“These sacred moments of silliness are where I find my heaven” – Gigolo Aunts.
The fact that the unknown (to me, at least) town of Radymno was almost an anagram of the English word “random” was a perfect fit, in fact it exactly rhymes with ‘randomy’ if we use the word as an adjective! This trip was random, the town was random and there I was – the Ulsterczyk, the Northern Irishman in Poland, the Połnocny Irlandczyk w Polsce, the tourist, travel writer and teacher was here. I was randomly in Radymno! Another magical miasto (town/city) for me to explore to add to the likes of Włocławek, Pelplin, Starogard Gdański, Zalipie and Kokoszkowy in my ongoing series of exploring as many villages, towns and cities in Poland as I can. The others on my series you can find here: Magiczne Miasta.
“We can’t keep a hold on time, just receive what it will bring” – Tim Wheeler.
Where the hell is Radymno?
Radymno is not on the normal tourist trail to be honest, and having recently been given a book on 1000 Polish places to visit, Radymno wasn’t even in that book!! Which is more the reason for me to backpack the sights and write about it. My best travel blogs down the years have always been about the more obscure destinations. So yes, Radymno isn’t even in my book of 1000 places in Poland to visit (a book I was given as a present in January 2019)!! (neither was Zalipie, Chotyniec, Kokoszkowy and a few others – all places I had been but not in the book!)
Radymno is a small town with a population of 5,543 and it is located in south eastern Poland – one of the deepest inland regions in Europe, far away from the coast. Radymno is in the Podkarpackie province, which I have visited a few times before – firstly in 2015 when on route to Lviv (in Ukraine).
Radymno is located east of Jarosław, very close to Chotyniec and just 20 kilometres from Ukraine. That day I was touring Jarosław, visiting the famous UNESCO world heritage listed church in Chotyniec as well as dropping by Radymno. While in Chotyniec, I was just 4 kilometres from Ukraine, but I didn’t enter. I haven’t been back to Ukraine since 2015 when I toured Chernobyl.
Like many places in Poland, Radymno has an interesting and varied history. Sadly this also means bloodshed. The town was destroyed and invaded by many different cultures, empires and countries down the years including by Wallachians (1488), Crimean Tatars (1502, 1624) and the Swedish armies (1600s). Sadly the Swedish wars left Radymno in ruins for years on end. It holding a strategic location on the link between Europe and Asia also meant the Battle of Radymno took place here.
That’s the more recent history of course as it was in 1915 between the Russians and the Austro-Germans. However, Polish people continued to live here and in 1918, the country became an official republic once again, Radymno was alive and well. Until the Second World War when it suffered more murders at the hands of the Germans, Ukrainians and Russian Red Army, all of whom came and went, destroyed the place, killing people and leaving the town in ruins.
“I won’t cry for yesterday, there’s an ordinary world somehow I have to find” – Duran Duran.
How to Get to Radymno?
Radymno, in its lonely demeanour is surprisingly well connected to the two bigger cities in this part of Podkarpackie – Jarosław and Przemysł (and further afield, Rzeszów). Both by train and by bus. I arrived and left by train to Radymno, I love train travel and take it when I can. Trains run regularly (even at weekends) from Radymno to other parts of Poland. There are basically two train companies that service the area – the local Podkarpackie trains and the long distance PKP Intercity trains. Not every PKP Intercity train stops here, so I arrived and left on the local train from Jarosław. The train ticket cost 2.60 złotych (which is about 60 pence/70 Euro cents).
The timetables of the routes are listed on notice boards in both Jarosław and Radymno train stations. It’s easy to check.
The train journey from Jarosław to Radymno took 13 minutes, with stops at Munina and Ostrow Koło Radymna on route. In Polish Autumn, this is bliss for the intrepid backpacker.
Once you arrive in Radymno, head on the main road (train station street/Ulica Dworcowa) towards the town centre. I walked it and it took about 20 minutes. There is probably a local bus you can take but I didn’t see one, or any bus stops. I also crossed into the village on the other side – it is called Skołoszów .
What to see and do in Radymno?
Tourist wise, I was it that day. There were no other tourists or tours groups, well, okay except maybe the odd Ukrainian person who had popped across the border. For tourist information, I couldn’t find a tourist information office (it was a Saturday morning), however the information board on my walk into the town was well written and adequate. It had maps and some key sights to check out (churches are always prominent) so I marked what I wanted to see and off I went.
Here are my personal top things to see and check out in Radymno…
1.Old Town Square (Stary Rynek)
Like a typical tourist, I normally head for the beating heart of all settlements and in many cases it means the Old Town Square. Here in Radymno, the Old Town Square is a quiet affair. It is a relaxed square with a market (local shops), a car park, a war memorial, a garden and a bus stop.
It was a calm Autumnal day when I visited Radymno. All was peaceful and relaxed.
2. Radymno War Memorial
Virtually all Polish villages, towns and cities have a war memorial. I was there in November 2018 which was the same month that Poland celebrated its 100 years of regaining independence so the War Memorial had plenty of wreaths to the fallen victims.
3.St. Lawrence’s Church
Catholicism is all over Poland and even the smallest of villages and towns tend to have pretty churches. I visited two churches in Radymno. The first of these was central and close to the Old Town Square – St. Lawrence’s Church which also has an outer bell tower.
Don’t be expecting Jurassic Park or anything of the like but on the edge of the town is a small park, known to locals as “Dinozekoladnia – Centrum Rozrywki” (Dinosaur centre). For kids and dinosaur enthusiasts this place is a must. I am not a huge fan of theme parks and was travelling alone on route to Chotyniec so I skipped going inside. Head in for fun with life sized dinosaur statues and kids amusements.
Here are the details:
Godziny otwarcia: Poniedziałek – Piątek: 10-17, Sobota – Niedziela: 12-18
+48 601 655 211
Budowlanych 456, 37-550 Radymno
5.Sacred Heart of Jesus Church
The second church I checked out was the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church on the edge of town on the other side of the road from the Dinosaur place. In Polish it is known as “Kościół Rzymskokatolicki pw. Najświętszego Serca Pana Jezusa” and this is a more modern church with regular masses.
6.Zalew Zek: The Lake and River
Nature is in evidence in Radymno and I strolled through the town and up to the lake, crossing a bridge over the river.
The Lake was tranquil and quiet with a car park outside.
7. “Sport Street” and the Football Stadium – MKS Radymno
Surprisingly for a town of only 5,500 odd, Radymno has a few relatively successful sports clubs, most are based in and around Ulica Sportowa – nicely named Sports Street! Sports Street is just off the main road into town and worth a look. I saw some adverts for matches but the timing didn’t suit so I didn’t get to see the blue and white local football club sadly. The team is called MKS Radymno (Military & Civil Sports) and they also have a Facebook Page. They play in the local leagues in a stadium that holds 1,000 spectators. As a football freak this would have been a good story for my series – Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce.
I’m really only into football but they also have volleyball and basketball and there is even another football team here called UKS Giganci Radymno.
After seeing all those places, I called into the local Biedronka (Ladybird) for a bite to eat for lunch before having a coffee in a petrol station, touring Chotyniec and heading on a train away from the city, perhaps for this lifetime, Radymno…we may never meet again…
Sightseeing outside of Radymno
Of course my main reason for visiting was actually to visit Chotyniec for the UNESCO listed church (tserkva) and the town also has a hotel you can sleep in if you are planning on overlanding the next day to Ukraine (there is a border checkpoint nearby). Here are some photos of the church in Chotyniec, which I will write about separately. Thanks Radymno, nice town, wish I could have stayed longer and had a beer and a night out there…
Here are some videos from my time backpacking in Radymno: