What you need to know
Poznan is a city on the Warta river in west-central Poland, in the Greater Poland region. It is best known for its renaissance Old Town, destroyed during World War II and then rebuilt, and Ostrów Tumski Cathedral. Today, Poznań is an important cultural and business centre and one of Poland’s most populous regions with many regional customs such as Jarmark Świętojański, traditional Saint Martin’s croissants and a local dialect.
Poznań is among the oldest cities in Poland. It was one of the most important centres in the early Polish state in the tenth and eleventh centuries. Initially the city was based on Ostrów Tumski, a natural island on the Warta river-very similar to the Île de la Cité in Paris.
Population: 552,393 (2012)
Area: 101.1 mi²
The climate of Poznań is within the transition zone between a humid continental and oceanic climate and with relatively cold winters and warm summers. Snow is common in winter, when night-time temperatures are typically below zero. In summer temperatures may often reach 30 °C (86 °F). Annual rainfall is more than 500 mm (20 in), among the lowest in Poland. The rainiest month is July, mainly due to short but intense cloudbursts and thunderstorms. The number of hours of sunshine are among the highest in the country. Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round.
The currency of Poland is the zloty (PLN). The modern złoty is subdivided into 100 groszy, the currency sign, zł, is composed of the Polish lower-case letters z and ł.
Visitors to Poland may be assured of easy access to banks and cash dispensers, particularly in larger towns.
Banks are normally open on working days between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., sometimes even up to 6 p.m. Banks offer money exchange, collection of money transfers or cashing traveller’s cheques.
Poland has a dense network of ATM’s (called bankomat), which are connected to all international networks. There are almost ten thousand ATM’s in the whole of Poland, of which over a thousand are located in Warsaw alone.
The main language spoken in Poland is Polish. The deaf communities use Polish Sign Language belonging to the German family of Sign Languages.
Poznań is generally a safe city, with levels of crime comparable to elsewhere in central Europe. Nonetheless, few racist accidents targeting non-white foreigners have recently occurred, largely following the mood of intolerance promoted by conservative political and religious exponents. These remain, though, isolated incidents, most times related to alcohol or football fanatics in proximity of stadiums or other gatherings.
Poznań is one of the four largest academic centres in Poland. The number of students in the city of Poznań is about 140 000 (fourth/third after Warsaw, Cracow and close to Wrocław student population). Every one of four inhabitants in Poznań is a student. Since Poznań is smaller than Warsaw or Cracow still having a very large number of students it makes the city even more vibrant and dense “academic hub” than both former and current capitals of Poland. “Adam Mickiewicz University” is one of the three best universities in Poland after University of Warsaw and Jagiellonian University of Cracow. They all have a very high number of international student and scientist exchange, research grants and top publications.
The public transport system in and around Poznan is well organised and extremely handy. Trams run from around six in the morning until eleven at night plus some night services. Buses are about the same. Tickets are based on the time of the journey and are cheap as well. One UK pound would buy over 90 minutes of travel!
Bus and tram stops are all around the city and run from every five minutes to once every hour. To make travel easier make sure you know the name of the stop you are travelling to and where from.
Taxis are in abundance in the city centre and you can always pick one up quite easily. It is better if you can find a reputable firm who will not charge extortionate prices. Like all cities there are sharks waiting for the unknowing foreigner and charging 60PLN when the journey should be 20PLN.
Try to avoid cabs with the small ‘taxi’ signs on top. Maybe they’re not all bad but the general view is that they overcharge. Try cabs with the larger signs on the roof which also bear a four digit phone number. These firms should accept a code so if you’re stopping at a hotel then ask if they have a code for their cab firm.
Also, avoid bootleg taxis as you never know where they will take you or how much they will charge. Common sense is key.