Have you ever traveled to a new destination and got stunned by its overwhelming beauty? This same feeling awaits when you go to Bialystok. Obviously, Bialystok is not as popular as other top cities in Poland such as Krakow or Warsaw, but don’t let that fool you. This city is small and unknown yet boasts stunningly attractive tourist attractions that are not to be missed.
Located at the far eastern boundary of the European Union, Bialystok is the capital of the Podlasie province. Upon visiting the city, you’ll be amazed at the sheer number of things to do in Bialystok. After your first trip, you’ll probably want to revisit the city to relax and unwind. Let’s check out the top things to see and do here.
1. Branicki Palace
Built-in the 18th century, the Branicki Palace is a popular attraction in Bialystok. The sprawling palace complex was built by Jan Klemens Branicki, a military commander who had pretensions to the Polish crown. Apart from the beautiful palace and beautifully manicured gardens in the complex, he also went as far as creating a Baroque city with churches and a town hall.
Here you can take guided tours around the palace and discover the cellars, pavilions, sculptures, gardens, chapel, and town hall. Today, Branicki Palace is popularly known as “Versailles of Podlasie” and for a good reason, but the only way to find out is by experiencing it firsthand.
The grounds of the palace are shared by the Medical University of Bialystok. Access to Branicki Palace and its attractions is free for all. More so, the gardens are a perfect example of Baroque garden design.
2. Rynek Kosciuszki (Kosciuszko Market Square)
The market square’s location in the heart of the city makes it a must-visit. The market is located close to the town hall, which was destroyed during the Second World War but later rebuilt in the 1950s. With the reconstruction, the town hall no longer served as a marketplace but was transformed into a museum and an art gallery.
If you’d like to have a taste of authentic Polish food while holidaying in Bialystok, the market square never disappoints. Rynek Kosciuszki is surrounded by many authentic traditional restaurants.
For souvenirs, you’ll find many stores around the market square selling handmade souvenirs. The wide-open spaces at the square make it a beautiful place to relax, enjoy the fresh air, and play with the pigeons if you’re up to the task.
3. Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin
Bialystok is home to many lovely religious sites, beautifying the city’s skyline with its towering building. In most cases, so long as no activities are happening in the churches, it’s worth taking a tour of the building.
One of the most famous religious sites is the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. This impressive building is an excellent reflection of life in the city in ages past. There are two interconnected buildings. The smaller church was built in the early 17th century while the bigger Neo-Gothic church built-in 1905.
Upon entering the church, the interior will leave you stuck in awe. The first thing that catches the eyes of many is the Mannerist pulpit and the resting place of the Gryfit Branicki family.
Robsuper Wikimedia Commons
4. Historical Museum
The Historical Museum in Bialystok can be found in the luxurious factory owner’s villa on Ulica Warszawska. Behind the walls of this beautiful complex lies unusual artifacts and archival materials with much information about the history of Bialystok and Podlasie province.
The museum is home to Poland’s only collection related to the Tatars who settled in the Polish-Lithuanian-Belarussian region. Besides, check out the relics of the Jews who lived in the city and the horrible experience they were subjected to during WWII.
Here, you will find a boudoir, music salon, study, and dining room beautifully designed with exquisite furniture and accessories dating back to time immemorial. Do not leave the museum without checking out the scale model of Bialystok, which depicts the stare of the city during Branicki’s era.
5. Ulica Lipowa
Before now, Adolf Hitler, Jozef Pilsudski, and Josef Stalin all added their names to Ulica Lipowa. Fast forward to the 1990s, the street’s original name Ulica Lipowa was restored with no other name attached.
No other street in Bialystok felt the destructive power of the German forces during WWII than this lovely street, Ulica Lipowa. The beautiful buildings and villas you see on the streets today have undergone a series of transformations.
Take a stroll along the street and explore amazing sights, including Poland’s first new hotel after WWII, Cristal Hotel.
6. St. Nicholas Church
St. Nicholas Church prides itself on being the oldest Orthodox church in Bialystok. One of the major highlights of the cathedral is its impressive shape. If you have the time, take a step further and explore the church’s interior beautifully adorned with colorful wall paintings.
The frescoes will take your breath away. The church is mostly filled with orthodox congregations, which constitute approximately 60,000 of Bialystok’s total population.
Evidently, there are many other orthodox religious sites, but St Nicholas Church stands out because it is open to the public on a daily basis. It may also interest you to know that you can find the relics of St. Gabriel here.
7. Akcent Zoo
Spice up your holidays with a trip to the zoo. Akcent Zoo is small yet fully loaded with lots of amazing animals that are peculiar to the region. Some of the animals here include deer, bison, wolves and wild cats as well as various bird species.
More so, the zoo also has a spot for domestic animals like goats and sheep. You’ll definitely love taking a stroll around the lovely zoo. Another incredible feature is that people can gain access to the zoo without paying a dime.
It’s free of cost. So it’s an excellent spot for those visitors who are on a budget. Whether you’re in Bialystok on a family vacation, honeymooning or looking for free things to do, Akcent Zoo has something that everyone will love.
8. Planty Park
Bialystok is focused and dedicated to building a greener and healthier environment for all. The city’s lack of industries makes it a haven for those looking for an ideal spot to relax and unwind.
One of the enjoyable things to do in Bialystok is to explore the outdoors, get up close with Mother Nature, and feel the fresh air. If this is what you’re looking for, head for Planty Park. Planty literally means a planted area specifically created for a leisure stroll.
Located in the center of the city, Planty Park is an oasis of greenery. As you walk along the avenues and boulevards, you will find lovely sculptures, ponds, flowerbeds, and a four-level rose garden.
Families will love it here as there is a playground for kids. In the summer months, locals and visitors alike gather at the park to experience great shows and concerts held in the park. Be sure to visit during the summer to enjoy a wide range of festivals and events.
9. Podlaskie Museum
The location of the Podlaskie Museum once housed the city’s former town hall. The truth is, the town hall didn’t live up to its name because it served as a marketplace. Before the building was renovated, there were already ten Jewish merchants plying their trade here.
It’s a small museum but with an art gallery. In most cases, Podlaskie Museum plays host to special exhibitions at a specific time of year. For this reason, it’s worth exploring what the museum has to offer. Inside, you’ll find the Gallery of Polish Painting, which features works of arts by portrait painters like Johann Baptise, Marcello Bacciarelli, and Josef Grassie.
If you pick interest in war stories, Podlaskie Museum has its own fair share of materials that says a lot about the Second World War. Not only can you broaden your knowledge about the rich history of the city but also explore paintings and artifacts that are over 250 years old.
10. Ludwik Zamenhof Center
One of the most famous Jews in Bialystok was Ludwik Zamenhof, the creator of the Esperanto language. If you’d like to learn more about how he spent his life on earth and what led to the creation of the language, add Ludwik Zamenhof center to your bucket list.
Visitors will also learn more about how people of different races, cultures, and religions lived together. Due to the diverse culture and traditions, Ludwik thought it wise to create a universal language that he hoped would facilitate better communication.
Want to know whether the aim for creating the language was achieved? Visit the museum to find out. Also, there are seasonal concerts, theater performances, and film screenings scheduled to take place at the museum.
If you have plans to visit Poland and still confused about whether to visit Bialystok or not, now you have over 10 reasons to pack your bags for the city. These lists of top 10 things to do in Bialystok will thrill you.