Łódź

Łódź (Pronounced: Wootch) is Poland's third biggest city, and the capital of the Łódzkie Voivodship. Unlike most other large Polish cities, which boast impressive long histories, Łódź was created almost from scratch during the 19th century textile industry boom to house textile mills, their owners and their workers, and rapidly grew to become an important industrial and commerce centre. In recent years, Łódź has been battling rising unemployment and youth migration resulting from the failing textile industry and is repositioning itself as a hub for design and creative industries.

Owing to its history, Łódź boasts an impressive collection of residential, commercial and industrial 19th-century architecture including some of Europe's largest factory buildings, now mostly repurposed as shopping centres or lofts. Recent local investment and a long-standing cultural scene ensures there is always something more to do than just sightseeing or shopping, with the city hosting some of the best museums and art galleries in the country. The close proximity of Warsaw and Łódź's location at the crossroads of the Polish motorway system make it an ideal destination for a day trip or longer city break.

Understand

Historic fire station in Księży Młyn area

Name and history

The exact origin of the city's name is unknown, however, the word łódź translates to "boat" in English. This is referred to in the emblem and when you hear the dwellers of Łódź (łodzianin (man) łodzianka (woman) łodzianie (plural)) calling themselves "the boat people".

A settlement on the area of present-day Łódź was first established in the 14th century and in 1423 it was granted a town charter, along with the right to have a marketplace. However, the real development of Łódź started with the industrial era at the beginning of the 19th century when the city was chosen to be the heart of the rapidly-growing textile industry. The population of Łódź soared from some 4,000 people in the 1830s and 40,000 in 1865 to over 300,000 inhabitants at the turn of the century, which was an unprecedented growth on a worldwide scale.

The rapid development of Łódź in the second half of the 19th century was brought about by the rise of enormous industrialist fortunes. New inhabitants, craftsmen and merchants came to Łódź; markets and town fairs came to life. The profits obtained from prosperous textile mills opened up practically unlimited possibilities for their owners. The city residences became expressions of the riches and power of the local tycoons. They were usually situated next to the owner's factory.

Ever since the industrial revolution brought a massive influx of workforce, Łódź had been a city almost equally divided between four cultures - Polish, Jewish, German and Russian. The day before the outbreak of World War II, Łódź was inhabited by approximately 672,000 people, among whom 35% were of Jewish faith and some 15% were ethnic German. Andrzej Wajda's movie, Promised Land based on a novel by the Nobel laureate Władysław Reymont, depicts those times and is a worthwhile introduction to the city's bustling history.

During the Nazi occupation, Łódź was incorporated directly into the Third Reich. The city was renamed to Litzmannstadt, and Piotrkowska Street was called Adolf-Hitler-Strasse. The Jewish community was practically wiped out, and many others lost their lives. Although the city was not destroyed in the aftermath, the material losses were serious as the machinery, raw materials and finished goods were taken away by the fleeing Nazis. The day before the liberation, about 80,000 Germans left Łódź in panic. At the beginning of 1945, the number of population was estimated at 300,000.

Plac Wolności

Łódź today

Since the fall of communism in Poland, Łódź has not enjoyed the rapid economic growth cities like Kraków, Warsaw and Wrocław have experienced, and has had to endure the fall of much of its textile industry, rising unemployment and emigration (both within Poland and abroad). This led to further dilapidation of the investment-starved city, and many of its streets and buildings show profound signs of neglect. At first glance, for a city of 760,000 and agglomeration of 1.428,000, there does not seem to be much to see. However, the situation is rapidly changing now with Łódź campaigning and redesigning itself as an up-and-coming destination. To accomplish this, Łódź has been capitalizing on its film history - Łódź is jokingly referred to as the "HollyŁódź" of Poland and hosts several film festivals and many other cultural events.

Łódź today may not have the glitz and glamour of its heyday; however, there is a certain charm to Łódź in its partially renovated façades and leitmotivs, not to mention its grand artistic traditions.

Orientation

The main tourist office is located at Piotrkowska 87 Street. You should also be able to get a map and some tips at the airport.

Łódź is divided into five districts:

Śródmieście encompasses most of the historic architecture and points of interest. There is not much for a tourist to see outside of Śródmieście and areas directly neighbouring its borders.

Get in

By plane

  Łódź Władysław Reymont Airport (IATA: LCJ) is one of the smallest airports in Poland. It is located in the Polesie district, approximately 6 km from the city center. As of 2014, it sees very limited connections, mainly served by Ryanair to Dublin, London Stansted, East Midlands and Oslo Rygge, as well as by Adria Airways to Munich, from where one can connect to the vast Star Alliance network. Apart from that, the airport serves seasonal and charter flights to holiday destinations.

To travel between the city and the airport:

The marginalisation of Łódź's own airport is due to the proximity of the Warsaw's Chopin Airport (WAW), which offers a wide range of European and intercontinental flights. Warsaw's other airport, Modlin Airport (served by Ryanair only), is farther away. ModlinBus offers a direct connection between Łódź and both airports.

By train

See also Poland#By train

By car

Łódź lies at the centre of Poland's road and highway system. The nearby city of Stryków is important motorway junction, where two of the most important motorways cross each other:

The planned A8 highway to Wrocław has been downgraded in plans to S8 expressway.

By bus

Polski bus serves Berlin, Prague, Warsaw, Wrocław and Poznań. They offer free onboard wifi and the tickets should be bought online beforehand for the best price.

Eurolines serves many European routes.

There is number of small minibus and bus companies that offer connections between Łódź and number of cities (big and small) around Poland. There also minibuses that go to Okęcie airport. Polski Express and ELA that used to connect Łódź to Warsaw and other major cities do not operate anymore. You should be able to find most up to date information on Łódź Kaliska station.

Get around

The Ultimate Trams

Łódź was one of the first cities in Poland to have a tramway system in 1898 and today has one the longest tram links in Europe between Zdrowie and Ozorków (line 46).

On foot

Depending on your level of fitness, you can see the whole of the city center without needing any transport. However, for some attractions like the Old Jewish Cemetery or Botanical Garden you will be better off taking a bus.

Please be aware that in winter snow is sometimes not removed from the sidewalks, resulting in a mixture of snow and mud. Be sure to bring waterproof shoes if you plan to travel on foot in the winter.

By bike

Currently, there is no bicycle sharing system implemented in Łódź (it's starting in summer 2016), but there are quite good bike paths connecting extreme points of the city. If you have your own bike, be careful to chain it when not using it. For more information, please contact Łódzka Masa Krytyczna or Rowerowa Łódź who promote bike riding in the city.

You will find a map of bike paths here . Different path colors mean different road pavings.

Public transport

The public transport system is operated by MPK-Łódź (apart from two bus lines: 6 and 58, operated by other companies, but the same tickets are valid; don't mistake the bus line 6 with the tram line 6, which has the same number, but is operated by MPK). It is definitely the cheapest way of moving around the city. The descriptions on the bus and tram stops are in Polish only, but they should be easy to follow. See the Polish phrasebook if you feel uncomfortable. Click here for MPK's official site . For schedules of buses and trams see also jakdojade.pl (available also in English). Outside of the rush hour (7-9AM and 15-18 PM), the public transport is quite efficient and runs on time. During the rush hours and in winter (during snowy conditions) be prepared for some delays.

It is divided into two ticket zones: inner city and suburban (the division doesn't concern 40 minute and 60 minute time tickets). The inner city tickets are valid within the city borders, while the suburban ones - in the neighbouring towns and villages serviced by the Łódź public transport system (with the exception of the towns of Zgierz and Pabianice, which will be explained later on).

Some of the lines have also a shorter version denoted with a letter after the line number (for example A, B etc.). The general rule is that a version without letters is the longest one, "A" is the shortest one and "B", "C" etc. are consecutively longer then "A". But it sometimes doesn't hold - there are lines in case of which an "A" version of a line is considerably different from the original variant. Some variants of lines aren't denoted by a letter after the line number at all. Always check the timetable, where all the information is always included.

Current ticket prices for inner city (valid until 31 October 2015)

  • 20 minute (valid for 40 minutes1) regular ticket 2.60 PLN,
  • 40 minute (valid for 60 minutes1) regular ticket 3.40 PLN,
  • 24 hour regular ticket 12.00 PLN,
  • 3 day regular ticket 30.20 PLN,
  • weekly regular ticket 45.20 PLN,
  • single ride ticket is 3.80 PLN.

1 - since 20 June 2013 validity period of these tickets has been extended due to renovation works, but they are still marked as "20 minute" and "40 minute".

Every short-term ticket allows you to change the vehicle an unlimited number of times within the ticket time (waiting time at the bus stop also counts, so be careful if you have a "short" ticket and a long connection!). If using the single ride ticket, you are not permitted to change the vehicle. But usually the time tickets are more affordable than the single ride ones.

If you use short-term time tickets, you can mix various ticket denominations to obtain the ticket you want (up to the 24 hour ticket, e.g. you can validate two 24 hour reduced tickets (6 PLN) one after another to get a 24 hour adult ticket that costs 12 PLN). All the reduced fare tickets (50% off the regular price) can be used only if you have valid documentation with yourself (e.g. a student ID of Polish university or an ISIC card) as it will be requested during the ticket control.

Remember to validate your ticket immediately after you enter a bus or a tram - it should be the first thing you do. It is also strongly recommended that you buy your tickets beforehand in numerous newspaper kiosks and small groceries. Most of the vehicles (except those operating bus lines: 6 and 58) are equipped with ticket machines, but remember that some of them accept only cash, some of them accept cash and contactless payment cards and some of them accept only payment cards (both contactless and traditional ones). If there is no machine, you can usually buy the ticket from the driver (but again, except from the buses: 6 and 51). In such a situation you have to, however, have an accurate amount of cash prepared and only single ride tickets are available. Beware that the lack of possibility to buy a ticket onboard isn't any explanation in case of a ticket control.

Tickets valid for longer than 24 hours are written on the electronic card called "Migawka", you can buy them only in special points, listed here: . Tickets valid for longer than 7 days are available in two versions - bearer and personal. Personal tickets are cheaper, but they must be ordered in advance (online or in one of 6 points ) and you must attach a photo.

There are also several mobile phone payment systems for buying single ride and short-term tickets. Callpay uses premium numbers (there is no need to register or download any application), while Mpay, Mobilet, Skycash and Unibank all offer pre-paid e-purses accessible through a mobile phone application. Unfortunately, only Skycash offers an English website, but there is still no English application.

Travelling with any luggage (within reason) or a bicycle is free of charge. During the summer, there is a special summer schedule with reduced number of departures for most of the lines.

All traffic info (mainly disruptions) is posted in real-time on the Facebook page MPK-Łódź Traffic.

By tram

A Łódź tram

The tram network consists of 19 tram lines. If there is a change in the schedule (in other words, if something fails), the substitute bus lines are marked with either the Z or KZ abbreviation (for "komunikacja zastępcza" - "substitute transport"), or the number of the substituted tram. The tram line map is here . Currently, due to the renovations of the tram tracks, some lines have been closed and are served by substitute buses. Such long-term substitute buses are marked with the letter Z and a number, often being a number of the replaced tram line - for example Z5 for a bus substituting the tram number 5 (but it's not a rule). The current map is here .

Tourist Tram Line

Łódź has one of the oldest tram networks in Poland which date 19th century. One of the attractions during the summer is taking the 'Tourist Tram Line' (43) , which goes from the stop at Telefoniczna through the Liberty Square in Łódź (beginning of Piotrkowska street) and the town of Konstantynów Łódzki to the village of Lutomiersk. Suburban Łódź public transport tickets are valid.

By bus

The buses are the backbone of the public transport in Łódź. Almost all of the buses are the easily accessible low-floor buses. The bus line map is here .

Night buses

There are 7 night bus lines and they serve extreme points of the city. There is no fare increase compared to other public transport services, so you can use ordinary tickets on the night lines. It is important to note that all the night lines have a common stop at Kościuszki/Zielona intersection and depart every hour starting at 22:30 on weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends. Be fast to board your bus as they stand in a long line and all depart at the same time! The night bus map is here .

Suburban trams and buses

The public transport system of Łódź is present not only in the city of Łódź, but it also connects the city with neighbouring towns and villages. It is divided into two zones: inner city and suburban one (the division doesn't concern 40-minute and 60-minute time tickets). Furthermore, the towns of Zgierz and Pabianice have their own public transport systems and their own tickets. What is more, the public transport systems of these towns are connected with the one of Łódź by a few suburban tram and bus lines. When you are leaving the borders of Łódź, it is important to know, which tickets you should use.

The suburban tickets of the public transport of Łódź are valid in:

The tickets of the public transport of Pabianice are valid in:

The tickets of the public transport of Zgierz are valid in:

Travelling from Łódź to Zgierz by one of the bus lines: 6 or 51, you have to validate a new ticket at the border stop (marked in the timetable with a hash: #).

Travelling from Łódź to towns and villages other than Zgierz by buses and to all the other towns and villages (including Zgierz) by trams, you have to have a ticket for the suburban zone beginning at least from the border stop (marked in the timetable with a hash: #). If you possess for example a monthly inner city ticket of Łódź, and you are going to Zgierz by tram (16 or 46), you have to validate a 40-minute Łódź ticket (or another one that is valid in the suburban zone) at the Helenówek stop. Of course, you can have a suburban zone ticket for the whole journey, including the part within Łódź.

The list of the lines crossing the border of Łódź, where the Łódź suburban tickets are valid, together with the names of the border stops, is available here (the webpage is in Polish, but the list is clearly visible): .

By car

Driving in Łódź is quite easy and the rules of the road are adhered to. Be aware that pedestrians and bicycles have a right-of-way on pedestrian and bike crossings. During the rush hour, on the main arterial roads (Mickiewicza, Kopcińskiego, Pabianicka, Włokniarzy, Jana Pawła II, Paderewskiego, Śmigłego-Rydza, Rzgowska, Kościuszki, Strykowska and Zgierska) large traffic jams form.

There is a number of local and international car rental agencies that may arrange a car for you when you arrive at the airport . When parking in the city center within the marked paid parking area, make sure you pay the parking fee. The fee is 2.00 PLN per every hour (or 10 PLN per day or 40 PLN per week). You only have to pay when you park between 8:00 and 18:00 on weekdays, and weekends and holidays are free. You may also park on a privately-owned parking lot in the center. A parking attendant will approach you then and put a piece of paper behind the wiper with the time you started parking. When leaving, you will have the pay the fee - it is usually the same as for the public parking (or slightly more).

You can buy a daily pass directly at the parking lot, but to buy at least a weekly pass, you will need to go to Zarząd Dróg i Transportu (Road and Transport Authority) located at ul. Piotrkowska 171/173 (Tuesdays 9:30-16:00, every other weekday 8:30-15:30) and buy it there.

Taxis

Taxis are another option to consider, and are quite cheap for a westerner. However, one should be sure that there is a taxi sign atop the cab and that the driver has a permit. 9622, 600400400 and 9191 are some of the known companies and they all have exactly same prices.

Rickshaws

On Piotrkowska Street, you can travel any distance on a rickshaw for 2.50 zł per person. It gets to 4.00 zł in the night and most of the rikshaw drivers will take you out of Piotrkowska if you offer to pay more.

See

Łódź is well known for its architectural monuments which form a record of the city's heritage, particularly its unique nineteenth century development. Since 1989, the city of Łódź has rediscovered its industrial heritage, a unique ensemble of architecture, preserved despite two World Wars.

Piotrkowska Street
  • Łódź Walk of Fame (Aleja Gwiazd), ul. Piotrkowska (Between 6 Sierpnia Street and Rubinstein Passage). Being the Polish Hollywood, Łódź has its own Walk of Fame. Some of the names are Pola Negri, Roman Polański or Andrzej Wajda.
  • The Decalogue Memorial (Pomnik Dekalogu w Łodzi), ul. Kilinskiego 56 (In the Staromiejski Park). It is a tribute to the coexistence of Poles and Jews. The memorial is located close to the Old Market Square in Staromiejski Park.

Palaces and mansions

Poznański Palace, Art Museum

Former factories

One of the renovated buildings in Manufaktura centre

Religious buildings

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Remains of matzevas at Jewish cemetery
  • Karol Scheibler's Chapel (Kaplica Karola Scheiblera), ul. Ogrodowa 43 (Evangelical - Augsburg part of the Old Cemetery). This chapel was for a long time neglected and its condition deteriorated, however, today, works are on the way to improve its past glory.

Museums & Art Galleries

Łódź has a surprisingly large amount of museums for a city of its size and background, which strengthens its claim as a hotbed of culture and ensures there is always somewhere to go for a visitor. Most charge a small fee, though these are good value by western standards.

Museum of Textiles (White Factory)
Inside underground Sewage System Museum Dętka
Also in the complex is the Open-air Museum of the Łódź Wooden Architecture.
The view on the Old Market Square from Park Staromiejski

Parks

One of the "greenest" cities in Poland, Łódź is home to 34 public parks - 11 of which are natural monuments - and one of the largest city forests in Europe located within the city borders. Perhaps the most interesting ones are:

Do

Having been primarily promoted as a centre of creative industries (arts, design, fashion), the city hosts a considerable number of cultural events throughout the year on a range of subject matter. If you are travelling not just to see beautiful architecture, but to also experience a plethora of local events, Łódź is a great place to be.

Festivals

The annual 'Light Move' festival

Leisure

Cinemas

Theatres

The city's theatre scene can be considered a jewel in its cultural crown and includes a diverse range of shows and productions.

Live music

Łódź Philharmonic

Tango

Milongas usually take place on Mondays in Oranżada on ul. Piotrkowska 67 and on Sundays in Klub Mojito on ul. Piotrkowska 143. They usually start at 7-8PM and don't last longer than till 10-12. Several long and short tango courses are usually organized trough the year .

Sports


Buy

The vast rate of improvements made over the past two decades mean Łódź may in fact be Poland’s top shopping destination (but don't tell that to someone from Warsaw!). Whether one is in search of American-style malls, designer boutiques, dusty family stores or antique markets, there is much to be explored and it is likely you will need more than a day to experience it all!

Shopping areas

Malls

Inside the Manufaktura

Łódź has a good number of shopping malls. The most notable are:

Markets

If you are up to buying groceries, clothes or anything else on a real market, these are the places to go:

Clothes

You will find numerous shops offering wedding dresses in Łódź. This is a derivative of Łódź being once a very large textile center. The "wedding district" is located on ul. Jaracza, ul. Sienkiewicza and ul. Kilińskiego, but you will also find other shops all around the city. If you buy something directly off-shelf, you may get a very good price (usually less than €250). It is cheaper if you decide to buy in autumn as it is considered to be the low season.

For groom clothes, you can visit either Ptak Trading Center, Polros or Pawis shop where you can get a tailor-made suit (but it usually takes a few weeks). There is also Sunset Suits and Armani stores in Manufaktura mall that tailor wedding garments. Again, if you buy off-shelf, the price is highly competitive.

Eat

Łódź has culinary influence from all over the world and it is actually quite difficult to find explicitly Polish cuisine if you do not dine in the most expensive places. For the cheapest food, it is best to go to one of the numerous kebab or Yem joints. For something a bit healthier, you can easily get a tasty sandwich for around 6-8 PLN. Polish cuisine does not have any cheap 'fast food' meals, so if you want to try something definitely Polish, it is wise to invest a bit more money and go to a splurge restaurant. They are costly only by Polish standards.

The cheaper option would be to look for a 'Pierogarnia' (or ask someone about it). There are many of such places in Łódź and they sell Polish dumplings. The price is usually very competitive.

Food shopping

If you are not dining out, the cheapest way to buy food is in one of the numerous hypermarkets in Łódź. The most popular brands are Tesco, Carrefour, Real or E.Leclerc. If you are on budget, you can go to Biedronka or Lidl. If you are prepared to spend some more money and buy some better produce, go to Bomi, Alma or Piotr i Paweł. The last three shops are 100% Polish-owned, so it is recommendable that you shop there.

If you want to support the local economy, please buy at small grocery stores.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Łódź is known for its excellent night scene. Nightlife is concentrated in the city center (Piotrkowska Street, Kościuszki Street and the adjoining streets). There are dozens of pubs and restaurants there. Another focal point is Manufaktura where many festivals and public concerts take place (but it usually closes much earlier).

Coffee

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under 100 PLN
Mid-range 100 PLN to 300 PLN
Splurge Over 300 PLN

Łódź lacks cheap hostel accommodation, but with generally low prices for the mid-range hotels, everyone should be able to find something suiting their needs. A few years ago, the situation on the hotel market was very poor indeed and there were no 4-star hotels. Nevertheless, when andel's hotel was built, the situation has dramatically changed and now every year new high-end hotels are being built. It may be wise to choose one of the hotels in the city center as this will reduce the time you need to spend on the public transport or in taxis. Łódź is a fairly compact city, and while most attractions are located centrally, you need to travel some distances to a few other attractions that are on the outskirts.

Budget


Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

Postal service

There are numerous post offices in Łódź. The main post office is located on Tuwima 38 Street in a century-old building. Do not be misguided by the name, the main post office is not open 24/7 (but the one next to Łódź Kaliska station is).

Internet

There are some Internet cafes on Piotrkowska and nearby streets and most bars and restaurants have WiFi, just ask the staff. There's also free WiFi in Manufaktura centre and at Łódź Airport.

Stay safe

Łódź has a rough reputation among Polish people from other cities, largely thanks to well-publicized events that shocked Poland in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Today, Łódź is a safe place. Contrary to typical newcomer's fears, the crime rate is relatively low and according to statistics is much lower than in any other large city in Poland (only 39 crimes per 1000 citizens were reported in the city in 2008). Also, violent crime is very rare. Some basic advice though:

Watch out for pickpockets. A common trick for thieves is to operate in groups and create artificial crowds on buses and trams which distract their victims' attention prior to being pickpocketed. Also, do not leave your belongings unattended and keep you wallet in your front pockets.

Do not visit the city parks after dark. During the day you are perfectly safe, but almost all city parks are open also during the night and there have been reported cases of muggings.

Avoid the following places. Even though the city is safe, the locals will tell that you should avoid certain places if going alone. These are: Włókiennicza Street (also a small part of Wschodnia and Kilińskiego Streets that is in the proximity of Włókiennicza), Abramowskiego Street, Solna Street and Limanowskiego Street.

Avoid displaying football-related emblems. The hooligan scene in Łódź is quite large and very divided. You never know who you will meet, so it is safer to keep your football affections to yourself. This is especially important during the local derby between ŁKS and Widzew football clubs. This advice holds for every Polish city.

Be careful when using pedestrian crossings. Even though pedestrians have right-of-way on pedestrian crossings, some Polish drivers do not respect that. So please be careful and always make sure that there are no cars approaching when you decide to cross the street. This applies to all Polish cities.

Beggars

Łódź hasn't been developing residentially quite as rapidly as some other more successful Polish cities recently and has some of the most deprived urban areas in Poland, but such issues are handled by the government and (especially) NGOs.

Do not ever give any money to beggars. This advice should apply to any Polish, European or global city. There is always the possibility of such individuals being thieves looking to take advantage or "professionals", who make up to $1–2k/month during the tourist season (quite a salary in Poland).

If you are keen to help, consider donating to an accountable charity, like the Polish Red Cross or Caritas Polska. If you still want to give something to a beggar, offer buying food for them (and notice their reaction).

Cope

Łódź is a safe and friendly city, very eager to receive foreign visitors. The average English level of Łódź residents is high, especially among young people. Older generations are more fluent in Russian and German. However, directions to major sights are not well-marked and you are best off with a map at hand. Do not be afraid of asking directions, as people will almost always try their best to help you! It will be very well perceived if you learn at least a few Polish words like "dziękuję" (thank you) or "proszę" (please). See the phrasebook for more Polish words and their pronunciation.

Religious services

Consulates

Laundries

Go next

Łowicz regional costumes

Useful for day trips:

Large cities nearby:

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, February 12, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.