If you are looking to travel off the beaten track. Lodz, in Poland, is the backpackers dream. With cheap flights from London for as little as £29. It is the perfect destination for those looking for hidden pockets of paradise in unfamiliar surroundings.
Known as the ‘Polish Manchester’, Lodz (pronounced Woodge) has had a significant change in recent years. Much like Manchester, it was once an industrial powerhouse of the 19th century until the end of the second world war, a time that would see the city hit a massive decline and later become known as ‘Grey Lodz’ due to the Great Depression. However, with the recent transformation that has hit Lodz over the years, the area has been given a new lease of life. Old and rundown textile mills have been turned into small villages with hotels, boutiques, restaurants and al-fresco bars. The architecture, typical of mainland Europe, transcends you to fairytale-esque surroundings.
Lodz is a city of creative energy that is vibrant with the pleasures of the modern era. And, even better for us, the city attracts more business than leisure travellers meaning Lodz has cheaper rates at the weekend making it an absolute bargain.
With a wealth of things to do when visiting the city, there are a few with wehand selected that are a must.
Holy-Loodz, a play on the ‘Hollywood’, is a street dedicated to the cities talents that have had an impact on the world’s cultural landscape. An obvious joke, Lodz has capitalised on its film history with many film festivals and other cultural events hosted throughout the year.
The city has a variety of iconic figures relating to the area such as Roman Polanski, the controversial director of ‘The Pianist’, who graduated from the cities film school. Also, pianist Arthur Rubinstein has a bronze statue of Rubenstein’s piano made in his honour that sits outside his family home at no.78.
As the third-largest town in Poland, it is a place of modern technology and creative enterprises. There is a stark contrast between the industrial architecture that shaped Lodz and the offices, culture and sports buildings. It is also has vast array of expensive palaces – three times more than that of London in fact, which is five times bigger.
Originally made for cotton-mill workers back in the day, now you will find beautiful, well-kept gardens where you can take in the beauty of the area in the summer sun. Also in the garden, you will find Palm House, a building that was built to protect trees over 140-years-old. Interestingly the roof is occasionally raised to compensate for the huge trees’ growth.
With old cities comes unique architecture and a rich and lustrous history, and Lodz is no different. At the junction with Pilsudskiego, you will find the city’s biggest street art mural ‘A Love Letter to Lodz – a town hall, Liberty Square and a wooden sailboat.
You can find an old weaver’s cottage down Rose Passage. It has mosaic blooms that sparkle in the sunlight. Then sit at the table with a bronze statue of the city’s three major mill owners. The city’s longest street, Pitrkowska Street, stands at 2.6 miles long and is one of Europe’s longest thoroughfares home to an amazing nine palaces.
As well as having all the culture you can shake a stick at, Lodz has the nightlife to match.
With a range of street food markets that come to life at night, Lodz is one not to be missed. You will find a range of stunning and lively happening bars that party late into the evening The streets come to life with some stunning light displays.
‘Manufaktura’ invites visitors to its numerous restaurants and an exceptional disco located in a former power plant.
European weekends away are looking ever popular with such programs as channel 4’s Travel Man, where Richard Ayoade takes you round the well-known cities of Europe.
It is a refreshing glimmer of hope that there are still hidden gems such as Lodz for the true wanderers to get a feel for another countries untouched, undiluted culture.