Small but perfectly formed Rzeszow, near Poland’s south-eastern frontier, is a city with a historic core, having been founded back in 1354.
Spreading out across both banks of the river Wislok in the heart of the Sandomierska Valley, today it’s known as both a regional centre of higher education, and the gateway to a spectacular hinterland.
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Much of Rzezsów’s shopping is mainly centred around malls, the largest of these being Millenium Hall (Kopisto 1), 1km outside the city centre. Go here for the latest fashions, or simply soak up the atmosphere by watching live sport or music broadcasts on the large screens outside. The Full Market (Rejtana 53) is the place to go for Polish brands, and prices are subsequently much lower. The Old Town is perfect for an atmospheric stroll while you shop – handicrafts, antiques and Polish souvenirs can be found on the charming streets of Grunwaldzka, 3 Maja and Kościuszki.
Food & Drink
What Rzeszów’s gastronomic scene may lack in sophistication, it makes up for in value for money and refreshingly unpretentious restaurants. Taste traditional Polish classics at the unfortunately named Grotesque (Przesmyk 4), where goulash and barszcz (beetroot soup) are regulars on the menu. Czarny Kot (Mickiewicza 4) is also good for Polish fare in a casual setting. For something different, try Restauracja Da Vinci (Matejki 4), where Italian food is served with the backdrop of the artist’s drawings adorning the walls. Bars are plentiful in Rzeszów, but the Irish pub Galway (3 Maja 8) is the place to find cheap beer and a friendly atmosphere.
Łańcut Music Festival
Drawing music lovers from all over the world, the Łańcut Music Festival caters to all genres – from classical and opera, to jazz and light rock. Held each year in Łańcut Castle, it’s an event not to be missed.
Festiwal Przestrzeni Miejskiej
With a focus on the architecture of cities, along with sociological issues, this new festival – which translates as the ‘Festival of Urban Space’ – is a must for anyone interested in urban planning. Visitors get to explore Rzezsów at the same time, as workshops, exhibitions, films and lectures take place in disused buildings around the city.
Carpathian International Song Festival
One of the biggest musical events on the Polish calendar, the Carpathian International Song Festival sees talented singers from around the continent compete for the title of Best Song. There’ll also be performances from the Centre of Vocal Art at the Rzeszów Market Square.
If you want to rock out to some big beats, the NoBorder music festival is the place to do it. The electro clash festival has had big-name performers including Pati Yang. Grab a ticket, a tent, and rock on.
Art De Rue Open Air Festival
Celebrating all things hip hop and street culture, the Art De Rue Open Air Festival is an eclectic event featuring live music from Polish hip hop stars, breakdancing and street art performances, all taking place around Millenium Hall.
The relatively small size of Rzeszów means hotel accommodation is thin on the ground but there are still some gems here, all reasonably priced. If you want a treat, book a room at the lavish Grand Hotel Rzeszów (Dymnickiego 1A), a few minutes from the centre, or equally luxurious newcomer Hotel Bristol (Rynek 20-23), where the rooms are light and spacious. At the lower end of the budget is slightly out-of-town Hotel Hetman (Langiewicza 29B), where rooms are modest but pleasant. Those who want all the mod-cons might like Hotel Rzeszów (Józefa Piłsudskiego 44), which has a spa and health club and is attached to a brand new shopping centre.