One of the key things of becoming a more responsible traveller is to avoid overcrowded, super touristy destinations where you eventually don’t end up enjoying anything you see and not experiencing the country you are in.
So when I decided I wanted to visit Poland I knew I wasn’t going to the more mainstream cities.
Why I chose to go to Poznan?
First of all I wanted to go somewhere not well known and that was easily reachable with public transportations as Poznan is only 3.5 hours from Berlin.
Compared to Krakow or Gdansk, Poznan is far less known and yet if you search pictures and research about the city you will discover a town which is really beautiful and rich in history but for some reason is not much advertised.
In addition to that, this cute and colourful city in west Poland is a great destination for foodies (like me) where you can get a real taste of traditional polish food: you need to read the post until the end to find out what delicacies I have tired!
Last but not least, if you are a fan of slow travel Poznan is your city: it really makes a great destination to experience the European lifestyle, the history and the culture without seeing too many tourists around.
Must Visit when in Poznan:
The first place you want to head to is definitely the Old Town and Market Square (Stary Rynek): this is probably one of the most unique squares in the whole Europe: with its perfectly designed and colorful buildings it’s a great place to immerse in the colours, taking lots of pictures in every possible angles and admire the architecture of the square. If you are interested in a walking tour you should try this one Walking Tour Poznan- Get Your Guide.
View of the Guardhouse in the Old Market Square
Disclaimer: Currently the Old Market Square is under re-construction until Fall 2023 which makes it a little hard to enjoy the beauty of the square but still worth a visit!
Not far from the Old Market Square you find one of the most amazing Basilicas I have ever seen: the “Pink Church” or Parish Church of St. Stanislau a Roman Catholic Basilica in the heart of the Old Town.
This Church is a great example of Baroque architecture that will leave you breathless.
Another must visit when in Poznan are: The Royal and the Imperial Castle. The Royal Castle offers an amazing view over the Old Town from its beautiful garden.
The castle was destroyed in the World War II but has been rebuilt ever since. Now it is hosting the Museum of the Applied Arts, the entrance is about 20zl (4.24 euros!) and it’s FREE on Tuesdays.
The Imperial Castel is a pure gem and a must visit if you are passionate of architecture as much as I am. As per the description of the website of Poznan Tourism:
The monumental edifice that used to be a residence of the German emperor was built in the years 1904-1910 according to a design by Franz Schwechten, who apparently took on board many suggestions from Kaiser Wilhelm II himself. The castle was a pivotal element of “the castle district” projected as a visiting card of the city and testifying to its supposedly German origins.
The architecture of this neo – Romanesque, multipartite structure harks back to medieval castles, and its individual parts are modelled on Romanesque monuments in Germany and Italy. Most of the designs of the dressed – stone elevation and the interiors were made by Gotthold Riegelmann.
Eating your way through Poznan
Poznan is definitely a great city to taste Polish delicacies. I started the food tour by tasting handmade Pierogi from Pierozak Pierogarnia:
I loved everything about this place! They use basic and organic ingredients like bio buckwheat flour (you can also opt to have the gluten free version), the price was absolutely cheap: a plate with 8 dumplings is only 4 euros!! The best thing is that they also use recycled paper plates and recycled wooden cutlery! so this place is 100% approved.
Another very nice place to eat is the restaurant Pierogarnia Stary Mlyn: little bit more “formal” than Pierozak Pierogarnia the food though is equally amazing: you can obviously taste Pierogi but in this restaurant besides the classic ones they have the “baked version” which is super delicious! They also have other traditional plates like the Zurek, rye bread with cottage dill cheese and the Polish pancakes.
Last but not least when in Poznan you should absolutely try the St. Martin croissant, which is a traditional speciality that is produced specifically in Poznan. It entered the European register of protected designation. For Poznan, the St Martin is so important and part of its culture that they even have a dedicated museum: the museum of St. Martin, so if you are interested to know more about the secrets of baking this croissant you should go and check it out!
All in all, I loved Poznan and I recommend anyone who is interested in visiting Poland to give this city a chance. It is an ideal place for slow travelling, and it is also a very good place to travel to with low carbon emissions: you don’t need a car to go around the city and the majority of the historical places are easily reachable by walk and if you are really really tired you can use the efficient tram system that goes almost anywhere in the city. Poznan is the right place for you if you love to get lost in the streets, drinking coffee in the small little cafes while watching the world go by.