Rogalin, situated some 30km south of Poznań, has an impressive, two-storey baroque palace that was home to Polish aristocratic clan, the Raczyński family. The central structure and two modest symmetrical wings are linked to the main body by curving galleries, forming a giant horseshoe around a vast forecourt. Tours are with multilingual audio guides. Combined tickets also give admission to the London Study, Portrait Gallery, Coach House and Painting Gallery.
The 45-minute palace tour with audio guide focuses entirely on the history of the palace and the Raczyński family.
If you have bought a combined ticket, make your way across the grounds afterwards to the Painting Gallery (Galeria Obrazów), an adapted greenhouse with an impressive display of Polish and European canvases from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Polish collection includes some first-class work, with Jacek Malczewski best represented. The dominant work, though, is Jan Matejko’s massive Joan of Arc.
The London Study and Portrait Gallery are located on the opposite side of the courtyard. The London Study is a recreation of that used by Edward B Raczynski, who stayed in London after Poland was invaded by Germany in 1939. He lived in the UK until he died at the ripe old age of 101. The Coach House is small but interesting, housing a dozen old coaches in different designs.
Opposite the main house is a small French garden, which leads into the larger English landscaped park, originally laid out in primeval oak forest. Not much of the park’s design can be deciphered today, but the ancient oak trees are still here, some of them centuries old. The three most imposing specimens have been fenced off and baptised with the names Lech, Czech and Rus, after the legendary founders of the Polish, Czech and Russian nations. If you have the time, stroll through the landscape in and around the palace and make a picnic of the day in warm weather.
Entrance to the palace is free one weekday each week (the actual day generally changes each year).
One more place to see is the chapel, built in the 1820s to serve as a mausoleum for the Raczyński family. It’s a replica of the Roman temple known as the Maison Carrée in Nîmes, southern France. It lies 300m east of the entrance to the palace grounds. If you'd like to visit outside of regular opening hours, book ahead.
Depending on whether you visit on a weekday or Saturday (it's barely possible by public transport on a Sunday), there are two ways to reach Rogalin from Poznań. A direct PKS bus leaves the bus station in Poznań on Saturday at 10.30am (11.30zł, 45 minutes). One returns to Poznań just before 4pm. Check these times with the bus information office at the bus station before setting out.
To get to Rogalin from Poznań on a weekday, take a train to the Poznań satellite town of Mosina (6.50zł, 25 minutes, hourly) and change there to bus 699 to Rogalin (3.20zł, 25 minutes). A 9.40am train to Mosina connects with a 10:30am bus to Rogalin. Bus 699 leaves Rogalin in the late afternoon at 4.27pm. The tourist information office at Poznań Główny train station can help with planning.