Cities change throughout the seasons; that’s nothing new. And although travel guides always debate the “best time to visit”, in the end they often admit that each season has its own benefits, its celebrations, its food, its fashions. We fell in love with Poznan during our first visit last November, but we weren’t prepared to find the city so different from that when we returned this summer!
It inspired us to write this post and give you five very good reasons to check out Poznan in the summer time, starting with:
1) The ice-cream
Obviously! European cities go crazy for ice-cream in summer, and Poznan is no difference. The most popular gelateria in Poznan is “Wytwornia Lodow Tradycyjnych” (meaning “Manufacturer of traditional ice-cream”), which has two shops in the city. It was those guys who kinda kick-started a legitimate ice-cream culture in the city, when they appeared on the scene a year ago, with artisan ice-cream in ever-changing and sometimes unheard of flavours (Guinness ice-cream, anyone?).
There are queues in front of that store. And I’m not talking about 10 people in the afternoon; I’m talking about a queue that goes down the whole block, and it doesn’t matter which day of the week or which time of the day. They used to sell coffee, too, but had to give that up because they were just too busy. Hell, they even have ice-cream parties! On their “Nights of the ice-cream eater” they offer a discount from 8pm to 2pm, or until they run out; whichever comes first.
They keep it clean and simple, don’t have too many flavours (around eight), but all of them are always intensely good, and they even sell a bit of merchandise, once you’ve realised that ice-cream is your true passion, really, and you need to express it. They also do ice-cream for some restaurants in the city.
The success of “Wytwornia Lodow Tradycyjnych” encouraged others to open artisan ice-cream stores. Drama unfolded when one of these hopefuls opened less than 50 metres away from the main original artisan ice-cream store, advertising the very same concept and carrying a confusingly similar name. Which is a bit presumptuous, but then again: isn’t imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Exactly.
So if you are into ice-cream, you sure have a mission in Poznan, trying out all the different little shops and changing flavours during your stay! The City of Poznan has an excellent website where they list all the different ice-cream shops and provide you with a map as well. Bon appetit!
2) The festivals
We already have a post up that is dedicated solely to the summer festivals in Poznan, but they definitely earn a mention in this post, too.
All these festival events just mean that when you visit during summer, there’ll always be something going on, which makes for nice surprises when you find yourself wandering past and then joining a crowd listening to a concert or participating in a little work-shop. But maybe you get really into the vibe and end up meticulously studying the festival schedule and going to art film cinemas in the evenings…
3) The parks
Poznan has a lot of parks and green areas, which may sport lakes, fountains, benches, bridges, eateries, and, for the young (of heart), playgrounds. Which is perfect because parks are the place to be in the summer time! They are ideal to relax a bit, meet up with friends, read a book, go for a walk, feed some ducks or watch the world go by.
In Poznan each park has something that makes it special, like for example the palm house in Wilson Park, but the quirkiest park has to be the Stare Zoo, the Old Zoo. It was one of Poland’s first zoos (established in 1874), and the city has built a new one since, but here you can still wander around the fairly old pavilions and ye olde-world style enclosures.
Nowadays these are empty, only every now and again used as a background for a music video or model shoots, but in other corners of the Stare Zoo some animals remain – a few monkeys, reptiles, birds, and the usual faces of a petting zoo. It’s a place that has a timeless quality, a little oasis preserved by people who care.
You’ll find the Old Zoo in Jezyce, a little quarter of town that is worth a visit, anyway, with its many old houses, some renovated, some still bearing the bullet holes of WWII, and, on a more uplifting note, cute cafés and stylish eateries.
Which brings us to reason #4:
4) The Summer Cuisine of Poznan
I was not at all prepared for the discovery that our eating out would differ so much from that of our visit last November. There is in fact a proper summer cuisine in Poznan! It’s all about delicious cold soups and big tasty salads, accompanied by cool drinks with lots of fruit in.
I really always get the feeling that in Poznan people enjoy doing everything that comes with running their businesses. This can for example mean that the cafés and restaurants you visit or walk past are a pleasure to look at, as they are decorated with a lot of love. The result is a very nice atmosphere, which is still only one of the factors that make your meal times in Poznan special.
You probably can’t call it an insider tip, as everyone in Poznan knows about it, but if you are visiting and don’t know about it, you won’t accidentally make it there, so maybe it is an insider tip after all!
KontenerART is a an area at the river bank of the Warta river, where some creative folks took a bunch of shipping containers and a lot of sand and built a super cool place to spend your time at.
There’s a bar, there’s a stage, there’s a beach volley ball field, there are deck chairs and furniture built out of wooden pallets, and there are funky art installations all over the place.
If you want to get there, you need to walk down Ewangelicka street in the direction that goes away from the city centre and towards the river, along a wall that is decorated with the street art of an artist from Poznan who goes by the name of Noriaki Kasai (which is also the name of a Japanese ski jumper).
KontenerART is open from the beginning of May to the end of August, daily from 10 am to 11 pm. Don’t miss it while you’re in Poznan!
So there you have it! Five summery reasons to visit Poznan, although I did cheat with one: if you are desperate for the ice-cream, you’ll find that the “Wytwornia Lodow Tradycyjnych” is open the whole year round, due to its popularity. …Maybe the queues are shorter then. There’s always hope, right?
We’re wishing you a splendid summer, anyway (for all who are on the Northern Hemisphere; otherwise a splendid winter) – enjoy and have a good time!
We would like to thank the City of Poznan for inviting us and especially Karolina, Wojtek and Jacek for showing us around. Even though they got us hooked on the darn ice-cream and we kept running back to get our fix. That was a tough good-bye. Sigh.