Lublin Travel Guide
We’ll be honest – on paper, Lublin doesn’t sound like the cheeriest of places. After all, having a former Nazi death camp as your headline attraction kinda throws a wet blanket over everything else. However, if you choose to experience Lublin instead of nipping in to see its darkest sight, you’ll discover a historic city that many never get to appreciate.
In most destinations, headline attractions are something that locals are proud of. Sadly, the Majdanek State Museum covers the darkest period in the history of Lublin. This institution is on the grounds of Majdanek, one of Nazi Germany’s most infamous death camps.
Like Auschwitz, mass genocide happened here, but Majdanek was also a forced labour camp. As you walk through its exhibits, you’ll learn about the grim daily routine of this facility’s prisoners. The gas chambers, where too many met their demise, is also intact.
After that sobering experience, take time to process your thoughts. Then, when you’re ready, make Lublin Castle your next stop. Constructed by the court of Casimir II the Just in the 12th century, this keep is the oldest in all of Poland.
In the 19th century, local authorities added Neo-Gothic facade that persists to this day. From that age until 1954, the castle served as a prison, with Nazis and Soviet Secret Police being among its administrators. Since 1957, it has served as the Lublin Museum, housing artifacts stretching back to the 10th century.
Next, swing by the St. John the Baptist Cathedral. Opened by Jesuit church authorities in the early 17th century, it was the first church built in the Baroque style in Poland. As impressive as the exterior of this building is, the inside will blow you away with its ambitious frescoes.
When you’re done gawking at the ceiling frescoes and chandeliers, check out the altar. Built to resemble a Lebanese pear tree, it’s a stunning piece of work.
Then, head out to see the Lublin Open Air Village Museum. Located on the outskirts of Lublin, it chronicles how life used to be in past centuries. Like many living history museums, convincing actors/actresses staff this attraction.
If you want to want to get an elevated view of the Lublin area, head up Trinity Tower. Formerly part of the Jesuit College, this 60-metre high tower acts as a tourist attraction today. To get to the top is no picnic, though – you must ascend 207 steps to reach the observation deck.
However, when you get there, it’ll greet you with a view of Old Lublin that you can’t get anywhere else. However, do note that the staircase is steep, and the “handrail” is just a rope. As such, it may not be the best option for acrophobes.
After dark, be sure to take in the Fontanna Multimedialna. This water feature looks like any other fountain by day, but at night, it steals the show. Lit up in brilliant colours and accompanied by a musical score, this waterworks will impress the most cynical traveller.
Each show commemorates a significant event in Lublin’s past. From independence movements to anniversary celebration for Lublin, there are many different displays that happen throughout the summer.
Sightseeing can take a lot out of you. During your time in Lublin, make time to relax and unwind in the Saxon Garden. In the mid-19th-century, the Polish government decided that central Lublin needed to green up. So they contracted engineer Feliks Bieczyński to design an English-style garden.
The Saxon Garden was the end result. Today, it is a lovely place to walk or sit. Shortly after arrival, grab a coffee at the on-site cafe, and watch local residents go about their exercise routines.
End your stay here with an evening in the Lublin Old Town. After checking out its architecture, settle in at a cafe, restaurant, or bar, and enjoy your last night with friends.
What To Eat
By midday, you will have worked up a big appetite. Satisfy your hunger by ordering Zupa cebulowa z Goraja. Cooked with pork or vegetable stock, it is an onion soup that also comes with carrots. Seasoned with fenugreek, caraway, and parsley, it has a unique flavour you need to experience to appreciate.
After you enjoy your onion soup, it’s only appropriate to have Cebularz Lubelski as a snack. Like the soup, onion is the focus of this flatbread. Also topped with poppy seeds, you’ll find it bakeries all around Lublin.
For dessert, have some Szarlotka józefowska. This charlotte cake contains an apple filling, making it a decadent treat indeed.