The western Polish city of Poznań has a tranquil position on the Warta River and it's a place of Renaissance architecture, Gothic and Baroque buildings and historical museums. Thanks to its colourful market square, the city has a flavour of old-world Europe – very old, in fact, as it was founded in the 10th century. Nowadays, it has a distinctly modern side too, with cute courtyard cafés, top-class restaurants and a thought-provoking graffiti art scene.
Hostels in Poznań include a boutique-style space in an early-1900s townhouse and a retro option with a games room and a Wii. Experience the city's historic side with a stay in a 15th-century tenement building minutes from the picturesque Old Market Square. There's also a quirky berry-themed Poznań hostel decorated with purple ornaments and furniture. Spots with free linen mean more złoty to spare for an artisan vodka or two. Look out for places with en-suites and private rooms if you like your own space.
Formerly a walled neighbourhood, the Stare Miasto (old town) is Poznań's centre and an official Historic Monument in Poland. Półwiejska Street, the main shopping area, is a 10-minute walk south with a host of shops, cafés and restaurants. To the west, Jeżyce is grittier but cooler: head here for cutting-edge bars and health-focused vegetarian restaurants. Wilda is a quiet, more residential area to the south with an open-air market and green spaces right by the river.
One of the main attractions in Poznań is the brightly painted multi-storey buildings in the Old Market Square with a liquid nitrogen ice cream in hand. At noon, people gather here to see the billy goat figurines in the clock tower clash horns. During the summer months, beaches open up along the Warta River. On Półwiejska Street, the Old Brewery shopping mall is more than just retail. It's also a cultural space hosting regular artistic events from film to sculpture.
Poznań has its own airport 8km outside the city, with regular bus connections into town. Poznań Główny railway station is in the centre of the city and has frequent trains to and from other European destinations. The city itself is walkable, especially in the central area where you'll find most of the sights. It also has a convenient public transport network made up of 118 bus routes and 19 tram lines, so it's easy to explore further afield. You can pay by card using automated machines at most stops or on board. The city is really bike-friendly, too.