History and modernity combine in spectacular fashion in the dynamic capital of the Łódzkie province, where Poland’s third-largest city delights visitors with its rich variety of tourist attractions…

Basic information
293,25 km²
664 860 (2020)

From Textiles and Trams to Murals and Movies

Why HollyŁódź? What did the factories produce? Where are the most interesting murals? Tourists will find the answers to these and many other questions in this wonderfully charismatic city, located right in the heart of Poland.

It seems like all Polish roads lead to Łódź – after all, the city lies at the junction between the two main motorways: the A1 and A2. Full of contrasts, immersed in greenery, and boasting amazing avant-garde installations, the city is currently enjoying its second youth. Although the settlement here received its town charter from King Ladislaus Jagiełłon all the way back in 1423, the town didn’t experience rapid development until just 200 years ago. As a result of the enormous investment and the incredible hard work of Jews, Germans, Russians and Poles, Łódź grew to become Europe’s main textile manufacturing centre, as depicted by Andrzej Wajda in his famous film The Promised Land. Factory owners built their elegant palaces beside their production buildings, a few dozen of which can be admired to this day. Most noteworthy among them is Izrael Poznański’s insanely opulent palace, situated next to his former textile factory, which has been reborn as the Manufaktura complex.

The Top Two Places to Be

Manufaktura is a favourite spot for both locals and visitors. This showstopping red-brick, multi-storey shopping mall and leisure centre has been brought to life thanks to an epic renovation project of former industrial textile factories. In addition to several bars, restaurants and cafes, the complex includes a theatre and cinema, the ms2 Art Museum and the Factory Museum, which recounts the long and interesting history of the site. The enviable list of attractions also includes a climbing wall, bowling alley, an urban beach with deckchairs and a zip line offering a bird’s-eye view of Manufaktura for braver visitors. You also get a really great view from the glass-enclosed swimming pool in the loft-style Andel’s hotel. This isn’t for the faint-hearted though; the pool is found on the rooftop of the hotel, 25 metres above ground, where a cast-iron firefighting water tank once stood, in the former spinning mill of Poznański’s factory.

Equally popular is Piotrkowska Street – Poland’s longest promenade, lined with boutiques, clubs, pubs and statues of famous Polish artists; the most spectacular of which portrays Artur Rubinstein playing the piano. This is an obligatory photo opportunity you won’t be able to resist! Vibrant by day and buzzing at night, no matter what time of year you visit, Piotrkowska Street is the chosen venue for dozens of events, which include: the Hokus Pokus Festival of Street Art and Magic; the Light Move Festival; the Songwriter Festival and the Łódź of Four Cultures Festival, to name just a few. Keep your eye out for Łódź’s very own walk of fame, known here as the Avenue of Stars.

The traditional sights are definitely worth visiting but be sure to check out the city’s alternative scene as well, Łódź is actually known as something of a Mecca for hipsters! Places to head to include Off Piotrkowska and Piotrkowska 217. If you’re partial to a good monument, Łódź doesn’t disappoint: check out the Citizens at the Turn of the Millennium, Citizens of the New Millennium and Identity monuments.

The Tenth Muse

There can be no talk of Łódź without mentioning the movie industry, of course. Graduates of the renowned Łódź Film School include Roman Polański, Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Kieślowski. The staircase where the future artists used to once sit now features plaques with their names.

The city’s backstreets have themselves been used as locations for over 200 films, both national and international, and the city plays proud host to the prestigious Drama School Festival.

The Se-Ma-For studio, which has won two Academy Awards and specialises in animated cartoons for children, (e.g Peter and the Wolf), is where Tomek Bagiński’s Cathedral was made, as well as his Animated History of Poland, which promoted the country at the World Expo. Łódź’s film tradition is presented at the Film Museum (which is currently closed under renovation until the end of 2020). There is also a special film trail dedicated to avid fans.

The Station with a Story

Prepare yourself before you visit Radegast Station. It’s a site of great historical importance but is emotionally harrowing nonetheless. A broken column whose shape evokes a crematorium chimney is the entrance into the Tunnel of Memory, a sombre site filled with photos of Holocaust victims. This is the most shocking and heart-breaking part of Radegast Station, through which some 145,000 people, mainly Jews, passed on their way to concentration camps and their met their inevitable fate. The wooden station building, with a row of matzevahs (tombstones) in the background, houses a model of Litzmannstadt Getto – the Łódź Ghetto. Of the more than 200,000 Jews imprisoned there, sadly very few survived. They are commemorated in the Survivors’ Park with the Monument to Poles Who Saved Jews and more than 600 “trees of memory” planted by survivors. Other remembrance sites include the Jewish Cemetery (Poland’s largest), the Children’s Martyrdom Monument and the Romani Forge, situated on the site where the Germans set up a camp for Roma and Sinti people.

A Universe to Discover

Perfect for visitors of all ages, Łódź is home to the most modern planetarium in Poland and a fascinating Science and Technology Centre, both housed in the remarkable EC1 building, which bears more than a passing resemblance to Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory! The ultra-modern complex occupies the restored buildings of what used to be a power plant and is also where the exhibitions of the National Centre for Film Culture and the Centre for Cartoons and Interactive Narration are due to open in 2020.

Too Many Murals to Mention

Łódź and street art go hand in hand. So much so in fact, that the Łódź Tourism Organisation has produced a map dedicated specially to finding pieces of street art. It includes more than 150 murals, sculptures and art installations made from metal bars, car parts, pieces of mirror and even moss, all dotted around the city. The map is a great guide, enabling visitors to admire many large-sized works of art featured on the walls of buildings, by street artists from both Poland (Proembrion, M-City, Etam) and abroad (Osgemeos, Eduardo Kobra, Inti, Aryz, Remed). These myriad murals have been created over the years, for example during the Urban Forms Gallery Festival and, before that, the International Graffiti Festival. Save enough camera battery for the biggest wow factor of all: the first 3D mural in Poland and one of just three in the world by Italian artist Awer, found on the wall of the building at 93 Pomorska St in all of its multicolour glory.

Looking for Fun?

Glamping enthusiasts will never forget a night in a bubble – a lightbulb-shaped see-through tent in the Łódź Hills Landscape Park, where you can engage in some uninterrupted stargazing, surrounded by the sounds of nature. Fans of retro-style sightseeing can also choose to ride on a historical tram along the Tourist Tram Line. These adorable vintage relics almost demand you take their photo. Consider yourself a thrill-seeker? Why not try the year-round toboggan run on Rudzka Hill – it’s bound to get your adrenaline going!

In 2017 Łódź was inducted into the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and named UNESCO City of Film. Lonely Planet named Łódź as the 2nd Best Value Destination for 2019.