Over the last year and a half, I got to visit the city of Łódź on two separate occasions. It isn’t usually people’s first choice when visiting Poland due to its post-industrial character and run-down city centre.
At first I was a little apprehensive myself, but I soon fell in love with its artistic atmosphere and laid-back vibe, and I know it’s a city I will gladly keep returning to.
A little bit of history of Łódź…
The dynamic development of Łódź started back in 1820, when the land was cleared to build housing and factories which shaped the city’s character for decades to come. At that time, it had a little under 900 inhabitants. With thousands of people coming to Łódź in the hope for a better tomorrow, the city gained the nickname “Promised Land”.
Shortly after, the city’s textile industry reached a level that other cities envied. A century later, there were 677 textile factories which employed nearly 67,000 people. However, in the 90s of the 20th century, the textile industry almost entirely collapsed. Łódź was forced to develop and focus on other branches instead. Thanks to the city’s central location, many international companies choose to set up offices and logistic centres there. Today, the city is reviving, but its industrial heritage is visible on every corner.
Where we stayed in Łódź
When I first came to Łódź with a friend and her husband for a Thirty Seconds to Mars concert, we chose Lite House. The place was in a great location, had everything we could possibly need, and most importantly – was very reasonably priced. I don’t remember the exact price because my friend booked it on her account, but I’m pretty sure we paid under 200 PLN (£40) between the three of us. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos (which is really out of character for me!), but you can check it out under the link I provided.
Once my friend and her husband left in the morning, I checked into Hotel Savoy for my second night in the city. It was definitely one of the most old school hotels I’ve ever stayed in, but I enjoyed it. Hotel Savoy is one of the only two hotels in Łódź to have a man-operated lift. The operator was a lovely elderly man who made sure I sat down comfortably and kept cracking jokes. I paid around 90 PLN (£18) for a single room, which I thought was a really good price for a hotel right in the heart of the city.
A year later, I came to Łódź with my boyfriend and his mum for a Florence and the Machine concert and we stayed in the coolest Airbnb. It was located in a monitored flat complex within walking distance from Piotrkowska Street. As guests, we had unlimited access to a Finnish sauna, fitness centre and a swimming pool, which we definitely took advantage of. We paid around 550 PLN (£110) for 3 nights between the three of us. It included a referral discount, but the price would’ve been very attractive even without it. Overall, this place deserves a glowing review and we’ve been recommending it to everyone ever since. Sadly, it appears that the host is no longer active – if anything changes in this respect, I will keep you posted!
What we saw in Łódź
Piotrkowska Street, commonly known as Pietryna among locals, is the commercial and social centre of the city. Around 4.2 km long, this street is lined with renovated tenement buildings, shops, beer gardens, clubs, and restaurants. It serves a similar function as Old Towns in other cities, and I would argue that strolling down Piotrkowska Street and admiring the architecture is a great attraction in itself.
Pasaż Róży (Róża’s Passage)
While wandering around Piotrkowska Street, you simply cannot miss this courtyard. Its walls are covered with thousands of mirror shards which reflect the daylight, creating an outstanding effect. The artist named this installation after her daughter who was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer. Just like this once-run-down passage that got a new lease of life, Róża regained her eyesight following extensive treatment.
For many years, the city has been considered the capital of Polish cinematography, earning the nickname HollyŁódź. The post-war period saw the establishment of the elite Łódź Film School. It has educated multiple outstanding film directors and actors, including Cannes and Oscars winners.
The city pays homage to prominent Polish actors, film directors, camera operators, and composers with its very own Alley of Stars located on Piotrkowska Street, which was inspired by the Walk of Fame in Hollywood.
People visiting the city with children or cartoon enthusiasts of any age might find it worth looking into Fairytale Łódź. Łódź is home to the Se-ma-for studio, which has been producing animated films and cartoons for over seven decades. There are ten small statues of various cartoon characters scattered around the city – how many can you find?
Taking a street art route is a great way to discover Łódź. The first murals appeared in the 1960s as a way of covering grey walls and breathing life into the city landscape. Soon, they began springing up like mushrooms and became the city’s showpiece.
There are currently approximately 150 murals located around the city. You can download the latest map for easier navigation, and if you want to find out more about each mural, In Your Pocket has got you covered.
Even if retail therapy is not your thing, this shopping centre situated in a renovated 19th-century industrial complex is a must-see place. In the central part, there is a market square with fountains where in the summer you can attend a concert, relax in one of the beer gardens, or on an artificial beach. In the winter, it is transformed into a skating rink. The complex, which spans over an area equivalent to 54 football pitches, also includes various restaurants, a cinema, a modern art museum, and a luxury hotel.
Księży Młyn (Priest’s Mill) and the Palm House
One of the most beautiful areas of Łódź is definitely Księży Młyn. Back in the day, it used to be essentially a city within a city – a factory complex with residential buildings for workers, mansions of the owners, as well as its own school, hospitals, and a fire station. The area has recently been revitalised – mansions were turned into museums, while the old factory was converted into lofts. These post-industrial buildings also play host to a number of cultural events.
Nestled in the area is the most modern palm house in Poland which houses around 4,500 specimens across three different pavilions. You can also find turtles and multiple species of fish.
I love visiting palm houses and botanical gardens wherever I go. With ticket prices ranging between 5 and 10 PLN (£1-2) it was a no-brainer, and it was easily one of my favourite things I got to do in Łódź.
OFF Piotrkowska is a dining and shopping area located in an old cotton mill. You can find plenty of food trucks, shops, clubs, and restaurants with a vast outdoor seating area. A number of design companies and publishing houses also have their headquarters there. I would highly recommend heading there for lunch or dinner to relax and just soak up the atmosphere.
The Central Museum of Textiles
The Central Museum of Textiles is the perfect place to visit in order to really understand the city’s history. The museum’s collection includes textile machinery, various fabrics, garments, and other artefacts related to the textile manufacturing process.
I wrote a separate post about my experience visiting the museum, but if you want to see what is currently on display, it is worth checking the museum’s website.
Where we ate in Łódź
Disclaimer: I visited the first two restaurants during my first visit back in April 2018 and the last two during my second time in Łódź in March 2019.
I’ll admit the restaurant’s decor was the main reason I chose to dine there in the first place, but it was the quality of food that made me come back the following day. I tried one of their burgers and a pesto pasta, and I left full and content both times. It also goes to show that online reviews aren’t the be-all and end-all. Although I very often check them when looking for new restaurants, we should always follow our instincts. At the time of my visit, Agrafka was one of the lower-ranked restaurants in Łódź on TripAdvisor. I cannot understand why, as I would certainly recommend this place to anyone!
Owoce i Warzywa
I went to Owoce i Warzywa for breakfast upon my boyfriend’s recommendation (he used to live in the city and it was one of his favourites). It is located right across the street from Hotel Savoy, so it doesn’t get more convenient than that. I got an amaretto latte and a hot sandwich with Parma ham, mozzarella, basil pesto, and rocket salad. Although it was admittedly rather pricey, I catch myself thinking about that breakfast every now and then, which in my opinion justifies the splurge (and what drove the price up was the fact that I mistakenly ordered a latte with real amaretto instead of amaretto syrup).
We decided to head to Breadnia for breakfast having seen glowing reviews on TripAdvisor. Famous for its freshly baked bread and pastries, the place offers an almost overwhelming choice of breakfast sets.
I got a croissant stuffed with an omelette with Parma ham and pesto, as well as an Irish coffee. My boyfriend got a Greek set – buns with feta cheese, eggplant paste, hummus, dried tomato paste, goat cheese and olives, while his mum went for a vegetarian option with three different types of spreads.
We enjoyed our food so much we decided to go back on our final day to get a full English. This time it took forever to get our food, but they offered us free croissants as compensation. Extra points for good customer service!
One evening, we decided to head to OFF Piotrkowska for dinner. Our visit coincided with St. Patrick’s Day and Drukarnia had a special Ireland-themed menu to celebrate. I had a pide with pulled pork slow-cooked in Guinness beer, cheddar, parsley pesto, rocket salad, mozzarella, and tomato sauce. If their regular menu is as good as the special one, you are in for a real treat!
So, that’s the end of my mini guide! If you’ve been to Łódź, what was your favourite place? If not, I hope my post made you consider adding the city to your bucket list. I, for one, have a few more things that I want to tick off, so another visit is only a matter of time…
That city looks amazing. Architecture and streets are stunning, and that building with glass is stunning. Thank you for sharing travel guide, I put this city on my wish list to visit one day.
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I’m so happy to hear my post inspired you to visit Oslo one day! x
How beautiful is this city! Certainly, arts, food and culture are the things I check out when visiting a new place and this city has it all.
I can definitely relate – I love visiting culturally rich destinations with a vibrant food scene! I really hope you get to visit Łódź one day x
What beautiful pictures! I love visiting Botanical Gardens wherever I go, too x
Thank you! Botanical gardens are the perfect place to unwind and relax x
oh this is such a helpful post as I’m hoping to visit Lodz later this year! it looks beautiful x
I’m glad you found it helpful and I hope you enjoy Łódź! x
Oh wow, this city looks beautiful. I’m off to Krakow on Monday, I really can’t wait, I’ve always wanted to visit Poland.
How exciting! I really hope you enjoy Kraków, it’s honestly one of my favourite Polish cities!
Lodz (sorry, no idea how to put an accent on letters on an English keyboard!) looks beautiful! This entire post I’ve been thinking about how much my Grandma would love it here too, I think we’re going to have to book a little trip away soon! Thank you for sharing xx
Sounds like such a wonderful idea, I really hope you can make it happen! x
Oh wow! It looks beautiful. I’d really like to visit Poland this year – it’s somewhere that’s been on my list of places to visit for so long that I really must make it happen soon xx
I really hope you can make it happen this year – if you ever need any recommendations, you know where to find me! x
Thanks for all the useful info! thanks for posting!
I’m glad you found it useful!
wow this place looks insane with history. Such beautiful places. I need to put this o my list
Yes, I would certainly recommend it!
Oh wow it just looks incredible! I want to go! I’m going to Poland in May – so excited!
Erin || MakeErinOver
How exciting! Where are you going?
The pal house looks absolutely stunning and I would consider visiting just for this because I absolutely love pants! Everything else looks stunning too I’m just won over by the scenary. Thanks for sharing x
Kayleigh Zara ?✨ http://www.kayleighzaraa.com
I’m so happy to hear that! I could spend hours walking around palm houses and the only thing that always stops me is the high temperature inside!
I’ve got to be honest and say I’ve never heard of Lodz before but it looks so cool! I love that it has such an obvious artistic vibe with those amazing murals. I could definitely spend a whole day checking them out! And Pasaz Rozy looks amazing – what a clever idea that has created something so magical. It seems like there is absolutely loads going on here and I’d love to visit. Your travel guides always give me the real urge to explore, they are brilliant and your photos are amazing!
Beth x Adventure & Anxiety
Thank you so much, I always create my travel guides with the hope that they will inspire people to visit these places, so I am very happy to hear that! <3 And I'm not surprised that you've never heard of Łódź before - it's nowhere near as popular as places like Wrocław or Kraków, so I wanted to bring some attention to this interesting artistic city!
Gorgeous photos! If Poland wasn’t on my list of places to visit already, it is now! x
Ahhh thank you, it makes me so happy to hear that!