Biskupin Archaeological Reserve

Top choice in Wielkopolska

Biskupin’s re-created Iron Age town site, with its wooden palisades, thatched roofs and costumed historical re-enactors, is a stimulating way to learn about the distant past. The fortified lake town was built about 2700 years ago by a tribe of the Lusatian culture, then rediscovered in 1933 by a school teacher who noticed wooden stakes poking out of the lake. You can either wander through the grounds on your own or organise an English-speaking guide in advance for 150zł.

Once past the gate, follow the path to the museum, which presents finds excavated on and around the island, together with background information. There’s also a model of the town as it once looked. The interiors of a few houses have been fitted out as they may have been 2700 years ago. Within the thatched structures you’ll find various stalls selling handcrafted arrows, jewellery and replica coins, and a man in period garb giving hatchet-throwing demonstrations out front. The ticket office sells publications about the site in English.

Biskupin’s Archaeological Festival is a highlight of the region, with demonstrations of ancient cultures including dance, handcrafts and food. You’ll also witness rousing re-enactments of battles between Germanic and Slavic tribes, providing a colourful (and photogenic) spectacle.

The pleasure boat Diabeł Wenecki departs several times a day for a short trip around the lake from the wharf near the Archaeological Reserve gateway. It leaves every 30 minutes, or when it has 10 passengers.

There are five to six weekday bus connections with the archaeological reserve at Biskupin to/from Żnin (6.50zł, 20 minutes) and to/from Gąsawa (4.10zł, three minutes) but none on weekends. The last bus leaves the museum for Żnin just after 3pm. Buses also run between Żnin and Gąsawa every one or two hours weekdays, and several times on Saturday and Sunday (5zł, 15 minutes). If you get stuck at the reserve in Biskupin, walk 2km to Gąsawa and take an evening bus back. Five weekday buses run from Żnin to Gniezno (14zł, one hour, last one at 12.15pm), but fewer on weekends. Most continue on to Poznań (21zł, 1½ hours).

A narrow-gauge tourist train operates from May to September, from Żnin to Gąsawa, passing Biskupin on the way (7zł to 10zł, 40 minutes). The Biskupin station is right by the entrance to the reserve. In Żnin, the station is 150m east of the bus station; in Gąsawa it’s 700m southwest of the Rynek on the Gniezno road.