Poznań is a town steeped in history, as it was the first capital (with Gniezno) of Poland and seen by many as the birthplace of the Polish nation. Today it is a diverse and vibrant town, with much to divert the traveller. It has a stunningly rejuvenated central square, thriving night-life, fascinating museums and many attractions in the surrounding area. For train buffs, Poznań is the home of Europe's last surviving steam-hauled passenger service. With a strategic position on the Berlin – Moscow train line, Poznań will be for many their first experience of Poland.
Poznań has an international airport with regular services.
The airport is situated only 7 km from the city centre and in easily accessible by public bus : #59 (from nearby Sheraton Hotel - appr. every 25 minutes) and #L (from the Main Railway Station - appr. every 45 minutes).
Poznań is a crucial railway junction and all trains going between Moscow and Western Europe stop here. Trains to Berlin or Warsaw take approximately 3 hours in either direction and cost around €20 one-way. Trains to Kraków (appr. 8 daily) take around 6 hours and costs €15 one-way, Wroclaw (more than 15 daily) will take around 2 hours and costs in the area of €8. The journey to Gdansk (6 trains daily) will take 4,5 hours and cost €12 and to Torun (6 trains per day) : 2,5 hours and €7.
Frequent and convenient train connection from Warsaw. Journey time about 3 hours. Cost from €12 (fast trains) to as much as €30 (Inter City Plus).
Poznan is also served by long-distance trains leading to popular beach- and mountains resorts : Zakopane (2 night trains in winter and summer season), Szklarska Poreba/Kudowa Zdroj (2 daily + 1 in season), Kolobrzeg (Kolberg), Hel and Swinoujscie.
Besides, Poznan and Wielkopolska region has a vast network of local connections. For tourist the most important can be trains going to :
Gniezno (The Piast Route) - appr. 15-20 (depending on the day) trains daily
Wolsztyn (The steam-engine depot) - 7 trains daily
Wagrowiec (The Cistercian Route) - 8-10 trains daily
In some cases (going from or to Cathedral Island - Ostrow Tumski, the Old Town) it can be wise to use local train stop "Poznan-Garbary" instead of the main station.
Poznań is served by the Eurolines coach network. Count on fares of around €90 one-way to London or Amsterdam. Every day more than 200 local buses leave for town and even small villages everywhere in Wielkopolska region.
Poznań is a compact city, but has a good (and cheap!) public transport system, consisting of trams, fast trams (similar to metro), and buses.
The centre is navigable on foot, but if you decide to use trams (buses don't usually run in the centre), here are the prices of tickets as of May. 2005:
10 minute ride: 1,30 zł (ca. 30 €cents)
30 minute ride: 2,60 zł (ca. 60 €cents)
Also, a block of 11 single tickets cost 10 times the base price. A suggested solution is to buy a block (one or more) of 10 minute tickets. Two of those can be combined into a 30 minute ticket, providing they have the same time printed on them. Each person must have a separate ticket, so you cannot have one 2,60 zł for two people.
There are also 60 and 90 minute tickets, but if you plan to see more of the city, one-day or week tickets are a better offer. They cost respectively 10,20 (2.50 €) and 24 zł (6.00 €).
There is avaialable Poznań Card, which is combination of ticket and discount card. Prices: 30 zł (ca. 7,50 €) one-day, 40 zł (ca .10 €) two-day and 45 zł (ca. 11 €) three-day (see for details here: www.poznan.pl)
Ten minutes on a tram is usually enough to ride a few stops in the city out of the peak hours. For more than ca. 3-5 stops, use two 10-minute tickets.
You may transfer as many times as you wish, but ride as long as the ticket is valid. Night buses have the same tickets and fares. Express buses cost twice as much, but are far from being twice faster, so the advice is to avoid them (besides fast line "L" joining the airport with the main railway station.
Nobody checks the tickets as you enter, so remember to "click" (validate) your ticket as soon as the vehicle starts, or you might be fined 100..195 zł (27..52€) if controlled. The fine might not seem large, but will cause you trouble. Remember, it's not like in North America, where the ticket is checked upon entering the bus. In Europe, if your ticket expires, you have to use another one or leave.
Unless you study in Poland, you will not be eligible for discounts on public transport.
Luggage smaller than "65 x 45 x 25 cm" can be carried without a fee, so click (validate) another ticket for your backpack. Smaller luggage, small dogs, as well as wheelchairs can be taken for free. Bicycles can be refused during peak hours. On piece of luggage (bigger tah 65x45x25) is free of charge in "L" airport-fast line
Stary Rynek, the old town square, one of the finest in Europe. This is the centre of old Poznań, and has been superbly rebuilt after almost complete destruction in World War 2. Cafés and bars line the square and it is a superb spot for ordering a drink and watching the world go by.
Old Town Hall is the centrepiece of the Rynek. The building houses the Historical Museum of Poznań, displaying exhibitions about the history of the city from the 10th century to the present day. Two things to watch out for here are the ornately decorated Great Entrance Hall and the mechanical goats which appear from the roof of the building each day at noon to butt their heads together a dozen times. The museum is open Monday, Tuesday and Friday 10am-4pm, Wednesday noon-6pm and Sunday 10am-3pm. Admission is €1.25.
Ostrów Tumski, famed as the spot on which Poznań was founded, is a quiet island, with a permanent population consisting only of priests and monks. It was supposedly here that the town was founded, after three brothers Rus, Lech and Czech met here after not seeing each other for years (poznać being Polish for 'to meet'). It is also the spot where Poland adopted Catholic baptism in 968. Notable buildings here include the Psalteria, with an elaborate gable, the Church of Our Lady (Kościoł Panny Marii) and the Archdiocesan Museum (ul. ks. Ignacego Posadzego, admission €0.70, 9am-3pm, closed Sundays), with a good collection of religious art. The island is accessible by trams 1, 4, 8 and 16 [peak hours only] from the left bank.
Archaeological Museum, ul. Wodna 27, Tel: 061 852 8251, 10am-4pm Tuesday – Friday, 10am-6pm Saturdays, 10am-3pm Sundays, admission: €1.10 (free Saturdays), photography permit €0.70, guide €3. With 42,432 artefacts, this is a large and fascinating museum. It specialises in the archaeology of Wielkopolska and Egypt. Website: http://muzarp.poznan.pl/muzeum/
Applied Arts Museum, Góra Przemysła 1, Tel: 061 852 20 35. Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10am-4pm, 10am-3pm Sundays. Displays crafts, furniture, precious metals and glassware. Admission €1.25, free Saturdays.
Literary Museum of Henryk Sienkiewicz, Stary Rynek 84, Tel: 061 852 2496, Open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm, admission €0.70. Sienkiewicz, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1905, is best known for his work Quo Vadis?, an epic on early Christians in the Roman empire. He is Poland's most celebrated novelist, and this is the most extensive collection of items about his life and works.
Motoring Museum, Rondo Kaponiera (entrance in the Kaponiera roundabout underground walkway), Tel: 061 847 6359, Tuesday – Saturday 10am-4pm (closed Thursdays), Sundays 10am-3pm, admission €0.90. Run by the Wielkopolska Motoring Club, and features a range of vintage and notable vehicles.
Musical Instruments Museum, Stary Rynek 45-47, Tel: 061 852 0857, Tuesday – Saturday 11am-5pm, Sunday 11am-3pm, €0.80. With 2000 items from all over the world, this is the only exhibition of its kind in Poland. It also has an extensive collection of Chopin memorabilia.
National Museum, al. Marcinkowskiego 9, Tel: 061 856 8000, Tuesday – Saturday 10am-5pm, €1.50. This museum has a prominent collection of Italian, Spanish and Polish art. Many paintings have accompanying explanations in English. http://www.mnp.art.pl/
Citadel Park, Wzgórze Cytadela. Formerly a fortress built by the Prussians in 1828, it was destroyed during fighting in 1945. It contains a cemetery for the Russian, Polish and British soldiers who lost their lives here.
Lake Malta. The most popular recreation area of Poznań. A small train runs along the north shore every half hour (free days) or one hour (working days) between 10am and 6pm (May till September), tickets available from ul. Jana Pawla II for €1,00.
Fans of steam trains will be in their element in Poznań. A fun day trip is to take a steam train to the Wielkopolska National Park. Take the 8:15 train from Poznań Główny station to Stęszew, a thirty-five minute journey. Walk to the road crossing, turn left and continue until you enter the park near Lake Witobelskie. Follow the blue path to Mosina where you can catch the train back to Poznań. You can book a seat next to the driver for €4.50 by calling 068 348 2008, ext. 368.
The Stary Rynek is full of stalls where you can buy handicrafts and toys. If you are going to Kraków, however, you may be able to pick some things up for less, especially chess sets.
There are many good dining options in Poznań.
Dramat, Stary Rynek 41, Tel: 061 852 9917, 11am-10pm. A cheap place on the Rynek serving Polish food. Perennially popular. €2 - €5.
Tivoli, ul. Wroniecka 13, Tel: 061 852 3916, noon – 11pm. Poznań's original pizza place, with a bewildering range of pizza toppings. http://www.tivoli.pl/
Avanti, Stary Rynek 76 Tel: 061 8523285, Inexpensive fast-serve place to go for one of few kinds of spagetti or lasagne. Served almost immediately - pasta and souce are always ready. (Tip: go for carbonara pasta). http://www.avanti.poznan.pl
Al dente, corner of ul. 3 Maja and Plac Wolności, Tel: 061 851 9084, Inexpensive fast-serve place to go for good spagetti or some pizzas. (TIP: Parmezan is separate in the menu).
Sorella, ul. Ślusarska 4 (near Stary Rynek), 061 852 38 22, noon-11pm. Good value place to go for one of the better pizzas in Poznań. Good relaxing atmosphere. Often quite busy in the evening, but rarely to the point of no free table.
Bażanciarnia, Stary Rynek 94, Tel: 061 855 3359, 11am – midnight. One of the most famous restaurants in town, their speciality is game. The service is excellent and their locale on the Rynek superb. Main courses range from €5 for vegetarian to €15 for fois gras. http://www.bazanciarnia.pl/.
Most night clubs in Poznań are to be found on and around the Stary Rynek.
Poznań is well known for its Trade Fairs, when thousands of business types descend en masse to the city. Accommodation can be quite difficult to find in this period, and prices tend to go up. If you are stuck, the Glob-Tour office in the main train station hall (Tel: 061 866 0667) will generally find a private room for you for around €8 per person.
Frolic Goats Hostel, Wrocławska 16/6 street (entry from Jaskolcza street), Tel:+48 61 8524411 . Open 365 days a year. Great prices for solo travelers, or for packs of people. Located 2 minutes walking from the Old Town Square. English speaking staff, very clean accommodation. Includes breakfast. The first real hostel in Poznan open all year round to all types of travelers, not just students. http://www.frolicgoatshostel.com
Dizzy Daisy Hostel, al. Niepodległości 26, Tel: 061 829 3902. Open July – mid September. Triples €8 per person, doubles €10 per person. http://www.hostel.pl/
Hostel.pl - an Internet portal that hosts a collection of offers from Polish hostels. Offer for Poznan (summer hostel): "Hostel in Poznan is located within a 10 minute walk from the Main Square as well as the railway station, therefore there is no need for taxis as you can get everywhere on foot. We offer 1, 2, 3 and 4-person rooms as well as numerous services included in the room price: Internet and luggage storage space, among others."
Hotel 222, ul. Grunwaldzka 222, Tel: 061 869 9140, a clean, centrally-located modern hotel on top of a shopping mall in the commercial district. Singles €32 per person, doubles €18 per person. http://www.hotel222.com.pl/
The phone numbers shown on this page are presented in the national format. All local numbers must be dialled with area codes as of 1 Jan 2006. If you encounter a seved digit number, add '061' before the number.
Dialling a number from mobile
Depending on your phone operator and the network you roam into, you may want to try one of these:
- dial the number as seen, e.g. 061 888 0000
- if unsuccessful, omit the initial zero, e.g. 61 888 0000
- if still unsuccessful, omit the leading zero, dial +48 before the number, e.g. +48 61 888 0000
There are Internet cafés around the Stary Rynek and in Stary Browar shopping center (offers free Wireless connection). There is also a 24 hour Internet cafe at the main train station which is perfect for when you have hours to wait overnight for the next train.
Poznań is generally a safe city, with levels of crime comparable to elsewhere in central Europe.
For those arriving on a train from Berlin, it would make sense to travel south to the cities of Wroclaw and Kraków, or on to Warsaw.
Worth a visit:
Gniezno - the first capital of Poland. City has beautiful cathedral and old town.
Licheń Stary - beautiful town with many churches, one of them largest in Poland basilica. Lichen is the second major pilgrimage centre in Poland.