Solo Travel for Introverts Ratings –
Sensory Peace – High. This is a relatively quiet town outside tourist circles.
Solo-Friendliness – High. There are small businesses happy to serve solo travelers in a relaxed atmosphere.
Commute Friendly – Medium. There are trains and buses here, but one needs to book online.
Predictability – Medium. There is a definite language barrier here more than big cities in Poland, but most people understand English. Conversations are generally short and to the point. Have clarity when asking for things. Also, make sure your phone has the same carrier frequency if you are from outside Europe.
Safety – High. This is an idyllic small town with little to no crime.
Nerdy stuff – Medium. There’s a medieval castle and a communist-themed bar.
Where is Gliwice?
Gliwice is a city in the Silesia region of Southern Poland – near Katowice and Krakow – a good day-trip from Krakow for a quieter place or on the way stop from Katowice airport.
Gliwice – A History
Gliwice’s history goes back to medieval times and has been a part of Habsburg monarchy and Prussia. The town’s golden era came when it became one of the pioneers of Industrial Era with the earliest blast furnaces in Europe and several factories. Post-war, Gliwice became a center for Jewish congregations which survived the Holocaust.
Small Plane to Poland
I came upon this small town by chance, on my way from Munich to Krakow, on my first visit to Europe.
There was no direct plane to Krakow. Instead, from Munich, we boarded on a tiny rickety flyer with around 10 seats, that bumbled clumsily into the Katowice Airport. After looking around for a bit, we took up a van-ride to Gliwice, from where a FlixBus would pick us up for Krakow.
This town was my first glimpse of Europe, and I’ll never forget lugging my luggage across cobbled streets, lost, not knowing where to catch the connecting bus. The classical baroque buildings with ornate windows and statues, but also brightly painted over with street art and graffiti, charming old men in suspenders and beret hats and women wearing scarfs and sunglasses over impeccably matched skirts. And me and my fellow-traveller were the only non-European people there.
We pushed our suitcases along the streets of Gliwice to the stares of everyone else, and one old man, stopped from his game of cards, walked up to us and said “Ramadan?” with a thumbs up sign.
Due to some issues and the event of our phones not having signals, we simply decided to follow the direction in which buildings grew taller and more ornate. This is the way to navigate to the center of old-world cities. Just follow the tallest tower you can see.
Sure enough, we found ourselves at the Town Square. We found the place, but had no clue of the time and looked up at the sky for a miracle. Just then, the Clock Tower rang three times – gong gong gong, and heaving a sigh of relief, we set our phones to 3:00 pm.
In Gliwice, we had come across a curious restaurant dedicated to American author Ernest Hemingway. This had a mixture of traditional Polish delights like Pierogis and Kluskies and New American drinks like Kale-Grapefruit Cleanse juice.
What to Visit
- Rynek / Town Square
- Plawniowice Castle
- Pewex communist-themed bar
- Wila Caro Historic house
Try out Pierogies – both the savory and the sweet ones. There are a few cafes and pubs that have a traditional ambience like vaulted brick ceilings or hand-knit covers on wooden tables.