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The Best Things to See and Do in Zabrze, Poland

Zabrze, Poland
Zabrze, Poland | © Lestat (Jan Mehlich) / WikiCommons
Zabrze is situated in southern Poland’s Silesia region, in the greater Katowice area that also includes the cities of Gliwice, Bytom and Chorzów. The city makes a welcome day trip or overnight stay away from the busier city of Katowice. From a successful football team to good food to coal mining history, this list outlines the key activities to do in Zabrze.

Drink beer and tour the Upper Silesian Brewery

While Poland is normally a vodka-drinking nation when it comes to alcohol, the Silesia region loves a good beer. Head to Zabrze’s most famous brewery – the Upper Silesian Brewery. Here, you can get a guided tour and sample first-hand some of the finest beers in Poland. The brands include Van Pur and Łomza. The beers are widely sold in shops and bars in Zabrze as well.

Zabrze, Poland © Upper Silesian Brewery

Relax in the Municipal Botanical Garden

Despite a population of around 180,000 and the presence of a huge number of residential buildings, there are plenty of oases of greenery in the city of Zabrze in which to relax. The central Municipal Botanical Garden is the best place for this, with its leafy gardens containing over 3,000 tree and shrub species. There are some pleasant walks and two greenhouses with tropical plants. Location-wise, the gardens are very close to the football stadium and St. Joseph’s Church.

Zabrze’s leafy Gardens © Nemo5576 / WikiCommons

Visit St. Joseph’s Church

One of the more unusual churches in Poland is here in Zabrze. At first glance, you might not even have noticed that St. Joseph’s is actually a church! The reason is, the cross is small and not easily visible, it doesn’t have a tilted roof or even roof tiles, and it doesn’t have a front garden with any kind of indication of what it is. But this is the beauty of St. Joseph’s. The church dates back to 1930, the entrance represents the Gateway to Heaven (Porta Sacra), and the interior has some stained glass windows depicting scenes from the Bible. Underneath, it is a miner’s chapel built by the coal miners. If you want to attend a Catholic Mass here, check the notice board out front for regular services.

St. Joseph’s Church, Zabrze © PetrusSilesius / WikiCommons

Explore the Coal Mining Museum (Muzeum Górnictwa Węglowego)

The region in and around Zabrze has been famous for generations for its coal mining trade, and there are two major activities that you can do in relation to this. First, to get a real insight into the history and development of coal mining in the Silesia region, visit the impressive Coal Mining Museum. Inside is an interactive museum detailing the history of mining, including the equipment and tools used, videos from the mines and details on what happens to the coal once it is mined. The museum is closed on Mondays.

Visit the Coal Mining Museum © Konrad Kurzacz Pimke / WikiCommons

Tour a coal mine with miners at Kopalnia Guido

As well as visiting the coal mining museum, you can organise an actual tour of the coal mine with Kopalnia Guido. This offers an in-depth insight into what life is really like for a coal miner. The tour will be led by an actual coal miner and is a new tour to a specially opened, safe part of the mine. Two excellently preserved mining levels are available, located at 170 and 320 metres below ground level. You need to wear the protective clothing issued, then you go into the mine in an elevator through the darkness before witnessing the working conditions in the mine.

The Coal Mine in Zabrze © Kopalnia Guido

Watch the successful football team Górnik Zabrze

Poland’s most successful football team in European competition hails from Zabrze. Górnik Zabrze also have one of the largest and most loyal fan bases in Poland, especially in the Upper Silesian area. Their appearance in the 1970 European Cup Winners Cup Final remains the only time a Polish side has reached a major European cup final in football. The club’s state-of-the-art modern stadium seats almost 25,000 and gets sold out at every match. Górnik Zabrze hold the record for the most consecutive league titles in Poland (five in a row) and play in the top division, the Ekstraklasa. Book tickets in advance on the official club website (in Polish only), or from the ticket booth at the Ernest Pohl Stadium and some outlets in the city.

Eat traditional Polish food at Zielony Ogród

Head to one of the best restaurants in Zabrze for a truly delicious Polish feast with a Silesian twang. Zielony Ogród, which translates as ‘Green Garden’, is an award-winning restaurant that is well known in the region, and throughout Poland. In 2017, it was named in a list of the best restaurants in Poland. All the dishes are made by Polish chefs using the freshest and most locally sourced ingredients. The best options on the menu include the chłodnik (cold beetroot soup with garlic and egg), the green salad (with asparagus, spinach, cheddar and nuts) or the grilled pork cutlet with potatoes. The restaurant has outdoor and indoor seating and is located on the edge of town. There is a car park, and bookings in advance are advised.

Enjoy a pub crawl of Zabrze’s finest bars and pubs

Silesia in general is a region well known for its bars and nightlife. Nearby Gliwice and Katowice are joined here by Zabrze with plenty of quirky and lively options, so why not make it into a pub crawl? Start off in Pub Biały Słoń before heading to Pub/Club Brama and Pub Voyager. Try the beers from the Upper Silesian Brewery, especially the local Van Pur, and indulge in a shot of vodka with the locals. To finish the evening off, you can head to the late-night option Ministerstwo Śledzia i Wódki (Ministry of Herring and Vodka) for a decent herring, vodka shot and cold beer at the cheapest bar in the city.

Pub Biały Słoń – Cieszyńska 18, 41-800 Zabrze, Poland, +48535 915 155

Ministerstwo Śledzia i Wódki © Jonny Blair / Northern Irishman in Poland