Top Things To Do in Poznan
In the city of goats, potatoes and yummy croissants there is a lot to do and explore. Here are my top things to do in Poznan.
Poznan Travel Vlog
Take a Free Walking Tour
Walk ya I’ve does a Free a Walking Tour of the Old City which was great not only because it provided a great overview of the history of Poznan but also because I found out about a few hidden gems like courtyards and restaurants that I wouldn’t otherwise. The guide was very friendly and knowledgeable. I definitely recommend it as a starter. The Free Walking Tour of Poznan starts at Plac Wolnosci or Freedom Square near the fountain. You can book it here.
Watch the Billy Goats Head Butt at Midday
Poznan has a slight obsession with billy goats. The best example of this obsession is the 5-minute display of two billy goats head-butting each other on top of the Old Townhall. The display lasts 5 minutes with the goats coming out and head butting with a trumpet playing on each corner of the Townhall tower. It is quite a spectacle and usually drives quite a crowd. Make sure you arrive a few minutes early to get a good spot, it starts right at 12:00 and lasts variable lengths but roughly 3-5 minutes.
Explore the Old Town
The Old Town of Poznan is no less beautiful and colourful than other cities in the country. Street after streets of colourful and beautiful houses with cobbled streets create a great environment.
It took me a full day going around despite it wing a small area. Some of the spots you shouldn’t miss are:
Old Market Square
This is the heart of the city and it is busy no matter what time of the day you go. It is quite big and beautiful and the colourful mansions stand tall.
Fun Fact: Poznan was quite heavily bombed during WWII and the Old Market Square was pretty much razed to the ground, what you see today was later reconstructed during the communist period.
There are tons of restaurants and bars in the old town, most of them very touristy and expensive (obviously). It was my favourite part of Poznan for sure.
This beautiful Baroque counter-reformation church stands a street away from the Old Market Square. The guide called most of it fake but I have different words for it; work of genius. The interior is grand, colourful and beautiful and if you have to go inside one church in Poznan, make it this one.
City Hall Courtyard
Right next to the Church is the courtyard of the city hall. It is a beautiful space with quite a lot of serenity. If you are in the mood, do search the dwarves hidden in the courtyard.
Chopin Park and Goats Statue
This small and well-manicured park is right behind the City Hall and hosts the statue of billy goats head butting each other. (I wasn’t lying about Poznanian obsession with these goats, you can even find some in the old and new zoo both and they have proper names).
Visit the Oldest Cathedral in Poland
The Cathedral island hosts the oldest cathedral in Poland. This is where the first Cathedral was built a Millenium ago and the first Christian rulers are buried here. I visited later in the evening when it was closed. The island is a small area and leads to the neighbourhood of Srodka which has some great restaurants and murals both.
Chill in the Citadel Park
Citadel Park is a great testament to the green mentality of Poznan. It is quite a big park but despite being green space, it is neither boring nor a place for plants only. There are multiple monuments like the Bell of Peace and Friendship among nations, the Rosarium and my two favourite spots.
The Unrecognised Ones
The Unrecognised Ones is an exhibition of Magdalena Abakanowicz located bang in the centre of the park. It is quite a popular spot. It really evokes some emotions whether you associate it with war or like me you think that it points to the lack of individuality in the age of data.
I met Maciej here and we headed to the cafe which is usually very busy but it was our lucky day, we got to grab some iced tea and relax on the lawn of the cafe. It was a great spot to chill especially in the hammocks.
Visit the Imperial Castle
The Imperial Castle was built for Wilhelm II of Germany as a reminder to the city of who the ruling class were. It later got turned into a Nazi palace for Hitler but these days it is an interesting space with lots going on. It is beautiful gardens and a small courtyard which is a replica of the fountain of lions from Alhambra.
Pawel told me about the balcony which I would have missed, it provided a good view of the area and the gardens and as a bonus point, it is completely free to enter.
They are also building an Enigma museum here in honour of professors who helped Alan Turing in breaking the Enigma code.
Eat A St Martin’s Croissant
Yes, it is a croissant and no it is different from the French version. It is a speciality of Poznan and it can only be made here by trained chefs and establishments who sell it must have a special certificate visible at the window.
It is quite heavy with lots of filling of nuts, butter, raisins etc and eating a full croissant was tough even for a greedy eater like me. I grabbed mine from Hanna Piskorska which is right in the Old Market Square. If you are interested in more detail, there is a museum with tours and you can do tasting there as well, I was happy just eating it after listening to the story during the tour.
Explore the Modernist Architecture of Poznan
Poznan has some interesting bits of modernist architecture from communist times. It is a little scattered around but most of the buildings are very interesting.
Music Store Courtyard
This courtyard between Wielka and Wozna street with a restaurant and Music Store is really out of place from the rest of its surroundings, definitely worth a look.
These two buildings are located right in the Old Market Square. They look completely out of place amidst the colourful facades of old mansions, you can’t miss them.
This round building is located on the way to the Imperial Castle and is quite eye-catching. Don’t forget to go inside to see the gorgeous staircase of death. (A lot of people committed suicide from its top during communist rule).
Climb the Tower of Poznan Castle (Applied Arts Museum)
Poznan Castle is located in the Old Town near the Old Market Square and has been converted into the Museum go Applied Arts which is quite cool. The castle was recently rebuilt and has a beautiful small garden right outside, a great spot for some relaxation during exploration.
The entrance ticket is PLN15. The museum is quite interesting but the main attraction is the observation deck on the top floor of Castle Tower. It provides a 360-degree view of this gorgeous city. It had just stopped raining and everything had been washed after the intense heat of a few days, it was a great experience.
There is a small but serene garden right outside perfect for a view of the old market square.
Check out Jezyce; The Art Neauvou District of Poznan
No, it is not as crazy as the Art Neauvou district in Riga but it is something and with some great food options, Jeyece is fast becoming an interesting hipster place. The walk from the Imperial Castle to the Jezyce district changed the landscape from grand to residential. I walked around with Pawel who knew a lot about the place. The area around Klub Poludnie restaurant was great and done forget to check out the building on Roosvelta with the most beautiful figure.
Don’t expect crazy architecture here but the hipster neighbourhood of Poznan definitely has charm.
Poznan is a fun city break which offers a lot to do and see and with its own unique culture and even language it is a great city to enjoy if you want to get to know Poland more.