Zamość is known as the “Ideal Town” as it’s consistently designed and built in accordance with Bernardo Morando’s outstanding architectural theories – a unique town and very easy to navigate your way around, especially on foot.
Situated in South-eastern Poland, Zamość is about 247 kilometres from Warsaw but also 60 kilometres from the border with Ukraine.
In 1992, the historical centre of the city was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Wandering around this classical monument of Renaissance urban layout in Europe open’s your eyes as to the reason for this addition – it really is a hidden gem.
Tip: This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.
The almost 2-hour train trip from Lublin in a very new modern and comfortable train goes by before you know it, without much time to write or update blogs.
Poland is quite flat with many crop farms along the journey and hills in the far distance.
Quaint farmhouse cottages dot the landscape until the train nears the larger suburbs, which hosts newer mansions – a sign of changing times.
As with many Polish cities and towns, there is always a plethora of incredibly beautiful buildings to photograph, museums to visit, and more often than not, an Old Town to explore – Zamość isn’t any different.
Zamość hosts over 200 historical monuments. All are within easy walking distance of the heart of the gorgeous old market square. The Town Hall building is also quite impressive.
The Renaissance Old Town is very picturesque and architecturally pleasing with the surrounding set of fortifications of which three impressive Bastions still remain, providing great photographic opportunities.
The main square is host to 5 Armenian buildings, which are intricately decorated and painstakingly restored to a former Renaissance era – very colourful and would love to live in one.
Strolling around the alleyways and soaking up the architecture is a pleasure.
Between May and September, the Tourist Information Centre organises daily 3-hour guided tours (100-120PLN) around the town and also 5-hour tours (150-170PLN). The cost is shared between tour participants. As it’s still March and winter, the whole Old Town is very quiet even over the weekend.
Staying in Zamość for 4 nights and visiting the Old Town every day, you soon notice how quite it is – makes a lovely change and great for taking photos.
Although, on one of the days during a visit to the Market Square, there’s a motor bike rally happening with TV cameras and over a hundred bikes all revving their motors until taking off.
Great atmosphere and a contrast to the surrounding architecture.
If you use a mobile phone in Zamość, you can take interactive guided tours of the Old Town and also activities that are on locally.
Church of St Nicolas
The Church of St Nicolas has changed hands several times throughout its historical life.
Built at a former Greek Orthodox Church’s site between 1618 and 1631, the church’s tower was used as an observation deck and a shooting range.
Members of the Russian Orthodox Brotherhood were the first owners of the church. However, it was taken over by Basilian Monks in 1706.
Then in 1865, Orthodox Christians took over the church until 1917 when Roman Catholics used the church as a place of worship; at first as a school church and since 1934, Redemptorist Fathers have taken care of the church. Quite a history!
Several parks around Zamość are pleasant and a welcome change from the hectic city traffic of other Polish cities.
Grab a picnic – if it’s not winter – and settle down for the afternoon in the warm sunshine.
Królewska Kwatera along Włościańska 2j, 22-400, is a cute attic-like apartment and around 1.5-kilometres from the train station – a quieter part of Zamość.
Basticia (owner) is such a lovely lady and so very accommodating, and makes sure you’re comfortable.
One night Basticia even dropped us in some warm freshly home-baked cake – so very sweet of her.
The apartment has a private bathroom – cheaper rooms come with a shared bathroom – a kitchenette area with a microwave and a one-pot electric stove, no sink, and a lovely comfy bed.
All toiletries and linen are provided, and everything in the apartment is super clean.
Having an apartment keeps the meal costs down so we only indulge in coffee, pastries, and ice-cream out.
Although there are many cafés and restaurants in Zamość, I’ve only listed my favourite haunt as it’s simply the best.
It’s always a personal mission to hunt out the best coffee in each town or city, which then becomes a favourite haunt for the rest of the stay – usually try many others first.
Along ul. Rynek Wielki 3 in Main Square in the Old Town, the Chocolaterie offers the best coffee (6.90PLN), ice cream deserts (12-18PLN), and delicious waffles (from 2.50PLN) at cheaper prices than expected for the Old Town.
Typically, many restaurants surrounding the square in any Old Town in Eastern Europe charge like wounded bulls. The location is usually the reason and typically you get to people-watch if you’re in the square as it’s not away from the action in an alleyway.
The Chocolaterie is very cosy, set in a charming several century-old building, very friendly staff that smile a lot – always helps to welcome any traveller.
Zamość to Kraków
Trains in Poland usually run on time.
This journey involves a train to Lublin that takes around 2 hours. Then, an 11-minute wait until the connecting train to Kraków at 11:24hrs. The train should arrive in Kraków at 16:31hrs.
With such a short connecting time, what could possibly go wrong with this schedule?