Poznań is a city in Poland that’s packed with great things to see and do. The city is steeped in history, yet enjoys a youthful and laid back vibe with flourishes of modern architecture and public artwork. For tourists, the city offers a great deal and manages to do so without ripping anyone off, yet Poznań is still relatively unheard of in the travel world.
In this post, we’ll uncover 9 fantastic things to see and do, all easily done on a short city break. Whether you’re looking for your next destination or you’ve already chosen Poznań, this article is for you.
9 things to see & do in Poznań, Poland
Even though this article covers a lot, we’ll barely scratch the surface of what this brilliant city has to offer. These nine suggestions should get you started though.
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Get your bearings on Stary Rynek (Old Market Square)
Similarly to many cities across the world, the city’s main square is the best place to start your visit to Poznań. Established in the 13th century, many of the brightly coloured buildings that surround the square are faithful reconstructions of baroque and renaissance-era buildings that were destroyed during the Second World War. Despite their young age, they are still a wonderful sight.
There are numerous bars and restaurants that spill out into the square. Despite their prime location, prices are still very reasonable. At night, the bars become a tad livelier, but they mostly retain a casual atmosphere with many still serving a decent menu of top quality food.
Perhaps surprisingly, there are a number of museums inside the square, including the Museum of the Wielkopolska Uprising of 1918-1919, the Military Museum of Wielkopolska and the Museum of the History of Poznań. The later is housed inside the 14th century Town Hall and is well worth a visit.
As well as the museum, the Town Hall is also home to one of Poznań’s top tourist attractions. See the next item in our list for more details.
See the Fighting Goats of Poznań
Everyday, just before midday, a modest crowd gathers at the foot of one of the Town Hall’s turrets. As the bells begin to chime, the spectators crane their necks to be among the first to see two mechanical goats as they slide out just above the clock to face one another. In time with the first ‘bong’ that signals that it is exactly 12pm, the two goats rear up and butt heads. They do so another eleven times. They’ve been disagreeing in some shape or form since 1551.
This is one of those rather overhyped tourist attractions that promises way more than is delivered, but it’s still quite charming and worth waiting for should you already be nearby.
Tip: A pair of retired goats can be seen inside the Museum of the History of Poznań which is housed inside the Town Hall.
Visit Poznań Cathedral
An island in the Warta River (named ‘Ostrów Tumski’) is home to Poznań Cathedral. Despite appearances, it is the oldest Cathedral in Poland, dating back to the 10th century. Its youthful appearance is as a result of major reconstruction work that was carried out after the Second World War.
Inside, the cathedral is quite modest with a high vaulted ceiling, beautiful stained glass and small chapels, one of which is almost entirely gold from floor the ceiling and you can illuminate automatically with a coin.
For us, the exterior which slightly more interesting than the interior, so do make sure you walk around the back of the building for a splendid view.
Discover the history of ‘Ostrów Tumski’ at Brama Poznania
The history of the Cathedral, the island upon which it is based and Poznań is general is told in modern, interactive and highly-visual exhibitions at Brama Poznania, which is located just across the bridge from the Cathedral. We’d encourage you to pick-up an audio guide which will describe in detail the dioramas, artwork and immersive displays.
Tip: There’s a small viewing platform in the museum that provides a good view of the Cathedral itself.
Take the Maltanka Miniature Railway
Just outside the city centre, a short walk away from the Cathedral is Lake Malta (Jezioro Maltańskie), around which you’ll find many of Poznań’s leisure and recreational activities. Connecting many of these attractions is the Maltanka Miniature Railway, a super-convenient narrow-gauge railway that efficiently shuttles passengers along the northern shore of the lake.
The nearest station to the city centre is near the northwestern tip of Park Tysiąclecia. From here, the train will take you via an awesome aquatic complex called Termy Maltańskie (see below) and onwards to the terminus station near to Poznań Zoo.
Swim, splash and relax at Termy Maltańskie
This sprawling aquatic complex is one of the best we’ve ever been to. There are four zones to enjoy;
- The ‘Aquapark’ contains a wave pool, multiple slides, jacuzzis, inflatables, a slow river and outside pools. There’s loads of things to try out, easily enough to keep you occupied all day.
- The ‘Sports Pools’ zone contains an Olympic-sized pool and diving boards, suited for those who take their swimming seriously.
- ‘Spa 1306’ is where you can get enjoy a wide range of massages and a plethora of beauty & relaxation treatments.
- As the name suggests, the ‘World of Saunas’ contains a number of thematic saunas, steam rooms and baths. It is customary to enjoy this zone completely naked, but you may cover up with a cotton sheet if you’re a bit shy.
Tickets: We split our time in the complex, first in the ‘Aquapark’ and then in the ‘World of Saunas’. Tickets for the ‘World of Saunas’ are sold in 1, 2 and 3 hour sessions with entry to the ‘Aquapark’ and ‘Sports Pools’ included. If you’re planning on visiting both, buy a ‘World of Saunas’ ticket.
Enjoy the view from the tower at the Royal Castle
A castle has been on this spot since 1249. Regretfully, the structure has been victim to demolition by various means, most recently the Second World War. Since then, valiant efforts to restore the castle to its former glory have been in progress. While work continues, an impressive museum tells the story of the castle through displays and historic artefacts. The highlight for most will be the viewing platform at the top of the tower which provides a splendid view of pretty much all of Poznań.
Visit Poznań Fara, one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks
Every city has its signature landmark and this Roman Catholic basilica might be Poznań’s. That’s mostly thanks to its imposing Baroque facade combined with its central Old Town location. Simply walking towards the basilica (‘Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Mary Magdalene and St. Stanislaus’ to call it by its full title) along Świętosławska is a treat in itself. The narrow cobbled street is very pretty, but it is utterly dominated by the basilica’s white and terracotta might.
The gorgeousness continues inside with enormous stone pillars, a huge decorative organ and a ceiling covered in frescoes as the highlights.
Tuck in to Poznań’s excellent food scene
We were surprised as to how impressed we were with the diversity and high quality of Poznań’s bistros and restaurants. From Instagram-worthy breakfasts and exquisite chocolate tasting menus to Polish staples like Pierogi but with a contemporary twist, our palates and stomachs were very happy throughout our visit.
The food scene in Poznań was so good that we’ve written a whole other article about the tasty treats we encountered. Make sure you check it out.
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Plan & Book your visit to Poznań
In this section, we’ll go through how you can plan and book your visit to Poznań.
Flights to Poznań
Skyscanner* is a great place to start your search for the best prices on flights to Poznań. They compare fares from multiple airlines and travel agents all at once.Find cheap flights to Poznań*
Hotels in Poznań
To read reviews and to compare prices on the best hotels in Poznań, we recommend Tripadvisor*.
Home rentals in Poznań
We always encourage our readers to live like a local during their travels. Airbnb* makes doing this super easy, providing access to thousands of fabulous homes and wealth of local knowledge.Find places to stay in Poznań*
Public Transport to Poznań
Activities, Tours & Excursions in Poznań
We really hope you found this guide to Poznań, Poland useful. Should you have any questions, please drop them in the box below and we’ll endeavour to help you out.
Further reading: Poznań, Poland: our favourite cafes, bars and restaurants