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katowice guide by a local

when accounting for the entire aglomeration, Katowice, Poland is the largest city in Poland, but it's industrial atmosphere has remained completely undiscovered - here's what you should know.

- what are the things to do in Katowice?
- what are the best restaurants in Katowice?
- how does public transport in Katowice work?


what to see

what to see

where to eat

where to eat

best hotels

best hotels

day trips

day trips

getting there

getting there

getting around

getting around


what to see in Katowice

Grzegorz says:
To be perfectly honest, Katowice isn't all about attractions - it's mostly a unique place to discover authentic Polish urban life. Nonetheless, here are some highlights for your exploration.

top 10 attractions in Warsaw on greyscale simple map
top 10 attractions in Warsaw on greyscale simple map

icon of number 1 with pink text and shadow Cathedral of Christ the King

Let's start our Katowice guide with a church. Constructed in the early communist times of 1955, this Roman Catholic archcatherdal is one of a kind in Poland. Its rough, blocky outside and geomertical inside contrast enormously with the Roman-style columns of the facade. Since its construction, the catherdal has become a symbol of Katowice, and, despite perhaps not being the most flashy building around, is a must-see for anyone looking to experience Katowice's true colors.

The catherdal is open daily, and can be visited free of charge. This applies to the vast majority of Polish churches.

from the outside

inside view

icon of number 2 with pink text and shadow St. Mary's Street

St. Mary's Street, or ulica Mariacka, is Katowice's centre of urban life. It is a promenade lined with hip restaurants, clubs, bars, cafes, and stores. The street is a great place to discover Polish metropolitan life, but is also great for photography thanks to the church tower looming over the street on its eastern end. During the night, and especially on the weekends, the street slowly fills up with people - this is the best time to go there.

during the day

during the night

icon of number 3 with pink text and shadow Architecture

Let's face it - Katowice is no tourist paradise. However, there is something that must be admitted to its credit. There are dozens of builidngs, especially tenement houses, scattered around the city centre that few pay attention to. Those same buildings located anywhere else would become major tourist attractions - here, they're just too commonplace. Many of them have tens of beautiful ornaments, decorative towers, or just a very unusual design. Katowice is, therefore, a paradise not for the typical tourist, but for one with appreciation for such old buildings with history that have remained low-key.

Szczecin Philharmonic official website

Grzegorz recommends:
Katowice's architecture and its diversity is really, really underrated. I recommend just roaming around the main streets in search of pearls like the ones below.

Mickiewicza 22

Music Academy

Mickiewicza 10

Silesian Library

icon of number 4 with pink text and shadow Spodek

Located in the dead centre of Katowice, Spodek is a multipurpose arena constructed in 1971. It is, however, not the arena part that is notable, it is the design of the exterior. The building is truly one of a kind, and it is a must-see simply for its odd form. The name "Spodek" translates directly to "Saucer", as in flying saucer, in honor of its resemblance to a UFO.

night view

day view

icon of number 5 with pink text and shadow Valley of Three Ponds

After a day in the industrial concrete jungle that is Katowice, it can be very nice to relax in the Valley of Three Ponds, a water and greenery complex located south of the city centre. It is a good place to discover modern cosmopolitan life in Eastern Europe, but also for a picnic, or maybe even a swim.

pond beach

birdseye view

icon of number 6 with pink text and shadow Silesian Parliament

The parliament's grand, awe-inspiring building was constructed in 1929 to house the parliament of the autonomous region of Silesia. What is, however, most notable about the parliament is its modernist facade, with its hundreds of blocky windows, modular wings, monuments and ornaments. Most importantly, however, the building truly represents the distinctiveness of the people of Silesia from Poland, but also the meaning and atmosphere of Katowice.

view from above

frontal view

icon of number 7 with pink text and shadow Main Square

The Main Square in Katowice is unlike any other Main Square in Poland, most of which have an old city hall in the centre and are surrounded by tenement houses. In Katowice, the tenement houses have been swapped for modern buildings interlacing with old, standalone structures, and the city hall was replaced by a green open urban space. The main square, in our opinion, is best enjoyed in the evening, which is exactly when there is most activity in the cafes and restaurants that surround it.

day view

night view


best restaurants in Katowice

Grzegorz says:
Katowice has a great culinary scene which more than makes up for its lackluster attractions. I would especially recommend restaurants in the St. Mary's Street area and around the main station.

best local cuisine

Restauracja Tatiana

Restauracja Tatiana offers traditional Silesian food stylishly served in a warm atmosphere.

Dishes include handmade dumplings, beef tenderloin tartare, confited goose's leg, and pumpkin ice cream.

go to official website

go to menu

best affordable local cuisine

Pierogi Świata

An affordable Polish restaurant serving classic dumplings as well as some dumplings from other parts of the world.

Dishes include both savory and sweet dumplings, vegeterian dumplings, and fish dumplings.

go to official website

go to menu

best international cuisine

Kyoto Sushi

This is a great spot to go when you want some sushi - offers cozy ambience, delicious food, and good experience.

Dishes include miso soup, a variety of sushi choices, and some delicious dessers.

go to official website

go to menu

best affordable international cuisine

BaB to go

A traditional Korean restaurant that offers good quality food at affordable prices.

Dishes include rice with pork, japachae, ramyeon, and mandu-guk, bulgogi, and kimchi.

go to official website

go to menu

best luxurious restaurant

Via Toscana Restaurant Cafe

For a splash of luxury, or maybe a romantic evening, go to this charming and cozy Italian restaurant.

Dishes include rissoto, tagliatelle with grilled salmon, veal fillets, sirloin steak, and lamb chops.

go to official website

go to menu

best cheap restaurant


A tiny, authentic restaurant that offers traditional Polish cusisne at affordable prices.

Dishes include variety of soups, such as beetroot soup and żurek, and silesian traditional dishes as dumplings.

go to official website

go to menu

best cafe

3 Siostry Bajgiel i Kawa

A cafe specializing in american-style bagels with a hip approach and feel, right in the city centre.

Dishes include many types of coffees, teas, lemonades, and, of course, bagels.

go to official website

go to menu

best bar

Biała Małpa

A hip Polish tap craft beer pub near Katowice station inviting more to conversation than dancing.

Drinks include various types of Polish and international craft beer, but also snacks.

go to official website

go to menu

best bakery

Stara Pączkarnia

A fantastic Polish-style donut chain with a rustic approach - 1950's-like.

The donuts come in a variety of flavors, including chocolate, rose jelly (a classic!) and more.

go to official website

go to menu

best breakfast


Located right by the Spodek, this is an amazing and affordable breakfast cafe to spend hours in.

Dishes include smoothies, scrambled eggs, bagels, and, of course, coffee.

go to official website

go to menu


best hotels in Katowice

Grzegorz says:
Katowice is not a touristy city by any metric. Therefore, the hotel scene depends mostly on aparthotels and AirBnBs, as well as a number of high-class business-oriented hotels.

our super low-budget picks

it's no bed of roses; it's no pleasure cruise - but these picks get the job done with dignity for a penny on the dollar.

Guest House

A centrally-located shared-bathroom guest house with very basically furnished rooms.

Prices start at 40 zł [9.3 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

Hostel Katowice Centrum

A great-value hostel right next to Katowice Station with tidy, basic décor and double beds.

Prices start at 45 zł [10.5 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

Double Rooms

An amazing-value private-bathroom clean and tidy rooms located a bit east of the city center.

Prices start at 47 zł [10.9 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

our low-budget picks

for those who want to spend the minimum, but not the bare minimum.

Wita Stwosza

A very nicely decorated shared-bathroom aparthotel with private kitchens in the city center.

Prices start at 75 zł [17.5 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

Przystanek Mariacka 26

A great-value three-star hotel with private bathrooms and baths located in northeast Katowice.

Prices start at 65 zł [15.1 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

Hotel Restauracja Kinga

A private-bathroom hostel with basic décor, located in just south of Katowice Station.

Prices start at 70 zł [16.3 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

our mid-budget picks

you don't want to miss out on any amenities, but you're not paying extra for fancy decor - this one's for you.


Located in dead city center, this is a 3-star hotel with very tidy furnishings and nice lobby areas.

Prices start at 110 zł [25.6 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

B&B Hotel Katowice Centrum

A very tidy 2-star hotel/bed & breakfast just west of the city center and with very nice bathrooms.

Prices start at 86 zł [20.0 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

Młyńska15 Apartamenty

A beautiful aparthotel with nice bedrooms and kitchens right in the heart of Katowice.

Prices start at 90 zł [21.0 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

our high-budget picks

for the ones who are coming to Poland for the trip of their lives - or just for the one's who always want the best of the best.

Hotel Diament Plaza Katowice

A beautiful 4-star luxury hotel with beautiful Polish-inspired interiors and amazing amenities.

Prices start at 151 zł [35.2 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

Courtyard by Marriott Katowice

A 4-star international hotel chain with everything you expect when travelling abroad.

Prices start at 325 zł [75.7 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

Q Hotel Plus Katowice

This is a modern 4-star hotel with Scandinavian-style interiors and very large bathrooms.

Prices start at 162 zł [37.7 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com


day trips from Katowice

Grzegorz says:
Katowice is surrounded by very worthwhile day trip opportunities, the main one being Auschwitz-Birkenau, located just outside of the city, and, of course, Krakow, if you still haven't been there.

top 5 day trips from Cracow on greyscale simple map
top 5 day trips from Warsaw on greyscale simple map

icon of number 1 with pink text and shadow Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps

The two concentration camps are located 50 kilometers west of Central Cracow, and are infamous for being the site of extermination of upwards of 1.1 million people during World War II. Today, it is a museum in memorial of "the martyrdom of the Polish nation and other nations in Oswiecim". A visit to eye-opening the museum should be a must for every adult during their lifetime.

It costs 45 zł [10.4 EUR] to enter the park. This entrance fee includes a guide in English. The park is about 40 minutes away by car, or about 50 minutes away by public transport. To get there by public transport, you must first take a train to Oświęcim, and then take a short walk to the site. The journey will cost you 6 zł [1.4 EUR] each way.

Grzegorz recommends:
If you haven't yet been to Auschwitz-Birkenau, please go. In my opinion, every adult should visit the camp at least once to pay respect and ensure this never happens again.

road entrance to Auschwitz

prisoner bunk-beds

rail entrance to Auschwitz

prisoners' confiscated belongings

icon of number 2 with pink text and shadow Cracow

Cracow is Poland's most popular city, and for good reason. It has incredibly rich history, and is, in a way, the opposite of Katowice. While Katowice is a city focused on its industrial architecture and atmosphere, Cracow emphasizes the medieval and renaissance. Cracow's most notable buildings and areas include the Main Square, Wawel Castle, and Kazimierz Jewish District. In truth, if you have a spare day in Katowice and have not yet been to Cracow, you really, really should go.

It takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes to go to Central Cracow from Central Katowice by car (it's a motorway all the way there). Alternatively, you can take the train, which takes a bit under 2 hours and costs as little as 12 zł [2.8 EUR].

Main Square

Wawel Castle

icon of number 3 with pink text and shadow Częstochowa

Częstochowa is a major city north of Katowice with two main things going for it - the monastery of Jasna Góra, to which thousands flock in pursuit of pilgrimage, and the Cracow-Częstochowa Upland, which is remarkable for its ruins, beautiful terrain, stone formations, and flora. What is more, Częstochowa is a must-visit for any dedicated Roman Catholic, or for anyone looking to experience at least one more city in Poland.

It takes around 1 hour minutes to go from Central Katowice to Central Częstochowa by car. Alternatively, you can take the train, which takes a bit under 2 hours and costs 26 zł [6.1 EUR] for an Intercity Train ticket.

Jasna Góra Monastery

Cracow-Częstochowa Upland

icon of number 4 with pink text and shadow Ostrava

Though this goes against the premise of our website, we can't help but recommend taking a trip to Ostrava if you have a spare day in Katowice and would like to explore a new city or country. Ostrava is the third biggest city in the Czech Republic and a truly industrial powerhouse of the past, which is now being converted into a paradise of hip restaurants, cafes, and open areas.

It takes about 1 hour to go to Ostrava from Katowice by car, with a motorway all the way there. Though a bit troublesome, it's also possible to go by train - there is a direct Intercity connection which takes 2 hours and 15 minutes and costs 13 euro.

Ostrava from above

Ostrava Festival

icon of number 5 with pink text and shadow Ojcowski National Park

A small national park located 20 kilometers northwest of Central Cracow, known for its boulders and odd stone structures. It's the perfect place for a picnic, trekking, and photography. The nature in the park is truly breathtaking, and so are the ruins of Ojców Castle. Apart from flora, it is also known for its fauna, and especially the hundreds of types of birds and hundreds of bats living in the park's caves - but also deer, polecats, hares, and boards.

Ojcowski National Park is best accessible via Ojców, which is reachable by car in 1 hour and 5 minutes. You can also first go to Cracow (see how above) and then take a Unibus bus from Kraków Nowy Kleparz/Prądnicka station, which takes 35 minutes, departs roughly every 4 hours, and costs 10 zł [2.3 EUR].

"the Glove"

Ojców castle ruins

icon of number 6 with pink text and shadow Błędów Desert

Oddly enough, Poland has a desert, and it is located just northeast of Katowice. It is an area of 32 square kilometers, with sands reaching up to 70 meters of depth. 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. The desert can be walked across for free, of course.

It takes about 35 minutes to drive to the desert from Central Katowice (which is crazy). It's quite hard to get there by public transport, but, if you are determined to, the best option is to go to the town of Klucze, which is a good access point for the desert. To do so, you must take a bus from the bus station near Silesia Shopping Centre to the town of Olkusz - this takes 50 minutes - and then take another bus from Olkusz to Klucze - this takes 10 minutes. The total cost of this trip is 10 zł [2.3 EUR] each way.

arid section

green section


travel to Katowice

Grzegorz says:
Katowice is very well connected by both rail and road, has many bus connections and many practical air destinations. Getting to the city is a breeze, and I recommend trains the most.


Next to train travel, likely the most popular way of getting to Katowice is by plane. There is a number of things you should know in relation to that.

To learn about the standards of Polish airports, as well as about destinations, go to our transport by plane article.

Katowice Pyrzowice Airport (KTW)

Katowice has a medium-sized, rapidly-growing airport with decent connections to European cities, although primarily serviced by budget airlines like Wizz Air and Ryanair. The airport has especially many connections to the UK.

Katowice Pyrzowice Airport outside

Katowice Pyrzowice Airport landside

getting to the city centre

There are two popular ways of getting to Katowice from Katowice Airport. The best way is to take bus no. AP3 from Katowice Central Station (the bus stop of the station is located underground) directly to the airport. This takes 50 minutes and costs 14 zł [3.3 EUR] - the ticket, is, however, valid for 24 hours within the city. The other option is to take a taxi, which takes about 40 minutes and costs 90 zł [20.9 EUR].

It can also be a good idea to fly to Cracow Airport - read more about it in our Cracow article.


The other fastest, and likely more conventional way of getting to Katowice, is by train. This is a great option if you're coming to Katowice from a different Polish city, but can also be done internationally if you're all about train travel - especially from the Czech Republic or Slovakia.

You can learn everything there is to know about the standards of Polish trains, as well as about types of trains, buying tickets, and destinations by going to our transport by train article.


In truth, Katowice has one very large station, called simply Katowice, located in the dead centre of the city.

Katowice Station outside

Katowice Station inside

destinations and prices


  • Warsaw - 4:00h | 62 zł [14.4 EUR]
  • Łódź - 3:30h | 55 zł [12.8 EUR] (with stopover in Częstochowa and Koluszki)
  • Poznań - 4:00h | 62 zł [14.4 EUR]
  • Gdańsk - 8:30h | 78 zł [18.2 EUR]
  • Wrocław - 2:00h | 12 zł [7.5 EUR]
  • Cracow - 2:00h | 12 zł [2.8 EUR]
  • Szczecin - 7:00h | 74 zł [17.2 EUR]
  • international

    All relevant international connections to Poland, along with their prices and times, can be seen in the transport by train article. In the case of Katowice, there are also regional trains that cross the border into the Czech Republic towards Ostrava.

    Grzegorz recommends:
    Traveling to Katowice by international train can actually be a very good idea from Czech Republic and Slovakia, and sometimes even from Austria or Hungary.


    As long-haul buses re-gain popularity with the rise of companies like Flixbus, so does traveling to Katowice by bus. However, with the availability of cheap flights to Katowice, travel to Katowice by bus makes the most sense from other Polish cities.

    To learn about bus companies in Poland, as well as about how to find buses, buy tickets, and about the quality of buses, head to our transport by bus article.

    bus stations

    In Katowice, long-haul buses typically stop and depart simply at what is called the main bus station (which, unfortunately, is in really bad shape), located a few hundred meters north of the main train station. What's great about this is that the main station is the most accessible spot in the city, and the distance to the bus station is easily walkable.

    the bus station in Katowice

    Flixbus at the Katowice bus station

    direct destinations


    Currently, from Katowice you can go to all major Polish cities via direct connections.


    The main direct bus destinations from Katowice are Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich, Prague, Budapest, Minsk, Kiev, Vienna, Bratislava, Brussels, Amsterdam, and many, many more.


    Taking a road trip to Poland, or to Katowice in this case, is a great idea, especially from Germany, Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Everything you need to know is explained in our transport by car article.


    public transport in Katowice

    Grzegorz says:
    Look, you can rent a car and drive around the city, but if you want to be like a real local, you need to get up close and personal with trams and buses. It may seem scary at first, but it's super intuitive. Here's how I do it.


    To learn about ticket validation in a given vehicle, as well as how to check how long your journey will be, head to the vehicle's dedicated article.

    There are a number of types of tickets in the Katowice Aglomeration, with the main difference between them being validity time and city validity. There are also reduced-fare tickets, but because of the inconsistency of the information given on the website with the information given by ticket controllers, we do not recommend buying reduced-fare tickets no matter your status.

    It's important that we first underline that all public transport tickets in Katowice are valid on all means of public transport (though this does not include urban rail and regular trains - more on that below).

    types of tickets

  • 20-minute ticket - one city - 3.2 zł [0.7 EUR]
    This type of ticket is great for short inner-city trips, such as to your hotel. In 20 minutes, you can traverse most of the city centre. This ticket can only be used to travel within the city it was validated in (the Katowice Aglomeration contains multiple major cities).
  • 40-minute ticket - two cities - 3.8 zł [0.9 EUR]
    A 40-minute ticket covers most of Katowice, and especially the areas you are likely to visit as a tourist. This ticket can only be used to travel within the city it was validated in and an adjacent city (the Katowice Aglomeration contains multiple major cities).
  • 90-minute ticket - no restrictions - 4.8 zł [1.1 EUR]
    This ticket covers pretty much the entire aglomeration, and can even be used for two-way travel if you're only going to the store to pick something up, or perhaps even to a fast-food restaurant.
  • 24-hour ticket - entire aglomeration - 14 zł [3.3 EUR]
    A great option for tourists living outside Katowice; this ticket allows you to travel by public transport freely within the Katowice Aglomeration for 24 hours after validation.

  • As you can see, there are a only a few types, and they can be lacking at times. All of the tickets above can be purchased in any location that sells tickets.

    buying tickets

    In Katowice, the only sensible way to buy public transport tickets is using the ticket machines located all over the city. Whenever you will need to use public transport, you will easily find a machine. If not, there are also in-vehicle machines in most trams and buses. You can read more about buying and validating tickets in the dedicated articles of the various means of transport.


    To learn about ticket validation, standards in buses in Poland, finding routes, and the types of tram stops, head to our tram article.

    Katowice has a very large tram system for Polish standards, with 32 lines and about 181 kilometers of tracks. Below is a metro-style map of the system.

    what are trams in Katowice like?

    Most of them are quite modern, especially those on more popular routes, meaning the routes you are more likely to take as a tourist. Moreover, most of Katowice's trams have in-tram ticket machines.

    Katowice tram outside

    Katowice tram seats


    There is nothing unique about the bus system in Cracow. For everything you need to know, head to our general city bus article.

    Grzegorz recommends:
    I hate saying this, but, if you can, take the tram over the bus. It's not a huge hassle to take the bus, but there's a reason why trams exist in the first place.

    bus outside

    bus inside

    urban rail

    To learn about ticket validation, standards of urban rail in Poland, finding routes, and stations, head to our urban rail article.

    Katowice's urban rail system is called Szybka Kolej Regionalna (SKR for short) and is a very basic one. It is comprised of 1 line, going from the city of Sosnowiec, through Katowice, and terminating at Tychy. The train departs every hour.

    The ticket system is similar to regular trains, wherein you need to buy a ticket for your journey on the station using a ticket machine.

    SKR train

    SKR train inside


    Katowice's bike sharing system (City by bike) and bike rental scene is very generic. Everything you need to know can be found in the bike article.

    City by bike rental station

    City by bike locking unit


    Read all about calling taxis and Ubers, as well as the prices in Poland, in our taxi/Uber article.

    Our recommended taxi company, Lider Taxi, is reachable under +48 327 232 323, and costs 6 zł [1.4 EUR] initiation fee and 1.6 zł [0.4 EUR] per kilometer.

    good availability in Katowice

    taxi waiting area in Katowice