The Top Things to Do and See in Poznań, Poland

Photo of Richard Franks
Freelance Travel & Music Writer29 June 2021

Poznań, the capital of Poland’s Wielkopolska region, is rich with history – from its Renaissance town hall to Poland’s oldest cathedral. But there’s more to this storied city than meets the eye. Read Culture Trip’s top recommendations.

Poznań may be one of Poland’s most unassuming cities, but it certainly has a lot going for it. From Adolf Hitler’s castle residence to the legend of headbutting billy goats to making your own locally-renowned croissants, here are some of the best attractions and things to do in Poznań.

Watch the billy goats at the Town Hall and Old Market Square

Building
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The goats-symbol of Poznan
© Jan Wlodarczyk/ Alamy
Poznań’s Town Hall stands dominant on its cobbled Old Market Square. At 12pm daily, crowds gather to watch two mechanical billy goats appear and lock horns. Legend has it that a chef took his eye off the venison dinner he was cooking and headed out to find a replacement meat, where he found two grazing goats. The goats wrangled out of his grasp, ran up the clock tower and began butting each other in front of a crowd – much like today.

Stroll through Citadel Park

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Citadel Park Poznan, view of young people relaxing in deckchairs on a summer afternoon in the Citadel Park in Poznan, Poland.
© Faraway Photos/ Alamy
Citadel Park is a sprawling oasis on the outskirts of the city centre. Here, you’ll find calming water features, cool cafes, botanical gardens and even a 19th-century fort and museum, Cytadela. If that’s not enough, there’s also an outdoor amphitheatre that showcases live events and, of course, plenty of green space perfect for a picnic. Sit back and relax.

Spot wildlife at the New Zoo

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© Alexander Ross/ UnSplash

One of the largest zoological parks in Europe, Poznań’s New Zoo provides a ginormous abode for its exotic residents. Its forest-like habitat is perfect for many of its larger animals, like elephants and giraffes, who roam more freely than those in standard-sized zoos. For little legs, a land train is on hand to zoom you around exhibits including the hall of nocturnal animals – home to sloths, armadillos, lorises and more.

Peek inside the Church of St. Stanislaus the Bishop and Martyr

Cathedral, Church
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Poznan Collegiate And Parish Church Of St Stanislaus The Bishop And The Martyr, Poland
© Wojtkowski Cezary/ Alamy
Tucked away off the Old Market Square is the almost hidden Church of St. Stanislaus the Bishop and Martyr. Although it is partially obscured by the surrounding buildings, this beautiful church is one of Poland’s finest examples of baroque architecture and took almost 50 years to build. Inside, stunning decorations fill every corner, while its showpiece is a lofty organ, made in 1856. It consists of 2,579 pipes and sits proudly above the entrance.

Stop by the Croissant Museum

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Croissant Museum, Stary Rynek 41, Poznan, Poland.
© Lucas Vallecillos / Alamy
Leave your preconceptions at the door. The Croissant Museum is not a bland museum about croissants. It is, in fact, a fun, interactive way to spend an afternoon making croissants. However, these aren’t just any croissants you’ll be making; the St. Martin’s Croissant is a Poznań speciality, oozing with a moreish white poppy seed and almond filling. Want more? You can also get your croissant fix at one of the many hole-in-the-wall-style takeouts in the city.

Take a boat out on Lake Malta

Natural Feature
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Malta Lake, Poznan aka Maltanski Reservoir. Artificial Recreational Lake in Poznan, Poland. 2.2km long
© Stuart Hough/ Alamy
Poznań isn’t short on bodies of water, but Lake Malta is probably its most enjoyed. Located in the east of the city, this artificial lake is utilised all year round: from rowing and mini golf in the summer to ice skating and skiing in the winter. Poznań’s New Zoo is also nearby.

Catch a gig at Stary Browar

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Shopping centre Stary Browar in a former brewery, Poznan, Wielkopolska, Poland, Europe
© imageBROKER/ Alamy

Housed within a former brewery, Stary Browar is a unique shopping centre and arts space in the heart of Poznań. Here, there are more than 200 shops, a dozen restaurants and cafes, an exhibition centre and concert hall, galleries, a hotel, and a music club, among other things. The centre has been painstakingly renovated in line with the 19th-century rundbogenstil architecture of the brewers who occupied the site between 1876 and 1980.

Explore the Imperial Castle

Architectural Landmark
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Stone Imperial castle with towers in Poznan
© Grzegorz Kordus/ Alamy
Now a cultural hub with a museum, cinema and theatre, Poznań’s Imperial Castle has a lot of tales to tell. It was built in 1910 for German emperor William II, before being taken back by Poland in 1918 and lost once again in 1939 during Nazi Germany’s invasion, when it became Adolf Hitler’s residence. The city’s university took control of it after the war, and since 1962 it has been a thriving cultural centre. Entry is free, with bookable guided tours available.

Visit during Kupala Night

Historical Landmark
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Kupala Night is a Slavic summer solstice event that takes place from the 23rd to the 24th of June each year, with celebrations including many Pagan rituals and traditions. On the night preceding the holiday, younger citizens are encouraged to partake in good-humoured mischief, with children partaking in pranks and water fights on Kupala Day itself. In previous Poznań Kupala celebrations, up to 11,000 lanterns have illuminated the night sky.

Discover Cathedral Island

Cathedral, Church
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Despite its name, Cathedral Island is not actually an island; it was the starting point of Poznań as a city. Poznań Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in Poland, dates back to the 10th century and is the area’s centrepiece. Around it, you’ll find galleries, cafes and museums. Think of it as the hipster part of town. Tip: Rent a Lime scooter from the city centre and glide your way across the Bolesław Chrobry Bridge towards the cathedral.
These recommendations were updated on June 29, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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