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Bielsko-Biała

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Bielsko-Biala [1] is one of the largest cities in Silesian Voivodeship in Poland with a population of about 180,000 in the city itself and over half a million if its metro area taken into account.

Understand

The city is situated by the intersection of S1 motorway , main road going north-to-south through Poland. It is situated 50 km south of Katowice and 75 km west of Krakow. The city was once renowned for its magnificent linen, but now its main industries are strictly mechanical. The average relative height difference between places in the city goes as big as 900 meters, as in the city borders there are several mountain peaks - that generates magnificent view. Bielsko-Biala is place of tourism, people from all over the country visit the city as it is logistical and cultural center for nearby ski-sport towns, such as Szczyrk, Wisla, Ustron and Zywiec.

The today's center of the town was probably developed as early as in the first half of the 13th century. It was then when a castle was built on a hill still used for this purpose today. Sometime in the 13th or 14th century the town was granted a town charter; the exact date is unknown because the document is now lost.

The town of Bielsko was first mentioned in a letter by a Duke of Cieszyn in 1312. For centuries, Bielsko belonged to the Duchy of Cieszyn. From 1457 the Biała river was the border between Silesia and Little Poland. Silesia belonged to Austria, Little Poland to Poland. In 1723 on the opposite bank of the river the city of Biała came into being.

In 1772 Biała was annexed by Austria and included in the crownland of Galicia. In 1918 both cities became part of reborn Poland, though a significant part of the population was ethnic German. During World War II the city was annexed to the Third Reich and its Jewish population sent to Auschwitz Nazi German concentration camp. After the liberation of the city by the Red Army in 1945, the ethnic German population was expelled. The city of Bielsko-Biała was created on January 1, 1951 when the adjacent cities of Bielsko and Biała were unified.

Get in

By plane

The Katowice-Pyrzowice airport in Pyrzowice (80 km from Bielsko-Biala) is an airport for domestic and European flights to following cities:

  • Abu Dhabi
  • Alesund
  • Alghero (seasonal)
  • Athens
  • Barcelona
  • Belfast
  • Bergen
  • Birmingham
  • Bologna
  • Brindisi
  • Bristol
  • Burgas (seasonal)
  • Chania (seasonal)
  • Catania
  • Cologne/Bonn
  • Cork
  • Dortmund - twice daily
  • Dubai- Al Maktoum (seasonal)
  • Dublin
  • Dubrovnik (seasonal)
  • Dusseldorf
  • Doncaster - Sheffield
  • Eindhoven
  • Edinburgh
  • Frankfurt
  • Fuerteventura
  • Heraklion (seasonal)
  • Kherson
  • Kharkiv
  • Kiev (Boryspil and Zhuliany)
  • Kos (seasonal)
  • Kutaisi
  • Larnaca
  • Liverpool
  • London (Stansted and Luton)
  • Lviv
  • Malaga (seasonal)
  • Malmo
  • Malta
  • Manchester
  • Milan-Bergamo
  • Munich (München)
  • Mykonos (seasonal)
  • Odessa
  • Oslo
  • Palma de Mallorca (seasonal)
  • Paphos
  • Podgorica (seasonal)
  • Reykjavik- Keflavik
  • Rhodes (seasonal)
  • Rome- Ciampino
  • Santander (seasonal)
  • Split (seasonal)
  • Stavanger
  • Stockholm- Skavista
  • Tirana (seasonal)
  • Tenerife- South
  • Tel Aviv - 3 times a week, only service to southern Poland (Wizzair)
  • Warsaw-Chopin
  • Thessaloniki (seasonal)
  • Zakynthos (seasonal)

There's a frequent shuttle bus from outside the terminal building to the city centre dropping off near main railway station.

For further information see GTL Airport Katowice - Pyrzowice [2] and GTL Travel [3].

The other option, perhaps further is the Balice Airport (KRK) [4] - it is the Krakow airport, located about 100km (or 2 hour drive) to the east of Bielsko-Biala. It is the second biggest airport in Poland, with frequent domestic and international charter and scheduled flights. There are several direct arrivals every day from all over Europe, including London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Milan, Berlin, Dublin, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Rome, Vienna and Zurich, and there are summer flights to more destinations, including Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey. The main flight companies operating in the airport include LOT (the Polish national airline), Austrian Airlinese, and Lufthansa. There are also lots of budget airlines operating here, including EasyJet, German Wings, Jet 2, Ryanair.

By train

Bielsko-Biala Main Railway Station is located in the city center.

Trains from all parts of Poland and other countries arrive at Main Station. Thera are Intercity and Eurocity express trains stopping at Bielsko-Biala, as its railway goes on the line Budapest - Bielsko-Biala - Katowice - Warsaw and Vienna - Bielsko-Biala - Katowice - Warsaw.

The trains within Poland are run by Polskie Koleje Państwowe (see PKP [5])

By car

The main approaches to Bielsko-Biala are:

  • from Kraków one can choose the A-4 motorway to Katowice and then S1 motorway to Bielsko-Biala (110 km), or alternatively shorter road through Wadowice (70 km)
  • from Katowice south by the S1 motorway
  • from Wroclaw on the A-4 motorway to Katowice, then S1 south to Bielsko-Biala
  • from Warsaw south on the S1 (E-67) European main road; Bielsko-Biala is about 350 km south of Warsaw
  • from Cieszyn (on the southern border) on the S1 (E-75) European main road; Bielsko-Biala is about 25 km northeast of Cieszyn

By bus

Long-distance bus services arrive at Main Bus Station (near the Main Railway Station). The main operator is PEKAES EUROLINES [6]. Services are available from Krakow (2 hours - an hour quicker than the train), Warsaw, Lublin, and in summer to the Baltic coastal resorts. Carriers as Sindbad, Interbus, Eurobus or Agat offer direct connections between cities in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Spain, Netherlands, Ireland, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Italy . They also stop on Main Bus Station. There're connections between Croatian cities of Split, Trogir, Kastel, Rogoznica, Primosten, Sibenik, Zaton, Vodice, Pirovac, Drage, Biograd na Moru, Sveti Filip i Jakov, Sukosan, Zadar, Petrcane, Karlovac, Zagreb, Sesvete. They're operated by Retman and Eurobus in summer season.

Get around

Public transport

Public transport is the MZK Bus Company [7]. Tourists are advised to check bus schedules in advance if possible as buses are not normally at regular intervals and there can be long waits between one coach and the next.

Buses & Trams

Bielsko does not have a tram network but does have a comprehensive bus network stretching out several kilometres in every direction. It was designed during the Communist period (indeed, many buses still date from that period) when most residents did not have access to a car and therefore serves the different parts of the city well, and generally runs between about 5am and 10pm, with occasional night buses. A single 20-minute ticket is available for 2,20zl from any of the many kiosks around town (don't expect the people working in them to be able to speak English! The Polish word for ticket is 'bilet' and should be understood) and must be stamped upon entry into the bus, or you are liable for a fine of up to 110zl if caught by the very infrequent ticket inspections. Tickets are also available from the driver for an increased price.

Taxi

Taxi-stops are situated in several places in Bielsko-Biala. You can also call one of the taxi companies by phone and order a taxi.

See

Pszczyna - Bielsko-Biala is an attractive medium-sized city jn the south part of Poland, but the real gem is the nearby Pszczyna. This is compact city with the name difficult to pronounce but owns a lot of charm. Well-preserved medieval urban layout , lovely market and numerous architectural monuments of the eighteenth and nineteenth-century gained moody, intimate character. Impressive ducal castle is surrounded by picturesque 150-hectare park with many ponds. You can visit both interior of the Promnitz Castle as well as historic area with Rynek, lively town square. Go for a walk with a professional guide through the city. Book guided city walk across Pszczyna and check out the history of one of the most beautiful cities in the Silesia.

Silesian Beskids - Beskid Mountains, which are springing up on the outskirts of Bielsko-Biala will provide an excitement to everyone, who is in mood for. There are many excellent trails and attractions like birds of prey-wildlife theme park. On the slopes of the Mount Barania are sources of Wisła (Vistula) River, the Queen of Polish rivers. Position of the Evangelical Augsburg Church in this mountainous region is stronger than anywhere in the country. Hit the trail with professional guide and reach Klimczok peak (1117 m high) by climbing from Bielsko-Biala. It will be easier, if you take a funicular railway, and make additional stop in Szyndzielnia Mountain Hostel. Knowledgeable guide will choose hiking destinations based on your fitness level and interests. Whether you’re a casual walker or an advanced hiker, the guide can customize your hike to include panoramic views or lush wooded trails.

Szczyrk ski region - Ski area in Szczyrk is a paradise for skiers where they can enjoy greatest ski runs in Beskids, including Mount Skrzyczne slope which is known as ‘Golgota’ among frequent visitors. This is one of the best resorts for winter sports in Poland. With 27 ski lifts and cross-country skiing possibilities, there is plenty of options both for beginners and pros. Book ‘Improvement of skiing techniques’ event and do advances in skiing/snowboarding. The lessons and ski runs will be chosen by the instructor to make it in an efficient, stress-free, and above all, safe way. Are you going to view attractions and events of Bielsko-Biala or make your booking? Visit Poland Just Now website (http://polandjustnow.com), select south-western region of Poland on a map and create itinerary for a trip lasting a minimum of 7 days.

Do

Aside from various festivals throughout the year and impressive examples of Viennese architecture (the city has been described as 'Little Vienna') Bielsko attracts many tourists through its position as a gateway to the Beskidy mountains. Easily accessible by bus number 8 from the railway station is the Szyndzielnia cable car taking passengers up to above 1000m with excellent views of the city, and visible from the city are many ski runs, operational during the winter season. Bielsko-Biała was a place where evergreen Polish cartoons were created. You can visit a museum dedicated to them. Cartoon characters as dog Reksio have their monuments.

Eat

Buy

Sleep

Budget

  • Dom Turysty, Krasińskiego 38. An object with shared and private bathrooms, free WiFi
  • Aparthotel Ventus Rosa, Piwowarska 6. Object in city center, restaurant
  • Widok Centrum, Widok 12. Object not far from city center, restaurant, gym, sport facilities
  • Domowe Klimaty, Plac Wolności 1/10. Guest rooms and apartments in city center, free WiFi
  • Hotel na Błoniach, Pocztowa 39. Hotel located about 5 km from city center, free WiFi, garden
  • Beskid Park hostel, Żywiecka 130. Hostel located 2 km from city center, bar, summer terrace, game room
  • Hostel 4You, Rejtana 3. Hostel not far from city center, free WiFi
  • Hello hostel, Mickiewicza 40. Hostel in city center, free WiFi, shared bathrooms, summer terrace
  • hotel Marczewski, 1-go Maja 4 A. Hotel in city center, restaurant, free WiFi
  • hotel Beskid, Olszówka 24. Hotel located 4 km from city center, free WiFi, restaurant
  • OSiR Victoria, Bratków 16. Object located 2 km from city center, free WiFi, restaurant, bar, sport facilities
  • hostel Bielsko, Barlickiego 13. Hostel in city center, free WiFi
  • DOT hostel, Sikorskiego 2/12. Hostel in city center, free WiFi, shared bathrooms
  • Centrum Sportu Rekord, Startowa 13. Object located about 4 km from city center, sport facilities, gym, cafe, bar
  • BKS Stal Olimp, Rychlińskiego 19. Guest rooms in city center, free WiFi and car park, sauna, gym, sport facilities
  • Tenis Park Adeventage, Ceramiczna 20. Object located 3 km from city center, restaurant, bar, free WiFi and car park, tennis courts, restaurant, bar
  • hostel Zgrabna, Zgrabna 8. Hostel located 2 km from city center, garden, free WiFi and car park
  • Sleep Time hostel, Sikorskiego 2/6. Hostel in city center, free WiFi, shared bathrooms
  • Noclegi Azyl, Legionów 81. Guest rooms not far from city center, Internet
  • Dom Rekolekcyjny Nazaret, Kościelna 20. Object located in mountains, in Bystra Śląska, near Bielsko-Biała
  • Jubileuszowe Centrum Caritas, Polna 31. Object located in Lipnik Górny district,garden

Mid-Range

  • Ibis Styles Bielsko-Biała, Żywiecka 93. Hotel located 2 km from city center, free WiFi, restaurant
  • Qubus hotel Bielsko Biała, Mostowa 2. Hotel in city center, free WiFi, restaurant
  • Apartamenty Grępielnia, Partyzantów 22. Apartments in city center, WiFi, restaurant
  • hotel President, 3 Maja 12. Hotel in city center, free WiFi
  • Parkhotel Vienna, Bystrzańska 48. Hotel located about 4 km from city center, free WiFi, bar, restaurant, air-conditioned rooms, gym
  • Azalia, Begonii 8. Guest rooms not far from city center, garden, Internet, barbecue facilities

Splurge

Get out

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