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Top 5 attractions to see in Poznan

Updated: May 21

Today I'm taking you to a place whose residents are famous for their thriftiness, bordering on stinginess. However, Poznań itself, which we're talking about, doesn't spare attractions for its visitors. Especially for you, I've selected 5 places that you should definitely see even during a one-day trip to the capital of Greater Poland.

Old Market Square

We start from the heart of the city, because I think the Old Market Square can easily be called that. I can't paint, but if I had such talent, I would definitely create a painting depicting this magnificent Renaissance square with colorful townhouses. From a gnome's point of view, the only downside of this place is the cobbled streets, as they make walking a kind of obstacle course. Fortunately, there is no shortage of places here where you can sit down, rest, and refresh yourself.

However, what most glorifies the Poznań market square are its two mischievous inhabitants. These are two metal goats, which duel each other at the top of the town hall. Legend has it that long, long ago, during a solemn dinner inaugurating the new clock at the town hall, the chef discovered that the roasted wild boar had met an unfortunate accident. In an act of desperation (or genius, depending on how you look at it), instead of the boar, he decided to serve two goats. To everyone's surprise, instead of obediently standing on the plate, the goats escaped to the town hall tower and started fighting, much to the delight of the gathered guests. Since then, these goats, proud and undefeated, reenact their escape every day to the joy of both residents and tourists. I have only one problem with these fighting goats. I don't know which one to support. There are days when I'm for the one on the left, and on other days, I lean more towards the one on the right.

But the Old Market Square is not just a place of goat battles. It's a bustling cultural center where every step allows you to discover something new. You can find cafes serving excellent coffee here, which is especially important to me. As a gnome, I need a lot of caffeine to keep up with my adventures, restaurants with local specialties that will make your taste buds cry with happiness.

There's one more attraction worth mentioning in my opinion. It's the pillory. An octagonal, late-Gothic column that was once used for flogging, branding, and administering other punishments for various offenses. I like to stand next to it and imagine myself punishing those who have hurt me.

When night falls, the Square also has a superpower. The illuminated townhouses create an almost magical atmosphere, in which it's easy to feel the spirit of the past, traversing the same streets as generations before us. Isn't it amazing how a place can be so old yet so full of life at the same time? It's almost like gnomes, who despite being small in stature, can be great in spirit.

Cathedral Island

Ostrów Tumski, also known as Cathedral Island, is recognized as the birthplace of Polish statehood. But don't be fooled – this place is also full of life, like our beloved goats or a gnome after a double espresso.

Walking around Ostrów Tumski, it's impossible not to feel like you're in the Middle Ages. Narrow, cobbled streets, the majestic Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, and charming alleys make time seem to pass more slowly here. The feeling is so strong that I wouldn't be completely surprised if a knight on horseback emerged from around one of the corners.

In my opinion, the greatest star of Ostrów is the cathedral. It is here, under its vaults, that the coronations of the first rulers of Poland took place, and their earthly remains also rest here. Inside this temple, one can feel the weight of history, and every stone seems to have its own story to tell. I admit without hesitation – during visits to this place, I sometimes close my eyes and imagine that I am being crowned as Gajdek the First the Great.

But Ostrów Tumski is not just the cathedral. It also includes numerous corners that invite contemplation and reflection. One of them is the famous Gate of Poznań, an interactive cognitive center that takes visitors on a journey through the history of Ostrów. It's a great place to introduce the history of Poznań to especially young tourists in an accessible way.

In the evenings, when the last rays of sunlight dance on the facades of buildings and the Warta River gently murmurs, Ostrów Tumski transforms into a setting straight out of a fairy tale. The lights reflecting off the water create a unique spectacle, and I, sitting on the bank with a notebook in hand, try to capture those moments. Unfortunately, innate honesty compels me to admit that the verses I am jotting down at this moment are unable to fully capture the beauty of this place.

The Citadel Park

Perhaps everyone occasionally feels the urge to take a walk in beautiful natural surroundings, and gnomes are no exception. In this regard, Poznań has one exceptional place. The Citadel Park, located on the hills where once stood a fortress, is now a witness to history that cannot be forgotten. While peace now reigns here, this area has witnessed many dramatic events that shaped not only Poznań but also the whole of Poland. Walking through the park, it's hard not to feel the weight of these events, and at the same time admire the resilience of spirit that has endured the test of time.

However, during the walk, we are not condemned only to contemplation. Wonderful recreational areas, full of paths, picnic spots, and playgrounds, allow not only the youngest to express their emotions. Although I won't deny that after a long walk, I eagerly look forward to finding a place where I can devour my picnic treats and admire the antics of children and teenagers from a distance.

Unfortunately, we live in times when the threat of war is the most real it has been in many years. It is worth discussing this situation with the youngest, of course in an accessible way and without sowing unnecessary panic. An installation that can be a good pretext for initiating such a conversation is the "Monument of Heroes" located in the park, a monumental work that pays tribute to those who fought for freedom. Standing before it, it's impossible not to feel part of something greater than ourselves. And in this particular case, I'm not referring to my measly height.

Palm House Poznan

Who among us doesn't occasionally feel like heading to the tropics? However, if, like me, your budget restricts you from regularly indulging in such exotic vacations, I have the perfect solution – Palm House Poznań. Located in Wilson Park, this glass oasis is home to over 17,000 plants from various corners of the globe. Here, amidst lush greenery, you can momentarily forget that you're in Poland.

With every step I take here, I'm surrounded by more and more botanical treasures. There are palms shimmering in various shades of green, exotic flowers captivating with their colors and scents, and juicy tropical plants whose names I don't even attempt to pronounce to spare myself linguistic harm. The atmosphere is so thick with humidity and warmth that for a moment, you can feel like a true explorer traversing virgin jungles. Each time, I imagine myself as the protagonist of a different adventure movie: Indiana Jones, Tarzan, and when my feminine side starts to dominate, even Tomb Raider.

But the Palm House is not just about plants. It also features small lakes where colorful fish swim, adding even more charm to the whole experience. And if you look closely, you might spot lazily moving iguanas on the branches. It's a rare feeling, but I envy those green reptiles for their laid-back attitude.

One of the places where the gnome must be particularly vigilant is the section dedicated to succulents and cacti. It's here, among all these prickly beauties, that I've been stung painfully more than once. That's why I admire them from a safe distance now.

Palm House Poznań is not just a place for relaxation but also for education. On several occasions during my visits, I've had the opportunity to observe school groups and families for whom a visit to the Palm House was a true lesson in nature. They looked much more interesting than those from my time when the main attraction was an occasional slideshow organized by the teacher.

The National Museum in Poznan

At the end, I'm taking you to the museum. I can already hear the voices saying, 'Gajdek, you bore, come up with something more interesting.' However, trust me, this place is really great, and each exhibit has its own story to tell.

One of the biggest attractions of the National Museum is the collection of Polish painting. Here you can admire the works of great masters such as Matejko, Malczewski, and Wyspiański. Their pieces, full of emotion and depth, allow us to understand not only the artistic soul but also the spirit of the era in which they were created. I stood there, with my nose up, absorbed in every detail, momentarily forgetting that they were just paintings, not windows to other worlds. To get a better look at the works, I often ask my friends to lift me higher.

The National Museum is not just about painting. It also houses rich collections of applied arts, graphics, sculptures, and photography. Everyone will find something for themselves here, whether it's medieval sacred art or modern photography. It's precisely this diversity that makes the museum like a labyrinth full of discoveries – you never know what awaits around the next corner. Sometimes it's worth getting lost to find stories that will stay with us forever.

Poznań is a great city, my suggestions are just a taste of what awaits you there. Soon, I'll present to you some less obvious attractions. Stay tuned.

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