Come with us and visit Poland. But not the biggest tourist magnets, like Krakow and Warsaw. We went looking for something a bit different.
Poznan is one of the oldest and largest cities in Poland, but if you live outside Europe there’s a good chance, like us, you may not have heard about it before. It has old world charm with cobblestone streets and colourful burgher houses. But it also filled with modern museums, classy restaurants and superb public transport.
Getting to Poznan was not as tricky as getting to Greece. In fact Poznan has direct flights to lots of international airports. Berlin, Germany is only 2.5 hours away via train and a popular way to arrive. Or you also have the capital, Warsaw, which is about 3 hours via train.
We flew from Sofia, Bulgaria to Warsaw. With a 4-hour stopover, we decided to spend two hours in the city of Warsaw, then continued onto Poznan via a short 1-hour flight.
Transport (And How To Save Money)
The city has plenty of options to choose from. If you purchase a Poznan City Card, not only do you get discounts to restaurants and attractions, but you get FREE public transport for up to 3 days (depending on the card chosen).
Here’s a list of places where you can buy the card. This card is fantastic since trams are a convenient option for getting around, but currently finding a place to purchase a ticket can be difficult. The first time we went to the station near our hotel there was no ticket machines. We later learned you could get tickets possibly from the hotel or tiny ticket booths in the city centre.
This is being rectified, as newer trams have ticket machines on board and a smartcard-based ticket system is being rolled out soon.
Buses are also a handy way to get around and the trains, as mentioned above, can take you outside the city limits.
Taxis are fairly easy to flag down and not too expensive either. Compared to most other cities where we’ve use taxis, we found these to be cleaner and better maintained. The taxi drivers really took more pride in their appearance.
During our visit we stayed at the Novotel Poznan Malta. While not in the city centre, it was on the tram line and a number 8 tram transported us in and out in only 4 or 5 stops. It’s also on the beautiful Malta Lake (Jezioro Maltanskie), in front of the very cool indoor waterpark and a few stops from Galeria Malta shopping mall.
The hotel is well suited for families. Kids both received a little toy when they arrived. In the reception area there was an Xbox and a corner set up with toys, books and beanbags, perfect for those moments you spend checking-in while the kids typically run amok.
At every chance she had, my daughter wanted to visit to the reception for a turn on the Xbox car racing game.
We booked 2 interconnected rooms. The rooms were really spacious, each with their own couch and bathroom. Ours even came with views over the pool. My only complaint with our room would have to be the lack of an air conditioner. Our room quickly became stuffy in the summer heat and we had the window open 24/7. The rooms were equipped with tiny desk fans, but with the weather we had during our stay (not even Poznan’s hottest temperatures), I was very surprised that there was no air conditioner.
The buffet breakfast was always fresh and delicious. Dishes were well seasoned and lovingly prepared. It would have been nice to have a little variety though, as the food didn’t change during our 7 days at the hotel.
You can purchase premium (faster) Wi-Fi, or use the basic (slower) speed for free. We received a new password to use every 24 hours, which was a right pain, considering it is free, but it worked well for us and we had no trouble using it in our rooms.
We loved the location and the kid-friendless of the Novotel and would gladly stay again.
Eating Polish food is like walking into a friend’s house and being fed a lovingly prepared hearty home-cooked meal. It’s robust and delectable. Sausages with roast potatoes and sauerkraut can be purchased in the Old Town Square, as a typical takeaway meal. Polish dumplings, known as perogies, are a convenient option for eating on the run but can also be found in many restaurants. And a visit to Poznan isn’t complete without trying St Martin’s Croissant.
On top of traditional Polish food, Poznan has an international heart so you can find a wide range of cuisines - Indonesian, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, and more.
What To Do
Honestly, what isn’t there to do? We wrote a helpful list of 10 things to do with kids, but even without them you are guaranteed to have a great time.
Museums, architecture, cooking demonstrations, water parks, bike riding, a very cool zoo, restaurants, clubs, shopping and much more. In fact, there are almost continuous festivals during the summer months. Josh attended a Damon Albarn concert which was part of the month-long Malta Festival. Whatever you enjoy doing, there’s a very good chance you’ll find it in Ponzan.
The Prussian and German influence in western Poland is evident in Poznan. There is an indescribable element of organisation, self-control and pride, which we greatly respected. This makes it a very safe place for families to visit, and easy to get around. We managed to fit a lot in just 1 week of staying here, but there was still so much to do. You can get a great perspective from Agata, a local who I met in Ireland and was happy to meet up with again in Poznan.
I’m confident you’ll love the city as much as we did, and like us, you’ll already be thinking about your next trip to Poznan before stepping on your flight home.