Things to do in Poznań Poland

things to do in Poznan Market Square

Poznań is often overlooked by tourists, and held in the shadow of Krakow as Poland’s top tourist destination. But, did you know that there are some amazing things to do in Poznan, including a beautiful colourful old town and Poland’s oldest cathedral? I recently spent 4 days in Poznań and was so impressed with the cleanliness, accessibility and beauty of the city. I wondered if I would end up doing a few day trips or visiting some neighbouring towns such as Lodz or Wroclaw, but I found that there was more than enough to do in Poznań itself.

Whenever I visit a new city, I always ask myself – could I live here? Some places are good to visit as a one off, and others are places I’d happily spend 6 months or more and use as a base. Poznań comes under the latter! I could happily rent a little apartment and live here. So that tells you a lot about how I feel regarding this stunning Polish city.

Is Poznań worth visiting
Former Jesuit College, Old Town, Poznan

What did I get up to in Poznań?

So, what did I get up to in Poznań, Poland? I explored Cathedral Island and learnt about Poznan as the birthplace of Polish Christianity. I ate some gorgeous duck and apple Pierogi at Pierożak Pierogarnia Półwiejska. I met a great Norwegian guy called Bjorn who found ‘chicken of the woods’ mushrooms in Cytadela Park and cooked them up for lunch in our hostel! I also played a city game – ‘Discover Poznań like an undercover spy’ and received a certificate for my espionage skills. Oh, and my Old town walking tour was disappointingly dominated by extensive reconstruction of the Stary Rynek market square infrastructure and paving slabs!

So yes, if you are thinking of going anytime soon, I would wait until the end of 2024 to see Poznań fully intact! Despite this, Poznan is a fantastic place to explore, and so I am excited to bring to you the best things to do in Poznan, Poland.

Poznan Street Art Slusarska
Street Art on Slusarska, Poznań

Best things to do in Poznań Poland

The best things to do in Poznań include Stary Rynek (market square), Cathedral Island and Park Cytadela. There are also some amazing museums – the artillery museum, the archaeological museum and a popular choice – the Croissant Museums!

Visit Stary Rynek (Market Square) at Noon and see the Poznań Goats!

Stary Rynek – the main market square in Poznań is stunningly beautiful. It’s surrounded by tall colourful buildings which gave Poznań the informal name ‘the colourful city’. The city hall itself is one of the most beautiful examples of Renaissance architecture in Central Europe. Also, at noon daily, the little window in the central tower will open, and the two mechanical Poznań goats will come out and butt heads to the notes of a bugle!

things to do in Poznan Market Square

So, why goats?! I hear you ask? Well, the two goats have been the symbol of Poznań for centuries, originating from a legend whereby a cook burnt the roast! In a state of panic, he tried to steal two goats to cook and replace the meat. But the two goats escaped and ran up the tower of the town hall, where they were spared and their lives celebrated (along with the guilty cook!)

Explore the history and religion of Poznan on Cathedral Island (Ostrów Tumski)

Cathedral Island dates back to the 10th Century and is literally the place where Polish Catholicism started! The Cathedral is found on the site of the Chapel of Dąbrówka which was built in approx. 965 AD. Dąbrówka was the wife of Mieszko I, and he became baptised and converted to Catholicism. They call this ‘the Baptism of Poland’. Following this event the state received its first missionary bishop, and Catholicism was adopted as the main religion in Poland, and would remain that way for years to come.

Cathedral Island Poznan

You can walk to Ostrów Tumski from the main square and there is a lot to see in that area as well as the Cathedral itself. I’d recommend that you start at Śluza Katedralna (Cathedral Lock). Walk across the glass bridge until you come to the exhibition at Brama Poznania where you will learn about the Polish history of the area and find an excellent viewing platform (the above picture was taken there). You will then get a complimentary audio guide that will take you around the other buildings in the area including the Gothic Psalterium, the Archbishops Palace, the Jordan Bridge and of course, Poznań Cathedral itself.

Brama Poznania Poland
Brahma Poznania, Poland

Poznan Cathedral is the oldest in Poland. It has a stunning ‘Golden chapel’ in one of the side chapels which is known as ‘The Chapel of Kings’. It is not often open to visitors due to its historical value, but ask in case they are willing to make an exception! The Cathedral is also home to the graves of kings Mieszko I and Bolesław the Brave.

Poznan Cathedral
Poznan Cathedral, Poland

Enjoy Poznan’s beautiful Street Art

Street Art became popular in post war Europe, particularly as an approach to bring to life the grey tower blocks that resulted from communist regimes. Street Art really took off in Poznań since around 2010 when there were a number of street art festivals. You can find many fantastic murals in the city centre, including one of the ‘Little Prince’ and also one of the ‘Poznan Goats’. There are also some interesting murals to be found in the Wilda and Jeżyce areas. Oh, and don’t miss ‘Srodka Tale’ which is on the market square over the Jordan bridge in Cathedral Island.

Street Art Poznan
Street Art in Poznan – The Srodka Tale

Eat Pierogi to your heart’s content at Pierożak Pierogarnia

You haven’t really been to Poznań until you’ve tried their Pierogi! If you haven’t already heard of them, Pierogi are Polish dumplings often with vegetable or meat fillings and served with butter and onion. You can buy them for around 3 Zloty each at Pierożak Pierogarnia. I recommend the duck or the goats cheese ones (or both!) Between 3-5 dumplings per person should be enough for a lunch.

Pierogi dumplings Poznan Poland
Pierogi at Pierożak Pierogarnia, Poznań

Enjoy Nature at Park Cytadela

Park Cytadela is MASSIVE and stunningly beautiful, so dedicate a couple of hours to exploring this park if you can. Park Cytadela has plenty of benches and spots ideal for a picnic. There are several landmarks including the Liberty Bell and several outdoor sculptures.

Park Cytadela Poznan
Park Cytadela, Poznań, Poland

Park Cytadela also contains a great deal of history – it is home to Poznań Old Garrison Cemetery and the Artillery Museum. The Old Garrison Cemetery contains war graves from both the First and Second World War. The Artillery Museum is the next best thing to do in Poznań on our list…

See real tanks at the Artillery Museum

The Artillery Museum contains an extensive collection of uniforms, bombs and guns from the USSR and WWII. There are also tanks, fighter jets and bombers (some complete with missiles), in an outdoor exhibition. It’s well worth a visit, especially if you are interested in World War history. Admission to the museum is 15 Zloty. There is a toilet outside the museum and the charge is 2 Zloty (your credit card will even work here!)

Tanks Poznan Artillery Museum
Tanks at the Poznan Artillery Museum

Explore Poznań like an Undercover Spy!

One of the fun activities I experienced during my stay was ‘Poznań like an Undercover Spy!’ which is a great way to meet and engage with other travellers, especially if you are travelling solo. I met two English friends – a mother and daughter duo from Yorkshire, and we teamed up to become ‘The Northern England warriors!’

We had several tasks to do in order to accomplish our mission and ‘take over the city of Poznan!’ It involved following a map around the central part of Poznań to crack codes, go down secret passages and interpret symbols. There were several hidden things to find (including a SIM card with data on it!) We discovered the castle and several interesting buildings (including the Former Jesuits College), as well as using Street Art to help us to decipher a ‘key’! It was a great way to explore the city and make new friends, and I’d like to say a big thank you to Natalia (Air BnB Experiences) for co-ordinating our morning activity.

We won with 95 points and got awarded a certificate for ‘Urban Espionage!’ This is getting framed!

Poznan like an Undercover Spy

Visit the Poznań Palm House (Palmiarnia Poznanska)

Another great thing to do in Poznań is to visit the Poznan Palm House – Palmiarnia Poznanska. There are 10 pavilions containing a variety of ecosystems, from subtropical to savanna, with over 17,000 plants belonging to over 1000 species. There are also some fish ponds and small aquariums (with over 170 species of fish and 40 aquatic plants) and a Palm House cafe. Admission is 16 Zloty.

Eat and drink all that is Pink at Różove Cafe

After I did my old town walking tour, our guide recommended that I try the cakes at Różove Cafe. Although it’s a little pricier than average cafes in Poznan, it’s still reasonable according to UK and USA prices. I had a sweet peach tea (topped with pink glitter!) and a gorgeous (and generously sized) piece of cheesecake.

Cake Cafe Rosove Poznan Poland
Cake at Cafe Rosove, Poznan, Poland

The fantastic thing about Różove Cafe is that pretty much everything is pink…and I’m not just talking about the chairs, cushions and decor! Most of the cakes are either topped with pink glitter, pink fruit or garnished with pink edible flowers. Even the drinks are pink – pink Prosecco, pink fruit juices and pink lemonade!

Visit the Poznań Archaeology Museum

The Poznań Archaeology Museum was an unexpected find! It’s in the middle of the old town and contains some excellent exhibitions on the origins of Poland (Middle Ages), Archaeology in the Sudan, Death and Life in Ancient Egypt and Rock Art of North Africa. In the centre of the entrance courtyard, you will be greeted by the Obelisk of Rameses II, which is the only Ancient Egyptian Obelisk in the whole of Poland. The Ancient Egypt section also contains funerary masks and mummified cats and crocodiles. With your ticket to the Archaeology Museum, you get a free audio guide, which explains the different aspects of the exhibits.

Obelisk Rameses II
Obelisk of Rameses II, Archaeology Museum, Poznan

Sing Karaoke at Kunzia Rock Pub!

And last but not least… should end your last night in Poznań with a bang! One of my favourite things to do in Poznań, Poland was have a drink at Kunzia Rock Pub. Wow – what an atmosphere! This place was recommended by a Polish girl who we met in a bar near our hostel. She said ‘go there and you will be sure to have a good night!’ and she was not wrong! They have lined up a number of Polish and English songs (Polish sing in both languages!) and everyone joins in. We came out jolly – one of my new Swedish friends even got a fist bump from the Polish policeman as he left!!!

Top Tips for Poznań

Here are a few top tips to help you with your time in Poznań…

  • Your VISA card will work everywhere, but carry a few Zloty in cash for the markets.
  • Download the Uber app – it works well and Ubers are cheap in Poznań.
  • Download the BOLT app if you want to ride the electric scooters.
  • Get to the City hall around 11.50am to get a good spot for photographing the Poznan Goats.
  • Places to eat: Pierożak Pierogarnia (Pierogi), Brovaria (Golonka – pork knuckle and a trio of beers), Różove Cafe (pink cake!)
  • Getting there and away: Train (Poznan Central Station), Flixbus (to other Polish cities including Lodz, Warsaw and Wroclaw) and Airport for international flights (Poznań–Ławica). Lot’s of people take the Berlin to Poznan train when inter-railing.
  • Take a refillable water bottle as tap water is drinkable and most cafes and hostels have water fountains.

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