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Poland is slowly but surely gaining the status of a visit-worthy destination, but places like Gdansk and Warsaw (a must-see city) are getting all the attention while other Polish cities like the picture-perfect Poznan are a bit left behind. I have to admit that I did not expect to find so many fun things to do in Poznan. But I was thrilled to discover a vibrant and diverse city where anyone can find something to enjoy. Here’s everything you must do and see when visiting Poznan.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN POZNAN FOR HISTORY AND CULTURE LOVERS
WANDER AROUND THE OLD TOWN’S STREETS AND MARKET SQUARE
Although they’re often the most touristy spots in the city, it’s difficult not to love Polish old towns. With their mix of colors and exquisite architecture, they just know how to make me happy.
Poznan’s Old Town was no different, and I spent hours strolling through it and taking photos from every possible angle. Like many other old towns in Poland, most of its buildings were reconstructed after being severely damaged in World War II. Nowadays, it is one of Poland’s official national Historic Monuments.
TAKE A WALKING TOUR
I’ve come to love walking tours, and even in an underrated and relatively small city like Poznan, you have a few options. Free Walkative Tour offers a classic tour in the old town and a hidden gems tour (that I really wanted to take, but there wasn’t one available during my trip). There are also a few paid tours you can check out here.
VISIT THE PINK CHURCH OF ST. STANISLAUS THE BISHOP
Dating back to the 17th century, the Church of St. Stanislaus is one of the largest churches in Poland and one of the best examples of Polish Baroque architecture.
Be sure not to miss the church’s interiors, where you’ll not only find old paintings and sculptures but an old organ with almost 2,600 pipes. To feast on its stunning pink exteriors, head to Świętosławska Street, where you can take the perfect photo of the main facade.
To see it from a few other angles, I highly recommend visiting the beautiful Courtyard of the City Hall (Wolny Dziedziniec Urzędu Miasta) at 17 Kolegiacki Square.
VISIT THE YELLOW CHURCH OF ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA
Another wonderfully colorful 17th-century church in Poznan is the St. Anthony of Padua Church. Apart from its mesmerizing pastel facade, you can head down the basement to see a small mockup of the old Poznan and learn more about the history of the city.
WATCH THE GOATS BUT HEADS AT THE OLD TOWN HALL
Say what now? I love quirky legends that lead to quirky traditions, and this story has to be one of the bests I’ve heard.
The legend says that after the 16th-century building’s clock was finished, there was a big feast to celebrate and showcase it. After one of the cooks had burned some of the food, he stole two billy goats, which he wanted to roast and serve. But they escaped and got up to the Town Hall Tower, and the guests saw the two billy goats butting heads on the ledge of the tower.
Today, you can head to the Old Town Square and watch two mechanical goats coming out of the Town Hall’s tower and butting heads twelve times every day at noon. You can also see a metal statue of the two goats on the corner of Gołębia and Plac Kolegiacki.
TAKE A GLANCE AT THE MUNICIPAL WEIGHHOUSE
Poznan’s Weighhouse, which is located in the Old Town’s Market Square, was reconstructed after World War II. What’s a weighhouse, you ask? Well, to check the honesty of merchants and collect the right amount of tax in past centuries, local authorities would run these places where they would weigh their goods.
ADMIRE THE BEAUTY AND UNIQUENESS OF THE MERCHANTS’ HOUSES
Located in the Old Town Square and showcasing medieval commercial architecture, these unique townhouses are one of the most iconic things to see in Poznan. Their vibrant colors and unusual architecture are an absolute feast for the eyes (and camera).
They actually started as simple wooden stalls where merchants would sell products like salt and candles and were later transformed into narrow brick houses with rooms upstairs and little shops downstairs.
VISIT THE ROYAL CASTLE OF POZNAN
This beautiful royal residence was built in the 13th century and reconstructed after World War II. Today it houses the Museum of Applied Arts where you can enjoy the views of the old town from the castle’s tower as well as wander through the exhibition.
Visiting the castle without the museum is free of charge, and you can consult the museum’s prices and opening hours here.
ADMIRE A REMAINING PIECE OF THE CITY WALLS
After everything Europe has been through in past centuries, it’s extremely surprising to find such a well-preserved piece of the medieval city walls of Poznan. It’s sitting between the most ordinary residential buildings, which makes it even more special and visit-worthy. Address: Masztalarska 7A.
BE IN AWE OF THE IMPERIAL CASTLE
Originally built at the beginning of the 20th century for the German Emperor, William II, this stunning sight in Poznan was used by both Germany (World War I and II) and Poland throughout the years. Today it is a cultural center that features a cinema room, art galleries, and a lot more.
Take a walk around the castle to see the lovely park and garden behind it and other unique buildings like the theatre of Poznan’s Philharmonic (Święty Marcin 81) and the University Library (Święty Marcin 9).
VISIT SOME MUSEUMS
From the Archaeological Museum to the Museum of Musical Instruments to the National Museum, the diversity of museums in Poznan in pretty amazing. Here are a few more you can visit in Poznan.
CROSS THE WARTA RIVER TO CATHEDRAL ISLAND (OSTROW TUMSKI)
It certainly doesn’t feel like an island, but technically, it is. The most important monument standing on it is the Poznan Cathedral, which dates back to the 10th century! I honestly don’t know why it’s not declared a UNESCO Site. It is one of the oldest churches in Poland and one of the most intriguing places to visit in Poznan.
WHAT TO DO IN POZNAN IF YOU’RE A FOOD LOVER
DRINK THE BEST HOT CHOCOLATE
It may come as a surprise, but when it comes to chocolate, Poland is a force to be reckoned with. So if you’re a chocoholic like me, you’re in for a treat because one of the best things to do in Poznan is to try some incredibly delicious hot chocolate. Here are a few places to check out:
Cacao Republika (Zamkowa 7): Tucked in a small street next to the Old Town’s Square, this cafe’s quality hot chocolate and cozy atmosphere are irresistible. No jokes, they serve the PERFECT cup of hot chocolate.
E. Wedel (Stary Rynek 92): This Polish confectionery company has chocolate lounges in several cities in Poland like Warsaw and Krakow. Their hot chocolate is extremely thick and decadent, and they offer a large selection of flavors to choose from.
Mount Blanc (Św. Marcin 24): Their menu looks more like a book and can be confusing, but I’d go for their classic hot chocolate.
TRY A ST. MARTIN’S CROISSANT AND VISIT A MUSEUM DEDICATED TO IT
One of the most recognizable symbols of Poznan, the St. Martin’s croissant is not an ordinary pastry. First of all, it is a Protected Geographical Indication of the European Union (I’d say it’s like a UNESCO Site status but for food). Second of all, the bakeries producing it cannot call it St. Martin’s croissant unless they have an official certificate. SHOCKER. So what’s the story behind it?
Long story short, the legend says that the priest St. Marcin asked his followers to do something for the poor, and the baker Józef Melzer decided to treat them with this unique pastry filled with poppy seeds. Apart from the filling’s distinguished flavor, the croissant’s dough must be folded 81 times. Seriously, kudos for the bakers for being that patient.
As for Poznan’s Croissant Museum (Rogalowe Muzeum) – it is an interactive museum where you’ll learn how to make the croissant and have a taste. You can also buy it in other bakeries around the city. I have to admit that the flavor was not my favorite, but I had to at least try it.
The museum’s website with all the details: http://rogalowemuzeum.pl/en/.
PIEROGIS, PIEROGIS, AND MORE PIEROGIS
I have a huge dumpling addiction, so I couldn’t be happier in Poznan, where I could feast on Poland’s most famous dumpling – the pierogi. It comes with many different fillings including vegetarian ones and even sweet ones for dessert. Here are a couple of places I loved:
Pierozak (Półwiejska 10 and Wrocławska 23): This place only serves pierogis and soup. It’s nothing fancy, the food is great, and the prices are ridiculously low.
Pierogarnia Stary Mlyn (Zamkowa 7): Apart from the delicious plumped pierogis, I loved the wooden decor, which contributed to this restaurant’s cozy atmosphere.
DEVOUR SOME POLISH DONUTS
I never thought I’d find SO MANY bakeries in Poznan. On certain streets, they’re located right next to each other, and the smell becomes irresistible. Most of these bakeries pride themselves on their Paczki, which are Polish donuts filled with a sweet filling and covered with icing or a glaze. The bonus – each one only costs about half a dollar!
RELAX AT POZNAN’S CUTEST CAFES
I’m in a constant search for the best cafes out there. I love it when a cafe serves amazing coffee but also has unique decor, relaxing and happy music, and good food. I’m already missing Poznan’s cafes and here are the ones I visited and loved:
Weranda Caffe (Świętosławska 10): With its seasonal decor and yummy breakfast, this place was easily one of my favorite morning spots in Poznan.
Rozove (Wodna 23): If you’re a cake lover, this pink cafe is for you. I loved their raspberry cheesecake, but their display includes about ten different mouthwatering cakes.
Stragan Kawiarnia (Ratajczaka 31): If you’re looking for the perfect cup of coffee, look no further. This specialty coffee shop also serves breakfast and cakes, and the hipster vibe is a nice little addition.
OTHER FUN THINGS TO DO IN POZNAN
VISIT POZNAN’S BEAUTIFUL PARKS
If you’re like me and you love to discover the green areas of a city, Poznan won’t let you down. What if I told you that there are more than ten parks in Poznan covering more than 25% of the city? Mindblowing, right? From the notoriously famous Citadel Park to smaller ones like Chopin and Wilson Park, there are plenty of places to enjoy some natural scenery and utter relaxation in Poznan.
GO STREET ART HUNTING
If it’s not your first time here, you know that I can’t write a city break post without mentioning street art. Seriously, it is one of my biggest loves and favorite things to see in a city. Although Poznan is not filled with street art like other European destinations I had visited like Budapest, Valencia, or Madrid, the murals I did manage to find were more than enough to satisfy my needs.
Here are a few visit-worthy spots:
- Ogrodowa 6: A mural inspired by The Little Prince (AKA the best book ever), located right next to an old church.
- Piekary 5: A mural inspired by the legend of the two billy goats.
- Filipińska 4: An impressive 3D mural, located in the quiet yet super cute neighborhood of Srodka.
For more artistic spots in Poznan, read here.
DON’T MISS THE FREEDOM FOUNTAIN
Located in the central Freedom Square, this unusual fountain was built to put this quiet square back on the map. Tell you what? It worked. The square now hosts different events and the fountain itself is an architectural masterpiece that people love to sit around and admire.
GO TO THE ZOO(S)
If you’re looking for attractions in Poznan for all ages, this one is for you. Apparently, one zoo isn’t enough so you can visit two zoos in Poznan! Fun fact – the old zoo was founded in the late 19th century, and the new one was opened exactly 100 years later.
TAKE A STROLL IN POZNAN’S BOTANICAL GARDENS
In the neighborhood of Jezyce, you’ll find one of the best places to see in Poznan – the peaceful and gorgeous botanical gardens, which have a collection of over 7,000 plant species.
I’m sure the gardens are super dreamy in spring as well, but in fall, they are an explosion of yellow, orange, and red colors. I just couldn’t stop taking photos and adore the beauty surrounding me.
Address: Dąbrowskiego 165. Visiting the gardens is free of charge, but the entrance is a bit tricky to find. Follow the signs leading to the gardens’ parking lot, and you’ll see the entrance gate.
TAKE A STROLL AROUND LAKE MALTA
Technically, it’s an artificial lake, but when you’re looking to take a break from sightseeing in Poznan, it doesn’t really matter. Apart from soaking up the fresh air, you can also enjoy many attractions and activities like an all-year-round ski slope, an open-air bowling track, a mini-golf course, and the list goes on. I told you that you won’t be bored in Poznan.
VISIT AN OLD BREWERY TURNED INTO A SHOPPING MALL
I’d normally say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, but the cover is one of the best things about this place. The Stary Browar started its way as a small brewery in the 19th century and kept growing and expanding until it was heavily damaged in World War II.
It’s now reconstructed and features a shopping mall (with more than 200 stores of luxury brands) and an art gallery. Even if you’re not going to buy anything, the half old half futuristic exterior is worth seeing as well.
VISIT THE LARGEST PALM HOUSE IN POLAND
Over 100 years old, Poznan’s Palm House is yet another surprising sight in this city. With 700 plant species and even an aquarium, it is one of the largest palm houses in Europe! It’s located right next to Wilson Park so you can combine your visit with some more of Poznan’s green scenery. For all the details about opening hours and prices, click here.
DISCOVER A SECRET COURTYARD
This courtyard is my kind of discovery. It is the definition of a hidden gem, and I know you’re going to love it. Head over to the street of Mielżyńskiego 27/29, and you’ll see it hidden behind a short hallway and a glass door. Don’t worry about getting inside – it is a public space with a library, a theatre, and even a cafe where you can sit down and relax.
VISIT AN OPEN-AIR MARKET
I LOVE markets. I love seeing the locals doing their shopping, and I love seeing the local produce.
Scattered in different squares around Poznan, there are quite a few open-air markets you can add to your itinerary. With one side dedicated to clothing and antiques and the other dedicated to fruits, vegetables, and little delis selling products like cheese and homemade salads, these markets are an absolute delight to visit.
Most of them are open daily from morning to evening, so they make a perfect option for a morning or after lunch stroll. I particularly loved Rynek Jeżycki Market, but there are other ones in Plac Wielkopolski and Plac Bernardyński.
There’s nothing wrong with adding some shopping time to your trip, and Poznan is where you’ll get great value for your money. Here are a few shopping streets and centers:
- Avenida: One of the largest malls in Poznan, located right next to the central station.
- Galeria MM: A much smaller mall, but close to the old town.
- Polwiejska Street and its surroundings.
For more options, read here.
When are you planning to visit Poznan? Tell me in the comments!