Once a city of heavy industry, it has recently transformed into a more modern business and science center. Much like Pittsburgh in the United States, the city used to be heavily associated with coal and steel but is now a multifaceted urban center known as much for its arts and culture as its industry and business.

Katowice is not a conventional tourist city but visitors will still find plenty of worthwhile ways to pass their time. If you enjoy seeing 19th-century industrial buildings, Katowice is the place to go. One of the most notable spots is the Silesian Culture and Recreation Park. This park is so much more than pretty flowers and trees, although it does have plenty of greenery to spare. What sets this park apart are its other offerings that appeal to a variety of interests including science, culture, sports and, of course, nature.

This park is home to many of Katowice’s top attractions. In one part of the park, you will find the Silesian Zoological Garden. This massive space is home to more than 2,000 animals spanning 300 different species. Although there is a separate petting zoo area geared towards kids, the zoo itself is a big attraction for adults as well. Be sure to check out the dinosaur valley, where more than a dozen gigantic dinosaurs have been carefully reconstructed at full scale.

The park’s Silesian Planetarium and Astronomical Observatory is an astronomy lover’s dream. This planetarium, with its impressive 75-foot dome, is an ideal place to view projections and learn more about astronomy. This is Poland’s oldest and largest planetarium. The observatory gives visitors a real-time, highly magnified view of the sun and other celestial objects. For once, you can get a good look at the sun without damaging your eyes! You will also find an impressive astronomical library, exhibits, and classes on the grounds to complete the learning experience.

The park is also home to Poland’s biggest permanent amusement park, a shooting range, a stadium, fairgrounds, a rose garden, and a water sports center. There is also the open-air Ethnographic Park with cottages, farmsteads, churches, and relics that all paint a picture of agricultural life in Silesia long ago. Hotels, restaurants, and cafes round out the park’s offerings, making it easy to get around this part of Katowice.

The Katowice Historical Museum is one of the best museums in southern Poland. Guests are given special slippers to wear as they wander through the museum. Perhaps the most interesting part is the re-creation of the insides of typical houses from various classes in Katowice throughout its history. There is also a big archeological exhibition and a section devoted to religious art.

The Cathedral of Christ the King is Poland’s largest cathedral. The large sandstone building is much more beautiful inside than out and contains a large dome, beautiful stained glass, five bells, and a wheel-shaped crucifix. Katowice is also home to the Silesian Philharmonic and the Wyspianski Silesian Theater. There are also a surprising number of concert venues here that attract a variety of musical acts and festivals.

The city is well connected to other parts of Poland. It’s just 80 minutes by train from Krakow, and there are several trains per day that run between Katowice and Warsaw or Krakow. You can also get a direct train from other major European cities such as Vienna, Prague, and Berlin. Buses are another good option for getting to and from Katowice as well as getting around within the city itself.

Subscribe to our newsletter