10 Place to Visit and Things to Do in Poznan

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Poznan is an interesting mixture of old and new and just perfect for a weekend getaway. In spite of being a relatively small city, Poznan is trendy and it has the cool factor. But what we love best about it is that it really knows how to draw inspiration from the past, in order to build a hip present.
Europe’s map has been scrutinised by travellers and few stones remain unturned. Nevertheless, there still are places that stay mostly out of the radar of the masses and tour groups. Is Poznan one of Europe’s still hidden gems? 
It saddens us that Eastern Europe is largely overlooked by first time visitors to Europe. Though things seem to be taking a positive turn, and more travellers are heading East these days, truth is, the numbers are still very low in comparison with all the potential that awaits.
A couple of years ago we visited Warsaw, Wroclaw, Krakow and Gdansk as part of an Interrail trip through Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. Unfortunately we missed Poznan due to train connections and we were obviously happy when the chance to visit Poznan finally presented to us.

PLACES TO VISIT AND THINGS TO DO IN POZNAN

The Cathedral Island

The Cathedral - Best places to visit in Poznan

Poznan is a city steeped in history. And a visit to the Cathedral Island basically took us on a trip into the past. 
Back in the 10th century, the fortified settlement between the branches of the River Warta became the first capital of Poland. Therefore, Poznan is often regarded as the Kilometre Zero of the Polish nation. 
The day we visited, the Cathedral Island was shrouded in peace. The Cathedral itself is the oldest in Poland, and over the centuries, it repeatedly changed architectural styles as it was razed, rebuilt and remodelled. 
However, the part that impressed us most was the Golden Chapel, a mausoleum designed for the first Polish monarchs. And trust me, it’s a must see!
For those with an interest in a more detailed history of the place, the nearby multimedia centre of Porta Posnania tells the story of the island in an interactive manner, and they also rent audio guides that can be taken around the island.

The Old Market Square

The Old Market Square - Best places to visit in Poznan

Poznan is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Poland for good reason. And this is due in part to the amazing Old Market Square and its incredibly colourful rows of houses.
The Old Square Market dates back to the 13th century when most buildings were made out of wood. But soon enough, brick constructions started to appear, and though the square suffered various transformations, after the WWII it was restored to its former glory. 
Nowadays, the Old Market Square is the most lively part of the city and a meeting point for the large student population. There are cute terraces all around it, with the old Town Hall majestically rising above the square. While not an administrative building anymore, it houses a museum and a beautiful collection of paintings. 
But no visit to Poznan is complete without taking part in the cute and quirky billy goat butting show. It takes place daily at 12 o’clock up in the Town Hall tower, and both kids and adults alike gather here to see it. The billy goats are the symbol of Poznan and the original mechanical goats are to be found inside the above mentioned museum.

The Croissant Museum

The Croissant Museum - Best places to visit in Poznan

Another interesting, yet this time extremely delicious attraction in Poznan is the Croissant Museum. 

It is situated in the Old Market Square, right in front of the old Town Hall, and apart from baking lessons and St Martin Croissant tastings, they have the best seats in town for the billy goat butting show. 
Now, the St Martin Croissant is something that you will only find in the Poznan region and trust me, you must try it! 
We believe the best cultural immersion is through food, and we are convinced this is the best croissant we’ve ever tasted, so do yourself a favour and either look for it in bakeries, or take the tour at the Croissant Museum to find out the legends that surround this local delicacy and learn how it’s made. Either way, don’t leave Poznan without having tried it. 
We found the tour of the Croissant Museum tons of fun and we even won a croissant. You can read more about it here.

Lesser Basilica of St. Stanislaus

Lesser Basilica of St. Stanislaus - Best places to visit in Poznan

Just around the corner, as you turn to exit the square, you will find the Lesser Basilica of St. Stanislaus.

You might think it is already beautiful on the outside, all dressed up in red and white, but wait until you see its spellbinding interior!

The basilica dates back to the 17th century, and is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Poland.

They also hold organ concerts inside the church, and we were actually lucky to stumble upon one. It was quite impressive, so if the opportunity comes your way, don’t miss it!

Brovaria Restaurant

Brovaria Restaurant - Best places to visit in Poznan
Since you are in the Old Market Square, maybe you feel like having a beer or grab a bite or both. 
There are many fine restaurant and pubs all around the square, and as I mentioned earlier, they have beautiful terrace, decorated with flowers and cute little details. 
But if you want something special, we recommend you to go to Brovaria. 
They have a mini-brewery right on the site and you can have one of the freshest glasses of liquid gold served with your meal. Or you can enjoy one of they beer cocktails. And their honey beer (my favourite!)
Restaurant breweries cultivate the tradition of medieval beer-producing inns, but you won’t find many such restaurants nowadays, so don’t miss the opportunity. 
The food served at Brovaria is also exquisite. We tried the beef carpaccio (in the picture) which by the way had an incredible presentation, and the more traditional beetroot soup with dumplings. The meat dishes came decorated with edible flowers and the ice cream cups that we had for dessert were huge, huge, huge and unbelievably delicious. 

Lech Brewery

Lech Brewery - Best places to visit in Poznan
I bet I put you in mood for beer now, so while we are at it, why not also visit the Lech Brewery?
The brewery is located on the outskirts of the city, but it really is a place of pilgrimage for any beer aficionado. 
It takes back to the 1980s, but it is one of the most modern breweries in Europe. It has an impressive production plant, and you will hardly spot any people around. 
Think 1.3 million bottles, 1 million cans, and 2,000 beer kegs daily!
Lech is the most popular beer brand in the area and during the visit of the brewery you will learn about the production process, fermentation and mashing as well as watch a video in the visitor centre. The tour ends with a well-deserved beer tasting. Yay!

Stary Browar Shopping Centre

Stary Browar Shopping Center - Best places to visit in Poznan

Moving from one brewery to another…

Stary Browar used to be the old brewery of Poznan, dating back to the first half of the 19th century.
It is now an award winning shopping mall – it was actually voted among the ‘New 7 Wonders of Poland’ – and apart from a striking architecture, its unusual mission is highlighted by the ’50 50′ that follows its name, standing for 50% business, 50% art. 
The shopping centre also hosts the Blow Up Hall 50 50 hotel where we stayed, a neo-industrial marvel where the key room was replaced with an iPhone5s and the chef is a food wizard who will blow your mind with his creations. We wrote more about Stary Browar and the hotel here.

Weranda Lunch & Wine

Weranda Restaurant - Best places to visit in Poznan
Our favourite restaurant in Poznan is also to be found inside Stary Browar Shopping Mall. 
Weranda Lunch & Wine is the cutest restaurant we’ve seen in a long time. Its decor is absolutely awesome (and changing every season!) while the dishes are nothing short of amazing. 
We actually had the most exciting glass of water here (see picture towards the end of this article), their salads are out of this world, their lemonades incredibly creative (especially the raspberry one!) and their apple pie is to die for. We actually had lunch here two days in a row and loved every single dish!!

The Imperial Castle

The Imprerial Castle - Best places to visit in Poznan

This is the youngest castles in Europe. It was built in 1910 for the German Emperor William II in Neo-Romanesque style.

Completion took a short 5 years, but after the incorporation of Greater Poland into Nazi Germany in 1939, the authorities decided to transform the castle into Hitler’s residence.

Most of the rooms were changed into the style of the Third Reich. The chapel was changed into the private cabinet of the Führer, with a characteristic balcony and an electric-heated floor.

Now the castle is used as a cultural centre with art galleries, a puppet theatre, music clubs and restaurants.

The square in front of it is used for the St Martin’s Day parade every November 11, while the park behind the building is a nice place to stroll through, with a gorgeous lion fountain on one side.

Totally our of sink, the facade features sculpted figures of Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood. 

Malta Lake

Malta Lake - Best places to visit in Poznan

Poznan has a few green lungs, but in terms of entertainment, nothing compares to Malta Lake & Park. 
The large artificial lake is surrounded by woodlands and parks, and the area boasts a zoo, an ice ring, a ski slope, a regatta course, a water park and a cute little train that runs from one side of the park to the other (almost). 
It really is a great place to unwind, relax, grab a picnic and soak up the sun, so if you feel like getting away from the crowds, Lake Malta is, simply put, the best place to do so.

Have you been to Poznan? What are your favourite places to visit in Poznan?

14 Responses

  1. Nadia
    |

    Out of all the things to do in Poznan that you recommend, the delicious food is calling my attention the most. Drooling!!

  2. Dennis
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    What a beauty! I must visit Poznan!

  3. Anna
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    Great list of places to visit in Poznan! I want to go visit!

  4. europalust
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    Thank you for this blog post, it really helped when planning our own trip! Didn't make it to the Croissant Museum, unfortunately, but I wandered long and hard looking for the red cathedral bridge!
    https://europalust.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/a-chilly-festive-weekend-in-poznan-poland/

    • Laura
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      :)))))))) The Cathedral Island and Lake Malta are the only two places that are a bit further away from the centre. But they are well worth the trip.

  5. Anonymous
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    ZOO and Bamberka Restaurant!

    • Laura
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      Now you made me curious about the Bamberka Restaurant. I surely loved the statue – the prettiest in Poznan!

  6. Mary @ Green Global Travel
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    Wow, great photos and guide with a little bit of everything of Poznan! Definitely worth a visit!

    • Laura
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      Poznan is very pretty and there are enough things to see and do to keep anyone busy for a few days. Worth a visit indeed!

  7. Italian Notes
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    I haven't ben in Poland since the early 90s, though I'm sure everything has change a lot since then. You sure make Poznan sound very enticing with a croissant museum and that beautiful basilica.

    • Laura
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      Then maybe it's time to go back 😉 The croissant museum is one of the most quirky places in Poznan. So cool!

  8. Janice Mucalov
    |

    Poznan looks like it has as interesting a history and cultural setting (and good beer) as other better-known Western European cities… Thanks for filling us in a little on Poznan :-).

    • Laura
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      Poznan is one of the best places to visit in Poland. We were surprised by the foodie scene.

  9. Muza-chan
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    Beautiful…