Why Toruń, Poland?
Toruń, Poland receives about 1.5 million visitors a year. The city of more than 200,000 residents is located on the Vistula River about 150 miles northwest of Warsaw and 100 miles south of the Baltic Sea city of Gdansk. Krakow in the south of Poland, Warsaw, Torun and Gdansk are all located along the Vistula River, the main water artery through Poland.
Toruń, Poland is a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognized for its preserved medieval town plan and centuries old architecture one finds in the Old Town today. The city is one of the oldest in Poland. German Teutonic Knights established a post at the site beside the Vistula River in 1231 and Toruń was a major trading post of the Hanseatic League from the 13th to 15th centuries. The city has the most historical monuments in Poland next to Krakow. Torun is sometimes referred to as ‘Krakow of the North’.
Torun is a significant tourist attraction in Poland today as one of the few cities with significant cultural history to emerge from World War Two spared from immense destruction. Krakow is another city loaded with historical architecture. Warsaw and Gdansk have lovely looking Old Town areas, however, these cities suffered catastrophic destruction and were rebuilt in post-war decades in architectural styles to appear far older than they are today.
Personally, I thought Torun’s medieval buildings would look older, but perhaps that is simply due to my misconception that red brick did not seem to me to be an old architectural building material. I learned the art of brickmaking was perfected in the age of ancient Rome. Brick construction was the primary medieval building construction material in Poland and much of northern Europe in the style known as ‘Brick Gothic‘ beginning in the 12th century.
1231 Hotel Torun
On my first trip to Torun, Poland I relied on TripAdvisor reviews and Google Maps to choose a hotel located near the bus stop close to the Old Town, where Flixbus dropped us off in the city of more than 200,000 residents. 1231 Hotel is about 10 minutes walk.
1231 Hotel (hotel website) was ranked #2 of 28 Torun hotels when I booked my July stay in late June 2019. Since my stay in July the hotel has ranked #1 on TripAdvisor every time I checked.
I booked a standard room at the hotel for 300 PLN/$80 through Booking.com. I was supposed to earn 139 TAP Portugal miles from the stay, but they never posted to my account.
The hotel site once held one of the early mills of Torun. The patio entrance to the property crosses over the mill creek. The front doors open automatically as you approach.
1231 seemed like an odd name for a hotel until I learned that is the year Teutonic Knights established Torun as an outpost on the Vistula River. Thorn or Torun received city rights in 1233 and developed into one of the most important cities economically for the Teutonic Order. German knights founded the Teutonic Order in 1190 during the Crusades. Over the next two centuries they spread their dominion across Poland and the Baltic region as they Christianized pagan peoples in the area that would become known as Prussia. In 1410, Poland and Lithuania defeated the Teutonic Order in the Battle of Grunwald, recognized in 1411 by the First Peace of Thorn (Torun). While the Teutonic Order was weakened, it was not knocked out. Torun remained under rule of the Teutonic Order until the beginning of the Thirteen Years’ War in 1454 when Polish and Lithuanian forces defeated the Teutonic Order leading to the Second Peace of Thorn in 1466 and the ascendance of the Polish-Lithuania Commonwealth as the major power of northern and central Europe for the next two centuries.
Hotel 1231 sits adjacent to the main ruins of the 13th century Teutonic Castle of Torun. In 1454, citizens of Torun attacked the castle and defeated the Teutonic defenders. The castle walls were torn down.
We were given room 109 of Hotel 1231. The hotel is spread out over four floors with only 22 rooms. The restaurant and bar are on the lowest level and rooms are located on two top floors. There is an elevator.
The lobby foyer is primarily a functional space with one computer station and the elevator. The restaurant is downstairs and rooms on two upper levels.
The hotel room had air conditioning and it worked well for our stay.
1231 Hotel Room 109 bathroom
There is a nice looking tiled bathroom shower stall in room 109.
Kelley thought the room was a bit small. I was deeply satisfied with the hotel room, bed and pillows. After our pub crawl around Torun, I had no problem sleeping the night.
Breakfast was offered at check-in for 50 PLN/$13.00 per person. We went out for breakfast at Bulka, a popular and very affordable dining place and highly ranked on TripAdvisor.
An omelet and cheese plate with quail eggs cost less than $9 for the two of us. Torun prices for drink and food were on average lower than I found in Krakow, Warsaw and Gdansk.
1231 Hotel Restaurant and Bar
We visited the downstairs bar for a beer before leaving 1231 Hotel. I snapped some photos of 4 Pory Roku restaurant space.
The bar sits over the mill creek.
Our overnight trip to Torun was basically an exploratory stopover on our journey across Poland by bus from Krakow to Gdansk. The old town of Torun is a place where I felt a great vibe. As a tourist I loved the concentration of dozens of pubs and restaurants within the historical medieval Old Town of Torun. The number of English speaking tourists was far below what I have encountered in Krakow, Gdansk and Warsaw. The place seemed far more populated with Polish tourists.
My intention is to get back to Torun, Poland for a longer stay. I would not hesitate to choose 1231 Hotel again given a competitive price. This was the only non-chain hotel stay and one of my favorite hotels of our three week trip.
June-July 2019 Trip Copenhagen-Prague-Liberec-Krakow-Warsaw-Torun-Sopot-Gdansk-Stockholm