Szczecin – the gateway to the Baltic Sea, a member of the Hanseatic League and a city of star-shaped squares

Szczecin is the gateway to the Baltic Sea, a member of the Hanseatic League and a city of star-shaped squares. Although located 65 km from the sea, Szczecin is one of the most important port cities in the Baltic Sea Region. During its thousand-year history, it has been under Polish, Danish, Swedish, Brandenburgian, German and French rule. It is the birthplace of two Russian tsarinas, Catherine II and her daughter-in-law Maria Feodorovna, and the famous star-shaped squares were built to resemble those in Paris. People who enjoy sightseeing should follow the 7 km City Tourist Route that leads to 42 monuments. Apart from the Renaissance Castle of the Pomeranian Dukes, Baroque city gates, Art Nouveau townhouses, Szczecin can offer attractions hardly found anywhere else. These include Poland’s largest World War II civilian shelter that provides a unique insight into the recent history of the city and its inhabitants. You can watch a film in the world’s oldest cinema “Pionier” while sitting at a table with a cup of coffee. It is the smallest cinema in Szczecin which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records. It has been in continuous operation since 1909. Another local speciality is “Starka”, Old Polish vodka. A tour of the old factory amidst the liquor maturing in huge wooden barrels usually ends by a tasting of various types of “Starka”.

Szczecin – the city of sport and tourism

Water, which occupies a quarter of the city’s surface area, provides excellent conditions for sailing, canoeing, diving and windsurfing. In the summer season, white fleet ships offer harbour cruises, and marinas and canoe resorts located on the Oder, Regalica and Lake Dąbie welcome visitors to spend their leisure time sailing or rowing. The city also includes three deep forests, dozens of parks and kilometres of avenues with hiking and cycling trails.

One of Poland’s most modern football stadiums, Netto Arena sports and concert hall, Water Factory Aquapark, and modern golf courses attract many international events. It is also the venue of the famous PEKAO Open tennis tournament, as well as many other tournaments and championships. The city also has the Sailing Centre with numerous regattas and sailing championships for children and adults.

Szczecin – the city of sails

The largest mass event is Sail Szczecin, the successor to Sea Days Festival, which has a tradition dating back several decades. It takes place on the third weekend of August and has been accompanied by a rally of oldtimers. Boats from Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Poland set sail on cruises along the Oder. During the festivities, concerts are held, shanties and sailing knots are taught, and maritime knowledge competitions organised.

Various activities on water are accompanied by onshore attractions, such as visits to decks of Polish Navy ships and sailing ships, a maritime fair, concerts by Polish and foreign music bands, and fireworks shows.

Szczecin was the final port for The Tall Ships Races in 2007,2013 and 2017. They attracted hundreds of sailing ships and yachts from more than a dozen countries around the world. The events also brought millions of people to the site and thousands of sailors who joyfully mixed with locals, and tourists in pubs and streets. Szczecin made quite a few new friends all over the world who promised to return to the city.

The ‘Szczecin – Friendly Port’ programme is therefore an invitation, but also a reminder that we are waiting.


Sail Szczecin is a sailing festival, an important item in the Szczecin calendar of summer events. It started in 2021 as compensation for the cancelled final of the Tall Ships Races. In 2022, it was organised again. Every year, the City of Szczecin invites sailing ships and oldtimers so that Szczecin residents and tourists can admire them, including their interiors. During previous event, Iskra, Bryza, Bonawentura, Kattenturm, Baltic Beauty, Navigator, ORP Toruń and General Zaruski have opened their decks to visitors. Most impressive, however, was the Gorch Fock, which called at Szczecin for the first time in 2022. Additionally, every year nearly 700 people have the opportunity to take a short cruise on board of these vessels to admire the city while sailing.


Of course, the biggest outdoor events need to be accompanied by music concerts. For this reason, Sail Szczecin is always a real feast of sounds. Concerts take place on several stages simultaneously. Moreover, during the event, brass orchestras present their music and choreographic arrangements as part of the Festival for the Cup of the President of Szczecin. Bands from all over Poland perform at Solidarności Square, Łasztownia and the Summer Theatre. The event is used as an opportunity to honour people who promote sailing at various levels. These include athletes, community volunteers, coaches and sailors. During Sail Szczecin, the International Sailing Awards are presented.


The Tall Ships Races is an international rally of sailing ships combined with regattas and special events. It is the oldest sailing event in the world. It was first organised in 1956, mainly to save the ‘white birds of the oceans’, the beautiful sailing ships that started to be replaced by steam ships. The first event featured 21 vessels competing on a route from Torbay, England, to Lisbon, Portugal. The event was very well received. As a result, the Sail Training Association was set up to coordinate subsequent regattas. It was then that the idea of ‘sail training’, training and maritime education for young people on board of large sailing ships, was born. From this point onwards, ships have competed regularly on waters around Europe and met in various ports.

From 1972 until 2003, the regatta was called the Cutty Sark Tall Ships’ Races, due to its sponsor, the manufacturer of Cutty Sark Scotch whisky. Since 2003, the regatta has been held under the name The Tall Ships’ Races. The races are usually held between four ports. Host cities prepare a programme and attractions for crews from all over the world. These include sports competitions, maritime workshops, shanty and folk concerts, as well as sailing feasts in taverns and pubs. The whole event is supervised by the English association Sail Training International which evolved from the Sail Training Association.

The association sets standards for the event, makes contracts with host ports and oversees event preparations. Rules and regulations also apply to crews. According to the rules, at least 50% of crew members need to be aged between 15 and 25.

For 17 years now, the local Sailing Team has been promoting Szczecin in ports by participating in The Tall Ships Races, competing for prizes with other yachts and sailing ships from all over the world. Over the years, the team has received numerous awards. However, perhaps the most valuable is the Friendship Trophy won twice in a row. It is an award for the friendliest and most popular crew, which is voted for by captains of other vessels during the regatta. Szczecin has already hosted the TSR finals three times in 2007, 2013 and 2017, all of which were tremendously successful maritime and tourist events.
On 1 December 2018, the agreement to host the final of the 2021 TSR was finalised. Unfortunately, the pandemic prevented the organisation of the fourth such event. Nevertheless, Szczecin applied to host another final in 2024.

Days till the Final of The Tall Ships Races 2024

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