Cieszyn (Southern Poland)
Enjoy the best of both worlds in the town that makes people glad
Legend has it that Cieszyn was founded by three brothers who met here after a long time apart. Being so glad to finally see each other, they decided to settle down and call the place Cieszyn. (The word is said to be derived from cieszyc sie which translates into English as to be glad.) In fact, the town’s history goes back to the 10th century when a slavic settlement began to take shape here. In 1920 Cieszyn got divided between Poland and Czechoslovakia and the Czech part was named Cesky Tesin (literally the Czech Cieszyn). To enjoy the best of both worlds, simply cross the bridge between the towns. They say the Czech have better beer, though.
Wandering the cobbled streets of Cieszyn, most visitors don’t expect to see something so contemporary. A pink deer, lace fence and minimalist benches are just a few examples of works exhibited on the town’s historic hill. The castle located here is now a centre for modern design and holds a variety of events, including international workshops and contests. Some of the exhibits are designer furniture that visitors are allowed to try out so don’t forget to come by when visiting Cieszyn.
Things to do & see in Cieszyn
The Old Town (Stare Miasto)
The main square and its adjoining streets make Cieszyn one of the pretties towns in the south of Poland. Cobbled streets, old houses and grand buildings give the town a retro vibe and offer the perfect setting for walks. Cosy little cafés hidden in the romantic alleys add to this pleasant and relaxed atmosphere.
Castle Hill (Wzgórze Zamkowe)
With its Romanesque rotunda, gothic tower and classicistic palace, this part of Cieszyn is steeped in history. It’s also very green and offers panoramic views of the town. A perfect spot for a leisurely stroll.
Three Brothers’ Well (Studnia Trzech Braci)
This well is one of Cieszyn’s most distinctive landmarks. Closely related to the foundation legend and the town’s past, it’s a must-see for anyone interested in the historic sights.
The Museum of Cieszyn Silesia (Muzeum Slaska Cieszynskiego)
To learn more about the local history, visit this museum. (An extra fee is charged for English-speaking guides and they must be booked in advance.) Being here, don’t miss Café Muzeum and a lovely park just outside.
Treats To Your Tastebuds
Traditional local strudel
If you visit Cieszyn in late September or October, look for traditional apple strudel. This delicious pastry has been made here for centuries and is now celebrated during the annual autumn festival.
The famous herring sandwiches made in one of the shops at Rynek (the main town square) are so popular with the locals that you need to be there early in the morning to buy them. (They usually sell out by 11 a.m.)
Tea & coffee time
For an impressive array of good teas and coffees visit Café Museum. This place is also known for its beautiful, historic interior. Good coffee is served at Presso (located on Castle Hill).
Beer & wine time
Czech Rebuplic is famous for its beer. If you’d like to taste it, visit the Sachsenberg Pivovar in Cesky Tesin. Along with traditional ales, this small brewery offers some really original, flavoured lagers. U Czecha is a great place for wine and traditional Czech food. Unlike the Pivovar, it’s located on the Polish side of Cieszyn.
Three Brothers’ Festival (Swieto Trzech Braci) This festival is organised annually (in June) to celebrate Cieszyn’s history and cultural heritage. It lasts three days and features concerts, sporting events and dance performances. A good time to visit Cieszyn if you enjoy lively and festive atmosphere.
If you’d like to see more and continue your journey from here, Cieszyn gives you a few attractive options:
There are regular buses from Cieszyn to Krakow and the trip takes about three hours. If you go by car, it’ll take about two.
Ustron and Wisla
Located in the Beskids, these small mountain towns are a stone’s throw from Cieszyn. Even if you don’t like hiking, you can still enjoy their beauty; simply take a scenic chairlift ride up one of the most popular peaks, e.g. Czantoria, Cienkow or Soszow.
There are direct trains from Cesky Tesin to the capital city of the Czech Republic. Alternatively, you can travel by train to Ostrava and then take a plane to Praque.
To continue your journey by plane, check out Ostrava Airport. It takes only 30 mins by car or train to get there from Cesky Tesin. Popular destination include Praque, London, Paris and the Greek islands.