When it comes to the outdoors, Szczecin is probably best known as a city with running events. Two of the most notable fixtures on the city's event calendar are Bulwarove and the Szczecin Night Run (PL: Szczeciński Bieg Nocny) that draw running-mad contenders from all over the world. The latter of these is typically around 5km in length, which makes it accessible for the more casual of runners. Also, like most of Northern Poland, Szczecin is quite a flat city, so you won't tear up your calf muscles!
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Szczecin rests on a river, connected to a lake, which is connected to a huge lagoon, which then empties onto the Baltic sea. This fractured delta of waterways, fondly referred to as the 'floating garden' or 'floating city', means that watersports are immensely popular in Szczecin. Sailing and kayaking are the most popular, the latter of which can be enjoyed in natural reserves or around urban oddities such as Szczecin's Venice. Sailing enthusiasts flock to Szczecin every year for the Sail Szczecin Festival, though individual charters of all sizes are also available year-round. It's also possible to hire motorboats to cruise up and down the Oder. Head to Szczecin Marina and see what your options are. Back upstream a little, it is even possible to get from Berlin to Szczecin by boat! Further away from the urban centre, Szczecin's very own 'floating garden', the Lower Odra Valley Landscape Park, is a tranquil, picturesque maze of waterways that can only be traversed by kayaks. Hiring options are available around Siadło Dolne and Dziewoklicz beach.
Watersports around Szczecin AKA the 'Floating City'
Visit one of Szczecin's many ParklandsPeering at this area of West Pomerania on Google, you'll notice that it's all a lush green. This is thanks to the water-table upon which Szczecin rests, earning it the nickname of 'the floating city'. For starters, there are a number of big parklands like Park Kasparowicza, Jasne Błonia and Różanka Rose Gardens which are worth your attention if you choose to stay central. However, journeying outside of the city can also be quite rewarding as well. Szczecin's Beech Forest (PL: Szczeciński Park Krajobrazowy Puszcza Bukowa) is a fantastic lake and forest area, about 20km southeast of the city (see below).
Szczecin has a tonne of historic sites spread all over the city centre and it's often hard to know where to start. It's for this reason that the City Tourist Route was created, as well as coinciding with the 750th anniversary of Szczecin getting its town rights. The 7-km-long loop connects 49 sites - the most interesting monuments and places worth seeing - and is marked by an easily found red dotted line painted on the pavement, thus earning its nickname as the “Red Route”. A pocket guidebook, published in various languages, includes a map of the route and information corresponds with numbered circles at each site. The route begins and ends in front of the Szczecin Główny Train Station. See the full map and details here!
For a shorter list of essential sites in Szczecin, read our article: Szczecin: German Bunkers and Old Town Sightseeing.
Łasztownia, easily identified by its yellow and green Dżwigozaury (ENG: Crane'o'saurs). While it's a pleasant stroll during the day, especially to see some of those amazing buildings on the west bank, it really comes to life along the bulwary (ENG: boulevards) on summer evenings. Elsewhere in town, Deptak Bogusława is highly recommended for its gastro options and nightlife!
'Puszcza Bukowa' and its Emerald Lake!
Established all the way back 1889 by the curiously-named 'Beech Lovers Society', Szczecin Landscape Park (PL: Szczeciński Park Krajobrazowy) is known better as 'Puszcza Bukowa' (ENG: Beech Forest) due to its dense population of beech trees. This beautiful lake and forest area, about 20km southeast of the city, offers 19 walking trails of varying difficulties to explore as well as a viewing tower on Wzgórz Bukowych (ENG: Beech Hill) and countless waterways and huge rock formations throughout. At its heart is the very pretty body of water, Jezioro Szmaragdowe (ENG: Emerald Lake), which is hugely rewarding for all those who venture through the forest.