Poznan was the third stop of our month-long trip through Poland and like Krakow and Wroclaw before it, the city proved to be yet another wonderful surprise – though, at this point, I’m not sure why we were even surprised! I seriously think Poland may be one of the most underrated countries for travel in Europe just hiding in plain sight. So once again, I’m happy to share our itinerary to what I think are some of the best things to do in Poznan on your visit.
THINGS TO DO IN POZNAN
Do a full loop around Old Market Square
I know I use a lot of superlatives, but I just have to say it, Poznan has one of the most beautiful town squares I have seen in all of Europe!
We somehow managed to book an AirBnB that was one block from Old Market Square, and I could not believe my eyes when we rounded the bend for the first time and I saw them standing there – the Merchant Houses, these little, narrow buildings that stand shoulder to shoulder, painted in bright colours and intricate patterns with pokey windows sticking out of the attic apartments.
Talk about looking postcard-perfect!
But that’s not all; right next to the Merchant Houses, you also have the Town Hall, which is yet another impressive building. The first time I saw it, I mistook it for a church. After all, it’s not every day you see a Town Hall complete with a steeple, towers, and painted figures from the Ancient World, but that’s Poznan for you – ready to impress at every turn.
The Town Hall also has a mechanical clock of two goats butting heads, which draws crowds when the clock strikes noon, but I only found out about this after I left.
Enjoy the views from the Royal Castle
For views of the Old Town, we made our way to the Royal Castle which is in the west end of the Old Town.
The castle’s original construction dates back to 1249 and by the 14th century, it was the largest non-religious building in all of Poland. However, for a building that dates back that far back, the castle looks surprisingly new and that’s because between 2010-2016 it underwent a complete renovation.
A series of fires, sackings, and attacks, not to mention more recent events like WW2, had left the castle in pretty bad shape, but it’s now open to visitors.
Tip: I would recommend climbing the tower in the Royal Castle in the afternoon. We went in the morning, but the town is backlit at this time of day, so if you want good shots, it’s best to save that for later in the day.
Visit the Jesuit College and catch a church concert
Just south of the Town Square, we also visited the Jesuit College, which first opened its doors in 1573. Today it houses the City Council, so it’s not really open to visitors, but you can wander into the courtyard, snap some photos, and enjoy the cafe on site. It’s a stunning building and it’s worth a quick peek even if it’s just from the outside.
Then, just next to the Jesuit College, we found Fara Poznańska, a church done in the Baroque Style with the same pink and white colours as the college, and then once you set foot inside it’s a pastel dream with elaborate biblical scenes that would make any churchgoer gaze up and drift into a daydream.
The best part is that the church puts on classical music concerts. We just happened to wander into the church right when they were setting up, so we stuck around for a bit. According to their website, organ concerts are on Saturdays at 12:15 but you can double check the schedule for updates here.
Enjoy a quiet moment at Frederic Chopin Park
Another cool little spot is the Frederic Chopin Park, which is located directly behind the Jesuit College.
Chopin was actually from Warsaw, but he made a brief visit to Poznan so he’s commemorated with his own little park and a bust in the middle.
It’s a fairly small park, but perfect for a little break after a long day of sightseeing, with lots of benches under the cover of trees and a small flower garden. The park can be accessed just off of Wroclawska, a popular street for food and nightlife.
Enjoy the summer vibes at KontenerART
KontenerART was a really interesting surprise not too far from Poznan’s Old Town. Located on the banks of the Warta River, this space was part urban beach, art space, children’s playground, herb and spice garden, food cart central and outdoor bar.
What surprised me most about it was that you had young twenty-somethings listening to music and enjoying summer drinks on pallets, but then you also had families with young kids sharing the same space; parents were enjoying lunch from the food carts in the shade, and meanwhile you had kids running around in the sand and making their own fun.
KontenerART seemed to draw people of all ages and no one was really bothered by the other, which was cool to see. I’m not sure how busy it is during the cooler months, but if you’re in Poznan during summer it’s worth a visit.
Wander over to Cathedral Island and Śródka
Just like Wroclaw, Poznan too has its own Cathedral Island, though with far fewer churches. The island sits right between two branches of the Warta River and is home to Poznan Cathedral, also known as the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul. That being said, if you only have time for one church, I’d choose Fara Poznańska in the Old Town since the interior is far more impressive.
If you make it all the way to Cathedral Island, it’s also worth crossing one more bridge to reach the neighbourhood of Śródka. I really liked that this neighbourhood had a bit of an alternative vibe, and it felt more like a local’s go-to weekend spot as opposed to a tourist spot.
Also, check out the photo below and see if you can spot the mural. At first glance, that totally fooled my eyes.
Śródka appeared to have plenty of choices when it came to food, and all the restaurants and bars were packed when we wondered over there on a weekend.
We really wanted to eat at Na Winklu which is famed for serving not only traditional steamed perogies but also the baked variety (they almost look like empanadas). Of course, there were no seats available, so lesson learned: make reservations or be left wanting baked pierogi.
Feast on Poznan’s Food Scene
Pierogi aside, here are a few other places we enjoyed eating at around Poznan:
Fat Bob Burger – Popular spot serving up juicy burgers, classic fries and homemade strawberry and kiwi lemonades.
Liczbańscy – Small little bakery around the block from the Royal Castle serving up delicious cakes, pastries and cappuccinos.
Jaglana – Healthy brunch spot that was both vegetarian and vegan-friendly. Sam had the chocolate buckwheat pancakes, I had shakshuka, and we both ordered fresh-squeezed juices. Their desserts also looked decadent!
Zindo Sushi – All you can eat conveyer-belt sushi (or in this case floating sushi boats) for a set fee. It’s not the most authentic sushi I’ve had, but they kept the salmon sashimi coming.
Where to stay in Poznan
We lucked out with this amazing AirBnB just one block from the town square. Alternatively, you can find entire homes and apartments in Poznan for $25-50 per night, and much lower if you’re just looking for a private room in someone’s home. If it’s your first time using AirBnB, you can use my $40 discount here.
There are also plenty of hotels, B&Bs, and hostels cloistered within the Old Town. You can get a better idea of prices here.
Have you visited the city?
What were some of your favourite things to do in Poznan?