We visited Poland earlier in this year when we explored Warsaw, Gdansk, Poznan, and Krakow (you remember when we were denied car hire because of our Australian driver’s licences, right?) and vowed to return because we loved it so much.
When living in London and booking flights to European cities, the earlier you book the better. So we chose a random weekend two months in advance and managed to secure some relatively cheap flights (£25 each way) with Ryanair.
When most people think of visiting Poland, they probably think of Warsaw and Krakow but not many would mention Poznan. I hope that after reading this post, you’ll love Poznan just as much as we did; here’s 5 incredible things to do in Poznan.
1. The Old Town
There’s no doubt that a visit to the Stary Rynek will leave you speechless, it looks like the Old Town was plucked out of a fairy tale and dropped neatly in the middle of the city.
Standing pride of place in the town centre is the majestic Town Hall, built in the 16th century and stands 90 metres (300 ft) tall. The top of the Town Hall is home to Poznan’s most famous residents, 2 mechanical billy goats who make a daily appearance at midday to butt heads, much to the delight of the crowds gathered below.
One of the most photogenic places in all of Stary Rynek are the fountains which are located in all four corners of the Old Town square. The fountains feature the Roman Goddess Proserpina and Gods Apollo, Neptune, and Mars.
Not sure where to go next in the Old Town? To be honest, you don’t really need a destination in mind because you’re going to spend more time than you think simply walking along the cobbled streets gazing skyward at the multicoloured buildings, bold colours, and ornate fountains. A definite must.
Visiting on a Monday? Like most museums across Europe, most are closed on Monday’s and Poznan’s Old Town is no exception. If you’re planning on exploring the Town Hall, Wielkopolskie Museum Niepodleglosci, or Museum of the Wielkopolskie Uprising of 1918-1919 then plan your visit on any day other than a Monday.
2. Cathedral Island
The oldest part of Poznan is Cathedral Island (Ostrow Tumski), an island sitting between two branches of the Warta river.
Cathedral Island was the location of some of the most important historical buildings in all of Poland, including the beautiful Poznan Cathedral (Basilica of St Peter and Paul).
During our first visit to Poznan, Cathedral Island was one place that we just couldn’t fit into an ever-growing itinerary, so we made sure that we visited on our first full day back in town. To make the most of our time in Poznan, we took a tram to the Katedra stop and then it was a short 5 min walk before we arrived out the front of Poznan Cathedral.
Poznan Cathedral (The Basilica of St Peter and St Paul)
The Basilica of St Peter and St Paul has the honour of being the oldest cathedral in Poland, built in the 10th century.
If you time it right, you can have the whole forecourt to yourself. If this is the case, spend some time taking photos out the front before the hoards of tour buses arrive. We ventured through the main entrance to explore the inside, and it was beautiful. Technically there’s no entry fee to walk through the cathedral and admire the sculptures, stained glass, and the Dome of the Golden Chapel. Tickets are required for the crypt.
Luck was on our side when we visited because choir practice was in full swing so we were treated to ethereal singing whilst admiring the inside of Poznan’s most famous cathedral.
The Church of the Virgin Mary
Once we left Poznan Cathedral, we noticed there was another church to the right with a sign out the front. And yes, an information board outside a historical monument was always going to be peak my interest.
The building was the Church of the Virgin Mary and the information board explained that in the very spot where we were standing was the location of the 10th century Royal Palace. The palace was originally attached to the church, most likely used by the Christian wife, Dobrowa, of Poland’s ruler, Mieszko I.
Interesting to note that Mieszko I himself was baptised in 966 which means that Poland just celebrated 1050 years of Christianity.
Located just behind Poznan Cathedral and across the Bishop Jordan’s Bridge was the brand new city history museum, Porta Poznania.
The museum was a state-of-the-art interactive museum with multimedia guides, touchscreen panels, short videos, and even a NFC-enabled guide which allowed us to play recorded audio at our own leisure.
From the moment we walked into the museum we knew we were standing in the most contemporary museum in Poznan because everything looked brand new. We obtained discounted entry tickets from our Poznan City Cards (courtesy of Poznan Travel), collected our audio guides, and began exploring.
We must have spent a good 2.5 hours exploring the museum, which is about average for us and our love of history (ok, well my unbridled love of history) so by the time we finished learning all about the 1000 years + of Polish history, it was time for lunch.
Now where’s good to eat in Poznan?
If you’re like us then you’re not going to travel to Poland without sampling some pierogi and we wanted to find the best pierogi in town.
We were given a recommendation that during our stay we just HAD to visit Na Winklu and sample their pierogi. They offer an assortment so no need to wrestle with choice which sounded pretty good to us. It turned out that Na Winklu was just around the corner from Cathedral Island so it was almost like it was meant to be.
We found the restaurant quite easily and we peered through the window only to discover that it was pretty empty with only 2 other people inside. Roma and I looked at each other knowing that an empty restaurant wasn’t a good sign but we persevered since it was a recommendation and asked for a table for two.
It was about 20 minutes into our lunch experience when the restaurant became so crowded that customers were actually turned away and asked to come back later. Boy, wasn’t choosing to have lunch at 12:45pm the right time?!
In addition to the usual steamed pierogi, on the menu we saw BAKED pierogi, who knew that was even an option. So yes, we ordered a serving of those. As recommended, we opted for the baked pierogi selection which served an assortment including pork, Russian, Italian, spinich & cheese, and Capricosca.
The verdict? Absolutely delicious!
4. Morasko Meteorite Reserve
Did you know that not far from the city centre of Poznan lay the remains of a 10,000 year old meteor strike? Did you also know that these meteor craters are one of only two confirmed European locations? Are you impressed yet?
I couldn’t believe it when Roma told me about the Morasko Meteorite Reserve and that it was right next to Poznan, I was sold right then and there. It was too good an opportunity to pass up. The chance to not only explore a meteorite reserve, which we’d never done before, but to stand in the same place where meteorites collided with our planet was simply awe-inspiring.
We took the tram to Sobieskiego station and then connected with bus 902 to Rezerwat Morasko bus stop. We followed our bus journey on the Jakdojade app while hoping the rain would settle by the time we reached our stop. 25 mins on the bus and it actually felt like we were out in the middle of the jungle. Hard to believe that it was only a single bus ride from the city centre.
The beginning of the Morasko meteorite walking path was well signposted and gave us an idea of where we would be heading. We looked at each other and then at our muddy boots, wished each other luck, and commenced our walk through history…
There are seven craters throughout the entire reserve however only three of larger ones are visible along the path, easy to find because of the information boards perched at the edge of the craters.
Now here’s thing, we were looking at basically big holes in the ground half covered with water, leaves, moss and branches. Not exactly the most interesting of sights but the remarkable thing to keep in mind is that these craters were formed 10,000 years ago from space rocks slamming into the side of our planet! And, we can still see the impacts today!
During our visit, something amazing happened. I found a little piece of a meteorite! Yes, that’s right, consider me a Space Ranger 😆 However, Roma tells me that it was just a rock but does this look like the face of a man who just found a rock…
5. Citadel Park
Situated in the north of Poznan is Park Cytadela, a large parkland popular with locals and tourists alike. I consider Citadel Park to be one of the top five things to do in Poznan because it’s more than just a large park, it’s the location of art and history.
Nierozpoznani (The Unrecognised Ones) Sculpture
As we strolled through the park, we came across the large Nierozpoznani sculpture in the distance and couldn’t quite figure out what it was. As we approached closer we realised that the cast-iron sculpture wasn’t an animal but rather 112 human-shaped figures, without heads and backs.
There was enough space for us to be able to walk through the crowd of human-like shells, it was really eerie and Roma soon realised that one side of the sculpture was more crowded than the other, it was easy to get lost in the crowd of bodies. The best word to describe the sculpture would be haunting.
The Nierozpoznani was sculpted by Magdalena Abakanowicz and unveiled to the public in 2002.
Museum of Armaments (Muzeum Uzbrojenia)
We passed by the Museum of Armaments whilst exploring the park and whilst we didn’t go in (this time) we did stop by to take photos of the outside. Why, you ask?
How awesome does this museum look? I know that when we return to Poznan for another trip, that we will definitely be returning to the Museum of Armaments.
As someone who has an interest in history, especially World War II history, I was very excited to visit Park Citadel to see the remains of Fort Winiary.
Fort Winiary was part of the Poznan city defences built during the 19th century by the Prussians. It was appropriated by the Nazi regime during the Polish occupation and was the scene of the final stand by the German army against the advancing Soviet Union’s Red Army during the 1945 Battle of Poznan.
The remains of Fort Winiary are still visible today, all it took was a walk through Park Citadel to find them.
It wasn’t long before the remains of Fort Winiary slowly revealed themselves to us. From the brickwork tunnels, to the imposing outer concrete walls, to the bullet-ridden perimeter fences, it was incredible!
If you were to ask most people which cities in Poland they’d like to visit most, I’m sure that Warsaw and Krakow would be at the top of the list. However, Poznan is slowly becoming more popular and it’s easy to see why – it’s full of beautiful buildings, incredible history, and delicious food.
What are you waiting for? Book your Poznan flights and hotels now!
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