Tips and Tricks for a Family Trip to Szczecin

    A picture of Szczecin from Oder.

    Traveling with the family can be both incredibly fun and stressful. For a relaxed and easy weekend escape, we went to Szczecin, which is a lovely city just a two and half hour train ride away from us. We swam, ate good food and had a lot of fun at a small amusement park.

    In this article we’ll share some tips and tricks around packing, what to do in Szczecin, and our experiences of taking the train. Read on if you want to be better prepared for your next trip, or perhaps, plan to go to Szczecin and like to get some tips for what to do.

    Packing tips and checklist

    We recommend bringing as little as possible, as many things can be bought at the destination anyway, and often there are small packages available, for instance for diapers. The lighter you travel, the less you can forget, and the more flexible you will be. In particular, if possible (every child is different), don’t bring a lot of toys and books for your children. You want to explore a new place together, and not stick to what you are used to.

    Below we created a table with what we think are must haves, good to haves and extras.

    • Passports
    • Tickets
    • Credit cards / Cash
    MUST HAVE - Passport depends on if required of course. We usually make sure to have backups of tickets, e.g. we just send them to each other on whatsapp or forward emails.
    ChargersMUST HAVE - e.g. for your phone
    Fully Stocked Portable changing pad - with enough diapers, wet wipes, nappy cream and plastic bags.MUST HAVE - Our daughter needs 3 diapers per day, so we bring 4 diapers to have a buffer.
    ClothesMUST HAVE - we estimate one t-shirt, a pair of underwear and a pair of socks per day. One pair of pants per week plus one extra spare pair of pants. Remember, some dirt can be cleaned with wet-wipes. In the worst case, you can always buy some clothes. Also keep in mind any special clothes you need, e.g. swimming clothes.
    Hygiene - toothbrush, toothpaste for everyone - towel and shower gel (perhaps a 2-in-1) if accommodation doesn’t offerMUST HAVE - toothbrush and toothpaste is rarely offered.
    Stroller or CarrierMUST HAVE - assuming your child can’t walk long distances. If you take the train, bringing a stroller is super easy too.
    Family Passport holderGOOD TO HAVE - If you need to bring passports or other documents, keep it organized.
    First aidGOOD TO HAVE - you might be able to get help if needed, but, there’s no guarantee.
    PowerbankGOOD TO HAVE - running out of battery can cause a lot of stress and extra trouble, as well as deprive you of the opportunity to snap some pictures or shoot videos.
    Insect protection net for strollerGOOD TO HAVE - assuming you brought a stroller
    Rain cover for stroller, umbrellas, rain resistant clothingGOOD TO HAVE - don’t let a rainy day keep you at the hotel. There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothes.
    iPad with downloaded cartoons (e.g. Netflix offline downloads), one or a few toys, or other things that fall into the child entertainment bucket.Extras - might make your trip more pleasant - remember, the trip is also for you as parents/adults to recharge. If you can avoid bringing this and have fun exploring the new place together, that is better though. But you know your child(ren) the best.

    If you bring your stroller, we recommend making use of it for packing. If you are going by train, you can usually keep it unfolded. However, you should be prepared that you might be asked to fold it, depending on what kind of train you are going with. Having some bags with you can be very helpful to prepare for this.

    Also, depending on age, your children can help to carry things. They might also enjoy this, as they feel they are helping out. Both our five year old son and two year old daughter had their own backpacks, which they also helped to pack.

    What to do in Szczecin

    We’re by no means experts of what one can do in Szczecin, but we did have a great time. We didn’t go to Szczecin because it is famous as a tourist destination, in fact, our impression of Szczecin is that it is a pretty normal city - it has what you’d expect in a mid-sized city. It is by no means a city such as Paris or London, with famous sights like the Eiffel tower or Big Ben, but still has a lot to offer. We went to Szczecin because it is easy to get there by train, and it also doesn’t hurt that it is a relatively cheap city.

    In fact, not having a packed schedule of things to see in Szczecin made the trip very relaxing. We also picked a hotel (Hotel Dana) that looked very nice and had a swimming pool. Since we didn’t have a packed schedule of tourist “must-visits”, we could spend quite some time in the swimming pool without feeling bad for missing out. But, of course, we didn’t spend the whole day in the swimming pool. We also explored the city quite a bit.

    We had a lot of fun in Hotel Dana’s swimming pool. It also has one dry and one wet sauna, as well as jacuzzi and a smaller pool for children.
    The breakfast at Hotel Dana was great. You could order some things directly from the kitchen, for instance delicious waffles.
    The breakfast buffet at Hotel Dana had a lot to offer, all of top quality.
    Hotel Dana also gave us a bed for our daughter. In our experience many hotels say they do not offer baby cots online, but when you ask for one during check-in, or directly contact the hotel, you can often get one anyway.

    Amusement park

    On the other side of the river Oder, there is a small amusement park called Holiday Park Szczecin. We spent roughly three hours there and our son enjoyed the trampoline, caterpillar roller coaster, bumper car and river raft ride. The view of the city is also very nice from this side of the river. We got to the amusement park by crossing the nearest bridge, which we believe is called “Castle Way in Szczecin”. The amusement park seems to only be open during the summer, so do check if it is open before you go there.

    A picture showing our son jumping on a trampoline in Holiday Park.
    A picture of the amusement park.

    Galaxy Centrum Shopping Mall

    There’s a big supermarket here, plenty of shops for all kinds of things and a food court at the top. There’s also a free playground next to the food court. A small playground that the kids enjoyed surprisingly much. In the food court we tried a restaurant called Kuchnia Marche. It is a buffet restaurant that offers lots of Polish dishes. You pay by the weight of the food. We liked the food, especially the duck and Surowka (salad). However, afterwards we noticed the restaurant has a very low rating in Google Maps.

    We can also recommend having Pączki (a type of filled doughnut) at “Dobra Pączkarnia” outside the shopping mall. All of us especially liked the rose taste.

    A small free/open playground next to the food court at the top floor of Galaxy Centrum.
    Our son eating Pączki outside of Galaxy Centrum.

    Galeria Kaskada Shopping Mall

    We believe this is regarded as a little fancier than Galaxy Centrum. We really liked both shopping malls though. Kaskada has a great playground called Kulkowo where you can leave your children. Also our two year old was welcome, but one of us had to be there with her. It does cost though, and you pay based on how long your children are there.

    A picture from Kulkowo where our children had a lot of fun. A paid playground where you can leave you children in Galeria Kaskada. Our two year old was only allowed to be there with one of us accompanying her.


    You might be surprised to see “dentist” here, but actually, a lot of people go to Poland for dental services. There is a medical clinic called Medicus next to Galeria Kaskada. We went to the dentist here for a quick check and a dental deep cleaning which cost around 50 dollars per person. We had a great experience, the staff was very professional and the dentist could speak English. Note that you typically need to book it a few days in advance.

    Entrance to Medicus where we went to the dentist.

    Manhattan market

    It is a local market that sells fresh produce, food, clothing and lots of other things. We can recommend the Szaszlyk (meat on stick). We also found a pair of anti-slippery socks for just 1 euro. Some shops in the market accept card payments, but others only cash.

    Szaszlyk in Manhattan, with a local Bosman beer.
    All of us enjoyed Kabanosy (polish sausages), a great snack that can be bought at Manhattan, or any supermarket, for instance Kaufland which is nearby. Avoid the cheaper brands, Tarczynski and those in similar price range are noticeably better.

    Rybarex - fish restaurant

    A great restaurant with friendly staff (our son even got an ice cream for free) and tasty food, and rather inexpensive. We tried the Halibut, Surowka, spinach soup, and daily. It is not a luxury high-end restaurant if you are looking for that, but we really enjoyed the food and experience of eating there.

    Fish at Rybarex. All the food was great, especially the Halibut.

    How to get around in Szczecin

    Our hotel was located in the city center, so we walked and did not need to use public transportation. Szczecin has a pretty compact city center, so walking works pretty well. However, it also has a good public transportation network with trams and buses. Taxis are also relatively inexpensive.

    Map showing how we walked around in Szczecin.

    Experience with train ride (Deutsche Bahn)

    The train ride both to and back from Szczecin went really well. However, we did need to take a replacement bus for roughly one hour. This wasn’t a problem as the bus wasn’t so packed. But, it could have led to us not getting any seats or having space for the stroller. We never had to fold the stroller, but it could have easily happened if more people traveled with strollers and we had to get them all into the replacement bus.

    What we really like about going to a nearby city by train is that you do not need to plan and you can remain flexible. The train ticket to Szczecin (from Berlin) we bought on the day (Berlin-Brandenburg-Ticket). And going back from Szczecin, we simply bought a ticket from the driver. If one bus would have been full, we could have taken the next without any problems or additional costs.

    Our daughter enjoyed the train ride.


    Going to a nearby city by train is an excellent way to have a relaxed and nice trip with your family. Traveling by train is easier than flying for instance. If you can use regional trains, you might have a lot of flexibility, for instance not paying extra for buying the ticket on the day you need it. The city doesn’t have to be packed with famous “must-sees” for it to be fun. We picked a hotel with a swimming pool, and had a lot of fun both in the hotel’s swimming pool, and in a relaxed manner exploring the city - going to shopping malls, a small amusement park, cafes and restaurants. While Szczecin is not packed with tourist must-sees, it is a lovely city for a weekend getaway, and great fun to go to as a family.