Long considered one of the prettiest and better preserved medieval towns in Poland, Torun remains nevertheless relatively unknown among travellers and occasional tourists. While visitors flock to the thousands to the more famous and better known cities of Warsaw and Krakow, Torun’s wonderful old town and lively atmosphere (this is a university city after all!) are still largely undiscovered. If you are thinking of visiting the country any time soon, then we definitely recommend taking a detour and spending at least one day in Torun! With its centuries-old architecture – which survived the ravaging effects of WWII – imposing cathedrals, quirky statues and more gingerbread shops that you can count, we’ve carefully crafted this one day Torun itinerary, so that you can prepare your visit hassle-free!
Read along and discover the best things to see in Torun in one day!
ONE DAY TORUN ITINERARY – HOW TO GET TO TORUN
Airplane – Despite looking like a small town at first, Torun is actually a co-capital district, with the Bydgoszcz Airport located just 50km away from the city centre. However, given its small size and limited capacity, its connections are rather restricted, although Ryanair does run some direct flights to the likes of London, Dublin and Edinburgh. That being said, and given its proximity to the Warsaw, travellers wishing to visit Torun are better off by flying directly to the nation’s capital.
Bus – If you’re travelling overland from other polish cities or from a neighbouring country, Flixbus offers almost 20 different routes heading to Torun. These include the likes of Warsaw, Gdansk, Poznan, Krakow and even Berlin. Plus, its prices are usually dirt-cheap!
Train – Although bus prices tend to be cheaper, nothing can compare to the comfort or commodity of a train journey. Polish Railways’ trains are usually clean, affordable and on-time. Plus, its vast network ensures you can easily spend one day in Torun and find daily connections from virtually every other city in Poland.
Private Tour – Lastly, if you’re visiting from Warsaw, you can book a private day trip and save yourself from the hassle of searching online for buses or train connections. Besides the return trip in a private car or minibus, this tour also includes a guide for the day, admission into one of the city’s museums and lunch in a traditional polish restaurant in Torun.
HOW TO SPEND ONE DAY IN TORUN, POLAND – WHERE TO EAT
Well, we couldn’t compile a proper one day Torun itinerary without mentioning some restaurants, could we? As one would expect of a university town, Torun’s restaurant scene is rather diverse, from proper seat-down restaurants offering authentic polish cuisine, to tiny eateries owned by immigrants representing cuisines from all around the globe. In fact, for a city of just a little over 200.000 inhabitants, we were surprised at how many different restaurants we could find in the city centre alone! Plus, eating here is cheap… like really cheap!
Here are some of the places we visited (plus a nice few additions) when we spent 24 hours in Torun:
Pod Arkadami – The most traditional milk bar in Torun. A reminder of communist rule in Poland, this small restaurant serves simple, unpretentious local food at unbeatable prices. Keep in mind there is no set menu (let alone English translations), just some pieces of paper pinned into a board with the cafeteria’s offer for the day. Just point to whatever you’d like to have and you’re good to go! Not the most elaborate dishes or personal service, but if you’re hungry and only have 10 or 15zl to spare, Por Arkadami will do the trick!
Wabi Nabi – Tucked away into one of the Old Town’s secondary streets, this lovely Japanese restaurant serves what is arguably the best ramen in the city! Plus, the owner is one of the sweetest persons we’ve come across during our time in Poland (extra points granted for surprising us with free matcha ice-cream, obviously). The average ramen bowl here will set you back 20-25zl.
Kolorowy Piec – Who doesn’t like pizza? With only a handful of tables, locals say it can get rather crowded during rush hours. However, as we visited during the Covid pandemic, there was no such thing in Torun! Cooked in a bad-ass stone oven located just behind the counter, their pizzas are quite good and will only cost you 20-25zl.
Royal India – Since this popular local Indian restaurant was located a few steps away from our apartment, we tampered with the idea of going there for lunch a couple of times. In the end, we didn’t have the time to visit, although their 14,99zl set menu sounded pretty appealing to us.
Manekin – Founded in Torun, this restaurant has since become a highly successful franchise, expanding into other major polish cities (we even recall seeing one of these while living in Warsaw). Offering dozens of sweet and savoury variations of the traditional polish pancakes – called Nalesniki – this is the kind of place you can visit for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Hungry already? Then check out this Private Polish Food and Sightseeing Tour and add it to your one day Torun itinerary!
10 THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN TORUN IN ONE DAY
Although one should spend as much time as possible in Torun, the truth is that the city centre is quite compact, making it easier to commute from one point of interest to the next and enabling you to visit the town’s most popular sights in just one day.
So that you can make the most of your brief time the city, this is a list of our top 10 things you should do when spending one day in Torun.
1. WANDER THROUGH TORUN’S LOVELY OLD TOWN
What usually sets Torun apart from many other polish cities is the fact that its historic core actually pre-dates the 1940’s (hum… in like 800 years).
Not following? Well, after World War II most of Poland was left in shambles, with entire cities destroyed and razed to the ground, while many others sustained considerable damage. Fortunately, Torun did not feature in any prominent battle or uprising, and so managed to escape the war relatively unscathed. That means the streets you’re walking and the buildings you’re admiring have actually been seating there for centuries, making the Old Town of Torun one of the most historically significant (not to mention aesthetically beautiful) in all of Poland.
2. MARVEL AT RYNEK STAROMIEJSKI – THE WONDERFUL OLD TOWN SQUARE
Home to some of the most important and impressive buildings in the city, such as the ancient Old Town Hall or the magnificent Church of the Holy Spirit, and long considered to be the cultural heart of Torun, the Rynek Staromiejski (or Old Town Square) is yet another entry into the wonderful galore of medieval polish town squares. Surrounded by rows of beautiful, colourful buildings, this is THE ultimate place to visit on your one day Torun itinerary.
3. CLIMB THE TOWN HALL TOWER
For the best undisputed views over Torun’s gorgeous Old Town, one must climb the huge Town Hall Tower. It’s 175 steps of pure agony (try doing it with a mask on!) but once at the top the views are just as breath-taking as the climb itself! Tickets are available for 17zl at the hall’s ticket desk.
Then getting travel insurance is an absolute must during these strange times.
Make sure to cover your upcoming trip with a policy issued by IATI Travel Insurance and enjoy a 5% discount for booking through Circum-Mundum.
4. EAT YOUR WEIGHT IN PIERNIKI
It’s virtually impossible to walk through Torun without stumbling upon a shop selling them every 10 steps. If Lisbon came up with the egg custard tart and NYC gave the world its cheesecake, then Torun has bragging rights over Pierniki, the original word for anything made of gingerbread! With thousands of different shapes, flavours and aromas sold all over Torun, this is something you should most definitely try while visiting the city. Now good luck not thinking about Torun every time you watch Shrek or read Hansel and Gretel!
5. SEE THE LEANING TOWER – TORUN’S MOST BIZARRE FORTIFICATION
Although no longer needed, Torun’s defensive system of ancient city gates, thick brick walls and medieval watchtowers remain relatively untouched by the test of time. Out of all these features, none is more popular than the bizarre Leaning Tower. As its name suggests, the engineer behind it didn’t exactly deliver a stellar job, having built it over loamy, unstable soil. Terrible for defensive tactics, great for photo ops!
6. DISCOVER COPERNICUS’ LEGACY – THE CITY’S MOST FAMOUS SON
Did you know Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Torun? Yes, the guy who came up with the theory that the Sun was the centre of the universe instead of the Earth! One of the greatest minds mankind has ever seen, Copernicus inspired the likes of Galileo, created an economic theory that is still valuable today and – of course – received major heat (almost literally speaking) from the likes of the Catholic Church. What a life this guy had!
In Torun, you can visit the Nicolaus Copernicus House-Museum, check the Copernicus Monument or visit the Planetarium, whose major exhibits were modelled after theories created by – you guessed it – good old Nick! Funny enough, Copernicus was actually born into a German household, speaking the German language with his ethnically German family… just never tell a Pole about any of this!
Want to feature more of Copernicus on your one day Torun itinerary? Then check out this Copernicus Trail Walking Tour which will take through the most significant sites in the city related to the great astronomer!
7. CHECK SOME OF THE CITY’S MANY ANCIENT CHURCHES
No city can claim to be Polish without boasting 156 churches for every square kilometre! Jokes aside, being Catholic is a major part of the Polish identity, and Torun is no exception. Besides the aforementioned Holy Spirit Church, we recommend that you also pay a visit to the likes of Saint Mary’s Church and Saint Jacob’s Church.
However, if you fear being churched-out after the first couple of visits, there is only one cult place that your one day Torun itinerary cannot miss: the gigantic Gothic Cathedral of Saint John!
8. EXPLORE THE TEUTONIC CASTLE RUINS
Who wouldn’t want Torun to be a part of their country? Throughout the centuries, this is exactly the question that the likes of Poland, the German Empire, Prussia, the Hanseatic League and the Order of the Teutonic Knights asked themselves. The latter, which ruled over the city for about 200 years, ended up kicked out of Torun after an angry mob stormed through the castle, kick-starting a war that lasted 13 years. The castle was destroyed in the rebellion, never to be rebuilt. These ruins lie within the city walls and can still be visited to this day!
9. PHOTOGRAPH TORUN’S QUIRKY STATUES AND MONUMENTS
From serious memorials and well-thought tributes to seemingly unjustifiable eccentricities, you’ll come across dozens of statues while exploring Torun. It reminded us a lot of Bratislava, the Slovakian capital whose Old Town was also filled with quirky, sometimes bizarre statues. Make sure to check the adorable and fan-favourite Monument to Filus (puppies, yey), the Bronze Donkey Statue and the Raftsman of Torun, both at Rynek Staromiejski, and finally the rows of hanging gymnasts at Szeroka Street.
Taking a tour through Central Europe? Then make sure to check out Slovakia!
What to Visit in Bratislava, Slovakia
10. GET TORUN’S POSTCARD PANORAMIC VIEW
After you’re done with the Old Town, there is one particular place outside the city walls that must definitely feature in your one day Torun itinerary.
Just cross the bridge over the Vistula River and look for Torun’s Panoramic Platform. Hidden in the woods and located by the river banks, this popular spot provides great views of the Old Town, with the city walls and Torun’s gigantic towers reflecting on the waters. It serves as a great farewell gift before making your way to the train station.
SPENDING THE NIGHT? CHECK OUT SOME PLACES WHERE TO STAY IN TORUN
Budget: Ibis Budget Torun
Mid-range: Apartamenty OldTown deLuxe
Luxury: Copernicus Toruń Hotel
ONE DAY TORUN ITINERARY – PHOTOS OF THE CITY FOR INSPIRATION
Hope you enjoyed our one day Torun Itinerary! Any ideas on what else to see and do in Torun in one day? Have we missed any major point of interest?
Make sure to let us know on the comments below!