This Polish city, built on the banks of the river Warta has been gaining some attention from tourists over the last couple of years. Despite this, Poznan is still considered to be a hidden gem. Although there are a ton of fun things to do in Poznan it manages to fly under the radar.
Poznan is the fifth largest city of Poland, with a population of around 600,000. It has a rich cultural on political history among the poles. It is considered as the very first Capital of Poland.
This city is also among the most developed cities in Poland. There is a rich cultural diversity even today, as a lot of international companies have offices in Poznan.
Top 15 Things to Do in Poznan
Visit the Market Square
The Market Square just has to be on the top of our list. It is in the centre of the old town. The plaza dates back all the way to 1253. The colourful medieval houses lining the plaza are an impressive sight. With the town hall in the middle, you will feel like stepping into a real medieval town.
Considering all this, it might serve as a surprise, that more than 50% of the old town was destroyed during World War II. Although the old town was quickly rebuilt and restored, with historical accuracy, not everything here is as old as it looks. Despite it is one of the most beautiful parts of the city. If you are staying in a hotel close-by, we wholeheartedly recommend taking the stroll each night.
Still at the Old Market Square, when the clock strikes noon, two mechanical billy goats will emerge from the Town Hall. They will butt their head twelve times, to commemorate noon. Although it only happens once a day, you can see a historical mechanism displayed within the Town Hall. Better yet, the town hall is free to visit on Sundays.
Parish Church of St. Stanislaus
Within just an arm’s length of the Market Square is the impressive baroque Parish Church of St. Stanislaus. It was completed in 1701, but as with many buildings in Poland, it has suffered damages during the Second World War. Ever since restoration work has been continuous and the results are quite jaw-dropping.
From the outside, you will see why this church is considered to be one of the best examples of baroque religious buildings in Poland. If you can you must also take a look inside. It’s filled with interesting paintings, murals and even an ancient organ with as many as 2600 pipes!
Do note though that the Church operates religious service daily. Please try not to disturb whenever you are visiting. For more info, you can check the official site here.
Croissant Museum of Poznan
Did you know that Croissant is a major thing in this region of Poland? They even have their own version called St. Martin Croissant. No wonder that the current and historical centre of the region has a whole Museum dedicated to Croissants.
Even if you are not that into Croissants (is it possible?), you might still find the museum worthy of a visit due to its location alone. It is housed in one of the buildings right on Market Square. Although the entrance is from a side street and not the main square, this is a perfect opportunity to check out one of these interesting medieval buildings from the inside.
The museum offers guided tours only. If you are considering the visit, it is best to book in advance. The regular tour lasts around 45 minutes, and include croissant tasting. For more info, and booking, check out the official site here.
The Royal Castle of Poznan
Another great historical site in Poznan that was almost completely destroyed during the War. Since it has been restored to former glory. Originally completed in 1249, it has seen many expansions trough the ages. By the year 1337, it was considered the largest castle in Poland.
The castle is also home of the Museum of Applied Arts. The castle itself is free to visit, you only need tickets for the museum. Included in the museum however is the castle tower, from where you can get the best view of the Old Market Square and Town Hall. For this reason alone you should consider this on your things to do in Poznan list.
Poznan Citadel Park
The Citadel Park just sits outside of the Poznan Old Town. This huge park offers more than just an escape into nature from the city.
It houses the Poznan War Cemetery commemorating the war efforts of all who have lost their lives fighting in the city. There is also a war museum with tanks on display, perfect for anyone, whose into military history.
In the middle of the park, you will find the Bell of Peace and Friendship Among Nations. From here, walking towards the war cemetery, you will be greeted with the most prominent sight at the park. The Monument to the Heroes of the Poznan Citadel was raised by the Soviet Union to commemorate the lost lives of Russian soldiers during the siege of Poznan in 1945.
Cathedral Island (Ostrów Tumski)
Ostrów Tumski is the name of the island on the Warta river. You will be able to access it very easily as it is just outside the Old Town.
Without a doubt, this is considered as the birthplace of Poland. The first King of Poland has taken up residence on this Island. He also built the Cathedral onto the island, marking an important step to bring Catholicism into the region.
Today you can visit this beautiful island, see the history and walk on the small streets. Usually, it is much less crowded than the Old Town of Poznan.
Imperial Castle of Poznan
The Imperial Castle is one of the newer built sights on our things to do in Poznan list. It was completed in 1910 under German rule of the region. It has been hosting government offices ever since.
The Imperial Castle is also a cultural centre. With a venue to host theatre performance and even a cinema, it has been an essential part of the Poznan cultural scene. There is also a museum dedicated to the Polish Uprising of 1956. Along with these several coffeehouses and pubs are in and around the Castle.
Next up in our things to do in Poznan list is a stroll around Malta Lake. It will take you around 30 minutes to walk to the lake from the Old Town Market Square. Malta Lake itself is not a natural lake, but an artificial one. Regardless due to the surrounding parks and woodland, it has been a loved recreational place for the residents of Poznan.
Here you will be able to slow down and stroll around the lake. You can find many bars and smaller cafés along the way, especially during the summer months. In the winter some of the places are closed and there are fewer opportunities to sit and relax with a warm cup of coffee.
Malta Ski is also located next to the lake. In the winter it is a ski venue, while in the summer it transforms into an Adrenaline Park.
On the opposite side, you will find children’s favourite: The ‘Maltanka’ train. It is an open carriage train ride from the lake to the New Zoo of Poznan.
Automotive Museum of Poznan
A brand new museum, that is planning to open as soon as the COVID situation allows. It offers great entertainment for people who love cars. Along with international vintage cars, you will be able to get familiar with Polish carmaking.
Poland was one of the greatest producer of passenger cars for the Soviet bloc. As such, they produced many cars, that the central and eastern European visitors remember fondly. For those travelling from Western Europe, this museum will allow you to take a glimpse into the carmaking industry of the Soviet Union.
You will be able to see the Polski Fiat 126p. This little car is, without a doubt, the most popular car Poland has ever produced. Under license from Italian carmaker Fiat, the 126p is based on the famous Fiat 500 of the time. Even today, in eastern European countries, you can still sometimes see a Polski Fiat 126p driving down the road, which shows just how popular this car once was.
Palm House in Poznan
Located in Woodrow Wilson park, the Palm House of Poznan was originally built in 1910. In the beginning, it was a small establishment showing off different species of cacti and palm trees.
As with many other buildings, the Palm House has suffered greatly during the Second World War and has lost almost all of its exhibits. However, after the war, the Palm House was restocked and could reopen as soon as 1946.
Ever since then, the Palm House has been growing its collection of plants. Today there are more than 1100 species on display. Along with the plants, there are also around 170 different species of fish to see. With these numbers, the Palm House in Poznan is one of the biggest Palm House in Europe. We consider this a must-see on our things to do in Poznan list.
The Stary Browar
Within walking distance of the city centre lays The Stary Browar. It is a shopping and cultural centre with a twist.
The Stary Browar has started its career as a brewery. The business was seemingly booming for the enterprise and it kept expanding the building. Unfortunately during the War, it has suffered a great deal of damage. The brewery was forced to abandon the building.
Now it has been rebuilt and reborn. It now houses a big shopping centre, while maintaining its unique looks from the outside. Even if you are not into shopping it is worth a visit to admire the architecture.
The Zoos of Poznan
Poznan has two Zoos, The Old Zoo and The New Zoo. They have been established exactly 100 years apart from each other. The Old Zoo founded in 1874 is considered as one of the oldest zoos in Poland.
Nowadays the Old Zoo has been mostly reshaped as a Public Park. There are still some animals on display here, but most of them has been put into the New Zoo.
The New Zoo is next to Lake Malta, just at the destination of the Maltanka train. If you are visiting with children consider using the train to get there, they will absolutely love it. The zoo has opened it’s doors to the public in 1974, housing many exotic and rare animals.
Take a stroll on the banks of the Warta River
This activity is highly recommended during the summer months. The banks of the river are still a nice sight during the winter, and you can take a relaxing walk. However, in the summer there are more things to do here.
Once the weather starts to warm up, around May, the banks of the river will start to get dotted with containers. It is called KontenerART, and these containers are all housing smaller cafés, street food places and breweries. It is an especially great way to discover local craft foods and get a taste of the street food Poznan can offer.
Museum of Musical instruments
A small museum in the Old Town. What great about this place is the fact that we can even recommend it to people who generally don’t like museums.
Here you will be able to see all kind of weird and old musical instruments. Most of them come with an interesting story to read. Although the museum is small in size, the collection here is one of the biggest collection of instruments in Europe. It is definitely a must-see for music lovers.
Finally on our list of things to do in Poznan is Park Szachty. This park is at the outskirts of the town. It is quite a big park with a lake to walk around. A perfect place for anyone who wants to get away from the city and spend some time in nature without travelling too much.
You can see wild birds such as ducks and swan roaming around the park. It is another beloved recreational area for locals. One of the best attractions however is an observation deck. Once you are up on the observation deck, you will be able to get a great view of Poznan. It’s an amazing place to take some pictures.
As you can see, Poznan is a pretty amazing place. It surely is a hidden gem among the popular tourist destinations. There are enough things to do in Poznan for a 3-day itinerary. Should you wish to rent a car and explore the surrounding area, you will find it easy to plan a 6-7 days holiday while staying in Poznan.
Make sure you check out our guide on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in France.