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Katowice

Travel Guide Europe Poland Katowice

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Introduction

OFF: from the hotel window

OFF: from the hotel window

© All Rights Reserved triptime

Katowice is a city in the southern Polish region of Silesia. Although the city itself has just over 300,000 inhabitants, the total urban area has around 2.8 million inhabitants and the metropolitan area 5.3 million!

The city is currently in a period of regeneration and growth. The previous main train station - considered a masterpiece of Brutalist architecture by some, but an eyesore by many others - is gone, replaced by a modern station with attached shopping mall. A so-called Cultural Zone has been created, and around 1 billion zloty spent on its development, comprising an exhibition centre, concert hall and museum. The whole rynek (market square) area is also being rejuvenated. It all contributes to the sense of a city engaged in positive change.

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Neighbourhoods

Centre

  • Śródmieście - The downtown, and where most of the bars and restaurants are, along with the main bus and train stations and the rynek (market square). If there's something going on, it's usually going on here.
  • Koszutka
  • Bogucice
  • Osiedle Paderewskiego - Muchowiec

North

  • Załęże
  • Osiedle Witosa
  • Osiedle Tysiąclecia - A residential area featuring many blocks of flats including the landmark kukurydze (sweetcorn) buildings. There's not much to see here, though the famed Park Śląski (Silesia Park) is opposite.
  • Dąb
  • Wełnowiec - Józefowiec

West

  • Ligota-Panewniki
  • Brynów - Osiedle Zgrzebnioka
  • Brynów - Załęska Hałda

East

  • Zawodzie
  • Dąbrówka Mała
  • Szopienice - Burowiec
  • Janów-Nikiszowiec - Nikiszowiec is a former settlement for miners with many well-preserved historic buildings and well worth a visit.
  • Giszowiec - Another interesting miners' settlement.

South

  • Murcki - A quiet former mining village sited in a clearing in a forest to the south of the centre. Not much happening here, but it's a quaint little place and worth going for a wander.
  • Piotrowice-Ochojec
  • Zarzecze
  • Kostuchna
  • Podlesie

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Events and Festivals

OFF

OFF is an annual three-day music festival held in Dolina Trzech Stawów (Valley of the Three Ponds) in Katowice. 2015 featured Ride, Patti Smith and Run the Jewels, with tickets costing from 200 to 320zl for the three days, depending on when purchased.

Tauron Nowa Muzyka

Tauron Nowa Muzyka is an annual festival of electronic music held in the Silesian Museum - a former coalmine converted into a cultural space, which opened to the public in June 2015. Previous acts have included Autechre, Kelis, Bonobo Live Band, Chet Faker, Mouse on Mars and Flying Lotus. Winner of Best Small European Festival in 2014.

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Getting There

By Plane

Katowice International Airport (KTW) is about 30 kilometres north of the city centre. Ryanair flies to Birmingham, Bologna, Dublin and London. Wizzair flies to Barcelona, Bergen, Burgas, Brussels, Cologne/Bonn, Cork, Doncaster/Sheffield, Dortmund, Eindhoven, Forli, Frankfurt, Liverpool, London, Madrid, Malmö, Milan, Oslo, Paris, Pisa, Rome, Stockholm and Venice. A few other airlines serve destinations like Kiev, Düsseldorf, Warsaw, Turin, Munich and Tel Aviv.

A one-way transfer by bus to Katowice city centre costs 27PLN, and the journey takes about an hour.

By Train

Trains from all parts of Poland and other countries arrive at Central Station. There are fourteen trains per day between Warsaw and Katowice and twenty-eight trains per day between Kraków and Katowice during the day; the journey takes 180 minutes (from Warsaw and Wrocław) and 80 minutes (from Kraków). You can arrive by train directly from Vienna, Budapest, Kiev, Berlin, Ostrava, Praha, Bohumin, Bratislava, Zilina, Český Těšín, Hamburg, Moscow, Minsk.

By Car

The main approaches to Katowice are:

  • From Kraków on the A-4 motorway; Katowice is about 60 kilometres westward of Kraków
  • From Wrocław on the A-4 motorway; Katowice is about 180 kilometres eastward of Wroclaw
  • From Warsaw on the E-67 European main road; Katowice is about 300 kilometres south of Warsaw
  • From Cieszyn (on the southern border) on the E-75 European main road; Katowice is about 70 kilometres north of Cieszyn

By Bus

Long-distance bus services arrive at International Katowice Bus Station (in the city centre, close to Sadowa Street). The main operator is Eurolines.

Polskibus offers daily routes from Katowice to the following locations: Warsaw (near metro station Wilanów) via Częstochowa and Vienna, Austria via Bratislava, Slovakia. Fares can be as low as 2 zł.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

A comprehensive bus and tram network makes getting round Katowice easy, and links it to the adjoining towns and cities in the metropolis. You have to buy tickets in advance, and then validate them on the bus or tram. You can buy tickets from small kiosks near to tram stops, and also from the machines which can occasionally be found, for instance at Rondo im. Generała Jerzego (the big roundabout by the Spodek).

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Eat

There are many restaurants in Katowice, including international chains such as McDonald's, Burger King or Pizza Hut. Like elsewhere in Poland, majority of restaurants in Katowice represent European style cuisine, in particular, Polish one, with a number of Silesian regional dishes. It is not uncommon for a restaurant menu to have an English description, but you cannot always rely on it; similarly, younger staff may speak passable English, but no guarantees there neither.

In addition to restaurants accessible from the streets, there are also some to be found in large malls and shopping centers.

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Drink

The main drinking zone is Mariacka (pronounced 'marry-ATS-ka') - a pedestrianised street in the heart of the downtown. It has a buzz about it pretty much every night of the week, but especially at weekends, and especially in the summer, when the ogródki (beer gardens) line the street the whole way down, and the street is full of people and energy. The quieter, slightly more upmarket part of the street is at the end near the church, separated somewhat from the more raucous part by another street that bisects it.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Best Western Premier HotelBytkowska 1aHotel-
Bella Notte HotelPaderewskiego 35 ChorzowHOTEL-
Arsenal Palace HotelPaderewskiego 35 ChorzowHOTEL-
Vacanza - Siemianowice SlaskieOlimpijska 4 Siemianowice SlaskieHOTEL-
Hostel Katowice CentrumAndrzeja 19 St.HOSTEL-
Olympia SpodekAleja Korfantego 35HOTEL-

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Work

International Companies

Unilever, Oracle, Capgemini, Orange (Poland) and IBM all have offices in Katowice.

English Teaching

As with most of Poland, there is a high demand for English classes in Katowice. A native-speaker should find it relatively easy to acquire new clients on a one-to-one basis, and there are also various English schools in the city.

Freelancing

There is a (so-called) co-working space in Galeria Katowicka - the shopping mall that adjoins the train station. It's actually just a walk-in space with chairs and tables, power sockets and wifi, next door to the food hall area. It's completely free to use. The space is mostly used by students, and is sometimes used for training purposes by staff of the shopping mall, making it unavailable for use. You can print documents downstairs at the reception desk of the shopping mall, for a small fee.

A more professional, co-working space exists in the north of the city, in the Wełnowiec neighbourhood on Ul. Aleja Korfantego. It's actually space to rent in the offices of IT company Orbit One. One Office is offers a range of packages from 175PLN for a week to 600PLN for full-time monthly access. They have a one-day free trial for those wishing to check out the service first.

The best cafes for getting work done are the Starbucks at Galeria Katowicka (adjoining the train station), Dobra Karma (świętego Jacka 1), Coffee Synergia (Andrzeja 29) and Kafej (Chorzowska 5).

There is also an excellent library - Biblioteka Śląska
(Plac Rady Europy 1) - in the south of the centre, with plenty of desk space, power outlets, lockers, wifi, a drinks machine and even a small cafe. It can be a good idea to sign up for a library card (for a small fee) if you plan to use the space regularly.

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Learn

Universities

Katowice has a number of universities, including the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music, the Medical University of Silesia (Śląski Uniwersytet Medyczny / SUM), the University of Economics in Katowice (Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Katowicach), the University of Silesia in Katowice (Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach) and some faculties of the Silesian University of Technology (Politechnika Śląska).

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Keep Connected

Internet

In the cities there are more and more Wifi Hot Spots, so if you have your own mobile device, you can connect. Best chances of finding one are at airports, railway stations, in cafés, shopping malls and universities. Places like McDonald's and Starbucks usually have unlimited free wifi. In some hotels you can find free wifi, though you might have to pay as well or maybe just use it for a limited amount of time. Internet cafes become less popular recently as people prefer to use internet at homes.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

To call to Poland from abroad, dial the Polish country code,48, then the number without the leading 0, as if calling from a domestic mobile phone.
The general emergency number is 112. Police (997), Ambulance (999) and Fire (998) have phone numbers as well, and municipal police has 986 as a number.

Mobile phones work almost across the whole country. There are four mobile phone operators in Poland: Plus, T-Mobile, Orange and Play. About 98% of the country is covered by the standard European GSM 900/1800 MHz network, the remaining 2% are wildlife reserves or high mountains. 3G is available in almost every town.
Domestic call rates are roughly the same across all services. Prepaid starter kits with SIM card (called starter in Polish) are widely available in reasonable prices (PLN5-20, most of which is available for calls), in most of the shops, supermarkets and news agents.

Just about every shopping centre has at least one independent cellphone shop, the guys who run them are usually knowledgeable and have a range of cheap handsets which you can use as a local / travel phone. This may be a good option since juggling SIM cards is always a pain.

Post

Poczta Polska is the Polish public post service. Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday. Some offices are open on Saturday until 2:00pm and the main post offices in major cities are open daily, 24 hours. Services are generally ok, but don't expact it to be fast and it is not always reliable, though most letters, postcards and parcels will arrive at its destinations after a week or two. You can find the red post boxes dotted throughout the country. You can check this postal website to see how much sending a letter, postcard or parcels costs, both domestically as well as internationally. For sending packages internationally, you can also check FedEx, TNT, DHL or UPS, as they have fast and reliable services and generally competitive prices as well.

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This is version 23. Last edited at 22:55 on Jul 22, 15 by misterneil. 22 articles link to this page.

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