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Szczecin, also known as Stettin, its German name, and alternate English name (known in Latin as Stetinum); is maritime port city in Western Pomerania and the capital of West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland. The city has population of 420,638 (2005 census).
The history of Szczecin starts in the 7th century when Germanic tribes migrated from the island of Bornholm(hist. Burgundarholm, "Burgundians Island"), and other regions of Scandinavia. In the late 8th century Slavic tribes forced the Germanic peoples westward. In approximately 1080 its area was incorporated into Poland, but within eight years, the town was controlled by the Dukedom of Pomerania, and five years later, Denmark. Its name was first recorded in 1133 as "Stetin". It continued to be exchanged among European powers, including Germany, Prussia, Sweden, and, for a brief period, due to Napoleon's conquests, the Empire of France. Beginning in the 18th century, the city constituted as a part of Germany and served as the "port of Berlin". After the Soviet forces invaded Nazi Germany in 1945, Poland annexed all lands up to the Oder river, expelling the native German population and ultimately extending that border to include Stettin. Poland thus gained control of the city.
In more recent history, the city was (together with Tricity) one of the birthplaces of Solidarity movement.
An unusual feature of Szczecin is its urban planning - many roundabouts and wide avenues. Stettin was rebuilt in 1880's using designs by Georges-Eugene Haussmann, who also did the urban planning for Paris. His design style is still being used for newly-built (or modified) city areas.
The maritime industry is still strong with a busy port and shipyard, as well as being a center of service industries in Poland. Situated near the border between Germany and Poland, Szczecin is sometimes considered one of most liberal Polish cities.
 Get in
 By plane
Szczecin-Goleniów airport (SZZ) is located almost 50 km from the city centre, near Goleniów. You can reach the airport by car (the journey may take up to 1 hour, depending on traffic), by taxi (about 120 PLN), or by minibus - LOT operates a minibus to and from the airport for all LOT's flights (free of charge for passengers), leaving from LOT's office (al. Wyzwolenia 17) about 90 minutes before departure, and Interglobus has minibuses for all international flights.
If you arrive from abroad, avoid flying via Warszawa. A much better option is to use one of Berlin's airports. This may save you a lot of time, and gives you more flexibility as Berlin is served by many international carriers. From there, you can reach Szczecin by minibus (numerous Szczecin-based companies, including Atlas and Interglobus, operate regular services to Tegel and Schoenefeld airports at attractive prices), by car or by train in 2-3 hours.
 By train
Polish State Railways (PKP) have connections to and from all major Polish cities. There are several trains daily to and from Warszawa - travel time on express or Intercity trains is less than 6 hours, but minor delays are not uncommon. To Poznań, travel time is about 2.5 hours, with frequent trains running throughout the day. There are also frequent trains to Świnoujście (2 hours).
Brandenburg-Berlin, Meklenburg-Vorpommern, Schönes Wochenende and Brandenburg-Berlin Nacht tickets are valid for routes to and from the city.
See: Deutsche Bahn
 By car
You can reach Szczecin by car from major Polish cities, including Warszawa, Poznan, Gdansk, Wroclaw, and also from Berlin. Thanks to its location close to the border and direct link with the German motorway system, Szczecin has the best road connection with Western Europe of all Polish cities.
The main route to Szczecin from Berlin is the E28 (German: A11, Polish: A6). The journey takes about 2 hours, depending on traffic. Note that the German A11 motorway is undergoing continuous improvements, resulting in some disturbances in certain sections.
Travelling by car to and from other parts of Poland can be troublesome - the traffic is pretty heavy, the distances are large and there is a general shortage of motorways. It also takes quite some time - for example, the trip to Gdańsk (350 km) usually takes 4-5 hours, and to Warszawa (520 km along national road no. 10) you need at least 6-7 hours, even if you don't follow the speed limits too strictly.
You can also reach Szczecin from Sweden (Ystad) and Denmark (Copenhagen) using the ferry connections to and from Świnoujście. From there, the journey takes about 1.5 hours, although this road gets completely jammed on summer weekends. To avoid traffic jams in high season, follow the yellow "tourist route" ("Trasa turystyczna") signs. These will take you along B-roads, bypassing the most crowded section of national road no.3.
 By bus
Many international and domestic connections (see Poland::By bus).
 By boat
Szczecin is situated on the banks of the Oder (Polish: Odra) and Regalica (branch of the Oder) rivers and Lake Dąbie, near the Szczecin Lagoon. There is a number of marinas, most of them situated in the northern districts and on the shores of Lake Dabie.
In April 2008, hydrofoil service was re-established between Szczecin and Świnoujście. Bosman-Express hydrofoil runs twice a day from the Wały Chrobrego embankment, reaching Świnoujście in about 75 minutes. Tickets are a bit overpriced at PLN 50/70 (economy/VIP class - but don't expect any luxury), and there are discounts for children and groups. There is a snack-bar on board, beer is served. There is also a small viewing deck. Along the way you can see some quite interesting industrial sights in the northern part of Szczecin.
Despite being a restored Soviet-made Meteor, now equipped with new engines, the hydrofoil is the quickest way to get to Świnoujście - it moors at the left (western) bank of the Świna, so the passengers avoid the need to use the ferry.
 Get around
Szczecin is split in two parts (Lewobrzeże and Prawobrzeże) named after their location on banks of Oder (Lewobrzeże = left bank) and Regalica (Prawobrzeże = right bank) rivers. The port is situated in between. City centre and most of attractions are situated in Lewobrzeże.
 Public transport
Szczecin has extensive public transport network covered by trams and buses. See the maps (dziennej = by day, nocnej = nightly, tramwajowej = trams) and schedules. You can also install the timetables on your mobile phone: MPK Mobile, Microbus.
Tickets are randomly checked by plain clothed inspectors; fines are severe and can be a major hassle, so it's better for you to buy them. They are available at all newspaper stands and you can buy them from the driver after 18:00. Rush hours are 7:00-8:00 and 16:00-17:00, night hours are between 23:30 and 4:30. Tickets for express and nightly buses are twice expensive. You can change between lines freely as long you stay within time limit (the exception is changing from "normal" bus or tram to express bus). Prices:
There are also tickets valid for 10 days, a month and a quarter.
Brandenburg-Berlin, Meklenburg-Vorpommern, Schönes Wochenende and Brandenburg-Berlin Nacht tickets issued by Deutsche Bahn are valid for public transport operated by ZDiTM (trams and buses) in Szczecin. Monthly/quarterly tickets issued by ZDiTM are valid for DB trains within the city (Szczecin Główny-Szczecin Gumieńce) .
 Tourist lines
If for any reason you want to go to or from the city centre (station name: Szczecin Główny) to districts of Dąbie, Gumieńce, Podjuchy, Zdroje, Zdunowo or Załom (or nearby suburbian towns of Goleniów, Gryfino or Stargard), the fastest way might be the train. Check times with PKP; you have to buy separate ticket (5 zł, one way, no matter how many stops), the exception are trains operated by DB (see above).
Despite being included in Hafas/PKP/DB route planner trains to Police and Trzebież through Szczecin Turzyn, Pogodno, Łekno, Niebuszewo, Golęcino, Gocław and Sklowin are CANCELLED. All the mentioned stations are closed.
 By foot
City center can be covered by foot (depending on your fitness, etc). Look for the red line on the pavements - so called "red walk" which connects nearly all the attractions within the centre.
 By car
Streets in Szczecin are (compared to other Polish cities) easy to navigate and not congested.
However: parking within the centre during business hours (8:00 - 17:00, from Monday to Friday - after 17:00 and on weekends it is free) is paid; the pay depends on the zone and parking time. You can buy tickets from vending machines. Most of malls have free parking, and no one will check if you visited the mall or just used free parking opportunity.
DUI is serious criminal offense (up to 3 years in prison) and the police have no mercy for drunk drivers - many of "zero tolerance for drunk drivers" programs ongoing in Poland have started in Szczecin.
 By bike
There is network of bike paths connecting the city center with the suburbs.
Some of taxi companies operating in the city:
English teachers are in high demand.
Szczecin has many shopping malls:
And for something completely different:
The majority of pubs and bars can be found in the old town (Stary Rynek) or around ul. Boguslawa in the middle town area. Expect to pay between 4zl and 6zl for a large beer and around 6zl for a 50ml shot of vodka.
 Local beer, local vodka
 Free Wireless Internet
 Stay safe
Szczecin used to be infamous in Poland for its organised crime, but these days are long gone - nearly all the gangsters are dead or in prison. Nowadays it is a very safe city. However, you should stay away from some of its "bad" suburbs, like Gocław and Skolwin, especially after dark. As always, use your common sense.
 Get out
On the mainland:
On the Wolin island: