No matter whether you’ve visited Poland just once before, or have been there many times, your trip to Poland can’t be considered complete if you haven’t visited Katowice.
Katowice, called Kato by the locals, is quite unlike any other city in Poland, and it’s not surprising that it’s now an up and coming tourist destination.
Here’s why you should visit Katowice:
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Katowice is Clean.
I really want to put this point on the top of my list of “10 reasons to visit Katowice” and now let me explain why. During my 4 days in Katowice I never saw a piece of paper on the ground. I mean NEVER! I was truly impressed by this. I’ve never seen such a clean city.
I want to compliment the council that encourages people to keep their city so clean which also means healthy. After all, from the tourists’ point of view, let’s say that if it is true that the first impression counts, well, this is a great way to start your vacation.
Katowice has neat and tidy public areas.
Neat and tidy public areas, parks, roads, and walking paths do not only contribute to a good image for the local inhabitants, but it is especially inviting to the visitors since it makes the city more attractive and pleasant. Isn’t it?
Moreover, they are a sign of a city council that works perfectly. And, let’s also not forget to say that it is the people that live in this city that really make this happen. Therefore, even if the Polish look to be rather cold people at first sight, this behaviour makes us understand how educated and disciplined they are. All in all they decide to take care of their city to make it a better place to live in with better conditions, cleaner and safer environments.
Katowice is safe.
I spent 4 days in Katowice with my dad, and we walked around and around day and night without ever having the feel of danger. I mean even at 3 am, Katowice seemed safer than most West European cities. I deduce from this that visitors are unlikely to face any problems if they simply employ common sense and some good security measures.
We were staying in a vacation rental which was on Andrzeja Street. It is right next to the Katowice railway station. Even this area looked calm and safe.
You need to pay attention to only one thing. The majority of the people in Katowice don’t speak English, so it could often happen that you may not get a correct answer if you ask them for information.
Katowice is cheap.
I live in Italy, which is a very expensive country. So from my point of view, I can only say that Katowice is cheap. Restaurants, shops, and markets have very reasonable prices.
During our 4 days in Katowice, we never dined at our vacation rental. So having always eaten at restaurants, I confirm that we never spent more than 35 euros per traditional Polish meal for two (alcohol not included). If you go to a restaurant in Italy, you will end up spending at least double that amount.
Looking to go on a traditional Polish food tour? Then check this out!
Katowice has a perfect public transportation network.
Kato has an excellent public transportation system. Yes, it is very well connected by public transport across the city. Busses and trams are widely spread so wherever you are in the city you’ll surely have a stop nearby.
Moreover, traveling by public transport to other parts of the region or country is easy and convenient with special rates for seniors and students on busses and trains. I highly recommend this way of getting around in Poland.
Katowice is a great base for day trips.
Katowice is a great base to explore this part of Poland. For example, did you know that Auschwitz is only 40 km away from Katowice? And Krakow is about 80 km? If you don’t want to explore them by yourself, know that there are so many private day tours from Katowice to Auschwitz and from Katowice to Krakow.
One more day trip from Katowice that you should not forget is Wieliczka salt mine which is about 93 km away. (see my dad’s photo at Wieliczka Salt Mine)
Nearby Pszczyna is worth a visit, too. This town with its Renaissance style castle became popular among the European aristocracy in the 17th century and is definitely well worth exploring.
Even visiting Wroclaw (Poland’s fourth-largest city) on a day trip, could be a good idea.
And, why not? You can also visit a desert while spending 4 days in Katowice! Yes, Poland has a desert (Błędów Desert) and it only 45 KM from Kato. So, it takes about 35 minutes to drive there from Central Katowice. It is an area of 32 square kilometres, with sands reaching up to 70 meters of depth which can be walked across for free. Apart from having been a training ground for German troops awaiting deployment in Africa during WWII, it is a fantastic experience if you have never been to a desert before.
These are a few ideas, but there are many more day trips from Katowice that you can consider while being based in this beautiful city.
Read Also: Nikiszowiec neighbourhood, a complete guide.
Katowice means history.
The city of Katowice in Poland started as a conglomerate of a number of small village communities during the 13th century, but with the development of industry, in the 19th century the village started to change its nature into an industrial settlement.
The town flourished and grew slowly due to large mineral deposits (especially coal) in the nearby mountains. Extensive city growth and prosperity depended on the coal mining and steel industries, which took off during the Industrial Revolution. On 1 April 1899, it was separated from the district and become an independent city.
Katowice has come a long way in a short amount of time and all the steps from being a small village to an independent city are well evident in the city, and this is why you’ll find lots to see and do in Katowice. If you want to learn more about the old town of Katowice, I suggest that you check out this Katowice old town walking tour.
Katowice has incredible modern architecture.
It is enough to take a walk along the “plac Marii i Lecha Kaczyńskich” to see how the history harmoniously combines with the modern. The city of Katowice, which was once an industrial city for coal and steel, at the beginning of this century, decided to change its face by focusing on culture and business. Indeed, Katowice today is a modern innovative city which at the same time, didn’t forget its past. This is what makes Katowice so unique. Kato has character.
Meanwhile most of the country has yet to notice. Katowice is one of Poland’s newer cities which has managed to reinvent itself so quickly. The city is changing day by day and it’s becoming one of the most innovative cities in Poland. Know that some new buildings in the city are like nowhere in Europe.
Katowice is entertainment.
The pulsing beat of Katowice is improving steadily, with more and higher quality cocktail bars, clubs, and restaurants opening.
Ul. (Street) “Mariacka” is the city’s nightlife headquarters. It was once a pedestrianised three-block stretch full of strip clubs and shady gay saunas (well, those are still there), but now it has turned into high street as it should be. Also plac (Square) “Marii i Lecha Kaczyńskich” and the street in front of it have some good bars and restaurants. During the summertime, Mariacka and Marii i Lecha Kaczyńskich are full of outdoor seating.
Go on a journey through the vodka culture of Poland: Check out this Vodka tasting tour in Katowice.
Katowice means cool summer sunny days.
Last but not least! It was in July 2022 that I decided to spend 4 days in Katowice with my dad. At that time of the year, it was 40 degrees Celsius in Modena. You know what I mean? So being in Katowice with mild temperatures reaching maximum 27 degrees Celsius was a big release. Sometimes in the evening we even had to wear a light sweater.
As an East European city, maybe Kato is dull and grey during the winter, but I’m sure it still have a lot to offer. For example Poland is a very religious country and Katowice features one of the best Christmas markets in Poland that you should take into consideration if you are planning your visit in Dicember.
Read Also: Summer in Katowice
4 Days in Katowice: conclusion.
Is Katowice worth visiting? Katowice has been for me the biggest surprise of my travels.
Has it ever happened to you that you have casually flown to a town without knowing about it and without too many expectations, but it was then revealed to be a pleasant surprise? This is exactly what happened to me. I was just searching for some offers on Ryanair’s website and Kato had a lower rate. I did some quick research and it sounded ok. So I decided to spend those 4 days in Katowice.
And you know what? Katowice is not your average day trip city, but if you give it a chance you will see it is a cool modern city with plenty of things to do and to see. I’m looking forward to the next chance to visit Katowice and get to know it even better!
So far I can just say it was the most surprising place I’ve ever visited! It is one of those hidden gems of East Europe that should definitely be on your bucket-list.
Read Also: Eastern Europe Itinerary For 3 Weeks