Zakrzewo is a typical Polish countryside village that is located just north of Poznań. In recent years it has risen to fame thanks to the fact that it hosts the annual Blues Express Music Festival. However, the village also offers a great insight into Polish, Prussian and German history and has no shortage of attractions for those willing to spend a bit longer exploring this tranquil little settlement. Work your way through these things to see and do in Zakrzewo.
Zakrzewo is surrounded by nature and there are two low-lying lakes within the village’s radius. Both of these lakes have paths around them, which are popular with local dog walkers and joggers. Try doing this walk at either sunrise or sunset when you can stop to admire the sensational views. In summer, there are often mosquitos and other biting insects, but generally it’s a very safe place to walk.
Dine out in one of Zakrzewo’s finest restaurants, Gosciniec Krajenski. This popular and well-known eatery serves up delicious local and international treats. Try the placki ziemniaczane (potato pancakes) or the Rosół królewski (King’s noodle soup). On the international menu, test the well-made pizzas, the fried Camembert cheese with cranberries, or the bruschetta. Alcohol-wise, locals normally side with bottled beer and shots of vodka. Imported wines are also available and they go well with the Italian options on the menu. Gosciniec Krajenski is centrally located and also has rooms for those wishing to stay the night.
Head to the local church in Zakrzewo for an all important Catholic Mass. The town’s church ‘Kościół Rzymskokatolicki św. Marii Magdaleny‘ translates as the Mary Magdalena Roman Catholic Church and holds weekly services. The church is a well-preserved and stunning red brick building. With its bells, clock tower and green domed roof, it’s also the village’s tallest building. Check the website for upcoming masses, all of which are held in Polish.
Despite its Polish sounding name and the fact that the entire village speaks Polish, the history of Zakrzewo runs deeper than that. As recently as the 1940s, the town was known as Buschdorf. The Germans changed it to try and erase Zakrzewo’s Slavic sounding name. Head to the local community centre (on Domańskiego Street), which acts as a museum and information centre for visitors and ask for a guided tour. On your way through the village’s sites, you will get to understand the significance of the monuments here and the reasons why the village is proud to be Polish again.
The hooped fountain in central Zakrzewo is a quirky monument that many people believe has a spiritual meaning. If you manage to climb through it and make a wish, it will supposedly come true. Similarly some people prefer to walk around it three times. During the summer Blues Express Festival, festival goers can be seen queuing up and climbing through it while the fountain keeps running.
Zakrzewo hosts a free annual music festival which means the village of 1,600 people plays host to a few thousand guests once a year. On the first weekend of July, Blues Express Festival hits tranquil Zakrzewo, transforming these silent streets and parks into a hive of activity. The buzz of the festival is evident all over the village, and even residents from nearby villages flock to Zakrzewo for this concert. What’s more, the festival is one of Poland’s free festivals.
Bar Pod Sosną is the finest little drinking den in Zakrzewo, and the locals love to meet foreigners passing through. So head in and order up a beer and prepare to mingle and chat for hours. As Poland is a vodka-loving nation, don’t be surprised if you’re offered a shot. It’s rude to say no, but go easy on it, as you could also be in for a heavy night. Sometimes they watch live sports together here (especially football) and the bar tends to stay open late on weekends, or until the last customer leaves!