Poznan is my city, I was born and raised here. Probably that’s why it was so difficult for me to see its beauty. Now that I don’t live here anymore, it’s much easier to appreciate what used to be „just” normal. Also in the years that I was away, the city has changed so much and became even more beautiful. Although it’s not nearly as popular as Warsaw or Wroclaw, I think it should be. Or maybe let’s keep it as a hidden gem 🙂 below a few unmissable things to do in Poznan.
- Enjoy goats headbutt each other and then some exceptional food in the Old Market Square
The Main Square is famous for pair of mechanical goats that appear every day at noon to headbutt each other 12 times. According to legend the real goats were stolen by a cook that was preparing a banquet for the voivode and his guests but he had burnt the meat and well… needed replacement. The goats felt that those were their last hours so they escaped and ran into the town hall tower and started butting each other which provided such entertainment that voivode decided to save their life and order mechanical goats for the tower.
Although they’re a must see, except for the goats there is quite something to see on the main square. It’s just such a lovely little square with colorful houses and lovely little cafeterias everywhere. If you’re there for lunch we would recommend Weranda Café which changes its interior all the time and serves great food. After lunch you can go to Cacao Republic which is a charming, romantic little place serving decadent desserts and liquid chocolates….mmm. In the evening there is nothing better than going to Brovaria where they have their own little brewery. Jandirk has a problem resisting their honey beer every time we pass by there… Obviously your trip to Poznan wouldn’t be complete without a shot of vodka. Poland has the best vodka in the whole world and for 4zl per shot you can try quite a few in a nice, communism-style bar called Pijalnia wódki i piwa.
- Find out all about our croissants and Poznanian dialect in the Croissant Museum
Poznanian people are very different from the rest of the folks in Poland… supposingly scrooge, supposingly with a bit more distance and we talk our funny, little dialect. In the museum a cheerful guy or two, will tell you a bit about Poznan and about our pride- Saint Marcin croissant. They are delicious, heavy, filled with poppy seeds paste, raisins and other goodies. We stuff ourselves with them all day long on the 11th of November when there is a big celebration for Saint Marcin, his name day and the Polish Independence Day. Saint Marcin is also the name of one of the biggest street here so you can imagine that the celebration is epic.
- Stroll through the park of Citadel and stop at one of the graves of the British Empire
The park was built on the leftovers of a fort that was there since the XIX century. Some of the fortification is still there but except for that there is a military museum, military cemeteries and plenty of open space. For lovers of art there are quite a few sculptures scattered all over the park. The biggest one is called The Unrecognized and consists of 112 statues of headless people walking in all different directions. In the summer Citadel is very cozy especially because of organized parties, open-air markets etc.
My favorite place in the park is the Old Garrison Cemetery. It might sound weird but those, mostly British graves from first and second World Wars, have just something peaceful about them. Each one of them is unique, many have beautiful, personal notes from the family and yet from far they all look the same. I supposed that’s why not many people come here. And it’s a shame.
- Get twisted looking at the most twisted staircase in Poznan
Since I remember Okrąglak has always been a symbol of Poznań. Built after the 2nd World War it was quite unique and modern, later on it became a store house and then it was closed for a long time. Now after many years of renovation it came back as an office place. But you can still enter the building and see the most twisted staircase ever.
- Enjoy your own beer at the side of Warta river
Especially during summer Warta River is a must-see. There are concerts, café’s, cultural activities, bars, city beaches and even little Jacuzzis. There is also plenty of space for absolutely everyone so you can just come with your own booze and food and picnic looking at the cathedral.
- Appreciate street art all over the place
Poznan is growing stronger and stronger when it comes to street art. In last years there have been more and more master pieces coming. The most spectacular one is definitely “The Śródecka tale” which tells the story of the neighborhood and reminds you of the houses that used to be there. It is really realistic and standing in front of it you don’t realize for the few first seconds that it’s a painting and not a reality. Except for that one Poznan has many poems written on the walls in many different places and even an old postcard-like painting in the city center.
- Look at the cathedral from a whole new perspective
For me the Cathedral was never anything special. Living in a country where for each neighborhood we have probably two churches, they stopped impressing me in general. But looking at it from the new museum (Porta Posnania) changes the perspective completely. The museum embraces the history of the “cathedral island” with its modern architecture. Just in front of the museum there is also a nice area just by the river where you can have a picnic.
- Go shopping at Stary Browar
Stary Browar is definitely one of the most extraordinary commercial centers that I have ever seen. It was built on the leftovers of an old brewery that goes back to the beginning of the 19th century. It still has the old, classic look and atmosphere but with an interesting twist of new, futuristic art. You can not only buy all you need in there but also enjoy cool cafes, art exhibitions and lots of cultural events
- Enjoy the mesmerizing fountain
The fountain on the Freedom Square was built in 2012 for the European Football Championship and since then it’s been a pleasure for the eye and relief in warm days of summer. Although I heard it’s difficult in maintenance, from a visitor point of view it’s very impressive. It not only changes colors but also looks a bit like sails of a boat. It attracts many people that would otherwise never choose that place to relax.