The first stop of our Northern Trip was in Poznań, western Poland. I had been to Poznań in 2004, but it was Eitan’s first time. I’m happy to report that it’s still as charming as ever. For such a small city, there are tons of things to do in Poznań. Our favorites are the Old Town with its 16th Century Town Hall and the Old Brewery shopping center with its surrounding park perfect for picnics. At noon, we stopped by the Poznań Town Hall to check the clock with its fighting goat figurines. For lunch, we had Pirog, a hefty Polish dish. A couple of kilos fatter, we took the rusty train to Toruń, Copernicus’ birthplace. And then we continued to Gdańsk, our favorite Polish city.
- 1 One Day in Poznań – Things to Do
- 2 The Best Hotels in Poznań
- 3 Where to Eat and Have Coffee
- 4 How to Get to Poznań
One Day in Poznań – Things to Do
Watch the Goats Fight at the Poznań Town Hall
Poznań’s biggest attraction are the two goats from the Town Hall. The original town hall was built in the 13th Century. The one we see today is the result of a major reconstruction done by the Italian architect Giovanni Batista Di Cuadro in the 1550s. He included the clock with the mechanical goats. Every day at noon, the clock opens, and two mechanical goats come out while a traditional polish bugle sounds. They butt their heads 12 times before the doors close again. As quick as it is, it’s pretty visual, and tourists seem to love it. We loved it too! As cool as the goats are, don’t forget to go inside. The Town Hall is now the impressive Museum of the City of Poznań. The Main Hall is as lavish as it gets, especially the fancy renaissance stucco decorations.
Visit Poznań Cathedral, Poland’s Oldest
Don’t forget to visit the beautiful Cathedral Island. Yes, there’s an island in Poznań: Ostrów Tumski, to the north of the city. It’s just a 20-minute walk from the Old Market central square. Not only that, but it’s the oldest part of Poznań. This compound homes several historical buildings, including the outstanding Poznań Cathedral, Poland’s oldest. Go inside and check the relics of the original cathedral from the 10th century and the tombs of the first Polish emperors, Mieszko I and Bolesław the Brave. Since you are on the island, check the Church of the Holy Virgin, the Psalmodists’ House, and the Lubrański Academy. The views from the bridge are pretty cool too.
Explore Poznań’s Castles
Whether you spend one day or a couple of days in Poznań, you should explore its Old Town thoroughly. It is full of interesting sites from different historical periods. If you are a castle lover, you’ll be surprised to realize that Poznań has two. The Royal Castle is a faithful reconstruction of the original one from the 13th Century, while the Imperial Castle dates back to the beginning of the 20th Century. Kaiser Wilhelm II, the last German Emperor, wanted a provincial palace, so he built the Imperial Castle in 1910. Today, the castle is the fantastic Cultural Center, one of Poland’s most important ones. The Royal Castle is on top of Przemysła Hill, just off Market Square. It houses the Applied Arts Museum and offers some of the best views in Poznań from its observation decks.
Admire Religious Art in Historical Churches
Among the numerous Poznań attractions the lavishly decorated baroque Lesser Basilica of St. Stanislaus stands out. The Jesuits began to build it in 1649 and took 50 years to finish. Without a doubt, its exquisite exterior makes it one of Poland’s most incredible baroque buildings. If you like the exterior, wait till you get inside. The 34 meters wide, 55 long, and 27 height nave is incredibly lavish, done in the so-called Roman Baroque style. Besides, works by some of Poland’s best painters line the walls, including Karol Dankwart, Wojciech Bianco, and Stanisław Wróblewski. Eitan fell in love with the organ, designed by no other than Friedrich Ladegast. It’s got 2579 pipes, the largest 6m tall! We weren’t that lucky and couldn’t hear it. However, concerts are held every Saturday at noon. In summer, from Monday to Saturday at the same time.
People Watch in an Old Brewery
Not everything is historic in Poznań. Actualy, the history of the Stary Browary Shopping Center goes back to the 1840s. The old brewery in Poznań suffered as the city did. During the war, the Germans converted the cellars and vaults into shelters and barracks. The brewery shut down definitively in 1988 and the building fell into oblivion. After a massive renovation the Stary Browary Shopping Center offers a glimpse of postmodern polish architecture. Not only that, but the center is the place to see and be seen in the city. As you know, we are not into shopping, but we had a great time walking about the mall. Besides, Browary is also a cultural and arts center. Be sure to check what’s going, since they have a varied agenda of events and concerts. The garden in front is superb too.
The Best Hotels in Poznań
Just like in the rest of Poland, the accommodation offer has increased dramatically over the years. We stayed at the Platinum Palace Apartments and enjoyed every moment of it. Great location, first class service, and a comfortable room was all we needed. To stay downtown, we recommend Hotel Kolegiacki. It’s a very nice old building with modern day conveniences. Their rooftop terrace offers fabulous views over the center. Another brilliant option in the middle of Stary Browary is the Blow Up Hall 5050. They turned one of the old breweries into this chic ultra modern hotel. Finally, if you want a top notch spa, a pool and premier rooms, stay a bit out of the city center in the IBB Andersia Hotel.
Where to Eat and Have Coffee
Food is another major attraction in Poznań. Everywhere we ate, the food was simply delicious. What’s more, portions are huge! After a couple of times of over eating big time, we started sharing the dishes. Cakes, desserts, and coffee are another polish staple. Therefore, whenever you are tired, or simply feel like it, find the restaurant that takes your fancy and enjoy. Of course, the restaurants and bars in Stary Browary are great. Without a doubt, the Ratuszova Restaurant in the heart of down town is as fancy and as good as it gets. To eat with a view, go up to the terrace in the Kolegiacki Hotel. For the best coffee and cakes, head to Piece of Cake, close to St. Wzgórze Hill.
How to Get to Poznań
The city is connected to the entire world through its international airport and its major train station. Poznań International Airport is some 7 kilometers from the city. The best way to reach the airport by public transportation is by any of two buses. Bus 159 drops you at Poznań Main Station (Glowny). Bus 148 leaves you at Rondo Kaponiera. At night you can take bus 242 to and from Poznań Glowny Station. From Glowny and Kaponiera to Stary Rynek is a 5 minute tram ride and a short walk. The city has a fantastic webpage with all the information you need to use its extensive public system.