Bialystok – traveler reviews
Reviews about Bialystok, based on personal experience. Pros and cons, personal impressions, what you liked and didn’t like about the trip. Who should pay attention to this city, whether (Poland) as a place for family or youth recreation. The main attractions and entertainment, what the city of Bialystok is famous for. Tips and tips for those who plan to visit the city for the first time.
Once upon a time, when the Soviet Union collapsed, we did not consider Bialystok a decent city. For us it was just a huge flea market, where you could buy anything for as much as you wanted.
Decades passed, and acquaintances invited us to their son’s wedding. The bride was from Bialystok, so the ceremony took place there. I looked at the city under new circumstances and with a different eye. It turns out how much charm it has!
The pros of vacationing in Bialystok:
– Easy to get to. There is a regular bus service from Warsaw and Minsk to Bialystok. From Warsaw there is also a train – a 2,5 hour trip. It’s also convenient to get to Bialystok by car, but only from the Polish side. On the other hand, there are bad roads, and the Polish customs office does not shine.
– Sightseeing. Over 250 buildings in Bialystok – more than ten churches, six palaces and almost ninety houses are included in the register of historical monuments. Besides, there are 1500 hectares of authentic forest, four lush national parks in the suburbs of Bialystok, and over a third of the city’s territory covered by gardens and mini-parks.
– Stores and markets. Bialystok has several shopping malls with a wide range of goods, markets, including a night market and an outlet. What is the most pleasant – the prices of any goods in any place are much lower than in the rest of Poland. For foreigners in most outlets there is a system Tax Free Shopping. To get back 23% of VAT you have to spend 300 zlotys.
– Hotels. There are a lot of hotels in Bialystok – from hostels to quite decent hotels. The price of rooms pleasingly pleased: a double room and breakfast in the three-star “Crystal” cost us 50 euros per night.
– Prices. In Bialystok you can buy very cheap clothes and other necessities, inexpensive food and overnight stay. Entrance to most museums also costs purely symbolic: on average – from one to five euros.
– Nature. Not far from Bialystok there is the famous Bialowieza Forest with its relict forest, and in the Biebrza Park there is a large population of moose.
The disadvantages of a vacation in Bialystok:
– It is difficult to calculate the cost of living if you plan to stay for more than a week: in all hotels of Bialystok from Friday to Sunday rooms are cheaper than on weekdays, and from Monday to Thursday – more expensive.
– On the days of the annual alternative music festival, the streets become noisy and unsafe, despite the best efforts of the police.
– The tourist office is 1 Kostelnaya St. Pick up a map there. Nearby is a Baroque church with an interesting history. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to catch an organ concert. The organ in the church is excellent!
– The central street is Lipovaya. It is partly pedestrian. At the Branicki Palace, it turns and becomes Kosciuszko Street, also one of the main thoroughfares of the city.
– First, many people go to the museum of Ludwig Zamenhof, the creator of the Esperanto language and a native of Bialystok. In fact, it is not a house-museum of the great linguist, but a museum of pre-war Jewish life. The museum often hosts exhibitions, film screenings, and concerts.
– Another wonderful sight is the museum of retro engineering. It is located in the industrial area, the entrance costs 2 euros. There are also examples from private collections. All cars with yellow license plates – in motion.
– Very interesting are the history museum, the army museum, the museum of rural life. Try to go to each of them, you will see a lot of new things!
– Palaces. The most interesting one is the Branicki Palace. The luxurious baroque palace complex stands in the middle of a huge park. Beautiful flowerbeds, statues and pavilions can be seen for free. But you have to pay to enter the building: in the palace is located the medical university, and you can go to the museum of pharmacy. The ticket costs about 3 euros. Tell the curator that you would like to see the interiors of the palace, and you will be happy to be shown them.
– You can go to other palaces – Lubomirski Palace in the classicist style, Citron Palace with a beautifully decorated facade, Hasbach Palace, built in the Middle Ages, with a distinctive pointed tower.
– Opera. Even if you do not like opera, you should certainly visit the building of Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Society! It is very unusual, made of glass and metal, with transparent staircases and columns covered with wild vines. In the large hall unique acoustic solutions were applied and ultra-modern stage was built. For the tour you pay 2 euros.
– Stores. The best shopping centers are Galeria Alfa and Galeria Biala. If you want to buy clothes of famous, inexpensive brands – go to Galeria Jurowiecka. Sanctioned food is better to buy in Tesco or Carrefour. There is an outlet in the city. To get from the center take bus number 100.
– Markets. The cheapest – clothing market Hetman. Mostly there sell Polish goods, but there is also low-quality Chinese consumer goods. The night market Fasty sells everything from fresh vegetables to delicacies. There are also dishes and kitchen utensils.
– Churches. All the numerous temples of the city are interesting, but it is worth going to St.. Roch. On the 80-meter bell tower there is an observation deck where you can see the whole city.
– The surrounding area. Go to miniature town Tykotsin – old Jewish town on Narva. There are preserved old houses of wealthy Jews and an old synagogue. And you can also see storks living in the neighboring village of Pentovo.
– If you are lucky enough to make it to Bialystok in June, you are likely to visit an international class balloon competition. It’s a fantastic show!
I don’t recommend it:
– If you do not speak Polish, you should not go to museums alone. It is better to hire a Russian-speaking guide.
– Do not buy cosmetics at the market. Often sold under the guise of Polish, low-quality Chinese, and it can seriously damage the skin.
So, to go or not to go? Of course you should! Bialystok is a wonderful place, where you can see the beautiful architecture, go to the opera, visit Belovezhskaya Pushcha, and even bring your suitcases full of clothes. You’ll love it!
Bialystok: unrecognized beauty
Some Poles say that it is in Białystok that authentic Polish architecture has been preserved. And what we consider “old town” in other Polish cities is actually a consequence of the strong influence of other Western European examples of architecture – primarily German.
For me, Bialystok is first of all an example of how with a minimum of money you can create a small cozy pedestrian street and a huge green area, and many other things worth visiting and seeing for the visitors of the city.
Pictured: a performance on biblical motifs at Kosciuszki Market (53.132514, 23.157879) – in the central pedestrian area of Bialystok . In the background is the Esperanto Café – Lazar Zamenhof, the creator of Esperanto, was born in Białystok.
We drove to Bialystok from Kaliningrad through Kentszyn, Giżycko and Ełk. The way (312 km) took about 4.5 hours together with the waiting time at the border. We stopped in Giżycko (which I absolutely recommend to everyone) to climb the water tower, turned into a cafe with an observation deck. Admission costs money (about 10 PLN), the tower opened on Sunday at 10:00.
From there you can see the whole town and the surrounding area. Above all the beautiful lake.
The second picture (right) is the cafe at the very top (there is an elevator going there, by the way). Perfect for romantic trips and get-togethers.
In Bialystok, we were accommodated at the Hotel Golembiewski. Some people asked me afterwards in amazement: “Aren’t you confused? “Golembijewski is in Mikolajki!” Well, judging by the photo, not confused
“Golembiewski” does not pay me (unfortunately) for this post, but I will still praise their hotel. First, the price was pleasantly surprising – for midsummer. Secondly, the traditional water park in the hotel is not big, but the whole was almost all day long at our exclusive disposal. Maximum 100 people pool guests happened only with the arrival of two groups of schoolchildren for two hours. All the rest of the time were the same faces, who came and went as scheduled. Well, and thirdly, the views from the hotel window were just gorgeous.
Here, I’m sorry, the outer ebb of the window was caught in the frame, but you can see the oddly shaped cloud stretching over the entire downtown area. The illuminated spot on the left is the road to the pedestrian zone.
The same thing looks different during the day, without the nighttime magic.
At the very beginning of the pedestrian zone stands the traditional monument to Joseph Piłsudski (53.132514, 23.157879).
It is also the best landmark for tourists.
The city has approx. 292 thousand inhabitants. Basically, you can walk around it for 2 – 3 hours. From the hotel Golembiewski next to the former Branicki Palace stretches a giant green park.
The photo shows the Branicki Palace, which now houses the Medical University of Bialystok. By the way, in Bialystok, judging by the number of hospitals and their size that we met, the nicest thing is to get a little sick. There is a guarantee that you will be effectively helped to recover.
Here, for example, is a children’s hospital. In Kaliningrad, we even have a smaller regional hospital.
But back to Plante Park, which .
. through the traffic circle it smoothly passes into another park – Zwierzyniecki. In addition to the wonderful monuments .
. there is a cute free zoo with regional animal life.
The cute kitty would love to get out of his cage, but they won’t let him.
I doubt that in Bialystok you will ooze and ah at the sight of architectural masterpieces. There are not so many of them here. But there are a lot of universities, students and, accordingly, student hostels.
There are, for example, such lovely elements of wooden architecture that speak to .
. well-established woodworking skills:
In Bialystok there are whole neighborhoods of wooden houses preserved, but with brick and concrete coming in on all sides.
We did not manage to get into the majestic St. Roch Church – reconstruction.
But outside we found a memorial place in honor of the priest Adam Abramovich.
The road to the Orthodox church was closed. So we did not go there.
It’s time to return to the pedestrian zone to the Kosciuszki market, around which in the summer there are, I think, a dozen cafes.
There are such majestic monuments in the adjoining blocks: “God, Honor, Fatherland” (Pomnik Bohaterów Ziemi Białostockiej – 53.1307052, 23.1553192), the beauty of which is that there are parks next to them where you can take a walk.
Where I photographed it, I do not remember – but definitely in Bialystok
In general, on the first day we were lucky enough to have an outdoor biblical performance, which the people around us listened to very seriously.
Children will surely like these small architectural forms – a monument in honor of a dog named Kavelin. Here it is explained that it is in honor of the tsarist colonel Nikolai Kavelin. Wasn’t he a handsome colonel?
The shopping opportunities in Białystok are just as good, if not better (because there are fewer people), as in the larger cities.
The Alpha Shopping Center, sandwiched between two parks:
To say “Goodbye!” I want to say goodbye to Bialystok with this photo, which best conveys the reason why the city is called the “green lungs” of Poland – it’s surrounded by forest from three sides. You can see it on the horizon.