Guide to Lublin
If you’ve read the first parts of my Poland series, you’ll know that I visited Warsaw and Krakow as part of a birthday trip for my best friend. However, I didn’t visit Lublin until later on in the year and the visit wasn’t completely intentional. That summer somebody I knew was having a wedding in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital. As flights direct to Kiev were too expensive, I planned to fly cheaply to Lublin, stay a couple of days before taking a coach to Kiev.
What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with my stopover town and it’s beautiful architecture!
Lublin Accommodation: Wytchnienie
My guide to Lublin starts as usual with accommodation recommendations. In Lublin I stayed at Wytchnienie, a lovely if hard-to-pronounce guesthouse on the outskirts of Lublin.
The location of the guesthouse was pretty far away from the centre of the city and quite near a major motorway. However, about 5 minutes walk away was a supermarket as well as a bus-stop to take you into the centre and the main sights.
The guesthouse was absolutely beautiful from the outside, surrounded by a white wall with arches and a grand gate, as well as vibrant flowerbeds. The house is large and impressive, made from grey stone and with a red tiled roof. The hallway was equally splendid, with large windows, chandeliers and artwork adorning each wall.
Wytchnienie guesthouse offers single, double, triple and quadruple rooms, all pretty simple but neat. There was one shared kitchen and bathroom on each floor, all basic but efficient and clean. You can also get rooms with private bathrooms if you prefer your own space. The staff were all friendly, speak a variety of languages. On top of this, there’s free private parking and free wifi is available all over the site.
Overall, Wytchnienie is a excellent accommodation for a stay in Lublin and I found it a joy to stay there. The aesthetic and facilities definitely make up for the location and for the price (on average £10 per night but relative to the room and amount of guests) it’s a great deal.
For more information, and to book your stay, click here.
Lublin Castle is one of Poland’s oldest preserved royal residencies, established by Casimir II the Just during the 12th century. The castle was originally built with earthen walls and was rebuilt with stone walls in the 14th century just to be destroyed during the wars in the 17th century that are historically titled The Deluge. According to 2012 estimates, The Deluge caused the destruction of 81 castles and 136 churches in Poland. However, the castle’s stone keep, built in the first half of the 13th century (pictured below) was not destroyed during the wars and remains the oldest standing building in Lublin, as well as the tallest part of the castle.
The castle has been used for many purposes throughout history, serving as a location for royal Polish visits, political congregations and becoming a prison in 1831. During the Nazi Occupation of Lublin between 1939 and 1944, the castle was used as a prison for at least 40,000 inmates. After WWII, the castle was used as a prison for the secret Soviet police for Poles who opposed Soviet occupation, and of these at least 333 people lost their lives there.
Nowadays, the castle is part of Lublin Museum. There are exhibitions on Lublin’s history, folk art from the region, and the castle’s history as a prison. You can visit all permanent and temporary exhibitions at the castle for the equivalent of £6.45, including admission to the chapel and tower. The grounds of the castle are beautiful so make sure you bring a camera along!
Lublin Old Town
Adjacent to the castle, you can find Lublin’s old town. An official Polish Historical Monument, no guide to Lublin would be complete without referring to arguably the most beautiful area of the city. I’m always eager to explore preserved old towns in a new city, however having never heard of Lublin, I was unsure of what to expect. I didn’t expect to be completely wowed by how incredibly beautiful and vibrant it is.
Making your way to the old town from the castle, down castle street, you’ll be awarded with beautiful views over the medieval rooftops and spires. Shortly after entering the old town, you’ll come across Po Farze Square (Plac Po Farze), the ruins of what was once the Parish Church of St. Michael Archangel, the first church erected within the Lublin city walls.
ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście is a completely pedestrianised street running through the old town, starting near Plac Po Farze and running all the way to Krakow Gate. It’s flanked by charming restaurants and cafés and decorated with colourful floating balloons that are suspended all down the street. Stone archways, hanging flowerpots and rustic lanterns are just some of the features of the quaint street. You’ll also find locals selling artwork either on stalls, or just leaning against the buildings.
On your journey down the street, you’ll come across Market Square, a large square surrounded by buildings boasting pastel coloured Baroque architecture and a variety of al fresco restaurants. This is also where the Renaissance Crown Tribunal can be found, where the underground tours of Lublin old town begin. Continuing down the main street, you’ll eventually reach Krakow Gate (brama Krakowska) a 14th century Gothic stone gate that acts as an entrance (or exit) from the old town into the city centre. Near Krakow Gate, you’ll find Trinity Tower (Wieża Trynitarska) a neo-gothic belfry tower that you can climb for panoramic view of the city from 40 metres.
Saxon Garden (Ogród Saski)
Created in the 1860s, the Saxon Garden is the oldest park in Lublin. As the name suggests, the park is designed in the fashion of an English garden. It’s a beautiful place to spend a sunny day wandering the paths through the trees and lush green grass. Exploring the park, you’ll come across vibrant flowerbeds that are delicately arranged, pretty white benches and archways, gazebos, water fountains and even spaces where brightly coloured peacocks strut about showing off their feathers.
Although the weather was mainly lovely while I was in Lublin, on one day the heavens completely opened and a storm unlike I’ve ever experienced before came over the city. Extreme rain turned the roads into rivers and wind tore trees from the ground. I walked through the park that afternoon after the storm ended and there was a graveyard of fallen trees, one had even fallen into a gazebo and broken the roof in two. Hopefully the damages caused by the storm has been easily resolved.
More Lublin Attractions:
If you have more time In Lublin than I did, why don’t you check out:
- Majdanek Concentration Camp (museum and memorial)
- The Lublin Open Air Village Museum
- Botanical Garden
Let me know your thoughts on these attractions so I can eventually update my guide to Lublin!
Polish Food & Prices
Finally, it’s time to talk food and prices in Poland. I’ve discussed this sporadically throughout the series, however I think it’s time to stress once and for all how ridiculously CHEAP Poland is to visit!
A three course meal at a good restaurant in Poland is around £10, a pint of beer (from a restaurant) is on average less than £1.50 and if you buy domestic beer from a market, you can bag a pint for 60p!* Accommodation costs vary however it is possible to get a dorm bed for as low as £3.**
However, it’s important to bear in mind that big tourist spots will be more expensive than local areas and the costs are somewhat relative to how popular a city or area is. For example, Lublin is on average 8% cheaper than Krakow, due to how much less of a tourist hotspot it is. Yet, regardless, you’re still likely to be surprised by how cheap Poland is.
To conclude my guide to Lublin, I’ll summarise by saying that the city is a great destination in Poland and should definitely be considered as a stop in your road-trip around the country. Bearing beautiful architecture, great history and large luscious parks, it absolutely deserves a spot on Poland’s top three city breaks.
Don’t forget to look up what events are going on in the city when planning your trip dates, there’s a lot happening throughout the year. Good ones to check out are Lublin Jazz Festival (mid to late April), Magician’s Carnival (late July) and St. Nicholas Folk Festival (mid December), all drawing the best artists and musicians from across Europe to Lublin’s humble streets.
If you enjoyed this guide to Lublin, please give it a share!
*Statistics from Numbeo, updated August 2018.
**Statistics from Budget Your Trip.