Szczecin is a perfect place to work and rest in: the city combines three elements – water, greenery, and buildings – into a unique whole, a most-attractive tourist destination. Fine tenement houses and a star-shaped road layout make Szczecin similar to Paris. The surrounding areas – primaeval forests, nature reserves, and lakes – create conditions which are conducive to the growth of tourism. Moreover, Szczecin has a wide choice of attractive options for spending your free time. One of the undisputed strengths of Szczecin is its geographical position. Water and green areas constitute more than a half of the city’s space. There are not many such cities in Europe.
Looking at Szczecin from a bird’s eye view, you can see that the city is a conglomerate of islands, canals, beaches, and bays. These are the assets which, in the future, will make Szczecin “the new green Venice” thanks to its unflinching vision of development which zeroes in on stereotypical perceptions of a city. By adapting the numerous islands of the Middle Oder (Śródodrze) area, canals, and large broads in the south and east, Szczecin will become an ecological city on water, a floating garden. This vision has formulated the city’s future development strategy and laid the ground for the 2050 Floating Garden project. This means that Szczecin can offer its citizens the opportunities of a metropolis, at the same time keeping its peaceful character.
Lovers of active leisure will not get bored in Szczecin – there are over 100 km of cycle lanes, marinas, a kart track, and the Floating Arena Olympic swimming pool, which in 2011 hosted the European Swimming Championships.
For yachting lovers, Szczecin is already one of the most-attractive locations in Europe where you can sail on river, lake, and lagoon, and even sail through the lagoon to the Baltic Sea. The Dąbie Lake, the Międzyodrze area, and the Szczecin Lagoon (Zalew Szczeciński) are real meccas for sailors and water-sports enthusiasts. The city also has the potential to become the most modern and the largest marina in the Baltic region.
On the beautiful territory of the Szczecin Landscape Park, there is the Binowo Park Golf Course. In the picturesque surroundings of the Primaeval Beech Forest (Puszcza Bukowa), you can find a 9-hole training course, a 18-hole master course, practice grounds – a driving range and a putting green – as well as a clubhouse with a restaurant (for up to 40 persons), a conference room (50 persons), and a room with a fireplace, and, in the vicinity, a banquet tent for parties of up to 150 people.
Szczecin gives a wide choice of forms of active leisure. The parks and forests in the city and on its outskirts are a perfect place for walking, jogging, Nordic walking, and cycling. The Primaeval Beech Forest with the picturesque Emerald Lake (Jezioro Szmaragdowe), and the Wkrzańska Primaeval Forest, extending from the Deep Lake (Jezioro Głębokie), offer countless paths and trails marked out in diversified terrains and landscapes. In winter you do not have to go to the mountains in order to ski – it is enough to visit Szczecin’s Gubałówka.
Lovers of urban tourism can admire beautiful Art-Nouveau architecture by exploring Szczecin along the Urban Tourist Trail. The seven-kilometre route passes through the most interesting remote parts of Szczecin, and points to 42 places which are a testimony to the fascinating history of the city. You can continue your city tour by taking the Underground routes of Szczecin – a reconstruction of a fallout shelter from the times of the Second World War and an air-raid shelter from the Cold-War period. This is the largest civilian refuge in Poland from the Second World War period, situated about 5 storeys deep.