For an entertaining day trip on narrow rails, step aboard a train running along this heritage railway. This narrow-gauge line was opened in 1894 to carry sugar beets to the local sugar factory, and also functioned as public transport. The passenger service was cancelled in 1962, but the line lives on as a tourist attraction.
Once the train leaves the dinky narrow-gauge station at Żnin (east of the town’s bus station), it trundles very slowly through a succession of low green hills covered with crops, pausing briefly at a stop serving the village of Wenecja before reaching the Wenecja Narrow Gauge Railway Museum, a showcase of narrow little engines, carriages and their associated memorabilia. Across the rails from the museum are the ruins of a 14th-century castle.
The next stop on the line is the Archaeological Reserve at Biskupin, a major attraction; then the train finally reaches the village of Gąsawa. The main sight of interest here is St Nicholas' Church, a 17th-century wooden structure with an unusual mix of architectural styles: Gothic, baroque, neoclassical and more modern additions. When the church was renovated in 1999, the workers discovered original frescoes that had been covered up by a mixture of reeds and plaster. The paintings depict saints and other Biblical figures, and have been revealed by careful ‘excavation’.
If you take an early train from Żnin, it’s possible to stop off at the railway museum, Biskupin and Gąsawa, then return to Żnin on the last train of the day. Four trains depart from Żnin daily from May to August between 9am and 1.50pm. An extra train departs Żnin at 3.35pm during Biskupin's archaeological festival, and Saturday and Sunday in July and August, making the return journey from Gąsawa at 5.10pm. The tourist office in Żnin can help with times.
Unless you have your own transport, you will probably need to stay overnight at Hotel Martina in Żnin.