17 Best Things to Do in Poznan, Poland (+Photos)

Poznan is a great example of what makes Poland such an amazing country to explore. We all know the hit cities; like memorable tunes on iconic records, we play them over and over. But it’s the likes of Poznan with its immersive Old Town and Market Square, that show Poland has created a complete album.

Renaissance architecture and vibrant townhouses leave a memorable first impression. Historic streets beckon you towards landmarks and medieval castles. From there you can jump down the list of eye-opening museums that explore not just the city’s past, but its art and modern culture.

There’s something for everyone in Poznan. Whether you’re seeking family-friendly attractions, romantic park strolls or some nightlife, the Polish city delivers some underrated hits.

17. Imperial Castle

Imperial Castle

Exploring the Imperial Castle in Poznań is a captivating experience for history and architecture enthusiasts. Situated in the heart of the city, this landmark offers a fascinating glimpse into Poznań’s rich heritage and royal legacy.

Originally constructed in the 20th century as the residence of German Emperor Wilhelm II, the Imperial Castle, also known as Zamek Cesarski, now serves as a vibrant cultural and historical hub. It hosts numerous theater performances, concerts, film screenings, and other events annually in its grand halls.

Additionally, the basement houses the 1956 Uprising Museum, while the complex features several restaurants, cafes, and bars, including the renowned Dubliner Irish Pub.

For a guided experience, audio guides (English/French/Ukrainian) are available for a nominal fee.

16. Franciscan Church

Franciscan Church

For an unexpected surprise, be sure to include the Franciscan Church in your itinerary. Constructed between 1674 and 1728, this unassuming church, a stone’s throw from Market Square, may seem like any other in Poland from the outside.

However, stepping inside reveals a breathtaking display of Baroque extravagance, featuring vibrant carved wood, stucco, and paintings by local monk Adam Swach. The high altar and ornate stalls, designed by his brother Antoni, are particularly striking with their radiant colors.

While visitors are drawn to this spectacle, many also come to see the Marian shrine. This features the renowned picture of the Miracle-Working Virgin Mary, known for over 300 years as the Lady of Poznan.

15. Town Hall

Town Hall

Also referred to as Ratusz w Poznaniu, the Town Hall stands as a symbol of Poznań’s rich heritage and a prominent landmark in the city. With a history dating back to the 13th century, it ranks among the oldest and most significant buildings in Poznań.

Its architectural style combines Gothic and Renaissance elements, featuring a captivating facade adorned with intricate details and ornate decorations. A visit to the Town Hall offers a journey into the city’s past. Its interior museum showcases artifacts, paintings, and historical documents illuminating Poznań’s history and the Town Hall’s role in its development.

Surrounding the building, the Town Hall Square buzzes with activity. It hosts street performers, has outdoor cafes, and local vendors, bringing forth a lively and dynamic atmosphere.

14. Brama Poznania

Housed within a contemporary building, Brama Poznania, is also known as the “Gate of Poznań”. It’s a modern interactive museum and educational center showcasing the city’s rich history.

Its architecture, featuring sleek lines and a glass facade, harmonizes with the historic surroundings. Upon entry, visitors encounter interactive exhibits and multimedia presentations that chronicle Poznań’s history from its ancient settlement to modern times.

The museum offers workshops and educational programs for families and school groups, providing hands-on experiences. This includes traditional crafts and archaeological simulations that deepen understanding of Poznań’s culture and history. With its diverse offerings, Brama Poznania serves as an engaging destination for learning and exploration.

13. National Museum in Poznan

National Museum in Poznan

Within a remarkable historic building, the National Museum in Poznań showcases grandeur and elegance, blending neoclassical and Art nouveau styles. Inside, a diverse array of artworks and artifacts spanning various periods and genres awaits visitors.

Within the museum, travelers will discover a diverse collection, from modern Polish art with captivating Impressionist works to medieval pieces and striking Italian, Dutch, and Flemish paintings. Notably, it boasts Poland’s largest collection of Spanish art, showcasing esteemed artists like Zurbarán and Ribera.

An interesting anecdote about the National Museum is a Monet painting that was stolen from within its walls. It took over a decade to be recovered and placed back on display!

With comprehensive English explanations accompanying each artwork, visitors can easily spend hours exploring the exhibits and delving into the stories behind the artists and their creations.

12. Maltanka Miniature Railway

A beloved attraction for railway enthusiasts and an ideal way to admire Lake Malta, the Maltanka Miniature Railway is a favorite among visitors of all ages. Named after the scenic lake it runs along, the railway features a narrow-gauge track and delightful miniature trains evoking a sense of nostalgia and excitement.

Upon arrival at the station, guests are greeted by colorful trains and the cheerful sounds of their whistles. You will be flush with excitement as you wait to embark on your journey. As the ride begins, it meanders through lush greenery, scenic landscapes, and tunnels, offering a new perspective of Poznan.

Notably, the railway provides a convenient means to reach the ‘New Zoo’, with stops located near Rondo Śródka and the zoo’s entrance at Zwierzyniec.

11. Old Zoo

Old Zoo

Situated within the historic Poznań Citadel, the Old Zoo, also known as the “Zoo on the Citadel”, offers a unique blend of nature and history. This former zoo, operational from 1874 to 1974, has been transformed into a green oasis that invites leisurely strolls and exploration.

Upon arrival, visitors are welcomed by a serene environment adorned with well-maintained pathways and picturesque trees. The park provides ample space for picnics, jogging, and recreational activities, catering to visitors of all ages.

While most of the animals have been relocated to the New Zoo, the Old Zoo features a modern Reptile House where guests can observe Komodo dragons, pythons, and caimans in their habitats, adding an educational element to the leisurely experience.

10. New Zoo

New Zoo

Found at Poznan’s city’s edge, the New Zoo offers an engaging exploration of the animal kingdom in a modern and well-maintained facility. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed by meticulously landscaped grounds and a hospitable ambiance, creating an inviting environment for all guests.

The zoo hosts a diverse range of animals, from majestic big cats to playful primates and intriguing reptiles. Highlights include the elephant house and a seasonal mini-railway encircling the facility allows visitors to hop off at various animal exhibits. You’ll enjoy ample opportunities for up-close observation and educational experiences.

During the summer months, guided tours of Fort III are available, with insight into Poznań’s 19th-century fortifications. Fort III, located at the heart of the zoo, provides access to underground passageways for a truly unique experience.

9. Royal Castle

Royal Castle

Originally built in 1249, Poznan’s Royal Castle was the pride and joy of the city for centuries. In the 1700s, The Swedes took a different view, leaving it in ruins. The Siege of 1945 saw the Royal Castle receive even more damage, and that was the final straw.

In 1959, moves were made to begin reconstruction. Something that wasn’t completed until 2016. Just in time for you to visit. Today, the historic significance is once again celebrated and grandeur of the castle has once more graced the city skyline.

Views of the castle from the gardens and cobbled paths are radiant. But a trek up the 185 steps leads to grandiose views of Poznan’s Old Town. Don’t worry, there’s also an elevator.

8. Palm House

Palm House

Constructed in phases starting in 1910, the Palm House in Wilson Park initially showcased palm trees and cacti. Today, it’s Poland’s largest palm house and one of Europe’s largest.

Upon entering, you’ll encounter a vibrant environment with exotic flowers’ sweet scent. The temperature rises, mimicking tropical climates, so it is ideal on cooler days. The Palm House is divided into sections representing distinct ecosystems, displaying diverse plant species.

Besides its impressive palm collections, it hosts tropical animals like colorful birds, butterflies, and small reptiles. Observing them adds wonder to your visit, offering a glimpse into their natural habitat. The Palm House is an exciting experience, transporting visitors to faraway tropical destinations without leaving Poznań.

7. Stary Browar

Stary Browar

A vibrant mix-match of authentic culture and modern shopping, Stary Browar is a unique Poznan attraction. Perhaps one of the most beautiful shopping centers in Europe, it nailed its 50/50 concept.

You can draw a line down the center of Stary Browar. To one side will be the art and culture space, the other full of colorful modern shops.

On the site of the old Huggerow Brewery, Stary Browar is the place to bounce between the stores, and enjoy a dose of retail therapy. Ultimately, if that doesn’t sound like you, the exterior architecture and art gallery make any trip here worth your while.

6. Fara Church

Fara Church

In Poznan’s Old Town, Fara Church is a spectacular Roman Catholic basilica. The exterior, with its bastions, emerald-topped towers, and artistic and colorful facade, is a mesmeric sight.

Originally constructed in the 16th century, the church’s pink exterior shimmers in the golden hour. This is a sight best captured on Swietoslawski Street. It will be hard to believe, but the interior is more memorable. The elaborate frescoes line the walls and wrap around the enormous columns that soar towards the vaulted ceilings.

Travelers can enjoy three types of guided tours of the church and the surrounding groups. The best time to join a tour is on a Saturday, which also coincides with a fabulous organ concert.

5. Cathedral Island

Cathedral Island

Also known as Ostrow Tumski, Cathedral Island lies on the fork of the Warta River. A unique Poznan experience, the island is an idyllic escape, just a stone’s throw from the inner city and bustling Market Square.

In the middle of Cathedral Island lies the Poznan Cathedral. The Gothic basilica harbors its own historic relics and is surrounded by beautiful, small chapels.

Once the home of the first Polish king, Mieszko I, today, the island is an alluring place to explore. You’ll find lush garden spaces, medieval riverside embankments and shade under the many fruit trees. All offer lovely views back to the Old Town.

From Cathedral Island you can cross a bridge to the interactive Brama Poznania.

4. Malta Lake

Malta Lake

A perfect blend of natural beauty and recreational activities, Malta Lake is an expansive man-made lake. Here, you can enjoy an array of recreational activities amidst an idyllic setting.

Malta Lake attracts visitors year-round with its diverse range of fun. Surrounded by parks and woodland, it’s a premier recreation area, home to an ice rink, ski slope, regatta course, zoo, and water park.

For adventurous souls, water sports and recreational facilities abound. Rent paddleboats, kayaks, or rowboats. You can even join sailing and windsurfing schools.

To satisfy your cravings, numerous cafes and restaurants line the lake’s perimeter. These harbor diverse cuisines against the backdrop of scenic views. Whether relaxing or seeking adventure, Malta Lake caters to all tastes and preferences.

3. Park Cytadela

Park Cytadela

Situated on the grounds of a former military fortress, Cytadela Park invites visitors with its storied past and scenic landscapes. As you enter Cytadela Park, you’ll immediately notice the remnants of the historic fortress that once stood here.

The park’s main attraction is the imposing Cytadela Fort, which dates back to the 19th century. The fort’s massive walls and defensive structures serve as a reminder of its military significance in the past. Wandering through the park reveals well-tended gardens, shaded pathways, and expansive greenery, providing a calming retreat for leisurely walks and picnics.

One of the highlights of a visit to Cytadela Park is the opportunity to visit the Military Museum, located within the fort. The museum houses a vast collection of military artifacts, including weapons, uniforms, and historical documents. It offers a fascinating insight into the military history of Poznań and Poland as a whole.

2. Croissant Museum

Croissant Museum

Embark on a delightful journey through the delectable world of Poznań’s iconic pastry at the Croissant Museum. This unique experience offers a tasty exploration of the art and history behind the renowned Poznań croissant.

Upon arrival, the aromatic scent of freshly baked croissants calls visitors into an interactive journey of this beloved treat. Expert guides lead guests through the meticulous process of croissant-making, sharing insights and anecdotes.

Originating in the 18th century, the Poznań croissant holds a special place in the city’s culinary lore. A highlight of the museum is the live demonstration where skilled bakers showcase their craft, unveiling the secrets behind the pastry’s signature crescent shape. Guests can witness the intricate techniques firsthand and even try their hand at crafting their own croissants.

1. Old Market Square

Old Market Square

At the heart of Poznań lies the Old Market Square, a historic center brimming with vibrant culture and heritage. As one of Poland’s oldest squares, it exudes an undeniable charm and serves as a focal point for visitors.

Surrounded by colorful buildings featuring intricate details and diverse styles, the square features a unique blend of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque influences. The market stalls scattered around the square offer a wide array of goods, from traditional crafts to local delicacies, providing a glimpse into Poznań’s rich artisanal heritage.

Among its notable features are the iconic Budnicy houses, which add to the square’s distinctive character. Throughout the year, the square hosts various events and festivals, further enhancing its lively ambiance.

Best Time to Visit Poznan

Poznan Climate

Straddling the Warta River in western Poland, Poznan enjoys a continental climate with cold winters and warm, sunny summers. As it is both an important cultural and business center, it sees lots of people visit almost year-round.

For the best weather though, May through September is the ideal time for strolling about its center, relaxing in parks or swimming and sailing around Kierskie Lake. Temperatures range from 19 to 24°C (66 to 75°F) with exciting events like the massive Poznan Malta Festival and Ethno Port Festival also taking place.

While flights in summer are more expensive, accommodation in July and August is actually cheaper, despite the crowds. Either side of these months, prices rise considerably. Both April and October also have plenty of people visiting as temperatures stick at 13°C (so 55°F) but there is much less sunshine.

Due to the dark days and cold weather, November to March is the low season in Poznan. The city also averages 13 to 17 days of rain each month, though more pours down in the sudden summer deluges. Its cute Christmas market does attract huge crowds in December though.

Where to Stay in Poznan

Poznan Hotel

Staying in Poznań’s Old Town, known as Stare Miasto, offers a delightful experience that invites you to explore the city’s vibrant culture, atmosphere, and historic allure. Located in the heart of Poznań, it’s one of the most colorful and lively areas in the city.

Wandering through the streets of Stare Miasto, you’ll discover a blend of architectural styles featuring Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque influences. The vibrant facades and intricate details of the buildings form a picturesque backdrop for your visit.

Just a short 5-minute stroll from the Old Market Square, City Solei Boutique Hotel stands out with its distinctive charm, providing air-conditioned rooms equipped with complimentary Wi-Fi access. The hotel’s rooms are bathed in natural light and boast individualized interior designs inspired by iconic cities like New York, Kyoto or Havana. Each room provides a picturesque view of the Old Town, enhancing the experience of your stay at Solei Boutique Hotel.

Hotel Altus Poznań Old Town offers a distinct option, situated within the iconic Alfa office building complex in Poznań. Featuring 109 air-conditioned rooms adorned in a modernist style that pays homage to the building’s history, the hotel provides a unique ambiance. Conveniently located just 1km from the main train station.

How to get there

Poznan Train Station

Reaching Poznań is possible through various transportation options. The city boasts its international airport, Poznań-Ławica Airport (POZ), offering direct flights from major European cities.

Travelers can also choose train connections to Poznań Główny, the main train station, from cities like Warsaw, Kraków, and Berlin. Buses provide another convenient option, with numerous international connections to Poznań.

For those who prefer to drive, Poznań is easily reachable via major highways, including the A2 and A1 motorways. Within Poznań, an efficient public transportation system comprising trams and buses, along with taxi services, makes for an easy stay in the Polish city.

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