Truth be told, I hadn’t heard of the Polish city of Poznan until a couple of days before I was planning to visit. I was looking for a couple of Polish cities to break up the journey to Vilnius and stumbled across Poznan as an intriguing option. It appeared to have the beauty of Krakow without the mass tourism. There seemed to be interesting things to do in the city including some nearby hiking options. I ended up spending two days in Poznan and think this is the perfect amount of time to spend exploring this undiscovered city.
Day 1 – Explore the centre of town
Spend your first day in Poznan, exploring the centre of town including the medieval Old Town. The Old Town was predominately destroyed during WWII, however, it has been completely reconstructed since and the main square is home a number of interesting buildings. The Town Hall is arguably the most important building in the square and whilst no longer used for government matters it does contain a museum about the history of Poznan.
There are a number of churches in the Old Town Square that are worth exploring – my favourite being St Stanislaus Church which is built with spectacular baroque style architecture. Once you’re finished exploring the historical centre of the Old Town, the main square is the perfect place to grab a table at one of the many outdoor restaurants and people watch over lunch.
In the afternoon, head to Ostrów Tumski otherwise known as Cathedral Island, famously known as the birthplace of Catholicism in Poland. Cathedral Island is located about a half hour walk from the Old Town and contains a number of interesting sites worth exploring. In particular, check out the Poznan Cathedral and if you’re interested, there are a number of museums that can be explored. This area certainly sees less tourism than the Old Town and shows you a different side of the city.
Day 2 – Go hiking in Wielkopolski National Park
One of the reasons I was drawn to travel to Poznan was the proximity of Wielkopolski National Park to the city centre. The national park is located only 15km from Poznan and the best way to get here is to hop on one of the regional trains that run approximately hourly. There are also bus routes and you can even potentially rent a bicycle.
Wielkopolsi National Park is massive! It comprises an area of over 7,500 hectares and there are five main tourist tracks that are 85km in length that can be explored. I ended up hiking across two of these tracks and was pleasantly surprised that, despite it being a mild summer’s day, there weren’t many other hikers on the trail. The national park is lovely to wander through — with the tall pine trees and lovely lakes creating a serene and peaceful setting without being too challenging if you have a basic level of fitness.
- Poznan is easily accessible from the rest of Poland with regular trains running from Krakow, Wroclaw and Warsaw. You can also get a direct train here from Berlin, making it a logical stop for people travelling from Berlin to Warsaw.
- I stayed at Poco Loco Hostel which offers dorms and private rooms in a cosy apartment in the heart of Poznan. There is a large common room, fully equipped kitchen and friendly staff that all make for a pleasant stay.
- Local ‘milk bars’ which are cafeteria style restaurants are a great place to eat affordable Polish food. Bar a Boo is a tasty Italian option with a few locations across the city if you’re after some international food.
Poznan is a great city to spend a couple of days in offering a great mix of historical sites and hiking opportunities. Make sure to add it your Poland itinerary!
What are your favourite things to do in Poznan? Add a comment below!