Bydgoszcz (German: Bromberg) is a major city of 360 000 in Poland. Together with the city of Toruń, they share the duties of the capital city of Kujawsko-Pomorskie. The two cities, only 45 km apart, form a large urban area of 850,000, including smaller towns between and around them.
Bydgoszcz is the seat of Casimir the Great University, University of Technology and Life Sciences and a conservatory as well as a Collegium Medicum of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. Bydgoszcz has a famous Concert Hall (Filharmonia Pomorska), opera house Opera Nova and presents varied architecture which wasn't badly damaged by the World War II.
Bydgoszcz lies about 350 km from nearest border.
City rights were granted to Bydgoszcz on April 19, 1346. The city increasingly saw an influx of Jewish population after that date. In the 15th-16th centuries Bydgoszcz was a significant site for wheat trading.
In 1772 it was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia in the First Partition of Poland and incorporated into the Netze District as Bromberg and, later, West Prussia. During this time, a canal was built from Bromberg to Nakło.
In 1807, after the defeat of Prussia by Napoleon, and the signing of the Treaty of Tilsit, Bromberg became part of the Duchy of Warsaw. In 1815 it returned to Prussian rule as part of the autonomous Grand Duchy of Poznań (the Province of Posen after 1848) and the capital of the Bromberg region. After 1871 the city was part of the German Empire. After World War I and the Great Poland Uprising, Bromberg was assigned to Poland in 1919. In 1938 it was made part of the Pomeranian Voivodeship.
From 1939-45 during World War II, Bydgoszcz was retaken by Nazi Germany, in the Invasion of Poland and annexed to the Reichsgau Wartheland. On September 3, 1939, shortly after the war started, the Bromberg Bloody Sunday incident occurred in which numerous Germans and Poles were killed; the incident was used in Nazi propaganda and reprisals against the Poles followed after Bydgoszcz was occupied by the Wehrmacht on September 9. The city's Jewish citizens were repressed and thousands of people were sent to concentration camps and/or executed.
In 1945 Bydgoszcz was retaken by the Soviet army.
People of Bydgoszcz were usually born there, as it is not a popular immigration destination, nor it is chosen frequently by students.
Inhabitants of the city are generally very friendly towards tourists and foreigners. This applies to younger part of population, especially, as Bydgoszcz participates in many youth exchange projects. One won't miss a chance to give tips to a tourist or even show them around, just to prove the old stereotype - that the city is not too pretty - wrong.
Most of the young people and teenagers know English well enough. When asking for directions, your best aim would be a person in their twenties. Older people will often speak German.
Some official information, like bus and tram schedules, is provided in both Polish, English and German. When no information in English is available, locals will readily help translating or providing the information necessary. Same applies to restaurants - even if no English menu is available, the staff most often will be ready to advise in English.
Virtually all interesting places are situated within the city centre. Map could be helpful, although is not necessarily needed.
There are four definite seasons to Bydgoszcz — summer being hot and humid (around 25-30°C). Winters are snowy with bitingly cold days (-5 to -15°C). Autumn is usually quite a rainy season. Best time to visit the city is between May and September.
Bydgoszcz has its own international airport, the [Ignacy Jan Paderewski Airport http://www.plb.pl/] Operates direct domestic and international flights. The airport sees only limited scheduled traffic to the British Isles and Germany, mostly operated by the low-fare airline Ryanair, and a feeder connection by Lufthansa. There are no flights to Warsaw.
The relatively low popularity of the Bydgoszcz Airport is in part due to the fact that Bydgoszcz is easy to reach from the larger airports of Poznań (140 km), Gdańsk (160 km) and Warsaw (280 km). Warsaw Chopin Airport in particular is the countries busiest airport with connections to almost all European capitals and other major cities, as well as intercontinental flights.
The city's main railway station is called Bydgoszcz Główna and lies approx. 1.5 kilometre from the main street of the city. Address of the station is ul. Zygmunta Augusta 7.
Bydgoszcz has direct train connections with all major Polish cities. Direct connections to other major cities:
There is also a night train between Bydgoszcz and Berlin, taking about 7 hours.
Many national roads lead to Bydgoszcz. The main ones are DK 10, DK 25, DK 80.
The long-distance bus station is situated in the city centre (ul. Jagiellońska 58) and provides a number of connections with almost every bigger city of Poland.
The city has a well developed bus and tram system. Tickets may be purchased from any of the little newsstands/kiosks around the city. Once on the tram or bus, you must validate your ticket in one of the ticket punchers located near the doors. there is also a water tram that serves as an attraction.
- Main Post Office, Jagiellońska 6. Old, neo-gothical building.
- Bazylika Św. Wincenta a Paulo, Aleje Ossolińskich 2 (It is a little walk from old town towards the area with parks and the conservatory), ☎ +48 52 58 58 913. English: St. Vincent a Paulo church. A ginormous church, that looks like a roman temple and palace in one.
- Town Hall, Jezuicka 1. Built in 1650's, extended at the beginning of the 18th century.
- Spichrze, Grodzka 7-11. Old garners, built at the end of the 18th century. They currently host Leon Wyczółkowski's gallery.
- Man crossing the river (left from the bridge as you walk towards old town). a Przechodzący przez rzekę sculpture, balancing on cords
- Muzeum Okręgowe im. Leona Wyczółkowskiego. Wonderful series of museums (art, history, ethnography) in a park on Mill Island. At a minimum the modern art museum should not be missed.
- Muzeum Wojsk Lądowych (Land Forces Museum), ul. Czerkaska 2 (at Gdańska street), ☎ +48 52 378-20-26, fax: +48 52 378-23-31. Exceptional war museum for its outdoors arsenal of tanks and rockets. In addition to that there is lots of information on 6th and 8th century history. Admission 5/2.5zł, Sun free.
- Museum of Soap and Dirt, ul. Długa 13-17. 12 zł.
- Botanic garden, ul. Gdańska 173-175 (east of the city, follow the road from the military base and head straight along the football stadium and it is just outside of town), ☎ +48 52 328 00 09. Large area rich of flora and fauna. See interesting nature such as rocks, water streams and lakes. There is more nearby, lesny park, a zoo and an amusement park.
- Camerimage. International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography. Usually starts in the last week of November. Former hosting cities Toruń (from 1993 to 1999) and Łódź (from 2000 to 2009).
The town square has a variety of good restaurants that are quite reasonably priced.
Dolce Vita (Italian), Stare Miasto, ul. Podwale (close to the Old Square). Best pizza in town!
Karczma Młyńska (Polish, traditional), Mennica 1, restaurant with a nice old world atmosphere right on the canal.
Meluzyna (Polish, traditional) ul. Gdańska 50, not directly on Gdańska, entrance around the corner on the right side. Best restaurant for quality and price relation, beef recommended.
Sami Swoi (Polish, traditional), old square (Stary Rynek), serves a variety of Polish specialties, including many types of pierogi. Their żurek (Polish rye soup) and golonka (pork knuckle) are quite good.
Sowa (international), off Old Square (Stary Rynek), serves a variety of Italian and Polish dishes, including pizza. One of the busiest restaurants on the main square.
Weranda, (Polish, international) right side to the park "Kazimierza Wielkiego". A nice restaurant in art nouveau style, probably best cuisine in Bydgoszcz.
There is a ton of places to eat and drink around Bydgoszcz, including Kredens, Browar Pub, Grandmother's Pub, Jack Daniels Pub, and along the river and on the main square. There is also a new brew pub (as of spring 2011) across the canal from Miller's Island (Wyspa Młyńska).
Szkolne Schronisko Młodzieżowe w Bydgoszczy is only a few steps away from the main train station at ul. Sowińskiego 5. It is often overlooked, besides dorm rooms for the youth they also offer good double rooms at low rates for all ages. There is English speaking staff, but not always.
Karczma Rzym , Pawłówek near Bydgoszcz, (at the Grunwaldzka street Bydgoszcz’s exit, on the route to Nakło, Piła and Szczecin) Place to stay if you have business in the western part of the city, you avoid most of the daily traffic jams.Good restaurant, Polish traditional cuisine.
Bohema this centrally located boutique hotel is the only in town with five stars. Friendly staff who speak English fluently.
City Hotel located in the center, most destinations like Stare Miasto, Gdańska and restaurants around you can walk, ask for weekend special rates and seasonal offers.
Bydgoszcz is considered as a safe city. Major dangers are skinheads and fanatic football fans. Try to avoid comments about Polish football teams because it can easily annoy them. Robberies rarely happen in the day light.
Keep an eye out on the traffic. Some drivers drive way too fast in downtown or other parts and will pull off crazy maneuvers just when you thought it was safe to cross the streets. Crashes and run over pedestrians are common. Just be more alert than you are in your home town.
- Main Post Office, ul. Jagiellońska 6.
Overall, Bydgoszcz is not as well connected to the Internet as other big central and western European cities, but that doesn't mean you can't get access to the Internet. Internet cafés (Polish: kawiarenka internetowa) are very rare to come across, but can be occasionally found. Shopping centres are good places to look for them. Wi-fi is becoming increasingly accessible for travelers too (Old Town's Square is covered by free wi-fi connection, for example). Some cafés and restaurants offer free wi-fi for guests. There's a free wi-fi in many fast-food restaurants like McDonald's.
The area code for Bydgoszcz is 52 and, as of the present, you'll need to use the area code even when making local calls. Pay phones are very rare, nowadays.
If you want to purchase a SIM card in Bydgoszcz, you can buy a pre-paid SIM card from just about any major carrier and you'll have a Polish number. SIM cards can cost as little as 5zł a pop and you just add credit when needed. Going this route might be a wise investment if you'll be traveling around Poland.
The mobile network (3G/GPRS/GSM) covers the whole city. If you are coming from a non-GSM standard country check your mobile phone for GSM compatibility.