When you grew up with the idea that Poland is just grey buildings and communist flats I’d like to invite you to Poznan (and many other Polish cities for that matter), as it is a colorful surprise of beautifully restored old buildings, friendly locals and delicious food.
Recently I was lucky enough to explore Poznan. And since it was my first encounter with Poland, I couldn’t be happier to start out in this cute little city, because boy, I haven’t seen this many pastel colors anywhere!
Even outside of Poznan’s colorful Old Town center, there’s plenty to see and do. I got lost roaming the suburbs for street art, yet every time friendly locals would help me get back to spots I did recognize. All in all I had a great few days in Poznan and I would all recommend you to go and have a look for yourselves!
In June 2018 I went back to Poznan as it served as an ideal starting point for a new adventure in Poland. This article was updated in July 2018.
10 THINGS TO DO IN POZNAN
1.Explore the old market square (or Stary Rynek).
The colorful old market is home to many beautiful old buildings and lovely restaurants and this place is by far the most popular thing to see when visiting Poznan. Take a tour around the square to discover the incredible details on the buildings and photograph away!
When you’re strolling the square anyway, make sure to grab a bite or drink at one of the many restaurants.
2.Watch the goats come out at noon
On the old market square, you’ll find the beautifully decorated city hall (or Ratusz). Every day at 12 pm, all the tourists gather here to watch the billy goats come out and bump their horns twelve times.
The head butting of the goats isn’t just a ‘show’ to attract tourists. The legend goes that long ago, a cook was busy preparing a feast for important city officials. He accidentally burnt the venison and panicked. To save the feast and himself, he then grabbed two goats out of a meadow nearby.
As if the cook wasn’t unlucky enough, the goats escaped and ran into the city hall. There they started to fight, which got the attention of the party of officials attending the feast. What they didn’t know, is that a fire had started which could’ve killed the entire delegation. Because of the goats, the fire was noticed and put out, saving the city hall from burning down to the ground.
During the head butting at noon, you can also see a live trumpet player on the tower of the city hall.
3.Play urban games
A great way to get to know the city is by playing urban games. Every game has a different subject and there can be puzzles, riddles and other kind of funny ways to learn the city’s history. Most urban games are in Polish but it is possible to download some of them in English.
4.Visit one of the many city parks
Poznan has a few amazing parks. From Chopin Park, which is located right in the city center, you’ll have an amazing view on the bright red Jesuit complex.
The must-see park of Poznan is Citadel Park. This giant green oasis has some amazing features: the remains of a brick fort, large green fields to relax in, a Roman theater, several monuments and some of the best war museums in Poland.
We went to see Muzeum Uzbrojenia, which has a large collection of tanks, planes and armor on display. At the border of the park, there is also an army museum to be found. There are two restaurants in the park: Cytadeli and Restaurant Umberto.
5.Marvel at the Fara church
Beautiful from both inside and outside, this church is located just a few meters from the old market square. The bright red building is part of the Jesuit complex mentioned earlier and is well-worth a visit when you enjoy a lush décor. When you’re respectful and quiet (which you should be anyway when entering a church) you can even visit during weddings sometimes.
6.Drink local beer
Bordering to Germany and Czech Republic, Poland should be doing okay in the beer department. In Poznan there’s a variety of places where you can taste local brews. A visit to the Lech brewery is recommended also!
7.Go on a street art frenzy
The center isn’t the only colorful place in Poznan. In 2012 many artists have been asked to create street art throughout the city. Since then Murals are to be found all over Poznan, covering entire buildings sometimes. Take the metro to see more of the outskirts of the city or chose a direction and start walking. Communist buildings – which you’ll find plenty off outside the city center – are a great base for large, beautiful murals.
8.Eat a St. Martin’s croissant
A very important piece of pastry which is much heavier than a French croissant. The St.Martin’s croissant is usually made for special occasions and comes from Poznan. After making the croissant with a special recipe, it gets transported to many parts of the country. This way you could also pick one up in Krakow or any other large, touristic city in Poland. Do skip breakfast for this one as it has over 180 layers!
9.Attend a concert at the Franciscan church
Another beautiful church in the center of Poznan. This bright yellow church can be found at just a few steps from the main square of Poznan and is the location for many great concerts in the area. With something going on almost every week, the Franciscan church is a must-see on your Poznan bucket list!
10.Visit the stary browar shopping center
Completely renovated by the richest woman in Poland, this shopping center, that was built in a former brewery, is a remarkable sight. Of course it’s nice to do some souvenir shopping but even if you don’t have the budget for it, the photogenic old brewery itself is worth visiting on its own.
Where to eat in Poznan
On Stary Rynek, Rynek95 is known for its amazing onion rings and killer margaritas. Another meal that I can highly recommend is the duck with apples and cranberry sauce. Just delicious!
Fat Bob is the best burger place in town. You probably have to wait for a while to set a seat but I promise it’s worth every minute!
The best breakfast can be enjoyed in Lavende, which is located on Wodna Street. They offer large English and Polish breakfasts as well as smaller, but delicious, dishes like scrambled eggs.
The boyfriend – who doesn’t like to be photographed – waiting outside of Tey Hostel.
Where to stay in Poznan
For an affordable stay right in the old town, Tey Hostel is the place to go. The hostel offers dorms and private rooms with shared facilities. The hostel is super clean and – above all – located right in the action of Stary Rynek. I’ve stayed at Tey Hostel several times during my visits to Poznan, it never disappointed me.
When you have a little more to spend, try Aparthotel Wodna, located on Wodna Street. The rooms offer a kitchenette, spotless bathroom and a comfortable bed, all within a 3-minute walk of the old market square.
How to get to Poznan
Poznan has its own airport. Make sure you compare airfare. between the major cities of Poland to get the cheapest price. Warsaw is known as the cheapest option to fly to Poland. Another great option is Berlin from where you can take the train to Poznan. A train journey takes between 2,5 and 3,5 hours.
The bus and train network in Poland is good, which makes it easy to see Poznan when you’re traveling the country already. Polskibus (now merged with Flixbus) is probably the most affordable option.
Have you been to Poznan? What was your favorite spot? Feel free to ask me anything or leave or suggestions below in the comment section!
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