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Wielkopolskie is a voivodeship (province) in the west of Poland, whose name is derived from the historic and geographic region of Greater Poland. The regional capital is Poznań. It is the birthplace of Polish state being the first seat of Piast Dynasty rulers from which it expanded. The region has strong German influences due to 19th century occupation, especially in cuisine. Home to over 100 cities and towns its residents hold specific sense of regional pride and patriotism, result of general prosperity and industriousness of the province. In terms of economy it has strong electromachinery (cars, trains, buses), warehousing and agricultural industries.


Map of Wielkopolskie


Old Town of Poznań
  • 1 Poznań — capital of the Greater Poland Voivodship, with a history going back to the end of the 9th century, full of monuments from all epochs, including the oldest Polish church, a cathedral built in the 960s, beautiful Gothic and Baroque Old Town and buildings from around the turn of the 20th century erected by Prussians.
  • 2 Gniezno — historic capital of Poland in 10th–11th century with the oldest archcathedral (from the year 1000), famous for its chapels and bronze Gniezno Door from 12th century, a modern and interactive Museum of the Beginnings of Poland, picturesquely situated between lakes
  • 3 Kalisz — second-largest city, popularly regarded as the oldest continuous Polish settlement
  • 4 Piła
  • 5 Ostrów Wielkopolski
  • 6 Leszno Leszno on Wikipedia — Baroque town

Other places of interest

  • 7 Kórnik — town close to Poznań with a Gothic church, castle and large dendrological park. Also many lakes with developed water infrastructure.
  • 8 Owińska — a small village close to Poznań with a Baroque Cysterian monastery and neglected noble estate
  • 9 Szamotuły
  • 10 Wągrowiec
  • 11 Wolsztyn — world-famous for its working steam trains depot, the only one in Europe still in operation; also offers wonderful lakes, an open-air museum and the Robert Koch Museum

Other destinations

  • 1 Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń Licheń Stary on Wikipedia — the largest church in Poland and major pilgrimage site
  • 2 Gołuchów Castle Gołuchów, Greater Poland Voivodeship on Wikipedia — beautiful renaissance castle, European bison enclosure and the aurochs stockyard
  • 3 Greater Poland Ethnographic Park — Ethnographic Park showcasing traditional 18th- and 19th-century architecture and windmills
  • 4 Kłodawa Mine Kłodawa on Wikipedia — the biggest operating salt mine in Poland, with guided tours
  • 5 Ostrów Lednicki — remnants of the Duke's palace and a fortress from the early history of Poland, together with 2 preserved baptismal fonts from the 960s
  • 6 Rogalin Palace — Baroque palace of noble magnate Raczyński, complete with a park and some of the oldest (about 800 years old) oak trees in Poland
  • 7 Wielkopolski National Park — national park protecting the wildlife of the Greater Poland Lakes, close to the interwar villa suburb of Puszczykowo


The basilica in Licheń



The boundaries of Greater Poland have varied throughout history. The region roughly coincides with the present-day Wielkopolskie voivodeship, although some parts of historic Greater Poland are within the Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Lubuskie and Zachodniopomorskie voivodeships.

Originally, during the first decades of the Polish state the region was called "Poland" ("Polska" in Polish; the name comes from the word "pole" - a field, which means, that the tribe (Polans - in Polish "Polanie") forming the Polish state was an agricultural one. The name was changed to "Wielkopolska" ("Greater Poland") later on, during the reign of Przemysł II at the end of 13th century. Nevertheless, the region was the cradle of Poland - here the first cities were founded. The first capitals, Gniezno, Poznań, Ostrów Lednicki, are in Greater Poland as well.

Cities like Biskupin and Kalisz in this region date back to the 7th century BC and 1st century after Christ, respectively. Greater Poland was the also the core of the early medieval Kingdom of Poland and is often regarded as the cradle of Poland, as the Polish Piast Dynasty emerged in the 9th century in this region, conquering the other Polish provinces in the 10th century. The first Polish capitals and church centers were in Giecz, Gniezno and Poznań. However, Poland's capital moved to Kraków in Lesser Poland in 1040.

When in 1138 Poland was divided in duchies united by the rule of the senior, Greater Poland became an independent duchy, and few decades later there were two small states with capitals in Poznań and Kalisz - for most of the time Gniezno - the third biggest city in the region at that time belonged to the Kalisz duchy. Greater Poland was also a core of the restoring of the kingdom in 1295 and for short time became again the capital of Poland, as the king Przemysł II came from the Greater Polish branch of the Piast dynasty. In the beginning of the 14th century Greater Poland became a voivodeship of the Kingdom of Poland.

In the period between 15th and 17th centuries, when many wars affected central and eastern Poland, the Greater Poland was spared, which helped grow and expand the cities and the region. Thus, many cities and towns in region are dominated by Renaissance and Baroque architecture.

During the Second Partition of Poland in 1793 much of its territory was annexed by Prussia, but briefly regained independence as part of the Duchy of Warsaw between 1807–1815. After the Congress of Vienna it was again annexed by Prussia. Opposition to occupation took unusual form contrary to other regions of Poland as local residents "fought" with occupant within the legal framework, creating local enterprises, using legal tricks (for example Prussia forbade Poles from building houses) and built international recognition of Poland. The region was a part of the Prussian state and later German Empire till 1919, when a successful Greater Poland Uprising (27th December 1918 to June 1919) enabled it to join the reborn Poland.

Following World War I it became part of the short-lived Second Polish Republic, however it failed to bridge gaps between western and eastern parts of voivodeship which belonged to different empires. Soon it was annexed by Nazi Germany as "Warthegau" after the Nazi-Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939. It was restored to Poland in 1945.

The Poznań June, an anti-Soviet uprising, took place in 1956, prompting the beginning of the Hungarian Uprising that followed this event. After collapse of communism in 1989 its proximity to now united Germany attracted lots of foreign investment, especially in electromachinery and warehousing industries beginning prosperity period in the region. Additional European Union funds provided since 2004 helped bring gap between Greater Poland and Western Europe especially in terms of infrastructure.



Climate in the Greater Poland is much milder than average in Poland and much milder than expected by most of the visitors, who join Poland with Siberian frosts. In fact: severe frosts (minus 10-15C) last in the region no more than 10-12 days yearly, there hasn't been for a few years a seriously lasting snow cover - it's mostly snow inconvenient from sledge, not to mention skiing. Spring is usually short, quickly turning into pretty warm summer. In June, July and August expect quite high temperatures (reaching even 30-32C) and periods of drought. Autumn can be both rainy and foggy (so suitable for guests from the UK) and sunny and mild (16-18C).



As Polish has been homogenized after the many large-scale population movements after World War II and the development of mass media, there is not much left of regional variations of the language. That said, some vocabulary remains specific to Wielkopolskie, mostly nouns and verbs derived from German. However, the knowledge of those is not required to get by.

The German legacy and closeness to the border leads to a higher prevalence of German-speakers than in eastern regions of Poland. English is spoken by most of the younger generation, and by those in service jobs, although not necessarily in state-owned enterprises like the railways or post offices.

Get in


By plane


Poznań-Ławica airport (POZ IATA) is main international airport in the region with scheduled connections to many cities in Europe including hub in Frankfurt (FRA IATA) and flights to London Luton (LTN IATA) and Stansted (STN IATA) airports. It is mostly served by Ryanair and other low costs though some legacy carrier flights may be found, usually by LOT Airlines or Lufthansa. Airport is located inside city and thus easy to reach with transfer connection (lines 159, 148) to main train and bus station. Another options are Warsaw-Chopin (WAW IATA) and Berlin-Brandenburg (BER IATA) airports with both cities well connected to Poznań with both bus and train connections about 3 hour long ride away.

Train station in Kalisz

By train


The main railway hub in the region is Poznań Główny station, which is also one of the largest train stations in Poland thanks to its central position thus providing ample connections with virtually all larger cities in Poland including Warsaw, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Kraków and Szczecin. Daily international connections to Berlin, Munich, Zurich, Amsterdam and Innsbruck with Deutsche Bahn are also available, however transfers may be unreliable due to delays in Germany. Domestic trains also usually stop in Leszno, Gniezno, Piła, Kalisz and Konin as well and these cities should be easily reachable. The fast (pospieszny in polish) trains stop as well in smaller towns however it is best to consult timetables.

By car


Wielkopolskie is easily reachable by car from any direction by A2 (Berlin, Warsaw) and S5 (Gdańsk, Wrocław) motorways. Note that A2 motorway is quite expensive at about €12 to reach Poznań from either direction. Southeastern and northwestern parts of voivodeship including cities of Kalisz and Piła are trickier to reach and will require using narrow and congested regional roads.

By bus


The bus station in Poznań is served by international connections from nearly whole Western and Central Europe including cities of Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Paris, Prague and Vilnius usually operated by Flixbus or Ecolines. There are also frequent connections to virtually any regional city in Ukraine provided by Ukrainian carriers. Domestic connections are available to any larger city and usually are served by Flixbus, Ecolines or Sindbad. Though it may be better to use train inside Poland as it is usually cheaper and faster than bus. Bus stations in other cities serve only local destinations and may have slow connection (if any) with Poznań.

Get around


By train


Trains are the basic mean of transportation in the region. Main regional carrier is Koleje Wielkopolskie which provide services to most major towns and cities in Wielkopolskie. Typical frequency is once in every 2-3 hours with furthest stations (Kalisz, Kutno) being reached after 1½ hour ride. Certain stations closer to Poznań are also part of PKM (Poznań Metropolitan Rail), these are served twice as frequently. Polregio is another regional carrier similar to Koleje Wielkopolskie however it often reaches outside voivodeship. Many larger stations can also be reached by PKP Intercity. It is more expensive and has more delays than others, however on some routes it may be much faster than regional rail. If station has open ticket booths you should buy your ticket there as operating company will incur additional fee at conductor for buying tickets.

The main and the most important junction is Poznań Główny station, through which nearly all trains in the region pass. Other important junctions are; Leszno, Ostrów Wielkopolski and Piła which offer many good connections as well.

By bus


Buses are mostly used for short to medium distance travel and usually connect small towns and villages with main cities of the region e.g. (Poznań, Kalisz, Konin, Piła, Leszno). Poznań and its suburbs (powiat poznański) are well served by municipal buses, including in night hours. In the rest of the region it is a patchwork of private companies with driver and a minibus, local municipal bus companies and leftovers of regional bus companies (PKS). There are few inter-regional connections between cities and towns and these are too unreliable and rare to depend on during travel. Often towns located as close as 5 km from themselves will be reachable only by train (if lucky), through larger city, or by foot/car. Connections between larger cities are also non-existent and you will have to rely on other modes of transportation for these.

By car


Car is probably the most reliable and comfortable method of transportation in whole province. Some places like Ostrów Lednicki are only reachable by car as they have no public transport connection. Fuel prices are one of the lowest in Poland and by extension European Union, which is also a factor to consider. Quality of infrastructure varies and is best in central part of voivodeship around Poznań, while worst quality roads are in southeast around Kalisz, which is long ride away from everything. Driving in centre of Poznań should be avoided by car as it is slow to navigate and has expensive parking spots, driving in other cities should be fine. You may also prefer to use DK92 to A2 as they cover similar areas, but DK is free and has no annoying toll booths, however in exchange it is less safe and more congested.


Warta River near Wronki

The pearls of the region are the first co-capitals (plural!!) of Poland from 10th-11th century with many monuments referring to the beginnings of the Polish State:

  • Two most important centres of the first Poland: Gniezno and Poznań
  • other, which used to be important in early Middle Ages, nowadays - small villages: Giecz (40 km eastwards from Poznań) and Ostrów Lednicki – on the way from Poznań to Gniezno.
Cathedral of Gniezno

Smaller towns with interesting monuments, events and traditions:

  • Kórnik (18 km south-east from Poznań) with a neogothic castle with wonderful interiors and furniture and a dendrological park and - last but not least - with an extremely precious Library with manuscripts dating back to the 13th century
  • Rogalin (16 km to the south from the city) with a baroque-klasicistic palace and its famous painting collection of Raczyński family, horse cabs and very famous oaks (in total: more than 500), including three well-known trees: Lech, Czech and Rus.
  • Puszczykowo (15 km to the south very easily accessible by train) - a very interesting travel museum of a polish traveler Arkady Fedler, the seat of the management of Greater-Poland National Park with a nature museum.
  • Swarzędz (just out of the city limits to the east, toward Warsaw) - a small city famous for the unique in Poland (and one of few in Europe) bee-keeping open-air museums.
  • Nowy Tomyśl with the biggest basket of the world and the Basketry Museum
  • Szamotuły - a town 35 km NW of Poznan with an incredible Icon Museum, Halszka Tower and collegiate church

In Greater Poland it's worth sometimes to drive out of main roads to see e.g.:

  • palaces in Dobrzyca, Śmiełów, Gołuchów or Antonin
  • Szreniawa (15 km to the south-west) - famous for the Agriculture Museum and the Bierbaums-family viewing tower
  • Kazimierz Biskupi near Konin with an old romanesque church
  • Kłodawa with the biggest working salt mine in Poland
  • Tarnowo Pałuckie with the oldest wooden church in the country
  • Wełna with a unique water mills museum situated on a popular canoe trail along Wełna river

Another thing interesting for history-lovers can be the Greater Poland part of the Cistercian Route. In the region the main places on the route are: Wągrowiec, Lekno (where the first Cistercian monastery on polish territories was erected), Owinska - all three north-east of Poznań and Przemet, Obra and Wielen in the south-west part of the region, nearby Wolsztyn. Another monastery was placed in Lad - 70 km east of Poznań, just next to motorway A2.



Greater Poland has a lot to offer for all train-lovers. First: the regions owes the steam-engine depot in Wolsztyn, which is the only one operating in Poland. More: daily there are several regular courses (so not tourist trains) from Wolsztyn to Poznań aln Leszno.

Lake Góreckie in Wielkopolski National Park

Besides the region offers the biggest number of operating narrow gauge railways:

  • Stare Bojanowo - Smigiel - Wielichowo (SKPL)
  • Środa Wielkopolska - Zaniemyśl
  • Pleszew - Pleszew Miasto (SKPL)
  • Opatowek - Turek (SKPL)
  • Gniezno - Witkowo [1] [dead link]
  • and nearby Bialosliwie (Piła region) mailto:

The railways marked above are owned by SKPL company, which is the first private rail operator in Poland. More informations (Polish only) can be found:[2][dead link]. Both SKPL and other operators can organize (on request) special trains for groups.

Another thing to do is active tourism, which is very easy to do in the region. Greater Poland is known very well for its network of cycle trails:

  • The One-Hundred-Lakes Trails leading from Poznań north west to the Miedzychod-Sierakow Lake District
  • The Piast Trails from Poznań through Ostrów Lednicki, Gniezno to Mogilno and to Kruszwica in the neighbouring Kujawy region.
  • The trans-wielkopolska trail from the northernmost parts of the region north of Piła to Poznań
  • The trans-wielkopolska trail from Poznań, through Jarocin, Gołuchów, Kalisz to picturesque Ostrzeszów Hills in the south of Greater Poland
  • The Nobility trail – linking many preserved palaces of nobility families in the central and southern parts of the region, starting in Mosina (18km south of Poznań) leading south through Leszno to Rawicz
  • The Amber trail – linking tourist places in the east of Greater Poland from Kalisz to Konin
  • The Warta trail – from Poznań more or less exactly along Warta river to the south and east, ending in Koło

Several trains on the routes from Wolsztyn to Poznan (departures from Wolsztyn appr. 5:30 and appr. 11:30, and from Poznan appr. 9:30 and 15:30) and from Wolsztyn to Leszno (departure from Wolsztyn appr. 6:00, back from Leszno appr. 15:30) are served - as the only ones in Poland - by steam locomotives. (Departures are given "appr." because of frequent timetable changes, which are the result of many track-works, especially in the Poznań junction).



Regional cuisine borrows heavily from German one and is based around two ingredients: potatoes and dairy, with heavy emphasis on former. Many of below mentioned dishes were created in 19th century as a result of introduction of potatoes in Prussia and influx of German migrants into Greater Poland.

St. Martin's croissants

St. Martin's Croissant - famous pastry with long history dating to pre-Christian times. Their shape was supposed to resemble ox horns, later Catholic church associated it with lost horseshoe of St. Martin's horse. It is made with white poppy seeds, raisins, orange peel, walnuts, biscuit crumbs, eggs and almond flavour. Traditionally baked on 11th November for namesday of St. Martin and donated to poor. Croissants can have certification, however you may prefer to look for non-certified croissants, as the protected recipe was unfortunately rearranged to cut corners and uses margarine instead of traditional butter.

Pyry z gzikiem - potatoes with cottage cheese, very simple regional dish originating in 19th century. Potatoes are often unpeeled. Best eaten in summer, or early autumn when potatoes are fresh and tender. Served with handful of dill and pepper.

Golonka po wielkopolsku - boiled pork knuckle, borrowed from and similar to German Eisbein. Hearty and fat regional dish boiled over long time. Half way through boiling carrots, onions, leek and spices are added. Served with cabbage, peas, horseradish and mustard. There are many restaurants which specialise in golonka.

Ser smażony (Roasted cheese) - crushed cheese (twaróg) left over for few days then roasted on butter and mixed with egg yolk. Sometimes cumin is included too. Very intense smell and taste. Also sold in stores as Wielkopolski ser smażony.

Szagówki - named so because the dough is cut at angle. Dumplings made from potatoes. Usually eaten sweet with smetana and sugar. Can also be eaten savoury alongside pork or beef, in this case it replaces the usual potatoes.

Szare kluchy - Delicate noodles made from potatoes, served with sauerkraut and bacon. Often accompanies more hearty dishes.

Stuffed goose or duck - Polish dish with regional twist. In Greater Poland it is usually served stuffed with apples and served with red cabbage and pyzy - local knödel like yeast bread . It is customary to eat it on 11th November similar to St. Martin's croissants.



Greater Poland is strong on beer and you should definitely look for local brewed beer. Restaurants and liquor stores usually sell one. It is best to ask seller as these brands may not be easily recognizable.

Stay safe


Greater Poland is quite serene when it comes to crime. Region is relatively prosperous and unemployment is virtually non-existent even in smaller towns. Even bike theft is uncommon. If you are ever to encounter crime it will usually be in Poznań which struggles with clip joint. Stay away from rail neighborhoods as they tend to attract shady people.

Eastern part of voivodeship is less developed and may be less accepting of people of colour or LGBT with city of Konin and its environs being conservative stronghold.

Go next


Greater Poland Voivodeship borders seven other Polish provinces:

This region travel guide to Wielkopolskie is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!