TOP 10. Gliwice Bucket List

TOP 10. Gliwice Bucket List

Updated: 23.10.2019 / pdf

Gliwice – a city worth a visit

Would you come up with an idea to visit Gliwice while planning a weekend getaway or a day-trip? The city is hardly associated with tourism and is not a particular popular destination. And yet, believe me, Gliwice is a place where you can have a great time and see many interesting things.

A beautiful Market Square and a rather small, but very climatic Old Town, a Palm House with exotic plant species, historic churches, tenement houses, green parks and squares, monuments of technology, and museums. Sounds interesting? If so, give Gliwice a chance and stay here a bit longer. You will be surprised how much the city has to offer.

Market Square in Gliwice

Gliwice is a city with a population of nearly 200 thousand, located in Upper Silesia, ca. 30 km away from Katowice, 100 km from Kraków, and 350 km from Warsaw. According to historical sources, Gliwice was awarded municipal rights before 1276, which makes it one of the oldest towns in Upper Silesia. For the sake of comparison, Katowice, which is the capital city of the region, officially became a town as late as 1865, that is nearly 600 years later.

Town Hall in Gliwice

Arcades of tenement houses surrounding the Market Square in Gliwice

Window display of a florist at Jana Matejki street

Gliwice is a city boasting a rich history, albeit quite turbulent. Throughout ages it was changing its state affiliation, changing hands. It was ruled by Poles, Czechs, Austrians, Prussians, and Germans. These influences are reflected in the architecture and layout of the city, which gives it its unique charm and character.

Railway station in Gliwice

There are also many interesting facts associated with Gliwice. Do you know that it is the place of the provocation which constituted the pretext for the outbreak of the World War II? And have you heard that Europe’s highest wooden structure is situated in Gliwice? What is more, this is the place of birth of Oskar Troplowitz, the inventor of the famous Nivea cream! You will find more fun facts associated with the city later in this mini-guidebook.

10 things to do in Gliwice

  1. Have a coffee in the Market Square and a walk around the Old Town.
  2. Visit the Radio Station, the most important monument and symbol of Gliwice.
  3. Pop in the Municipal Palm House and Chopin Park.
  4. Explore the history of Gliwice and Upper Silesia in Piast Castle.
  5. Visit Caro Villa and see how Upper Silesian industrialists lived.
  6. Admire the panorama of Gliwice from the tower of All Saints’ Church.
  7. Visit Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral.
  8. See Gliwice Arena and have a break from the hustle and bustle of the city in Chrobry Park.
  9. Visit Nowe Gliwice Education and Business Centre and Artistic Casting Museum.
  10. Admire beautiful tenement houses in Gliwice.

Gliwice panorama with the Town Hall and All Saints Church dating back to the 15th century

1. Have a coffee in the Market Square and a walk around the Old Town.

Many believe that the Market Square in Gliwice is one of the most beautiful market squares in Poland. Are they right? Why don’t you find out for yourself! The Market Square is a place you just have to see when visiting Gliwice. It is here that the social life of the city takes place and where its residents meet up. Some come here for a walk, enjoying the view of the Town Hall and beautiful tenement houses with arcades. Others spend time in coffee shops, restaurants, or pubs. The Old Town in Gliwice boasts many atmospheric venues, so definitely everybody will find something they like.

Classicist edifice of the Town Hall in the Market Square in Gliwice

A central point of the Market Square is the Town Hall, a place which houses a Wedding Hall and where City Council sessions are held. The building has been reconstructed numerous times and has changed its appearance over the years. Interestingly enough, in the basements of a restaurant located here one can admire remains of the old town hall dating back to the 13th century.

Fountain with Neptune in the Market Square in Gliwice

Fun Fact

According to historians, the fountain with Neptune located in the Market Square in Gliwice was to symbolise the connection of the city with the sea. But how come Gliwice, which is nearly 500 km away from the Baltic Sea as the crow flies, could have access to it? It was possible thanks to the construction of the Gliwice Channel, which linked the city to the Oder River. Ever since then goods could be transported from Gliwice to the Baltic Sea, and then further on, to other countries of Europe and the world. It had an enormous effect on the development of the city and the region.

Besides a visit to the Market Square, it is also a good idea to take a stroll along the streets of the Old Town. The Old Town is not big, but you will find several true architectural gems and interesting monuments there, such as e.g. the remains of the former city walls, Piast Castle, All Saints Church. During your walk you can pop into one of the local ice-cream parlours. Artisan ice-cream is something you just have to try when you are in Gliwice!

Średnia street, Old Town in Gliwice

2. Visit the Radio Station, the most important monument and symbol of Gliwice.

The Gliwice Radio Station, which is sometimes called the Silesian Eiffel Tower by local residents, is unquestionably the most important monument and symbol of the city. It is associated with a story which changed the lives of millions of people forever and caused much suffering. The Radio Station served Germans as a pretext for the outbreak of the World War II. How did it happen?

Wooden antenna mast of the Gliwice Radio Station

Gliwice Radio Station

Opening times:

  • Monday: closed,
  • Tuesday-Friday: 10.00 a.m.-4.00 p.m.,
  • Saturday-Sunday: 11.00 a.m.-4.00 p.m.

Admissions:

  • PLN 5 (regular), PLN 2 (reduced),
  • Saturday – free admission!

Address:

ul. Tarnogórska 129

Park at the Radio Station

Opening times

  • 6.00 a.m.-10.00 p.m. (summer), 6.00 a.m.-8.00 p.m. (winter)

Admissions:

  • free admission

On 31 August 1939, at night, Germans dressed in Polish uniforms faked an attack on the radio tower. It needs to be remembered that Gliwice used to be a German town at the time (Gleiwitz), located near the border with Poland. The Gliwice provocation, which in fact was a bogus attack of Germans on their own facility, gave the Third Reich a pretext for the outbreak of the World War II.

Fun Fact

The Gliwice Radio Station is made of larch wood and is 111 metres tall, which makes it the tallest wooden structure in Europe and one of the tallest structures of the type in the world.

3. Pop in the Municipal Palm House and Chopin Park.

What to do in Gliwice when the weather is cold, grey, and rainy? There is a place which is always green and pleasant. It is the Gliwice Palm House. It consists of several combined pavilions, housing exotic plants, ponds with colourful fish, as well as a recently added section with fish tanks.

Building of the Municipal Palm House in Gliwice

You can have a great time in the Municipal Palm House, walking its paths winding among exotic flora, taking a stroll across Japanese footbridges, having a rest on benches and listening to birdsong. And all this surrounded by enormous palm trees, banana trees, cacti, and colourful, fragrant flowers.

Opening times:

  • Monday: closed
  • Tuesday-Friday: 9.00 a.m.-6.00 p.m.
  • Saturday-Sunday: 10.00 a.m.-6.00 p.m.

Admissions:

  • PLN 10 (regular), PLN 6 (reduced)

Address:

ul. Fredry 6

Fun Fact

Why was the Municipal Palm House built in Gliwice? It all happened because of Phoenix canariensis, a 170-year-old date palm tree, which arrived at Gliwice in 1924 to a grand exhibition of exotic plants organised at the time, and stayed here for good. It was then that the then municipal authorities decided to extend the existing orangery and to establish a Municipal Palm House. Interestingly enough, in the 1950s a Palm House employee sowed the seeds of this tree. They gave rise to the palm trees which decorate squares and piazzas in Gliwice and Katowice in summer.

Chopin Park, a home to the Municipal Palm House

The Gliwice Palm House is situated in Chopin Park, which is not very big, but which provides a good opportunity to rest from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is the most beautiful in spring, when crocuses, magnolias, and rhododendrons are in full bloom. In summer the “Parkowe Lato” music festival (Park Summer) is held in Chopin Park. It is also an arena of other interesting events.

4. Explore the history of Gliwice and Upper Silesia in Piast Castle.

Piast Castle is one of the oldest monuments in Gliwice. In the past, the edifice served as an arsenal, a warehouse, and even a prison. Today it houses a department of the Museum in Gliwice, where you can admire archaeological findings and a historical exhibition devoted to the history of Gliwice and Upper Silesia. There is even a model which demonstrates what the town looked like ages ago. The admission to the museum is free.

The 16th-century Piast Castle – a department of the Museum in Gliwice

Fun Fact

In Piast Castle in Gliwice you can admire a mammoth skeleton, which was discovered during sand extraction between Pyskowice and Rzeczyce. Another mammoth, whose bones were excavated in the 1950s, is in the Geological Museum in Warsaw.

The mammoth skeleton you can see in Piast Castle

Museum in Gliwice Piast Castle

Opening times:

  • Monday: closed,
  • Tuesday: 9.00 a.m.-3.00 p.m.,
  • Wednesday: 9.00 a.m.-4.00 p.m.,
  • Thursday-Friday: 10.00 a.m.-4.00 p.m.,
  • Saturday: 11.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m.,
  • Sunday: 11.00 a.m.-4.00 p.m.

Admissions:

  • free admission

Address:

ul. Pod Murami 2

5. Visit Caro Villa and see how Upper Silesian industrialists lived.

If you like visiting museums and you are interested in how Upper Silesian industrialists lived, a visit to Villa Caro in Gliwice is a must. This 19th-th century residence is one of the most important historic sites in the city. Once it was a home to the industrialist Oscar Caro; today is houses a museum.

Building of the Neo-Renaissance Caro Villa in Gliwice

In Caro Villa you can see with your own eyes what residential quarters in pre-war residences looked like, go through old photographs, see some jewellery, tableware, and many other items. Furthermore, it is also a venue of all sorts of temporary exhibitions, concerts, and thematic workshops.

A small park around Caro Villa

Sculpture “Living Painting” by Krzysztof Nitsch

Opening times:

  • Monday: closed,
  • Tuesday: 9.00 a.m.-3.00 p.m.,
  • Wednesday: 9.00 a.m.-4.00 p.m.,
  • Thursday-Friday: 10.00 a.m.-4.00 p.m.,
  • Saturday: 11.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m.,
  • Sunday: 11.00 a.m.-4.00 p.m.

Admissions:

  • PLN 8 (regular), PLN 4 (reduced),
  • Saturdays – free admissions!

Address:

ul. Dolnych Wałów 8a

6. Admire the panorama of Gliwice from the tower of All Saints Church.

All Saints Church is one of the oldest churches in Gliwice. The temple was erected in the 15th century in the Gothic style, and its interiors is truly impressive. All Saints Church is situated within the perimeter of the Old Town, not far from the Market Square. Its 63-metre-tall tower offers a beautiful panorama of the city. In good weather you can see the Beskid mountains, the Jeseniky mountains, and even the Tatras!

Tower of All Saints Church

Interiors of All Saints Church

Opening times:

  • Sunday: 4.00 p.m.-5.00 p.m. (1 May-30 September),
  • Saturday: 7.30 p.m. (1 October-30 November).

Admissions:

  • PLN 7

Address:

ul. Kościelna 2

7. Visit Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral.

Not far from the Old Town and Piast Castle there is Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral from the 19th century. This beautiful Neo-Gothic temple is one of must-see places in Gliwice. Due to the fact that the Gliwice cathedral is furnished with a top-quality organ, numerous concerts and recitals are held here.

Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Gliwice

A mosaic depicting the Apostles Sts. Peter and Paul

8. See Gliwice Arena and have a break from the hustle and bustle of the city in Chrobry Park.

Arena Gliwice is a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment hall, a place where concerts, sports tournaments, and other events are held. Today Arena is one of the landmarks of Gliwice.  

Arena Gliwice Sports and Entertainment Hall

City bike station at the entrance to Chrobry Park

In the vicinity of Arena Gliwice there is the beautiful Chrobry Park, which is a favourite place of walks and outdoor pastimes for Gliwice residents. If you want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, I definitely recommend this place to you. It is the nicest and best kept recreational area in Gliwice.

Arena Gliwice as seen from Chrobry Park

Autumn in Chrobry Park

Chrobry Park is a perfect place for a walk

9.  Visit “Nowe Gliwice” Business and Education Centre and Artistic Casting Museum.

A visit to “Nowe Gliwice” Business and Education Centre is a real treat for fans of postindustrial architecture and everybody interested in the history of casting. “Nowe Gliwice” is a revitalised complex of a former mine, which today houses offices and Artistic Casting Museum. In the museum you can see an exhibition of artistic castings from the 19th and 20th century. Most of them were manufactured in the Gliwice-based Royal Cast Iron Foundry.

“Nowe Gliwice” Education and Business Centre

Artistic Casting Museum

Opening times:

  • Monday: closed
  • Tuesday-Wednesday: 9.00 a.m.-3.00 p.m.,
  • Thursday-Friday: 10.00 a.m.-4.00 p.m.,
  • Saturday-Sunday: 10.00 a.m.-4.00 p.m.

Admissions:

  • PLN 1, free admission on Saturday!

Address:

ul. Bojkowska 37

The buildings constituting “Nowe Gliwice” Education and Business Centre date back to the early 20th century and were designed by famous German architects, Emil and Georg Zillmann. They were also the authors of Nikiszowiec and Giszowiec, housing estates in Katowice, which year after year become a more and more popular tourist attraction.

Sculpture “Boy with a Swan” by Theodor Erdmann Kalide, manufactured in Royal Casting Iron Foundry in Gliwice

Fun Fact

Gliwice has a very rich history associated with artistic casting. This is a place where monuments and statues located in numerous towns and cities in Poland and abroad have been made. A copy of the statue “Boy with a Swan” by Theodor Erdmann Kalide, which you can see in Dessau square in Gliwice, was even purchased by the British Queen Victoria to her residence on the Isle of Wight.

10. Admire beautiful tenement houses in Gliwice.

Although at first glance the architecture of Gliwice may seem somewhat chaotic, and flashy advertising signs obscure the beauty of many buildings, there are many architectural gems here, worth a closer look. While walking the streets of the city, remember to look up from time to time. Tenement houses in Gliwice are ornamented with beautiful sculptures and other interesting details.

Historic tenement houses in the Market Square in Gliwice

22 Market Square, an Art Nouveau tenement house with a triangular oriel window

Fun Fact

One of the tenement houses at the Market Square in Gliwice was a home of Oskar Troplowitz, inventor of the famous Nivea cream, the first self-adhesive plaster, and toothpaste.

Ones of the most beautiful tenement houses are situated in the Old Town and at Zwycięstwa street. However, it is a good idea to take a peek at the side streets, too, as they hide many architectural gems. These are buildings designed in different styles: Art Nouveau, Renaissance, Classicist, Art Déco. My three favourite ones are 22 Market Square, 15 Częstochowska street, and 50 Kościuszki street.

Staircase of the tenement house at 2 Berbeckiego street

Art Nouveau tenement house at 15 Częstochowska street

Ivy-covered building at 6 Joachima Lelewela street

When is the best time to visit Gliwice?

If you are wondering when it is best to visit Gliwice, first come here in spring and early autumn. In April and May fruit trees are in full bloom, which makes them not only look beautiful, but smell heavenly. September and October, on the other hand, are the months of the golden Polish autumn. It is still warm, but it is much nicer to walk the streets of Gliwice than in the middle of summer. Not to mention colourful tree leaves and delicate light, which makes parks and alleys of Gliwice look truly magical.

Autumn in Chopin Park

Blooming trees at Rzeźniczy square

Anyway, Gliwice is always worth a visit. In winter the city is donned with Christmas ornaments, and even a small Christmas Market is organised. In summer, on the other hand, you can enjoy warm evenings, walking the streets of the Old Town or spending time in restaurant gardens at the Market Square.


photo: J. Szymik / Gliwice City Hall

Why is Gliwice worth a visit?

Gliwice is not a typically tourist destination; having said that, you can have a great time here and – as you can see – there are many interesting places worth visiting. If you are looking for a place off the beaten track, why don’t you have a day-trip to Gliwice, and perhaps you will stay here a little longer.

Christmas decorations at the Market Square in Gliwice

Gliwice is not a place where you will find a multitude of tawdry souvenirs and overrated tourist attractions. You can, on the other hand, experience something authentic and see what a normal, everyday life of people living here looks like. Gliwice is one of those places in Poland which still remain somewhat undiscovered, and perhaps this is precisely why it is so charming.

Gliwice panorama at sunset with the view of Sts. Apostles Peter and Paul Cathedral, the Market Square, and the Old Town

Beauty is everywhere and it pays off to have your eyes wide open. To appreciate all these small things thanks to which even a grey, busy street seems to be an extraordinary and magical place, if only for a moment. If you share this view, you will like Gliwice, no doubt about that.

More information on Gliwice is available on epepa.eu.

Photos: E. Paszkuta / Gliwice City Hall