional Polish vodka.

Whether you’re a night owl or just looking for a fun night out, Bialystok’s nightlife scene has something to offer everyone. Just remember to pace yourself and enjoy responsibly!

Shopping in Bialystok – Retail Therapy at its Best

Bialystok is a haven for shoppers, with several options to choose from, ranging from outdoor markets to modern shopping centers and boutiques. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, gifts or want to indulge in some retail therapy, Bialystok has got you covered.

Bialystok Markets

For a taste of local culture and a chance to interact with friendly locals, we recommend visiting the outdoor markets in Bialystok. The most popular market is the Podlasie Bazaar, which is held every Sunday. Here, you’ll find a variety of goods on sale, including fresh produce, traditional crafts, and souvenirs. Another market worth exploring is the Cepelia Market, located in the city centre, which specialises in Polish handicrafts and souvenirs.

Bialystok Boutiques

If you’re looking for stylish and unique items, Bialystok has several boutiques that cater to different tastes and budgets. One of our top picks is the Masmellow boutique, which features a selection of clothing, accessories, and homeware, sourced from local designers. Another boutique worth visiting is the J & D Fashion boutique, which stocks a range of fashionable clothing and accessories for both men and women.

Bialystok Shopping Malls

If you prefer shopping in modern, air-conditioned malls, Bialystok has several options to choose from. The Galeria Jurowiecka is the largest mall in Bialystok, with over 180 stores, including clothing, electronics, and specialty stores. Another popular mall is the Atrium Bialystok, which features a range of shops, restaurants, and a cinema.

Bialystok Souvenirs

No trip to Bialystok is complete without taking home a few souvenirs. For traditional Polish souvenirs, we recommend visiting the Cepelia Market, where you’ll find a range of handcrafted items, including amber jewelry, pottery, and wooden toys. Another great option is the Podlasie Gift Shop, which features a range of regional products, including honey, jams, and herbal teas.

With so many options to choose from, shopping in Bialystok is a fun and diverse experience that caters to all interests and budgets.

Relaxation and Wellness in Bialystok

Bialystok offers a range of options for those seeking relaxation and wellness activities. Whether you’re looking to unwind after a day of sightseeing or want to indulge in some rejuvenating treatments, Bialystok has something for everyone.

Spas and Wellness Centres

Bialystok boasts numerous spas and wellness centres that offer a range of treatments, from massages to facials and body wraps. Many of these centres use natural products, such as herbs and essential oils, to promote relaxation and rejuvenation.

One popular option is the Wellness and SPA at Branicki Palace, which offers a range of treatments in a luxurious setting. Another option is the UrbanSPA, located in the city centre, which offers a variety of massages, sauna and steam rooms, and beauty treatments.

Outdoor Activities

If you prefer to unwind in nature, Bialystok has many outdoor activities that promote relaxation and well-being. The city is surrounded by nature reserves and parks, offering stunning landscapes and numerous walking trails.

The Biebrza National Park is a popular choice, with its wetlands and forests offering a tranquil retreat. The Knyszyn Forest is another option, with its many hiking trails and quiet spots for reflection.

Yoga and Meditation

Bialystok has a thriving yoga and meditation community, with many studios and centres offering classes for practitioners of all levels. These classes are a great way to unwind and focus the mind, providing a sense of calm and well-being.

One such studio is the Yoga Loft Bialystok, which offers a variety of classes, including vinyasa, hatha, and restorative yoga. Another option is the Lotus Meditation Centre, which offers guided meditation and mindfulness sessions.

Whether you prefer a spa treatment, outdoor activity, or a yoga class, Bialystok has numerous options for relaxation and well-being. Take some time for yourself and indulge in one of these activities during your visit to this vibrant city.


Q: What are the top things to do in Bialystok?

A: There are many things to do in Bialystok, including exploring its historical sites and architecture, visiting popular tourist attractions, trying out the local cuisine, enjoying the city’s parks, and discovering its vibrant nightlife.

Q: What are some historical sites and landmarks to explore in Bialystok?

A: Bialystok is rich in history and architecture, with notable sites including the Branicki Palace, Bialystok Cathedral, and the Historical Museum in Bialystok.

Q: What are the must-visit tourist sites in Bialystok?

A: Some of the top tourist sites in Bialystok include the Bialystok City Hall, the Great Synagogue, and the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic.

Q: Where are the recommended places to stay in Bialystok?

A: Bialystok offers a range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget lodges. Recommended places to stay include Hotel Podlasie, Hotel Aristo, and Hotel Cristal Resort.

Q: What are the best places to eat in Bialystok?

A: Bialystok boasts a diverse culinary scene, with popular restaurants and cafes such as Restauracja Szlachecka, Bistro Pod Kogutem, and Café Targowy offering delicious local and international cuisine.

Q: What are some local parks to enjoy in Bialystok?

A: Bialystok is home to several beautiful parks, including the Branicki Palace Park, Dojlidy Park, and the Planty Park, where visitors can relax, go for walks, and enjoy nature.

Q: Are there any national parks or nature reserves near Bialystok?

A: Yes, there are national parks and nature reserves near Bialystok, such as the Biebrza National Park and the Narew National Park, which offer opportunities for outdoor activities and exploring nature.

Q: What is the history of Bialystok?

A: Bialystok has a rich history, with origins dating back to the 14th century. Over the years, it has witnessed significant events and has been influenced by various cultures, contributing to its unique heritage.

Q: What are the transportation options in Bialystok?

A: Bialystok has a reliable public transport system, including buses and trains, making it easy to get around the city. Visitors can also choose to explore on foot or rent bicycles for a more leisurely experience.

Q: What are some cultural and artistic institutions to visit in Bialystok?

A: Bialystok is home to several cultural and artistic institutions, such as the Bialystok Puppet Theater, the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic, and the Bialystok Historical Museum, offering a range of cultural experiences.

Q: What is the nightlife like in Bialystok?

A: Bialystok has a vibrant nightlife scene, with numerous bars, clubs, and live music venues offering entertainment options for night owls and those looking to enjoy the city after dark.

Q: Where can I go shopping in Bialystok?

A: Bialystok offers a variety of shopping opportunities, including local markets like the Bialystok City Market, as well as boutiques and stores where visitors can find unique souvenirs and fashionable items.

Q: Are there any relaxation and wellness options in Bialystok?

A: Yes, Bialystok has spas, wellness centers, and activities that promote relaxation and rejuvenation, such as the Royal Baths Park and the Bialystok Sports and Recreation Center.