Today I want to take you for a one day tour to another Polish city. If you found this article about Kraków interesting and helpful to organize your stay, I hope you will enjoy my itinerary through Poznań as well!
I have to admit that despite the fact that Poznań is one of the most popular cities in Poland, t was only this year that I was able to visit it for the first time. I was very positively surprised with the spirit of the city and now I crave for more! So, how to see the best of Poznań in one day?
The Old Town and the famous Poznań goats
I suggest starting your tour of Poznań from the Old Market Square. This is a simply must-see because it’s on the tower of the Poznań City Hall where the famous couple of mechanical goats knuckle each other every day at noon.
To understand where this tradition come from, we have to travel back to 16th century. There was a famous chef elaborating important feast for the mayor. He was just about to serve delicious roast deer but an accident happened and the roast ended up falling and burning in the fire. As he was out of more venison meat and he had to act quickly, he grabbed two goats from a meadow nearby. Surprisingly, the goats escaped from the chef and headed directly to the Town Hall. They climbed the tower stairs and once emerged from the turret, locked horns and began to battle it out. They attracted the attention of the crowd below, including the mayor who was so amazed with the goats show, that he forgave the chef and ordered to add the two goats to the mechanism of the new Town Hall Clock. Since then, the goats were knuckling each other every day and ever when the tower ended up damaged in late 17th century, they were restored to the clock in 1913 and they’ve been taking noonday center stage ever since!
Walking through the colorful renaissance Old Town surrounded by vibrantly painted buildings, charming cafes and vendors spots is like traveling to the past. Just remember to come earlier before 12 pm and find the best spot to watch this 465-year-old- fight! In the corners of the Poznań market square there are four fountains – Proserpine, Apollo, Neptune and Mars. In front of the exit of Wrocławska street you will also see a sculpture of the Czech priest John of Nepomuk, once drowned in the Vltava. The saint was supposed to protect Poznań from floods.
The Royal Castle, Fara Church and Frederic Chopin Park
Once you are in the Old Market Square, you must also take a look at the parish church of Fara – the pearl of Poznań Baroque – situated just around the corner. After a couple of hours you might look for a break, so the Frederic Chopin Park will be perfect to grab some coffee and hide from the sun. It’s located just behind the Fara Church.
Another interesting point close to the old town is The Royal Castle located on Przemysł Hill. Considered to be the oldest fortified royal residence in Poland, it’s a must for any history passionate. The entrance is free on Wednesdays and you can travel through different centuries simply changing the floor. I also suggest you to take the elevator and visit the terraces with a beautiful panoramic view of the city.
Ostrów Tumski and Śródka
From the Old Market Square, you can ether take a walk or use public transport to get to Ostrów Tumski. This is the place where the history of Poznań, but also the history of Poland, began. Take a look at the Cathedral and its underground. The cathedral is the oldest one in Poland and a burial place of the first Polish kings and princes, which makes this place really unique on a national scale. There are several chapels in the cathedral, the most beautiful of which is the Golden Chapel, located exactly on the axis of the Poznań cathedral.
It will take you three minutes to walk from Ostrów Tumski over the Jordan Bridge to Śródka – a small, but very charming district. From the Bridge on the left you will see the ICHOT Gate of Poznań. It is an interactive Center for the History of Ostrów Tumski. You can dedicate about an hour for the museum and learn more about the history of the cathedral island, or directly head for lunch.
A few steps from the bridge, there is the most famous mural in Poznań, made in 3D – “The Tale of the Midlands with a trumpeter on the roof and a cat in the background”. The district of Śródka is a real paradise for street art lovers, so enjoy your stay and get lost among the streets. If you follow my guidelines, you should probably be in Śródka at lunchtime. You will find several cafes and restaurants there and to me, it’s the best spot to taste the local cuisine.
My one day trip to Poznań ended in Śródka because we had 3-hours drive back home. If you still have time and energy and to see something else, I suggest one of two places – Malta Lake or Imperial Castle. Poznań has a lot to offer but I think for one day, such a program is quite enough. It’s important to visit the city with no rush, give yourself time to take photos and drink coffee. Yo can always come back to Poznań for more!