Are you a football fan that expects something more than sports thrills when expecting World Cup games? Do you like street art? Are you looking for historical venues? Do you want to sightsee a one-of-a-kind museum or simply enjoy beachside relaxation? You could not choose better – cities hosting the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup are waiting for you!

Are you a football fan that expects something more than sports thrills when expecting World Cup games? Do you like street art? Are you looking for historical venues? Do you want to sightsee a one-of-a-kind museum or simply enjoy beachside relaxation? You could not choose better – cities hosting the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup are waiting for you!

Łódź

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The opening and final game of the tournament will be staged in Łódź, acting as a magnificent crowning moment of the city’s recent journey. In the nineteenth and twentieth century Łódź was one of the European capitals of the textile industry – a multi-cultural melting pot, a city of grand factories and splendid palaces of their owners. It is also worth adding that, unlike many other major metropolises of the period, Łódź literally became an overnight sensation. The hard times came when at the end of the previous century the city’s trademark business sector became almost entirely irrelevant. Nevertheless, in the last few years Łódź acted as a role model showing how to make a comeback and reclaim top position by achieving the status of a domestic leader in successive areas. Today Łódź is a city of art, the movies, a place that never stops changing. A destination appreciated and recognized in rankings – it recently placed second in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel ranking in the category of best value destination 2019!

In other words, when staying in Łódź make sure to explore the city’s backstory and visit the Central Textile Museum. Then, to get the whole picture of the city, stop by Manufaktura, its state-of-the-art heart focused on tourism, restaurants and shopping.

Lublin

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Our next stop is Lublin, a historical city whose building walls are adorned with veritable masterpieces. In the downtown, enormous reproductions of classic paintings decorate the walls of historical buildings – while there is a small chance that you will overlook them, keep in mind that they constitute one of the city’s absolute must-sees! In addition, even the smallest courtyards are worth a look – Lublin became a city of mural paintings, with many walls put at the disposal of local artists. Who knows what colourful surprises are in store?

If you would rather admire the city from atop, a climb up the Trinity Tower is definitely recommended and makes it possible to recognize just how many local historical monuments are closely connected with Jewish culture. This should not come as a surprise as, after all, Lublin was renowned for its multicultural character and known as the “Jewish Oxford” or the “Polish Jerusalem”. For hundreds of years it was one of Europe’s most important cities for the Jewish community. Today, Lublin continues to feature numerous related sites, such as the Centre for the Meetings of Culture and the Jewish Theatre.

Bydgoszcz

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Next on the list of intriguing host cities, perhaps still unexplored by foreign guests, is Bydgoszcz distinguished by built up areas located along rivers and canals. This is where you will admire, i.a. the oldest Polish canal. 

Both the city and its environs feature a wide range of military historical monuments shrouded in mystery and dating back to World War II, e.g. remnants of an explosives factory – an absolute can’t miss for all enthusiasts of such attractions. If you are looking for a slightly more original museum offer, you are also in for a real treat – the oft-awarded Museum of Soap and History of Dirt was already recognized by, i.a. National Geographic and Polish Tourism Organisation (Polska Organizacja Turystyczna – POT). Visitors to the museum can create their own aroma – this is the perfect place for all fans of unconventional museum highlights!

Gdynia

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From Bydgoszcz our special trail leads straight to Gdynia! In this case you are actually getting several cities in the price of one! Together with Gdańsk and Sopot, Gdynia creates the so-called Tri-City and constitutes one of the most popular seaside destinations in the country. Besides expansive beaches and walking areas, its offer also includes a landscape park, nature reserves, fairytale-like cliffs, manor houses, as well as parks.

When enjoying a walk along the seashore, be sure to pay attention to the docking Dar Młodzieży, the best-known Polish ocean-going sailing vessel known as the country’s “sea ambassador”. During the 37 years of its service the ship hosted numerous dignitaries and about 20,000 sea wolves-in-training from all over the world. This year Dar Młodzieży completed its second cruise around the world intending to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of Poland regaining independence. As in the majority of Polish cities, it is also recommended to make a thorough tour of the downtown, where you will find some of Gdynia’s most distinctive and intriguing architecture.

Bielsko-Biała

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The same holds true for Bielsko-Biała and its picturesque market square and narrow streets perfect for exploration without the assistance of any maps. A leisurely walk will also be a dream-come-true for all fans of historical churches, villas and town houses, not to mention mountain enthusiasts – the whole city is surrounded by mountain ranges.

If butterflies and beetles are your thing, you are in the right place – in the Naturalists House you will admire more than 20,000 insect specimens and almost half a thousand stuffed mammals and birds. Fortunately, it also offers exhibits for aficionados of living and breathing organisms – i.a. pheasants, roe deer or chinchillas. A true paradise for all nature lovers!

Tychy

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With a population of 130,000 residents, the Silesian city of Tychy is the smallest among the discussed World Cup hosts. Despite its relatively slight size, the town’s hospitality is on par with the rest of the country and guarantees a stay not easily forgotten! In Tychy the list of tourist must-sees includes, i.a. Lake Paprocańskie, an artificial water reservoir established in the eighteenth century to fulfil the requirements of local ironworks and today home to numerous plant and animal species. 

Nevertheless, the reason why Tychy is known all over the world is because this is where one of the most popular Polish beers is brewed. No wonder then that a brewing museum is perhaps the greatest highlight and a centrepiece of all tours of the city. In the summertime, the museum even hosts role-playing tours and you can sign up for workshops and – no worries! – tasting sessions all year round. And what goes better with football than beer? Soon you will find yourself that Poland deserves a place on the list of the world’s wonders, right next to football and beer!

See you at the table

Kuchnia540_360.jpgWe are happy to say that delicious, traditional and highly diverse cuisine is one of the reasons for Poland’s worldwide popularity. A wise Polish proverb (“the way to a man's heart is through his stomach”) confirms that the exceptional flavours of our dishes offer a chance to convince foreign travelers that Poland truly is an exceptionally hospitable country full of friendly people!

If someone needs any further convincing that Poland is worth visiting, then luckily the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup is almost here to act as prime-rate opportunity! While football fans probably do not need any additional incentives, we hope that other tourists will also treat it as a great pretext to find out for themselves that they are dealing with a destination that is definitely worth exploring!

Already Euro 2012 showed Poland as a tournament host passing the exam with flying colours. Poles welcomed spectators from all over the world with a highly open attitude and made sure that everyone were treated in a remarkably warm and friendly manner. There were no complaints about transportation either, as planes, cars, trains and coaches were all operating flawlessly. The seven years that passed since the fondly remembered event marked a period of Poland’s remarkably dynamic development. All guests who will honour us by visiting the country during the U-20 World Cup – or at any other time – will have a chance to learn it on their own. The playing pitch is perhaps the only place where a relaxing and peaceful ambience is not to be expected!

Since we have already agreed on all the obvious issues, the time has come to sit down at the table. It might be common knowledge that football is a matter of life and death, but then food is needed to survive. Fortunately, Polish cuisine is famous for meeting the most demanding quality-related requirements, so culinary tourism fans (isn’t that everyone?) will find something for themselves during the World Cup. And where will they feast their senses? Thanks to a well thought-out selection of city hosts, guests from abroad will get to know both the specific character of highlander cuisine (in Bielsko-Biała close Poland’s southern border) and its seaside counterpart (in the northernmost Gdynia). The menu opening and closing the games will be served in the centrally-located Łódź.

When staying in Lublin make sure to try out cebularz. A simple – and rather unfavourable – way of describing it would be to compare it to an onion-flavoured pizza. With roots in Jewish cuisine, the flatbread with finely chopped onion and poppyseed is a true eye-opener! Protected by European Union’s rules on regional specialties, it even has its very own Lublin-set museum launched in 2017.

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The Silesian town of Tychy welcomes all arrivals with a highly diverse regional cuisine. Silesian dumplings, balls made of boiled potatoes and flour, are among the most popular and distinctive dishes which you simply have to try. As a rule they are served with meat rouladen.

In the seaside city of Gdynia, fish should naturally be your first choice! You need to sample herring dishes, probably Poland’s most popular option (especially in combination with alcohol beverages). In addition, many local restaurants specialise in fish soups. In other words – fish for everyone in all possible forms!

A soup is also a great way to kick off your stay in Łódź, home to what was once one of the most popular rustic soups, zalewajka - sour rye made from sourdough bread  is flowed over potatoes and… everything else that you have at the reach of your hand. It owes its popularity to how easily and quickly it can be prepared and the availability of ingredients – besides potatoes, the basic list also includes onion, often dried mushrooms and… whatever else matches the flavor composition.

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If you fell in love with Silesian dumplings in Tychy, then in the area of Łódź you might try another potato-based option – prażoki. And if it is dessert time, make sure to try out a splendid regional delicacy – carrot gingerbread.

The area of Bydgoszcz is recommended for, i.a. meat lovers. Excellent goose meat is among the local favourites, but fans of sweets will also find intriguing alternatives – regional plum jam is highly acclaimed and the near-by Toruń is the world capital of gingerbread.

In Bielsko-Biała mountaineers serve food to all weary travelers. What this means is a prominent presence of cabbage (i.a. in soups), mouth-watering potato pancakes, a lot of meat (goulashes!) and exquisite sheep cheeses.

The experience of Polish cuisine can be compared to that of Poland itself – you only need to get a little taste of it to find it irresistible. In addition, it keeps you coming back for more! We will be seeing you at the stadiums and then at the tables!

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