At one time crowned as the capital of Poland, this energetic and historic city has everything to offer the eager city explorer. Although the home to both a thriving international community of trade fairs and a bustling student population Poznan isn’t all about business. Visitors will be impressed by the range and quality of accommodation, entertainment and cultural distractions in abundance throughout. You’ll also find a healthy dose of style in this historic city, with international fashion houses and award-winning retail centres on offer. Culinary offerings in the city offer a range of relatively cheap polish cuisine, but for a taste of the unusual visit one of prestigious restaurant-cum-art galleries, or even the famous ‘Dark Restaurant’, where lighting is so low that night vision googles are a common accessory for waiters.
Once the capital of Poland, Poznań occupies a special place in Polish history; not least because it’s the spot where the kingdom of Poland officially came into being. As befits a former capital, hotels are plentiful and diverse, and include the imposing City Park Hotel & Residence (Wyspiańskiego 26A), a chic place to stay that occupies a huge glass and red-brick block. Equally cool is the City Solei Boutique Hotel (Wenecjańska 10), a five-minute walk from the Old Market Square. Don’t miss the retro Garden Boutique Hotel (Wroniecka 24), which is housed in a lovely 19th-century building and has furnishings that wouldn’t look out of place in a Mayfair gentleman’s club.
With fashion icons such as Burberry (Paderewskiego 8) and the vast award-winning Stary Browar (Półwiejska 32) shopping centre to explore, going on a zloty spending spree isn’t hard in Poznań. But if you want some uniquely Polish-designed items, head to Yes (Paderewskiego 7) for jewels created by up-and-coming Polish designers including Tomek Ogrodowski, or try Świat Bursztynu (Półwiejska 42) for locally made amber jewellery. For crafts and other souvenirs, head to Woźna Street in the Old Town, where you’ll find shop after shop crammed with brilliant homeware and Baltic amber. Poznań is famous for its love of booze, so stock up on the excellent local vodka at Świat Alkoholi (Słowackiego 27).
There are few international fast-food chains in Poznań, and the reason for that is a Soviet innovation called ‘milk bars’, where you can pick up a full meal (not burgers) for a few pounds. Among them is Bar Caritas (Plac Wolności 1), which serves up delicious local blinis and beer for next to nothing. Despite the odd name, Blow Up Hall 5050 (Kościuszki 42) is a fabulous, if pricey, restaurant that specialises in modern Polish fare in a setting that’s half eatery and half art gallery. For the daring, there’s Dark Restaurant (Garbary 48) which, as the name suggests, involves tucking in while sitting in a room so dark that the waiters have to wear night vision goggles to serve you.
Horse Cavalry Day
Based around Wola (the barracks that house Poland’s cavalry horses) and the town centre, the annual celebration of Poland’s military might includes parades and a cavalry competition.
Malta Festival Poznań
Despite the name, the festival has nothing to do with the Mediterranean island and is instead named after the city’s Maltański Reservoir known locally as Lake Malta. A combination of theatre, modern dance and music, it puts on performances galore on the banks of the water.
Tzadik Poznań Festival
Poznań’s annual celebration of local Jewish culture takes in everything from workshops to concerts, and includes the chance to taste traditional Polish-Jewish food.
Good Taste Festival
A winning blend of food fair and concerts, the Good Taste Festival brings artisan food producers from all over Europe to Poznań.
A quirky techno and house music fest promoting up-and-coming Polish dance acts – all of whom are signed to the online record label 3LOOP. It’s a bit hit-and-miss music-wise, but it’s good fun all the same.