Nowy Sącz. A journey in time and space. Tracing multiculturalism, street art and delicious ice cream

The Town Hall in Nowy Sącz, covered by flowering trees, with three people in the foreground facing the Town Hall while sitting on a bench.
Mysterious castle ruins, impressive Market Square and picturesque backstreets. A colourful, highly complex history and extraordinary fates of people. In addition to this, well thought-out, original walking routes guided according to thematic keys show different facets and faces of the city: multicultural, following the spirit of the times, in pursuit of street art and famous for... delicious ice cream. Nowy Sącz – there’s no way on earth you can get bored here.

It is also one of the oldest cities in Małopolska, beautifully situated on the  Dunajec River in the heart of picturesque Kotlina Sądecka, at the foot of the Beskid Sądecki and the Wyspowy Beskids. The castle, intriguing museums and reconstructed towns take visitors back to the past, to 19th-century Galicia, and open the door to the world of the traditional folk culture of the Nowy Sącz Region. All you have to do is find a free moment to let yourself be carried away by the passion of sightseeing!

A walk among greenery and medieval ruins

The castle ruins, towering over the city and the Dunajec River, are one of the most characteristic elements of this picturesque town. They catch the eye and attract attention immediately. The medieval Royal Castle with the Blacksmith Tower are monuments reminding of the long history of Nowy Sącz.

The stronghold was erected during the reign of Casimir the Great. Initially, it consisted of a bailey, a residential building, a tower and two corner towers. Unfortunately, the Swedish Deluge and other historical events left such an imprint on it that only remnants of the peripheral walls and a reconstructed tower have survived to this day. A municipal park surrounds the picturesque ruins. It is therefore worth climbing a small hill and spending some time among the greenery and medieval ruins overlooking the city.

Beautiful Market Square and mysterious backstreets

The Nowy Sącz Market Square is a magnificent pearl and, simultaneously, a city showpiece. Beautiful Renaissance and Baroque townhouses well worth a look and mysterious backstreets and courtyards hide many exciting stories. One of the most interesting buildings dominating the square is the eclectic City Hall – now the seat of the city authorities – with its impressive façade and tower.

Jagiellońska Street and Lwowska Street, the two main streets, are considered the most beautiful in Nowy Sącz and run from the market. These thoroughfares lead along a line of delightful tenement houses with beautiful elevations. At Jagiellońska Street is the historic 15th century Gothic House,which is the seat of the Museum of the Nowy Sącz Region.

Among the religious monuments in the centre, the Gothic Collegiate Church of St. Margaret, with medieval and Renaissance decorations in the interior, comes to the fore. At the foot of the Castle, in the former Jewish quarter, you will find a synagogue whose congregation is active today and can therefore only be seen from the outside. When strolling around unhurriedly, it is also worth taking a look at the Baroque chapel of the Evangelical-Augsburg Church, located in the former monastery buildings of the Franciscans. The Church of the Holy Spirit, now a Jesuit monastery, is also a valuable religious building.

The renovated railway station is also worth a stroll. The impressive Art Nouveau building is enriched with Edmund Cieczkiewicz's paintings. A leisurely wander along the charming streets of Nowy Sącz, among the city's main monuments, will be a great experience.

Nowy Sącz in an original and unusual way

Those interested in multiculturalism and history are recommended to take a walk In the Footsteps of Nowy Sącz Jews, which takes you to the synagogue and the neighbourhood around it, to the Jewish cemetery and other important places related to the Jewish minority, their history, and their innumerable contributions to Polish society. The pre-war multiculturalism and multi-faith character of Nowy Sącz, in turn, is illustrated by the proposal of a walk along the Ecumenical Pilgrim Route, which leads through places important to Poles, Jews, Gypsies, Germans and Lemkos. Although not all of the synagogues of the Jewish residents and the churches of the Catholics, Evangelicals, and Greek Uniates which had once been so numerous in Nowy Sącz still exist today, the trail runs through exciting places with lots of traces of these vibrant communities. It reminds us of those that have not survived.

A walk along the Nowy Sącz Ice Cream Trail will be ideal for gourmands and those who like to get to know a city by sampling its culinary treasures. Only by following this path will you find the best ice cream parlours in the city on the Dunajec River. The best way to check whether the ice cream in Nowy Sącz is as exceptional as they say, is to try it for yourself!

For those going on a more extended trip, we recommend an unforgettable three-day tour of Nowy Sącz. It offers a thorough and eventful trip with all the sights and attractions. In this way, you will certainly see virtually all there is to see.

An extraordinarily original and intriguing walk through the fascinating milieu of the city also leads along the Nowy Sącz graffiti and street art trail. Few people know that the beginnings of graffiti in Nowy Sącz date back to the 1990s, and there are active street art and graffiti groups in the city. Wandering along the trail of colourful murals is a great idea for sightseeing. Detailed descriptions of the trails with marked routes can be found on the city’s website, and undoubtedly, everyone can select a course for themselves.

Time travel: museums and an open-air museum

There is also no shortage of attractions in Nowy Sącz for those who enjoy museum interiors. Undoubtedly, a visit to the reconstructed buildings of the picturesque open-air museum and the Galician Town (a description of the Galician Town) and the Sądecki Ethnographic Park will greatly impress many.

And yet, the District Museum also opens its doors to tourists. It invites you to these branches in Nowy Sącz, which present the city's history and art trends. The Main Building presents a permanent exhibition on the city’s history, from Galician autonomy to World War II, and Bolesław Barbacki's paintings are displayed there. In turn, the Gothic House hosts an exhibition of sacred art, guild art, old folk art and Orthodox church art. Thanks to a visit to the historic Ritter Tenement House, you can move back to the bourgeois era and see the old interiors decorated with the paintings of Maria Ritter, a Nowy Sącz-based painter.

The unique Galician Town deserves special attention. Located near the centre, it is a unique place created from reconstructed small-town buildings from the turn of the 20th century. The interiors are open to the public, including stylishly furnished workshops such as a watchmaker’s, a photographer’s studio,  and a tailor’s workshop, as well as a café, post office and retro pharmacy. The layout of the urban ensemble recreates the feel of small towns in the former province of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy at the turn of the 19th century. It is also worth visiting the inn where regional dishes are served. A walk around the town without visiting the interiors is free, while admission to the interiors of the buildings is payable.

When visiting Nowy Sącz, it is impossible not to see the largest open-air museum in Małopolska – the Sądecki Etnographic Park. The museum will delight not only lovers of wooden architecture but also all those interested in the folk culture of the local communities who lived in the vicinity of Nowy Sącz: Lachs, Foothills inhabitants and Nowy Sącz Highlanders, as well as ethnic groups: Lemkos, Germans and Gypsies. The museum area is vast, and you can spend a lot of time in open-air walking among the buildings, among which it is worth noting the 17th-century manor house with unique polychrome interiors, the manor farm or 18th-century churches: Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic and Protestant.

Enchanting and picturesque surroundings

If you decide to visit Nowy Sącz, it is worth planning a more extended trip, as the surrounding area, rich in nature and tourism, has much to offer. Those who enjoy mountain hiking will undoubtedly be interested in the trails in the Beskid Sądecki. The trails lead through wooded hills and picturesque mountain pastures with their chalets and shepherd’s huts. The low peaks delight with their panorama, especially in autumn. Cycling enthusiasts can choose from countless routes.

The monumental Wooden Architecture Route also awaits tourists. It is worth mentioning that most of the points of interest on the Wooden Architecture Route are located in the Nowy Sącz Region. Therefore, it is worth enjoying the beautiful weather and taking advantage of the attractions offered by the Nowy Sącz Region.


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