Most tourists traveling to Poland would go to cities such as Kraków, Gdańsk and Wrocław or many other attractive places, instead of rather average city of Poznań. However, if you have a city break there or a business trip because of the Poznań International Fair (the biggest industrial fair in Europe) you should still enjoy your visit. Poznań happens to be my hometown and although I’m not connected to this city as I used to be, I still have some useful information to share. Are you ready?
What to see in Poznań? Old Market Square would be the number one sightseeing attraction.
Old Market Square (Stary Rynek) in Poznań is arguably not as beautiful or big as it is in Kraków or Wrocław. Nevertheless it has its own charm. Walking around cobblestoned streets and discovering picturesque townhouses and colourful corners is definitely a thing to do in one of the oldest and biggest Polish cities.
In the heart of Stary Rynek is a City Hall (Ratusz) with famous mechanical goats placed just above the clock. The “Poznan’s Goats” (Poznańskie Koziołki) are the symbol of the city, well known in the whole country. They are displayed daily at noon just for a couple of minutes only to butt heads and hide again until the very next day. Tourists and local people are always gathering to see that event. Adults are sometimes clapping their hands and children are laughing and having fun. Do not miss out! If you want more information, read about the legend of The Goats on Wikipedia.
If you’re visiting during the summer weekend, there’s a good chance to enjoy one of many festivals or live outdoor music in The Old Market Square. I love it particularly in the warmest months, as you can sit in one of many beer gardens, drink you-know-what and enjoy the weather (and life, too). The famous regional beer in Poznań would be lager “Lech”, but in recent years craft and flavoured beers have become also very popular, so the choice should be pretty wide. Cheers!
Clip with aerial look for Poznan found on YouTube!
Fancy something else? Perhaps a huge rich ice-cream dessert or traditional Polish hot chocolate, which is thick and often served with a liquor or hot fruits in many different varieties? The most famous, traditional hot chocolate place is a chain called “Wedel”. Other, more local, would be “Cacao Republica” – a small lovely café, one of my favourite such places at all! If you don’t fancy chocolate (are you okay?) try other cafés nearby Stary Rynek. I recommend “Weranda Caffe” or “Lavenda Cafe & Lunch” (both with great cosy interiors, good atmosphere and most importantly – good food, coffee and desserts).
|INSIDER TIP: Go to Hill of Przemysł (Góra Przemysła), a small hill in the west side of Stary Rynek with The Royal Castle (Zamek Królewski) on the top. The castle, rebuilt in 2013 in way too modern style, has many opponents among locals. I’ve never been inside, but the walk there is worth taking and you will be rewarded with not too bad panoramic view.|
There’re also plenty of restaurants of any kind but probably many of them would be overpriced or considered as tourist traps. There are obviously some exceptions, for example the yummiest authentic Georgian restaurant Chinkalnia, one of my favourites.
In a nutshell, if you’re having a city break to Poznań, firstly wander around The Old Market Square, check the local vibe, order your favourite food or drink and enjoy a full day in the heart of the city!
How to spend time actively in Poznań? Go to artificial Lake Malta near the city centre.
Over 2 km long artificial Lake Malta is a rowing venue and a recreational facility that offers plenty of attractions for active people of any age and interests.
Feel free to use my map of Poznań. I marked all places described in this article.
About 5 km round route attracts walkers, joggers, cyclists and roller skaters. You can spend hours in nearby Zoo (Nowe Zoo) and modern shopping mall (Galeria Malta). Both free and paid music gigs are organised there during summer and International Theatre Festival Malta takes place usually in June. Not enough? How about trying:
- Thermal Baths (Termy Maltańskie) – if you like water sports, this place full of swimming pools, slides, spas and similar attractions is for you.
- Artificial ski slope (Malta Ski) allows practice skiing all year long. Lessons with instructors are available.
- Small railway (Kolejka Maltanka) will definitely put a smile on your child’s face.
What is the fanciest neighbourhood to wander around in Poznań? Śródka is becoming one of the most popular.
This small historic neighbourhood in the bank of Warta River, not that far from Malta Lake, has been redesigned and renovated in recent years. Now it’s being hyped by local people and may be one of the most popular districts in Poznań.
The most important landmarks of Środka are:
- An unique 3D “Tale Mural” (Opowieść Śródecka) that is telling the history of the district and some of its inhabitants. Selfie here is a must!
- Cathedral Island (Ostrów Tumski), which is an island between two branches of the river Warta. However, being there you may not realize it’s an island, so don’t be disappointed!
- Bishop Jordan’s Footbridge (Most biskupa Jordana) that connects South of Środka with Ostrów Tumski.
- Poznań Cathedral (Bazylika Piotra i Pawła) in the heart of Cathedral Island. I’ve never been inside, but it’s definitely an important part of a landscape.
Personally, I like to have a walk from South of Środka through the footbridge to Cathedral Island. You can easily find a few local independent cafés and restaurants, so it is wise to book more time and visit at least one of them. My favourite would be “Na Winklu”. Poland is known for dumplings (if you weren’t born yesterday you must have heard the polish word pierogi) and they serve not only traditional pierogi in many different flavours, but also baked ones! This makes it a perfect example of modern Polish cuisine. Don’t you dare to leave Środka with an empty stomach!
Where to spend time in Poznań indoors? Stary Browar may be viewed not only as a shopping centre, but also as a cultural experience.
Stary Browar was awarded in 2005 by a title of The Best Shopping Center in the World (in medium sized category) by International Council of Shopping Centres. The building was gorgeously designed on the basis of a historic factory, built in 2003 and then extended in 2007 with a courtyard between the old and the new wings.
Stary Browar can be described as a combination of shopping centre, art gallery and architectural wonder. You can shop there, eat in one of plenty restaurants, go to the cinema or simply admire astonishing interior design or the art displayed here and there. It’s still a busy shopping mall, but quite different than others that you have ever seen. Sounds like a perfect place for a rainy day, isn’t it?
|INSIDER TIP: Poznań celebrates Martin’s Day on 11 November. Everyone eats regional croissants (Rogale Marcińskie) with white poppy-seed filling traditionally prepared in this part of Poland. So famous, that they even have its own museum! You can obviously buy them not only on that particular day, but all year round – yet only in bakeries in Poznań!|
Poznań, as every big city, has definitely much more to offer. Amazing theatres, an Opera House, variety of museums, Park Cytadela, Fort VII or Palm House. Cultural and music events and festivals. Great night life. And more, even much more. To be honest I’m either not really into these places or I simply wouldn’t recommend them to foreigners for a short city break in Poznań. Instead I wanted to tell you what Poznań is for me in a more personal, not touristy way. Let you see it through my eyes. If you ever visit it, do not hesitate to share your feelings or your personal tips in the comments section below.
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