How to spend 48 hours in Lodz, Poland

Josh Ferry Woodard 13 April 2021

Lodz (pronounced “Woodge”) is an off-the-radar Polish post-industrial city teeming with individuality and creativity, says Josh Ferry Woodard.

Day one in Lodz

day one in Lodz

Morning: artisan bread and a city reimagined

Check-in at the centrally located B&B Hotel and head around the corner to artisan bakery and breakfast hot-spot Breadnia. The café is housed in Gutenberg’s House, a glorious yellow ochre and rose tenement building famous for its eclectic mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Mannerist features.

Fuelled up on freshly baked bagels and croissant, take the tram to Manufaktura, a huge 19th century cotton factory that was reinvented as a cultural and entertainment centre in 2006. Gaze at the architectural spectacle of the former industrial complex’s unplastered red brick buildings renovated with modern glass and aluminium features, before visiting one of three on-site museums.

Learn about Lodz’s history as a major global textile hub at the Museum of the Factory. Peruse world-famous pianist Arthur Rubinstein memorabilia, among other things, at the Museum of Lodz. Browse the works of fascinating avant-garde artists like Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee and Max Ernst at the Museum of Art ms2.

afternoon on a street in Lodz

Afternoon: delicious coffee & delightful courtyards

Grab some lunch at one of Manufaktura’s many restaurants. Polka offers traditional Polish fare, Anatewka focuses on Jewish cuisine, while Bawelna serves dishes from the Mediterranean and Whisky in the Jar is famed for its succulent beef prepared over a lava grill.

Stop off for barista-grade coffee and a sumptuous vegan dessert of lime, avocado and strawberry mousse at stylish café Szykier, before making your way to Lodz’s main artery, Piotrkowska Street.

At 2.5 miles long, Piotrkowska is one of Europe’s longest shopping streets. Here you’ll find over 100 restaurants, cafés and bars, plus lots of interesting street art and statues. Look beneath your feet at the “Lodz Walk of Fame,” a strip of star-shaped plaques commemorating 65 of Poland’s top cinema stars. In fact, it’s worth looking all around you, as the street and its surrounding courtyards are home to all manner of curiosities.

Rosa’s Passage is a real highlight. Step inside the silver courtyard to marvel at the mirror mosaic that covers the walls and floods the narrow patio with fragmented, flickering light. This breathtaking installation was designed by artist Joanna Rajkowkska to turn darkness into light, in honour of her daughter’s battle to overcome a serious eye condition.

Nearby Pop N Art is a lovely spot for an afternoon drink. Enjoy an apricot and gin cocktail beside a collage of bold, colourful murals, shimmering chandeliers and frosted bulb fairy lights.

evening in lodz

Evening: refined pasta & bohemian bars

Sit down at stylish Pracownia Bistro and enjoy a delicious starter of beef tartare in olive oil with raw quail egg, large caperberries and fresh bread. Follow that with a big bowl of homemade tagliatelle with pungent gorgonzola, crunchy walnut and sharp rocket.

After dinner, stroll the cobbled streets of OFF Piotrkowska, a post-industrial enclave of independent boutiques, alternative music venues and bohemian bars. Gaze at beautiful murals in between stops for bottled beer at laid-back Mebloteka Yellow and smoked whisky cocktails at Brush Barber Shop, a hair salon that moonlights as one of Lodz’s finest cocktail bars each night.

Read more: An introduction to Polish cinema

 

Day two in Lodz

brunch at HollyLodz

Morning: trendy brunch and HollyLodz

Head back to OFF Piotrkowska for a cooked breakfast of poached eggs and hollandaise with a mango and chilli slush at trendy brunch spot Spoldzielnia. Alternatively, grab a “damn fine cup of coffee” with cake or croissant at the geometrically sublime Café Magistrat.

After breakfast, learn about the history of Polish cinema at the Museum of Cinematography, located next to the National Film School, where Oscar winners Andrzej Wada and Zbigniew Rybczynski and Palme d’Or winner Krzysztof Kieslowski studied. The museum is located inside a grand 19th century palace and features over 50,000 fascinating items, including 12,000 film posters, an early 3D film device called a Fotoplastikon and some odd but adorable Moomin puppets.

Dubbed HollyLodz (“HollyWoodge”) by local film buffs, the city is proud of its cinematic heritage. Be sure to watch Wajda’s celebrated 1975 film The Promised Land, which depicts Lodz’s rapid, ruthless expansion during the Industrial Revolution. David Lynch’s dreamlike Inland Empire was also largely shot in Lodz, after the surrealist filmmaker was inspired by the city’s post-industrial aesthetic.

Ec1 building in Lodz

Afternoon: mushroom pierogi and a power station reborn

Find a table at Cud Miod Fabryczna, a restaurant that translates as “something uncommon and delightful.” Order the indulgent red pine mushrooms oozing in butter with onion and parsley and a ‘Wonderful’ Belgian IPA to start. Follow with a plate of sharp mushroom and sauerkraut pierogi dumplings.

Don’t forget to top-up on caffeine at arty/literary Café Fruits and Vegetables, before heading to the EC1 Centre of Science and Technology. Lying dormant as a veritable post-industrial wasteland right in the middle of town from 2000, when it ceased providing power for the city, until 2016, when the colossal power station reopened as a cultural centre, the spectacular complex now houses an array of interactive scientific exhibits. You’ll also find the modern EC1 Planetarium, a spherical 3D cinema and The National Centre for Film Culture on-site. While The Centre of Comics and Interactive Narration will be opening soon.

Take a rest stop at the fantastic Surindustrialle café, where the cakes and lemonade are homemade, the air is filled with incense, the music is relaxing and the décor is imaginative. Snag the intimate raised seats at the back if you can, the organic-looking swirling structure was handmade from clay layered over a metal frame.

polish dinner

Evening: a Polish feast & beer flights

Dine on gooey grilled sheep cheese with tart cranberry sauce at traditional banquet house Gargoly. In addition to an accomplished continental wine list, this establishment serves meaty mains, like breaded pork chops with mashed potato and delicate fish dishes, such as baked trout with pearl barley. Finish with a tangy sheep milk ice cream smothered in sweet honey and crunchy walnuts.

After dinner, head to Piwoteka, “the beer library,” for a flight of intriguing and experimental brews. This hipster joint is unafraid to serve novel concoctions such as coconut ale, bourbon barrel porter, mango and ginger pale ale and horseradish saison.

If you have the energy, check-in at the chaotic Lodz Kaliska pub/club, where industrial steel, glass walls and off-kilter architectural lines combine to create a brilliantly disorientating atmosphere, before retiring to B&B Hotel.

Josh was invited on a tour of the city by the Lodz Tourism Organisation prior to the pandemic. Flights were provided by Ryanair

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