The fabulous laid-back town at the Warta river where Poland originated as a state, Poznan is full of amazing attractions you will love.
It is often unfairly missed by tourists visiting Poland, but I live here for several years and can say "It is definitely worth spending your time on".
Here, I will tell you, why you should visit it, and what are the 20 most interesting things to do in Poznan!
Disclaimer: This is an independent travel blog, where I publish stories of my trips and help you to plan yours. I might get a small commission if you book your trip using some of the links in this article at no cost for you. All opinions and recommendations are unbiased and only reflect my opinion (or opinion of a guest writer).
Poznan has a population of about 600 thousand people being the 5th most populated city in Poland.
Poznan is a very important city in the history of Poland. It is regarded as the first capital of the country, while some people argue that the nearby Gniezno was the first capital of Poland. The city is one of the richest and most developed in the country with lots of foreign (mostly German) enterprises having its factories and offices here.
Its International Poznan Fair exhibition center is the largest of its kind not only in Poland but in the whole Central and Eastern Europe. One of the interesting things to do in Poznan is to visit the center.
Poznan is also a student town with about 130 thousand students, and the third largest university in Poland, the University of Adam Mickiewicz. To fill the needs of students, many shops and restaurants have created student discounts. There is also a big number of diverse festivals held on the territory of Poznan in Spring and May.
The locals have their own small dialect. Although they speak proper Polish, there is a number of words that are only used here, and the more nationalistic citizens like to mention those words to emphasize the difference of their culture and language from the rest of Poland.
Also, check my Warsaw travel guide
How to Get to Poznan
It is relatively easy and cheap to get to Poznan by plane. If you travel from not a far place, you can also use a car, bus or train to get there.
You can find flights to Poznan at the best price here.
Poznan airport is located in the city, about 30 minutes by bus or 15 minutes by car to the city center. You can find check bus schedule here.
If you travel from a neighboring city, you can also check the intercity bus schedule here.
Most of the hotels in Poznan are located in the city center, so it will be easy for you to visit all city attractions. You can find the best hotel prices on Booking.com (if you're not registered on the website yet, you can use this link to get 15 euro return from your booking).
If you prefer renting an apartment, you can get 23 euro return if you register on Airbnb using this link
It is always more interesting to visit a city and its attractions if you not only see but listen to stories and legends about them. So, I recommend you choose a suitable city tour here:
Old market square and Billygoats
One of the main things to do in Poznan among tourists is to go to the old market square to enjoy the local food and beer on the summer terrace of one of the numerous bars and see some other attractions of Poznan.
At noon, you will see many tourists and locals looking at some point on the city hall. They all are waiting for the billy goats. These goats appear at noon from small gates above the clock and butt their horned heads 12 times.
You can also see the mechanism that makes the metal goats do that inside the city hall, which is free to visit on Sundays.
Try St. Martin Croissants
The famous Poznan croissants are the most traditional pastry in the region. Only a set number of bakeries having the license are allowed to bake it. The St. Martin Croissants used to be made only on 11 of November, at the St. Martin street day, when the whole street in the center of Poznan becomes a pedestrian area with lots of traditional food and wares.
Nowadays, you can buy the famous pastry whenever you visit Poznan or even visit the Croissant Museum in Poznan, where you will find out the history of St. Martin Croissants and how it is made.
Cheer the Local Team at Inea Stadium
Another great thing to do in Poznan is to visit the Lech stadium and attend one of the games of the local football team Lech Poznan. The stadium is the third largest in Poland with 42000 seats, which is just 1000 less than the largest one, which is located in Wroclaw, the second largest is in Gdansk. The European Football Championship 2012 was organized together in Poland and Ukraine, and the Poznan stadium was one of the stadiums, where the matches took place.
The Lech Poznan team is one of the best football teams in Poland, which won the Estraklasa football championship in season 2014-2015. You can find out more about the games in Inea Stadium at its official website.
Visit Huge and Futuristic Shopping Centers
Just about 10 years ago, there were just a couple of shopping centers in Poland, but by the UEFA Euro 2012, several new huge shopping centers were built. The local citizens were wondering, why so many? But, now the shopping centers are some of the most popular places to spend free time in Poznan (especially when the weather is bad). Some of them are located just 1 km away from each other.
- Avenida Shopping Center
Avenida Shopping center is a long building near the city center consisting of 3 floors connected with the main bus and train stations.
It has an area of over 60 thousand square meters. Its previous name was Poznan City Center.
- Malta Shopping Center
Another huge shopping center is called Malta (not because of the country, but because the nearby lake is called Malta).
It has an area of 162000 square meters. The top floor includes a large food court with a beautiful view of the Malta lake and a cinema.
- Posnania Shopping Center
Posnania shopping center was finished in 2016 and is located very close to the Malta, which was discussed a lot in media.
It has an area of 100 thousand square meters.
- Stary Browar
Stary Browar (which means “old brewery”) is a relatively new shopping center but built in an old style. It consists of 2 parts, old and new, built with just 4 years difference.
The mall is a great place to visit in Poznan, as it is located in the city center close to the Polwiejska pedestrian street, it has a wide range of shops and restaurants and even nightclubs.
At the same time, Stary Brovar is also a cultural center organizing numerous exhibitions. Its area is 130 thousand square meters.
Other shopping centers include MM Gallery, Poznan Plaza, Pestka, and some others.
Orange Containers and Warta river bank
Another great place to spend a summer day or evening is the river bank of Warta. The river splits Poznan into 3 parts, 1 of which is the old historical part called Tumski island that I will tell about later, 1 with the Malta Lake and several residential districts, and 1 with the old town, train station, and the International Poznan Fairs exhibition center.
From May until September, the orange containers with bars and street-food trucks are organized in the area near the Warta river on Ewangelicka street. The project is called Kontener ART, you can visit its page on Facebook to find out more.
Crazy and drunk students (well, I also did once) sometimes cross the bridges of the Warta river on the ‘railings’, which at the top point reach several meters height. It is kind of a symbol of starting the student life in Poznan.
Have a Meal in one of the Poznan Cafes and Restaurants
One of the interesting things to do in Poznan for a foreign tourist would be to visit one of the canteens or bistros, where you can take as much food as you wish and you can try different dishes, as you pay per weight. Finding one of them would be easy, as such bistros can be found in any of the shopping centers in Poznan and in some places outside of them, like Kitchen Marche in Okrąglak (round office building on Mielżyńskiego 14).
Another great place to visit in Poznan if you are hungry is BaraBoo student restaurant-bar, which is good not only for students. It has an authentic atmosphere that the locals loved so much that the restaurant expanded its chain to 4 places.
You can also visit Whiskey in the Jar bar on the Old Market square with great American food and drinks, Weranda Caffe in Stary Browar Shopping Center with a relaxed atmosphere of a summer terrace, or another vibrant place called Ptasie Radio on Tadeusza Kosciuszki 74, great for its breakfasts.
Attend International Poznan Fair
Another great thing to do in Poznan is to go to the International Poznan Fair exhibition center, the largest exhibition center in the Eastern and Central Europe. The center is almost 100 years old, it is located on Głogowska 14. It organizes many fairs for usual people, not only for businesses, which is a great opportunity to see the 110 thousand square meter area of the exhibition center.
Relax at the Cytadela Park
The Cytadela park, which is located to the north from the Poznan city center, is the largest park in Poznan and a great place to relax. Here, you can not only stroll along the park paths, but also visit a café, the armory museum, see the remnants of the old fortifications or train on the outdoor training equipment.
Malta lake is an artificial lake in Poznan of 67 ha area and 2,2 km length. The shores of the lake are a great place to spend time on a hot summer day. Kayaking championships are regularly organized in the Malta lake. Another thing to do near it is to ride the Maltanka railway around the lake.
Get Lost in a Medieval Castle
One more great place to visit in Poznan is the Imperial Castle on 80/82 St. Martin street.
It is not just a castle, but also an exhibition center with a cinema, theater, numerous bars, cafes, museums and more. Concerts are often organized near the castle, especially on the national holidays.
Inside, you can even find several embassies.
Despite the big number of things to do in Zamek, its hallways are empty and are not guarded, so you can walk through the whole building without meeting any people.
Discover the beginning of Polish history on Tumski Island
Tumski island is a place, where the first Polish state formations have appeared.
Nowadays, you can also see here the oldest cathedral on the territory of Poland, as well as several old and modern museums.
The new one, which is called Brama Poznania (the Gates of Poznan), was built by the European Football Championship 2012.
Spend time on the Freedom square and the glass fountain
The Freedom square (Plac Wolności) is located outside of the old city, but very close to it. It is the main place of the new part of town with several administrative buildings, hotels, shops and restaurants.
In the end of the Freedom square, close to the old town, is the unusual glass structure and a fountain. You can walk through the fountain, as the glass protects you from water.
Visit some of the great museums
Poznan also has a big number of museums, both new and old. You can visit some of them on the Tumski island that I mentioned before, go to the old market square to visit the Greater Poland Uprising museum and the Arsenal gallery, the Archeological museum, the museum of croissants located nearby or some others.
Try home food at Milk Bars
Some of the few things that are left from the Soviet Union times and the locals are proud about are the Milk Bars (Bary Mleczne). They are not bars, but old-school canteens with big portions of home food at reasonable prices. Some of the best milk bars in Poznan are: U Dziadka on Szkolna 7, Apetyt on Szkolna 4, Bar Przysmak on Podgórna 2 and Pyra Bar on Strzelecka 13.
Visit Malta ski Entertainment Center
Another great thing to do in Poznan is to visit the Malta Ski Entertainment Center. As you might have guessed, it is also located close to the Malta lake. But, it is not just about skiing. It has a wide range of entertainment for summer and winter seasons.
Walk on the Diverse streets of Poznan
To know Poznan better, you also need to know some of its main streets.
There is a number of streets, which are special on its own way. Wrocławska is a street of bars and clubs, which is full of people on weekend nights, Półwiejska is a long pedestrian street near the Stary Browar shopping center having a big number of shops and cafes of not a very high quality.
Wielka street is the street food street, especially full of kebab restaurants, Tarczaka street is a small street near the Universities with old houses and lots of hipster cafes and restaurants of the world’s cuisines.
Watch the animals in Poznan Zoos
You can also visit one of the Poznan zoos. The old one is located on the Zwierzyniecka 19, while the new one is on the other side of the town, behind the Malta lake on Krańcowa 81.
The locals argue about which one is better. So, visit both and decide on your own.
Poznan Legends 6d
To learn the legends of Poznan in a more interactive way, you ca visit the special 6d museum called Makiety Poznania near the Old Market Square. In this place, you can see how the city looked like hundreds years ago.
Visit the Basilica of Our Lady
Poznan has a number of beautiful churches and cathedrals. Probably, the most beautiful of them is the Basilica of Our Lady located in the old town. You can see its white-pink building from any place in the city center. Its address is Klasztorna 11.
One more tip for you: go to the top of the big orange building called Collegium Altum of the Economic University of Poznan to view the city panorama for free. Just ask downstairs if you can come up.
Interesting things to do outside of Poznan
You can also visit a wide range of great attractions around Poznan, just 30-40 km away from it. You can visit another old town of Gniezno, but even closer there are castles and palaces in Rogalin and Kórnik, and the Greater Poland National Park. Book a tour to Kornik and Rogalinn here
It was a full list of interesting things to do in Poznan and outside of it. I hope you know now, where to go and what places to visit in Poznan. Read also about 10 unusual attractions in Gdansk and 50 tips on how to travel the world cheap! Have a great trip to Poznan!