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Lublin: A Pocket-Friendly Weekend Away in Poland

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4 months ago

Looking for a cheap European weekend escape? It’s no secret that Eastern Europe is generally a very affordable destination. I have spent months in Poland in recent years and I am convinced that Lublin is the best value weekend away in Poland.

Why?  

  1. Lublin is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Poland 
  1. Poland may be Europe’s cheapest destination for budget travellers  
  1. Lublin is both one of Poland’s most historic cities and ideally located in the country’s southeast.
lublin old town colorful buildings
The magical colors of Lublin’s Old Town

With a charming old town, countless day trip options and some of Poland’s most fascinating and tragic historic sites – Lublin is an ideal weekend getaway that won’t break the bank.  

main square with church and blue skies
Kazimierz Dolny is an easy day trip from Lublin

With this Ultimate Guide to Lublin, Poland, I have you covered for the ultimate cheap weekend itinerary in Lublin, Poland.  

Getting to Lublin, Poland from abroad 

For American and Canadian travelers to Lublin, Poland, LOT Polish Airlines offers direct flights from USA to Warsaw, Poland. You can then catch a connecting flight or train to Lublin – or better yet, rent a car and drive down to Lublin. If you are stopping in Warsaw, you’ll want to make sure you check out my best Warsaw tips.

sunflowers in poland

For British travelers to Lublin, Poland, at the time of writing, Wizz Air offer a daily return flight from London Luton Airport to Lublin, Poland (LUZ). These flights are often very cheap if booked in advance, making Lublin one of the cheapest weekend escapes from London.

For European travelers, Lublin Airport has a small budget airline operation, including, at the time of writing, direct flights to Milan, Dublin and London.  

For Australian, Asian and Gulf travelers, most major Gulf carriers serve Warsaw, which is only about 2 hours from Lublin by train or car. In my opinion, having your own car is the best way to travel in Poland but I realize many solo travelers in Poland prefer the train!  

bialy onion bagels

Getting around Lublin 

Getting around Lublin is very easy. Most of the historic center is walkable and your Lublin hotel will likely be within walking distance to the Old Town.  

For getting out of the city, for example, to Majdanek, 3 ride-sharing apps operate in Lublin (Uber, Bolt and Freenow). These apps are generally pretty competitive – although Bolt often comes in a little cheaper.  

man looking out window of colored old town building

I always recommend you to check Uber, Bolt and Freenow before booking ride-sharing – they are my 3 best travel apps for Europe!  

For budget travelers, the Lublin public transport system isn’t the most user friendly and only on some buses are you able to buy tickets on the bus – so ask before hand!  

alleyway of lublin old town
Lublin Old Town

Where to stay in Lublin 

Lublin is a small city and I highly recommend you stay in the Old Town or in one of the many hotels that sit around the permitter of the Old Town.  

I put together this list of hotels in Lublin which, in my opinion, are the most centrally located:

Top 4 must-see attractions in Lublin

1. Lublin’s Old Town

Lublin’s Old Town is a captivating time capsule and a must-see attraction for history and architecture enthusiasts.  

Explore the cobbled streets, ornate townhouses, and the iconic Crown Tribunal, which once served as a royal court.  

old town lublin square
History at every corner

The best part? You will likely have most of the Old Town to yourself.  

Travel tip: Don’t miss the stunning Trinitarian Tower for panoramic views of the city.  

polish folk dancing in lublin
Traditional Polish dancers in Lublin’s Old Town

2. Majdanek Extermination Camp 

I have visited every death and extermination camp in Poland and I think Majdanek is the most confronting (yes, even more so than Auschwitz).  

majdanek camp gates with barbed wire
Majdanek Camp, in Lublin

This haunting site, remarkably well-preserved, allows you to understand the horrors of the Holocaust. Standing here, with the city of Lublin in the background, it’s hard to imagine how 80,000 people were simply gassed and burnt. All against the backdrop of such a beautiful city.  

Unlike other camps, here you can walk into the gas chambers and get so close as to touch the crematoriums, where bodies of Jews were burnt after being gassed.  

door to gas chambers at majdanek
The keyhole from which guards stared into the gas chambers, to watch their victims be gassed.

Don’t miss the giant mausoleum site at the back of the camp, where a mound of human ash remains. One of the most confronting tourist attractions in Poland and a must-see site on all Poland Holocaust tours. 

For those visiting Lublin with kids, I would not recommend bringing children to Majdanek.  

crematorium building at majdanek
The crematorium building, where the hundreds of thousands of gassed bodies were burnt

3. Grodzka Gate NN Theatre

In my opinion, this is one of the most heartwarming and hopeful tourist sites in Poland. The Grodzka Gate sits at the heart of what was once Lublin’s Jewish Quarter and was once known as the ‘Jewish Gate’. 

colorful grodzka gate in old town lublin great for a weekend away in poland
the historic Grodzka Gate

The theatre group occupying the Grodzka Gate have built an incredible educational exhibit for residents and tourists. You can only access the exhibits with a tour, but the super friendly staff will gladly arrange an English tour!  

Travel tip: The Grodzka Gate is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. If you are visiting Lublin for a long weekend, make sure you pop past on Friday or Monday before 4:30pm!  

4. Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva 

For those even more interested in the history of Polish Jews, I recommend a visit to the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva. Once a renowned center of Jewish learning, today the yeshiva (Jewish school) is one of the top things to see in Lublin. 

yellow historic building with yeshiva sign in lublin great for a weekend away in poland

The upstairs of the school contains an impressive museum, which personalizes the experiences of the Holocaust through the story of this one learning institution. Most Poland travel agents won’t send you here. However, I think this is one of the best museums to gain a deeper insight into Lublin’s history as one of the capitals of Jewish learning in Europe.  

Travel tip: If you are interested in visiting the Old or New Jewish Cemetery in Lublin, the staff at the yeshiva will help you with keys and opening hours.  

rabbi printed on board at museum great for a weekend away in poland

If you are keen to spend more time learning about Lublin’s Jewish history, consider staying at Hotel Ilan, set at the former yeshiva. This location is still only about 15 minutes from Lublin’s Old Town.

Best café in Lublin 

I feel very passionate about this, so I am only giving you one café to drink at in Lublin – it’s non-negotiable!  

Cyngwajs cafe with vintage interior in lublin poland

Cyngwajs café is like stepping back in time. The interior is decorated in interwar style, with vintage newspapers, typewriters and hand-sewn doilies decorating the table. Before ordering your coffee, take a moment to appreciate the black-and-white photos of Lublin which decorate the walls while you listen to old-school Yiddish and Polish recordings.  

coffee and hamentaschen in lublin

Beside from an excellent cup of coffee, Cyngwajs often has homemade pastries to die for. Ask if they have the hamentaschen, a traditional Jewish pastry eaten on the festival of Purim. Cyngwajs’ hamentaschen aren’t the usual style. Rather, this cafe make them with a mixed filling of cherry, poppyseed and nuts – all dipped in a dark chocolate coating.  

Best vegetarian restaurant in Lublin 

Pomylone Gary is a gift from the Polish gods to vegan travelers in Lublin.  

graffiti alley in lublin poland, hipster culture on show
You will need to enter this art-filled courtyard to find the entrance to Pomylone Gary

An all-vegan Polish-style bistro where you will be able to try Polish classics like varinki, borscht and soup without worrying about finding a chunk of meat in your stew.

Polish food: but make it vegan

I highly recommend the Placek ‘Zbojnicki’: a golded potato pancake covered in a thick soy-meat stew of carrots and mushrooms, served with sides of cabbage and beetroot. 

Top day trips from Lublin

For those on a more extended Poland tour, Lublin also makes an excellent base for day trips to to some of Poland’s most beautiful and historic sites.

Don’t miss my comprehensive guide to the best day-trips from Lublin.

art gallery in kazimierz dolny, poland - great for a weekend away in poland
The artist’s town of Kazimierz Dolny is an easy day trip from Lublin

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