“You’ve got a feeling lost inside; it just won’t let you go” – Noel Gallagher.
When you tour cities you have never heard of, your journey is often lifted. I wasn’t feeling good when I first arrived in Tczew but I got perked up here and as I discovered, there was a lot to see and do in this pretty town! After my time in other towns and cities in Poland’s Pomerskie/Pomerania province, this was another mighty adventure for my backpack. This article merely covers the best of Tczew but you can also read about my time touring Gdynia, Sopot, Starogard Gdański, Gdańsk, Pelplin and Łeba.
Where to Stay in Tczew
There is not an abundance of accommodation when you head to towns like this. But I checked into the best hotel Tczew has to offer, the Link Hotel and loved it. Other options including Couchsurfing and cheap bed and breakfasts. I also used Couchsurfing to stay for the first time since Tunisia since my hotel got overbooked as I had 3 nights here and a night in nearby Pelplin.
How to get to Tczew
Believe it or not, this was harder than I expected to get to Tczew. I wanted to get a train from Gdańsk and so I headed to the main train station there – Gdańsk Główny.
I bought my train ticket and went to the platform and waited. And waited. But every train was only going to Gdańsk Śródmieście and no further south. After speaking to a few locals, it was obvious the next train to Tczew was an hour and a half away! I didn’t want to wait, so in the end it was a wasted train ticket. On the train map it looks like an easy journey and one with regular trains. Not so.
I went outside the train station, found a number 50 bus that was heading to Tczew and thought I got on it! But actually by mistake I got on the wrong bus and ended up in a town called Pruszcz Gdański! I was having a depressing week where my Kaliningrad visa was also refused and some travel “friends” (their words, not mine) let me down, so this was not good.
From Pruszcz Gdański, I finally got on the correct number 50 bus all the way to Tczew. All in all that journey took just over an hour. The ridiculous thing was that on the way back from Tczew to Gdańsk, my train took only 20 minutes!!
Once in Tczew and checked into my hotel, I was ready to explore. Some of these sights, I explored on foot just by walking around. Some of them, I used the bicycle from the Link Hotel to cycle down to. And I also had two local friends, Justyna and Piotr to show me around. These are my recommended sights in the town, I spent three days here in total.
1.The Bridge Where World War II Began (Mosty Tczewskie)
So for me the number one sight in Tczew and the one not to be missed is a gory one, another one for the horror archives. The famous bridge here. Not only is this bridge a hugely important junction and a masterful piece of engineering work, but it is actually here, rather than in Gdansk where World War II really began.
Yes, you may have read about my tours of Gdansk and in particular my visits to the Post Office and Westerplatte where the Germans attacked the Polish. But about an hour before that attack, a German invasion of Tczew was thwarted by the Poles. Basically at about 4 in the morning, a Polish guard found it suspicious that lots of German soldiers were packed onto a train heading for Tczew. He alerted his mates and as they crossed this bridge, Mosty Tczewskie, the Polish blew it up. It was September 1st 1939. The bridge is now fully functional of course and crosses the famous Wisla River. There are some information boards about the history of the bridge at various points on your cycle by the river.
2.The House Where Napoleon Stayed
As you walk through the main square in Tczew, know as Plac Hallera one of the corner buildings has a distinctive balcony. Rumour has it, and it was told to me by Piotr, one of my Couchsurfing hosts, that Napoleon once stayed here.
For the sake of cool blog posts and off the wall backpacking, I believe it.
As well as checking out the bridge, I cycled right along the Wisła River. This is the exact same river that I saw in Waszawa and Krakow on my travels. It’s the largest river in Poland and here in Tczew it is wide. Boats often sail down it and there were a few fishermen here too.
Some cities have signs on the entrance and Tczew has an obvious flower bed with the name of the town. It’s one of the first things I saw on arrival. Sadly, on the roundabout opposite is a DickMonalds with a large M.
Beside the Tczew sign is a huge Polish tank. There is also a war memorial in behind on the hill.
6.Murals on Wojska Polskiego
While walking down the street called Wojska Polskiego, are two striking murals. One with a mermaid, but my favourite one of a beautiful kiss. This reminded me of the kiss painting I had seen just a month earlier when backpacking in Milan, Italy! I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey…the more I get of you the stranger it feels, the air.
Famous Polish mathematician, scientist and astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus was born just down the road in Torun and here a small park is dedicated and named after him.
Similarly to Starogard Gdański, Tczew also has an Urząd Miejski – it’s like a town hall but for council offices. The one here is on a busy roundabout in the town centre. Not only is it a nice building, but outside it are some unusual sign posts to other parts of the world, one of which was Dagenham, near London in England.
The main square in Tczew is called Plac Hallera and has a few cafes and bars around it. Most of all it is just a place to chill and each building has a different type of design on it. One sign was particularly green in colour.
There is also a statue here, and it is of a person who changes four times a year – to represent the four seasons!
10.Wiatrak Holdenski (Dutch Windmill)
So there I am backpacking through Tczew in rural POLAND and I spot a windmill! Yes, here is a black Dutch windmill. It looked a bit out of place and I sneaked through a gate and up to the door, only to be chased away by a scarey dog. I have no idea if you can get inside or not, or even why it is here. It was built in 1806.
By the train station is a modern shopping centre called Galeria Kociewska. There is a cool licensed food court area on the top floor, which offers a nice place to eat, drink and relax while waiting on a train or bus – as the stations are just below.
12.Dworzec Kolejowy (Tczew Train Station)
The train station has lots of information boards outside it, and impressively there are trains here from the past, on display. This train station is a good link between Russia and Europe, as you can get a direct train to Szczecin from here (by the German border) and also east towards Ukraine.
13.St. Joseph’s Church
Tczew and Poland in general is brimmed full of churches and four will make this list. The first one, St. Joseph’s Church is on a corner a bit outside the town centre.
14.Poztza (Central Post Office)
All Polish towns of this size have a Central Post Office. I even found postcards here in Tczew (as I also did in Pelplin and Starogard Gdanski) to post to my brother.
The Old library is also on my walk down to the old town here in Tczew. The brick work exterior hasn’t changed in years.
16.Mury Obronne (Walls of the Old City)
Tczew was once a walled city and there was a castle here too. These days, the castle is nowhere to be seen but thankfully for the historians, some of the wall remains. You can see it near to the main library, and there is some tourist information about them too. Parts of the wall have been restored.
17. Roman Landowski Bench and Statue
In the downtown walk to the main square, Plac Hallera, you walk by a bench with a statue of one of the town’s most famous sons – Roman Landowski. A poet and a writer who died in 2007.
18. Kosciol sw. Stanislawa Kostki (St. Stanislav’s Church)
Three more churches to brace the list – the St. Stanislav’s church. This one dates back to 1289. It has a baroque interior design and also houses a music school these days.
19.Kosciol Podwyzszenia Krzyza Swietego
Churches galore in Poland and Tczew has its fair share of good ones – four in the top 20 here. This was my favourite church in the city – buried beneath the church they found bones, the church has some stunning art inside and is also the largest church in town.
Overall Tczew is a very spiritual town, evident from the four main churches but also by the many Vatican City state flags around.
20.Parafia rzymskokatolicka NMP Matki Kościoła
Now the name of this church in Polish is a handful, Parafia rzymskokatolicka NMP Matki Kościoła! But it is well worth a visit! It was situated in a park near my hotel so made an easy stroll for me. It’s a Roman Catholic Church.
21. Wieza Cisnien
This huge water tower is right by the main cemetery and the Wisly Museum and dates back to 1905.
22.Przystan Restaurant and Bar
I could have just left bars, cafes and restaurants off this list, but Przystan is too good to miss so it has to be a top sight. It is right by the river and a cool spot to hang out. I had drinks with Justyna and Piotr in here and also went alone for dinner one night.
23. Fabryka Sztuk and Muzeum Wisły
So I’ve kept the second best sight in the city for the last one on here for some reason. This is a magnificent museum – with some harsh history too. Situated by 30 Stycznia street, in the pre-war agricultural machine factory where the Nazi transitional camp for the people of Tczew was located during World War II. They took my photo with a vintage camera on the way in…
Then, the gas-meter factory operated in the building and after this the first museum of the Vistula River was established. Yes, this is the first museum of the Viztula/Wisła river in Poland.
In 2007, the building was renovated and now operates as the Museum of the Vistula River and Regional Centre of the Lower Vistula. When you go inside, on the right is a huge museum dedicated to the history of shipping in Poland and the Wisła river.
On the left is a two storey historic overview of Tczew, which was absolutely brilliant. Every tourist to Tczew has to go here to see it. You get time warped with videos, interviews and lots of detail on how this small town developed over the years. I could have done more than a top 23 but it’s a busy week and I also want to write about Pelplin and Sopot when I get the time!
Thanks to Justyna, Piotr and staff at the Link Hotel for reviving me on my journey here. It was an unhappy time when I arrived, but I got through it.
My travel friend Karolina Wacdizka (fake name as the real “friend” had to be removed) hails from the town of Tczew, and another friend in the village of Gręblin who helped me out with some travel tips on this trip. Thanks Karolina!
Here are some videos from my time backpacking in Tczew: