Things to Do in Olsztyn – Poland

Olsztyn, Poland, is a city in northern Poland. It is the capital city of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship. Its population is estimated to be 169,793 by 2021. It has a rich history and culture.

History of Olsztyn Poland

Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of Warmia-Masuria in Poland, Olsztyn is a city steeped in history and cultural heritage. With a rich tapestry of events and influences, the city has evolved over the centuries, leaving behind a fascinating legacy that continues to captivate visitors and residents alike. Join us on a journey through time as we explore the history of Olsztyn, uncovering its significant milestones and the people who shaped its destiny.

Early Settlement and Teutonic Knights: The roots of Olsztyn date back to the early medieval period, around the 14th century. The area was initially settled by the Old Prussians, a Baltic tribe. In 1346, the region came under the control of the Teutonic Knights, who built a defensive castle called Allenstein Castle on a small hill, now known as Castle Hill.

The City of Allenstein: The city’s name “Olsztyn” derives from its historical German name “Allenstein.” The Teutonic Knights played a crucial role in developing the city as a trade and administrative centre in the region.

Nicolaus Copernicus’ Connection: In the early 16th century, the city witnessed the presence of the renowned astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. Copernicus served as an administrator and physician in Olsztyn while working on his revolutionary heliocentric model of the solar system.

Shift in Ownership: Over the centuries, Olsztyn changed hands multiple times due to political changes and wars. It passed from the Teutonic Knights to the Kingdom of Poland, then to the Kingdom of Prussia in the 18th century, and later became part of the German Empire.

After World War I and II: Following World War I, Olsztyn was incorporated into the newly reconstituted Poland in 1945, after the end of World War II. The city’s name was officially changed from Allenstein to Olsztyn to reflect its Polish identity.

Reconstruction and Modernization: After the devastation of World War II, Olsztyn underwent extensive reconstruction and modernisation. The city’s infrastructure was revitalised, and new developments emerged, shaping Olsztyn into the vibrant city it is today.

Cultural Hub and Education Center: Throughout its history, Olsztyn has been a cultural and educational hub. It is home to the University of Warmia and Mazury, founded in 1999, which continues to attract students and scholars from across Poland and beyond.

Tourism and Warmia-Masuria’s Capital: In recent times, Olsztyn has gained prominence as the capital of the Warmia-Masuria Voivodeship, known for its picturesque lakes, nature reserves, and vibrant tourism industry. Visitors are drawn to Olsztyn’s historic landmarks, green spaces, and the serene Ukiel Lake.

A City of Enduring Charm: As we traverse the timeline of Olsztyn’s history, we discover a city that has withstood the test of time, preserving its heritage while embracing progress. Olsztyn’s past, intertwined with the tales of Nicolaus Copernicus and the Teutonic Knights, has shaped the city’s identity as a cultural, educational, and picturesque destination, inviting travelers to explore its enduring charm and captivating legacy.

Old Town

If you are planning a trip to Poland, one of the places you may want to visit is the Old Town of Olsztyn. Olsztyn is located near the famous Lake District, which offers many opportunities for leisure activities. The city is also home to the Olsztyn Cathedral, which is part of the European Route of Brick Gothic.

This city joined the Prussian Confederation in 1440, which aimed to help the Poles in their battle against the Teutonic Knights. In 1466, Olsztyn was incorporated into Poland, and became the capital of the Warmia region. However, in 1521, the Teutonic Knights tried to retake Olsztyn, but Olsztyn forced them back with the help of Nicolas Copernicus.

Olsztyn is located on the Lyna River in northeastern Poland. The Old Town dates back to the 14th century and contains many historical buildings, including the Old Town Hall, the Old Market Square, the High Gate, and the castle of the Bishopric of Warmia. There are also numerous parks and monuments of nature in Olsztyn.

Jezioro Długie

If you are planning a trip to Olsztyn, one of the things that you should not miss is visiting the Jezioro Dugie. This historical area is located next to a river and offers an idyllic view of the castle. You can enjoy the park by biking through its paths or taking a stroll along the riverside. It also has a statue of Nicolaus Copernicus, a famous Polish mathematician who helped develop the idea that the sun is the center of the universe.

The town is full of picturesque locations, and you can take a hike through the area. You can also spend the day relaxing in the park, or enjoy swimming in the lake. There are plenty of lakes to visit in the area, including lakes Nidzkie, Beldany, Mikolajskie, and Talty. You can also go for a boat ride if you wish. There’s also a nice park near the castle, complete with a fountain and church. You can also enjoy the views from Nowa viewpoint.

Olsztyn is a beautiful city situated 176km from Warsaw. It is home to over 170,000 residents. This picturesque city is surrounded by 15 lakes, including Lake Jezioro Dlugie, which is the closest to the historical center. The market square is located at Rynek, and you can also visit the Upper Gate, the main entrance to the old town. You can also visit Olsztyn Castle located in the eastern part of the town.

Municipal Beach

You’ll find Olsztyn’s Municipal Beach near Olsztyn Lake, a few kilometres from the city center. The lake is home to a number of recreational activities and is the largest lake in Olsztyn. In addition to the beach, there are several hotels in Olsztyn, and there’s also a Sailing and Ice Yachting Centre. Olsztyn is also known for its modern sports and touristic centre, which has won several awards and reached the World Architecture Festival in 2015.

The Municipal Beach in Olsztyn is one of the city’s largest bathing beaches. It also features a floating playground and six beach volleyball pitches. In the summer, guests can take lake cruises or go for a swim. Other attractions include a pier, which offers water sports equipment rentals. Visitors to Olsztyn can also enjoy the city’s cultural and entertainment offerings, including its annual Olsztyn Green Festival.

Before the war, royal families and emperors would visit the area’s beaches. Afterward, intellectuals and artists chose the region for its pristine landscapes and vast outdoor spaces. Although Warsaw has a population of two million, the right bank of the city’s river is a hidden gem, and experts have long known it as a destination for peace and recreation.

Lesne Arboretum Warmii i Mazur

The Lene Arboretum Warmii-Mazur in Olsztyn Poland is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Olsztyn. It is an old arboretum with a lot of history and a great deal of plants.

The Lesne Arboretum Warmia i Mazur is located in Kudypy, on the outskirts of Olsztyn. It is a dendrological park and educational site. It is a member of the Council of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta. The area around the arboretum was formed during the last glacial period.

Copernicus Bench

Located in Olsztyn, Poland, the Copernicus Bench is a bronze installation that honors the world-renowned astronomer. It was unveiled in October 2003, marking the 650th anniversary of the town’s privileges and the 530th anniversary of the Copernicus’ birth. The sculpture was created by artist Urszula Szmyt. It shows Copernicus looking up at the sky and facing the city castle.

The Copernicus Bench in Olszltyn Poland is a popular spot for visitors to learn about Copernicus’ life and work. The bench is located in Olsztyn’s city center, which makes it easily accessible for visitors. Visitors can also take a trip to nearby Lake Ukiel, where Copernicus had a second home. There are several hiking trails in Olsztyn, including the Copernicus trail.

At Olsztyn Castle, Copernicus conducted astronomical observations, including observations of the vernal equinox. His work led to the construction of a special astronomical table. The table sits near the entrance to Copernicus’ chamber, which houses a Copernicus exhibition. Here, Copernicus presented his famous heliocentric theory and scientific proof for it.

The Planetarium in Olsztyn

The Olsztyn Planetarium is located in Olsztyn, Poland. It is a museum and astronomical center dedicated to Nicolaus Copernicus. It is located amid lakes and open air spaces. Visitors can also visit the Museum of National Construction, which houses various handicrafts.

Its main exhibition is “Light: Beyond the Bulb”, which opened on July 16. The exhibition lasted for two months, and featured a video that depicts the formation of the stars. The show was produced by the Zeiss company and was part of the exhibition’s celebration of the International Year of Light.

Visitors can also see a meteorite that fell in Lowicz during the World War II. This meteorite was brought to the University of Warsaw Astronomical Observatory, where it was studied by Maciej Bielicki. Unfortunately, the Observatory was destroyed during World War II, but the meteorite was recovered and is now exhibited in the rebuilt Observatory.

Church of St. Jacob Cathedral

St. Jacob Cathedral is a historical place in Olsztyn, Poland. It was built in the second half of the 14th century. Its main entrance was made of a pointed arch portal with rich moulding. In 1721, Piotr Olchowski rebuilt the church’s side chapels, which had nearly collapsed.

Olsztyn is also home to the warmia castle, which was constructed in 1440 and served as the administrative center for the Bishops of Warmia. It now houses the Museum of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship. Olsztyn is also known for its Castle Park, which is the largest park within the city. The Cathedral, a historic landmark, is situated in Olsztyn’s Old Town.

Another important attraction in Olsztyn is the New Town Hall, which was built from 1912 to 15 and houses the city’s municipal offices. The building has numerous outbuildings and an ornate decoration including the famous “Motherhood” sculpture by Kamezh Zelinsky.

Castle of Warmian Bishops in Olsztyn

Olsztyn Castle is a historical site in northern Poland. Originally built in the 14th century, it was the seat of the administrators of the Warmian Cathedral Chapter. Today, it is a museum and a popular attraction for history buffs.

The castle was founded in 1243 by representatives of the Warmia chapter. The Prussian lands were divided into dioceses in 1243, and the first Bishop of Warmia was Anselm. He divided a third of his territory to his chapter, a college of canons that advised him on church matters. The college was also responsible for taking care of the cathedral.

The castle has undergone a thorough restoration in 1927, and the museum inside it was inaugurated in 1963. In 1989, the Castle was declared a monument of history and entered the monuments register in group “0”. Currently, the Castle houses a number of exhibitions, including displays of old weaponry and the memorabilia of the bishops. The museum also exhibits paintings.

Best Places to Eat in Olsztyn Poland

Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Warmia-Masuria, Olsztyn, Poland, not only boasts a rich historical heritage but also offers a delightful culinary scene that leaves taste buds craving for more. From traditional Polish delicacies to international flavors, Olsztyn’s dining establishments promise a gastronomic journey that pleases even the most discerning food enthusiasts. Join us as we embark on a culinary adventure through the city’s best places to eat, where each bite is a celebration of taste and culture.

**1. Piwnica Zamkowa: Located within the historic walls of Olsztyn Castle, Piwnica Zamkowa offers a unique dining experience with its medieval ambiance. The restaurant specializes in Polish and European dishes, served in a setting that transports diners back in time.

**2. Zielona Kuchnia: For a vegetarian and vegan-friendly option, Zielona Kuchnia delights with its creative plant-based dishes. Using locally sourced ingredients, this restaurant showcases the best of Polish and global vegetarian cuisine.

**3. Zacisze Smaku: As the name suggests, Zacisze Smaku (The Haven of Taste) lives up to its reputation. Known for its warm hospitality and traditional Polish dishes, it’s a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

**4. Makaroniarnia na Krótkiej: Pasta lovers rejoice at Makaroniarnia na Krótkiej, a charming eatery known for its delectable Italian fare. From homemade pasta to rich sauces, every dish is a labor of love.

**5. Restauracja Polska Tradycja: Immerse yourself in Polish culinary traditions at Restauracja Polska Tradycja. This restaurant offers authentic regional dishes, allowing diners to savor the flavors of Warmia-Masuria.

**6. La Pataterie: For a taste of French-inspired cuisine, La Pataterie delights with its range of delectable potato-based dishes. From baked potatoes to savory crepes, the menu offers a unique twist on classic French flavors.

**7. Manekin: If you have a penchant for sweet and savory crepes, Manekin is the place to be. With a vast selection of fillings, this creperie offers a delightful treat for any time of the day.

**8. Kuchnia Staropolska Pod Strzechą: Situated in a charming, thatched-roof building, Kuchnia Staropolska Pod Strzechą specializes in hearty Polish cuisine with a focus on traditional recipes and local ingredients.

**9. Pierogarnia Stara Oliwa: Pierogies, a beloved Polish dish, take center stage at Pierogarnia Stara Oliwa. This cozy eatery serves a variety of both sweet and savory dumplings, satisfying any pierogi craving.

**10. Misianka: For those seeking an exotic experience, Misianka offers mouthwatering Chinese cuisine in the heart of Olsztyn. From aromatic stir-fries to delectable dim sum, it’s a true Asian culinary gem.

Best Places to Stay in Olsztyn Poland

Olsztyn, nestled amid the tranquil landscapes of Warmia-Masuria in Poland, invites travelers to embark on a journey of relaxation and enchantment. As a city brimming with historical charm and natural beauty, Olsztyn offers a diverse range of accommodations to suit every traveler’s preferences. Whether you seek luxurious retreats, cozy boutique hotels, or budget-friendly options with excellent amenities, Olsztyn’s best places to stay promise a restful and memorable experience. Join us as we unveil the top accommodations in Olsztyn, where comfort and hospitality intertwine to create a perfect haven for your sojourn.

**1. Hotel Marina Club – Lakeside Tranquility: Nestled on the shores of the stunning Ukiel Lake, Hotel Marina Club offers breathtaking lake views and a serene atmosphere. Its comfortable rooms and proximity to nature make it an ideal choice for a rejuvenating stay.

**2. Hotel Warminski – Historic Elegance: Located in the heart of the city, Hotel Warminski exudes historical elegance with its charming interiors and excellent amenities. Its central location allows easy access to Olsztyn’s top attractions.

**3. Omega Hotel – Contemporary Comfort: Omega Hotel boasts contemporary design and stylish rooms, offering a comfortable base for travelers exploring Olsztyn. Its central location and friendly service ensure a pleasant stay.

**4. Hotel Kopernik – A Tribute to the Astronomer: Hotel Kopernik pays homage to the renowned astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, showcasing astronomy-inspired decor. The hotel’s comfortable rooms and proximity to the city’s attractions add to its appeal.

**5. Siedlisko Morena – Countryside Escape: For a peaceful countryside retreat, Siedlisko Morena provides a tranquil setting surrounded by nature. The guesthouse offers cozy rooms and a chance to immerse yourself in the beauty of the region.

**6. Hotel HP Park – Modern Comfort: Hotel HP Park blends modern comforts with natural surroundings, offering guests a relaxing ambiance. Its proximity to the Old Town and stunning views of the city enhance the overall experience.

**7. Hotel Wileński – A Touch of History: Located in a charming historic building, Hotel Wileński retains its classic charm while offering modern amenities. The hotel’s welcoming atmosphere makes it a popular choice among travelers.

**8. Hotel Pod Zamkiem – Castle Proximity: Hotel Pod Zamkiem provides proximity to Olsztyn Castle and the city’s attractions. The hotel’s comfortable rooms and friendly staff ensure a pleasant stay in this historical setting.

**9. Apartamenty Mała Holandia – Cozy Apartments: For those seeking a home-away-from-home experience, Apartamenty Mała Holandia offers well-equipped apartments with a cozy ambiance. It’s an excellent choice for families and long-term stays.

**10. Hotel Przystań – Lakeside Charm: Located on Lake Ukiel, Hotel Przystań offers lakeside charm and a relaxing atmosphere. The hotel’s amenities, including a spa and wellness center, make it an ideal spot for unwinding.

10 interesting facts about Olsztyn Poland

  1. Warmia-Masuria’s Capital: Olsztyn is the capital city of the Warmia-Masuria Voivodeship, one of Poland’s most picturesque regions known for its lakes, forests, and beautiful landscapes.
  2. Nicolaus Copernicus’ Connection: Olsztyn is closely associated with the famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who served as an administrator and physician in the city during the early 16th century.
  3. Old Town and Castle: Olsztyn’s Old Town boasts well-preserved medieval architecture, including the Gothic Olsztyn Castle, which is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
  4. Largest Lake in the City Center: The city is unique for having the largest lake in a city center in Poland, called Ukiel Lake. It offers picturesque views and recreational opportunities.
  5. Residence of the Warmian Bishops: Olsztyn served as the residence of Warmian bishops from the 14th to the 18th century, contributing to its historical and cultural significance.
  6. University City: Olsztyn is home to the University of Warmia and Mazury, a prominent educational institution in Poland, attracting students from around the country and abroad.
  7. Land of a Thousand Lakes: The Warmia-Masuria region, including Olsztyn, is often referred to as the “Land of a Thousand Lakes” due to its abundance of glacial lakes, making it a paradise for water sports enthusiasts.
  8. Green City: Olsztyn is known for its green spaces and parks, providing a pleasant environment for residents and visitors to relax and enjoy nature.
  9. Amber Museum: The city is home to the Amber Museum, showcasing the history and significance of amber in the region and beyond. Amber is often referred to as “Baltic gold.”
  10. Regional Cultural Center: Olsztyn is a regional cultural hub with numerous theaters, galleries, and cultural events that promote the arts and heritage of Warmia-Masuria.