Despite there being a surprising number of interesting and fun things to do in Rzeszow, I found it fairly quiet during my visit at the end of June.
With a lot of other nearby cities, like Lublin and Krakow, typically full of tourists all year round, Rzeszow was a lot more laid-back and peaceful than many of the even smaller cities that I’ve explored in Poland.
I’m not sure why, because the city itself was beautiful, picturesque, and definitely worth visiting, but I’m not complaining since it seemed like I had much of the city to myself.
On its own, the city center is small and easy to explore in one day.
I had a full-two days in the city, which was more than enough to get a good feel for it, and I hope to return in the few months to check out the local Christmas market that’s held in the old town square every winter.
In this post I want to share with you some of my best recommendations when it comes to what to do in Rzeszow, so that you know how to most effectively spend your time on a visit to the capital of Subcarpathia.
Things to do in Rzeszow
It was back in 1354 when the city finally received its city rights, and gained the ability participate in local and international trade, apply taxes to goods traveling through town, and decide on its own laws and regulations.
Over the years Rzeszow has gone through quite a lot of turmoil, with it being the focus point on quite a few battles in the region, but these days it’s a cultural and metropolitan center in the heart of South-Eastern Poland.
Feel free to check out the Wikipedia article on Rzeszow for a better look at the history of the city, otherwise, here are some of the top things you’ll want to check out during your visit:
The Old Town Square
Right in the center of the old town is the Rzeszow Old Town Square.
Like many cities in Poland, the square is the heartbeat of the old town area, and it’s lined with quite a few different restaurants, cafes, bars, and small shops.
The buildings lining the square, the historic two or three storey residential houses, look rather old, but unfortunately the majority of them were built in the middle of the 19th century
In 1842 a fire ravaged the old town, destroying nearly every building standing in the square, and before that many of the buildings had stood in place since the 15th century.
The square itself takes on the shape of an irregular rectangle, slightly different than the more square layout it had in the past.
The Old Town Hall
Dominating the Western end of the square is the Rzeszow Old Town Hall.
This town hall has a neo-gothic architectural design, and although it was built sometime in the 16th century, it has undergone a few renovations since then.
The most recent renovation that gives it the appearance you see today was completed by 1898, with heavy restorations having been completed quite often from 1966 until present day.
The town hall itself is quite beautiful, and one of the most picturesque buildings in the entire city.
These days you can head inside if you’re looking for more information about the city, and be sure to stop and check out the different coats of arms from the sister cities of Rzeszow.
A 5-minute walk from the old town square and you’ll stumbled onto the impressive Rzeszow Castle.
The current castle that stands today was built by 1906, but many different structures and fortresses have stood in the same spot since sometime during the 16th century.
Until 1981 the castle was used as a prison, and these days it houses a museum, a restaurant, and some city offices.
Surrounding the castle are stone fortifications, and these are some of the only remaining parts of the original structure from the 17th and 18th centuries.
There is a lovely park and a nice trail that lead you around the castle, and make sure to check out the row of three beautiful historic houses on the opposite side of the trail right beside the castle grounds.
Running right through the heart of the city center is Maja street, the main pedestrian promenade in Rzeszow.
The street is lined mostly with small, historic residential buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th century.
These days, most of the buildings are home to a variety of different stores, small shops, restaurants, and cafes.
After World War II, unfortunately many of the buildings underwent renovations to give them a more simple and basic appearance in order to fall in line with the communist architectural style at the time.
There are also a few churches, a school, a convent, and also some museums here on Maja Street, and it’s definitely worth walking around during your visit to the city.
As it runs right through the city center, you’re bound to stumble onto Maja Street at one point or another, so take your time to walk along and pedestrian area as well as exploring the surrounding quiet side streets as well.
Monument of the Revolutionary Deed
Just on the edge of the old town, across from the Hotel Rzeszow, is the Monument of the Revolutionary Deed.
This is an enormous and imposing concrete structure that was built as a dedication to the individuals that participated in the many conflicts that the city went through over the years.
I found the monument to be rather impressive, but there is a lot of debate in Poland as to whether or not people actually like the monument, or would prefer something more modern and fitting.
The monument itself was built and installed in the 70s.
Surrounding the monument is a beautiful park with a large seating area and a picturesque fountain right in the center.
Make sure to visit this monument and spend some time relaxing in the park before exploring the rest of the city, as it’s a rather interesting thing to check out and the park is quite a peaceful place during the day.
The Multimedia Fountain
Right beside the Castle is a small park and fountain known as the Multimedia Fountain.
During the day the park and the fountain are quite nondescript, it’s simply just a quiet and relaxing area to check out on the outside edge of the Old Town.
However, at night the park transforms into something simply magical and the fountain goes through an interesting display of water aerobics and bright lights.
It’s hard to put it in words, but the brightly colored fountain display is something rather unique and I’ve never seen a multimedia fountain display before anywhere else.
The colors are mesmerizing and it’s actually pretty interesting to sit down for a while and watch the light show while enjoying the sounds of the babbling water as a dances across the fountain jets.
The fountain and small park are located right beside the Rzeszow Castle, and I believe the light show starts at 21:00 and continues for a few hours, so make sure to get there after dark if you want a chance to see the display.
The Old Cemetery
Occupying a significant area of space in the city centre is the Old Cemetery.
You might not be interested in visiting local cemeteries, but it’s something I love to do when I’m travelling.
At the Old Cemetery you can explore quite a few different grave stones, crypts, and other unique burial sites from families of local people that have been buried in the area since 1910.
Keep in mind that 1910 was the official opening date, and there are actually quite a few tombstones and grave sites dating back all the way to the end of the 18th century.
The reason why the official opening date is much more recent than when the cemetery was being used is because of the imposing rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that didn’t want locals using the property and filling it up with their dead.
Entrance to the cemetery is completely free and it’s a great place to walk around if you want to avoid the tourists in the city center or you’re looking to escape the hot summer heat while strolling through the laneways in the shade.
How to Get to Rzeszow
Reaching the city is rather easy, regardless of where you’re traveling from.
By bus, there are connections with just about every city in the country, through a transfer in either Krakow or Warsaw.
For this I recommend Polski Bus, as they offer the best prices and most different routes.
It’s also possible to reach the city from Lviv, with a direct bus on Leo Express.
Is Rzeszow Worth Visiting?
To be completely honest, my girlfriend and I actually wanted to go to Lublin, but since we were visiting on a holiday weekend there wasn’t any accommodation available.
Thankfully, we decided to head to the nearby town of Rzeszow instead, and I have to say that it completely surprised me and that I’m very glad that we visited.
In my opinion, it’s definitely worth it to visit Rzeszow, especially if you’re looking to get off the beaten path little bit and explore a beautiful small town that not too many tourists get the chance to check out.
With cities like Lviv, Zamosc, and Lublin nearby, too many people overlook Rzeszow and never really consider visiting it.
Although it isn’t as full of so many different attractions and things to do other small towns in Poland, I would still recommend checking it out and you really only need one or two days to thoroughly explore the best that the city has to offer.
Personally, I’m hoping to head back this November or December to check out the Christmas market and to explore the city with some different weather.
Where to Stay
There are a surprising number of hotels in the city, and when I visited I stayed at the Hotel Rzeszow.
This hotel is located right at the edge of the city center and it’s just a 5 to 10 minute walk to reach the Old Town Square.
The rates are quite reasonable, and I was able to stay for two nights at just $45 per night.
Many of the rooms at this hotel have an incredible view of the surrounding and it’s just a short 5 to 10 minute walk away from the train station or bus station, depending on how you arrive in the city.
What I also like about this hotel is that there is a mall attached to it so you can head to the grocery store or the food court or grab something to eat or get some shopping done as well.