When we were children and were in elementary school, we had our first encounter with serious subjects where we really needed to learn a lot of things and put a lot of effort to avoid being hit by a ‘chancla’ (sandal) when you got home from school (Mexican childhood is quite wild). During that time we heard in our classes famous names like: Galileo Galilei, Pythagoras, Charles Darwin, Marie Skłodowska Curie or Nicolaus Copernicus.

Medieval Town of Torun Poland (355456506)

At that time, or probably even now, you didn’t know that from the names I mentioned two people were born in Poland: first Marie Skłodowska Curie was born in Warsaw, and second Nicolaus Copernicus was born in a town in Northern Poland called Toruń, and this city is the place that I’m going to talk about in this post.

Toruń – The Land of Copernicus

Toruń is located in the North-West part of Poland, really close to Bydgoszcz and approximately two and a half hours away from Warsaw. Toruń was established in the XIII century, it is one of the capitals of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, and it has a population over 200,000 inhabitants.

602945 Toruń dzielnica Starego Miasta z kat. J. Chrzciciela 03

Toruń is one of the oldest cities in Poland, it’s over 800 years old! The Vistula River (Wisła River) also crosses the city just as Warsaw or Kraków. At one point in history, Toruń was considered as the most modern cultural and technological centre in Medieval Europe!

This city is not big, it is not in the Top 10 of the most populated cities in Poland, but it is really touristic and two of the reasons that this city is famous for are: Nicolaus Copernicus and the traditional Polish dessert called Piernik.

The Man Who Challenged History

As I mentioned before, the most famous inhabitant of this city in history was the Polish mathematician and astronomer: Nicholas Copernicus.

Nikolaus Kopernikus
If you are a little bit tired or you don’t remember what this guy did, well, let me remind you: Copernicus was the person that literally changed human history and challenged the world by formulating a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the center of the universe! Not bad, right?

Copernicus was born in Toruń in 1473 (the city belonged in the past to Royal Prusia), his mother was from Kraków, and his father was a local from Toruń. Nowadays, you can visit the house of Copernicus which is located right in the hearth of the city!

The main university of the city has his name: The Nicolaus Copernicus University. It is one of the most recognised academics centres in Poland.

Now, changing topics completely I also mentioned that Toruń was also famous because a traditional Polish dessert/gingerbread called Piernik…. but what is it?

What’s So Special About Piernik?

When you say Piernik in Poland, the first thing that Poles will associate with this is definitely Toruń. This city is where you can find the best Piernik in Poland and probably in Europe. Piernik can be translated as gingerbread.

PL gingerbread from Torun

People in Toruń started to prepare this biscuit in the XIII century, right after the city was founded. One of the main reasons for the popularity and expansion of this biscuit is because Toruń is located in a great area for doing business. It basically connects Western and Eastern Poland and it’s not far from Gdańsk which is the main port of the country.

Just as the traditional Polish dessert called pączek, which is eaten during Fat Thursday (Tłusty Czwartek), Piernik is also considered as a symbol of Polish national cuisine. In the past, Pierniki was given as a gift to the royalty and people who have distinguished themselves in Polish society.

Four best things in Poland: “The vodka of Gdańsk, Toruń gingerbread, the ladies of Kraków, and the Warsaw shoes”. – Fryderyk Hoffman

A few of the main ingredients of Piernik are: honey, ginger, cinnamon, orange, nutmeg and many many more!

Where Can I Buy Piernik?

The good news is that you can buy Pierniki anywhere in Poland, but if you want to try the best ones you should go to Toruń!

Pierniki shop 20100704 005

In Toruń there are many small stores that sell Pierniki, I haven’t tried them all, otherwise I would have diabetes now. But the ones I tried and the ones my friends who lived in this city recommend me are sealed in one place that specialises in these biscuits: Kopernik Company. This company has five stores in Toruń and the most famous ones are located right in the Old Town. You will not miss this place as all the people go there to buy a bag of this delicious dessert!

Walking Around The Old Town in Toruń

The Old Town is definitely the main attraction of the city, it is incredibly beautiful and it’s quite big so you will have a great time when walking there.

During the II World War, Poland suffered a lot of damages, especially in Warsaw where all the city was completely destroyed by the Germans after the Warsaw Uprising. But Toruń was one of the few cities of Poland that didn’t suffer serious damages, which allowed the Old Town to be fully preserved after this war.

Torun ratusz corr

The Old Town of this city is considered as one of the seven wonders of Poland! On this list also appear Wieliczka Salt Mine, Malbork Castle or the Elbląg Canal! So… imagine how beautiful this place is!

The buildings of Toruń’s Old Square (Gothic style), allowed to become this place a World Heritage Site from UNESCO in 1997.

You can check the video I made when I visited this city:

Top 5 Things To Do in Toruń

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, Toruń is not a huge city so if you are planning a weekend trip Toruń is the ideal place for you!

When I went there, my Mexican and Polish friends who live there took me to several places, including monuments, museums, bars (more than I can remember) and restaurants, so here is my list of Top 5 Things To Do in Toruń:

1. The Ruins of the Toruń Castle

This castle was built in the 13th century, and it is one of the oldest buildings of those times.  The castle was destroyed in 1454, but the ruins were prepared for tourists in 1996. Not all the castle was destroyed, actually the largest section of the castle survived and it can be seen perfectly from the Vistula River! Definitely a place worth visiting!

Toruń - Zamek Krzyżacki 01

2. House of Nicolaus Copernicus

In Toruń you can visit the place where Nicolaus Copernicus – the man who moved the Earth – was born. Here you can see the story of Copernicus life and work, the life in medieval Poland in general and also a section dedicated to the art of gingerbread making. The entrance for the full tour is around 22zl (5 Euros),


3. The Leaning Tower in Toruń

If you like to take amazing pictures this place is for you! The leaning tower is close to the Old Town. It’s a medieval tower and it was built with the purpose of defending the city, but then it was transformed to a women’s prison. The funny thing about this tower is that it is a little bit inclined, if you are standing in front of one of the walls you will feel like Michael Jackson dancing.

Leaning Tower in Toruń

4. Museum of Piernik

Of course as I mentioned Piernik a lot in this post you must visit a museum dedicated to it! You must go to the museum of Piernik (Muzeum Piernika). The entrance costs only 17zl (4 Euros), the museum is not like a typical museum, it’s an interactive place where you will have a lot of fun!

Torun Muzeum Piernika szyld

5. Restaurant Stary Młyn

I’m not kidding but in this place I had one of the best pierogi in my life! This restaurant is located close to the Old Town, but is really crowded so you might have to wait a little bit to have a free table. But believe me guys! It’s totally worth it!

Now you know about this awesome city in Poland! Pack your bags and go there!

Have you been in Toruń? Did you like it? Which places do you recommend? :)


Mexican blogger living in Poland


  1. Mary Rogers Reply

    Hi Chido, I was not aware that Torun was famous for this gingerbread. I am sure this is a big Christmas treat.
    Again, I could be wrong and maybe this a year round treat. With you touring all over Poland I get to see so much
    I never knew about. Thank you for sharing. My Polka musicians have ended a tour of Poland and are on way home. They did send some video and played a few polkas on accordion and concertina. One musician Eddie Biegaj sang a Polish song in church where his family attends. Very pretty seeing the older churches of Poland. So much to see. MAYBE someday I will get to visit and see more. Like they say, NEVER SAY NEVER. Have a great day my friend. Mary Rogers

    • Hi Mary! Yes, Torun is super famous in Poland for the gingerbread! It is really delicious! There are some places where you can take a workshop and they teach you how to prepare it!

  2. Edward Sitko Reply

    We just came from visiting Poland, what a beautiful and enchanting country, Poles are very friendly people and very smart

  3. Hi there
    Thankyou for the very informative post.
    My mother and my grandparents are from Torun and I visited there in 1991. My great aunt lived in a 400 year old building abd the main square is all cobblestones with the statue of N Copernicus in its centre as I remember. It is a walled city and I found that in itself quite an amazing sight as we came in by taxi as there was no train into Torun itself. Not sure whether that has changed now .. it was 30 years ago when I visited my relatives there that I had never met before.
    For me it was a special place because my mother was born there and I had her relatives there but it is a pretty town abd I recommend it as a worth a visit place to see.
    On the topic of Pierniki my mother, now coming up to 82 still makes it every Xmas season as do I to share with our family. It is a Polska tradition I have taken on as I want to keep the tradition alive. Another family tradition was that we always celebrated our Christmas on Xmas Eve with nibbles a full roast dinner and pressies. We were always up till after midnight so Christmas Day was a quiet relaxing one to chill out. I must say it was an exciting childhood of Christmases as night time gave it such a special feel with the lights of the tree and the extended family gathering.

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