One of the most vibrant cities in Poland, Katowice is the gateway to Silesia and has no shortage of enticing attractions.
If you are interested in industry, the museums of Katowice will fascinate, but with great shopping malls, fine food, and superb galleries as well, there's plenty to keep everyone occupied.
Katowice has been an industrial center for centuries. Find out about its history at attractions like the Nikiszowiec miners' estate and the Museum of Katowice History.
You can get your fill of artistic wonders at the Silesian Museum (hosting Polish masters like Stanisław Wyspiański) or the Archdiocesan Museum, which focuses on sacred artworks.
Relax in between museums at gorgeous spots like Kosciuszko Park and the Silesian Zoological Garden, which hosts 2,500 animals and a colony of dinosaur models as well.
With a rental car, you can easily reach historical sights like Jasna Góra (home to a famous Black Madonna statue) or formidable castles like Zamek Ogrodzieniec.
Katowice hosts popular events like the Jazz and Beyond Festival and Metalmania, while the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra regularly performs in town.
Travel between June and August for the best weather, although fall is a good time for music lovers, with the Jazz and Beyond Festival in town.
Katowice International Airport (KTW) has plenty of connections via low-cost carriers. To reach the city, take the PKM Katowice shuttle (zł27).
You can reach Katowice Dworzec PKP station from Krakow and Warsaw, as well as other eastern European and German cities. It's in the city center, so finding your hotel should be simple.
Those driving from Krakow should take the A4, while if you are coming from Warsaw, you'll need to take the E67 then the E75.
Unibus, PolskiBus, and Bus-Inter all run intercity buses into Dworzec Autobusowy Katowice bus station, with connections to all major Polish cities.
Accommodation options in Katowice include the opulent Monopol Hotel and the Hotel Diament Plaza Katowice (right next door), as well as the ibis Budget Centrum, a handy low-cost city center choice.
Ulica Mariacka - the city's main thoroughfare, Ulica Mariacka is a magnet for diners, theater-goers, and sightseers thanks to the beautiful Church of St. Mary.
Rynek - the central market square, Rynek features an incongruous palm grove, cycle rental facilities, and is lined with elegant 18th-century buildings.
Park Slaski - Katowice's largest green space, this park is home to the Silesian Zoo and a planetarium, and is next to the Stadion Slaski, the city's main pop concert and soccer venue.
Buses and trams are run by KZK GOP, and a single zone ticket (all you'll need most of the time) costs zł3.20.
Taxi fares vary by time and area, but will usually come out at around zł7.50 for the meter drop, then zł4 per mile.
Rental companies include National and Europcar, and rates can be as low as zł45 per day.
Silesia City Center is Katowice's retail hub, hosting major global brand names, but check out craft stores like Geszeft as well for distinctive gifts.
Supermarkets in the city include Tesco, Auchan, and Netto. As a guide, expect a gallon of milk to cost around zł8.
If you want superb pierogi and other Polish delicacies, try Patio-Park, Stare i Nowe, or Tatiana. Other cuisines are well represented too, including Hungarian, Italian, and Japanese and prices are reasonable, at around zł35 in high-end restaurants.