In panorama understanding, the widely used equirectangular projection (ERP) entails boundary discontinuity and spatial distortion. It severely deteriorates the conventional CNNs and vision Transformers on panoramas. In this paper, we propose a simple yet effective architecture named PanoSwin to learn panorama representations with ERP. To deal with the challenges brought by equirectangular projection, we explore a pano-style shift windowing scheme and novel pitch attention to address the boundary discontinuity and the spatial distortion, respectively. Besides, based on spherical distance and Cartesian coordinates, we adapt absolute positional encodings and relative positional biases for panoramas to enhance panoramic geometry information. Realizing that planar image understanding might share some common knowledge with panorama understanding, we devise a novel two-stage learning framework to facilitate knowledge transfer from the planar images to panoramas. We conduct experiments against the state-of-the-art on various panoramic tasks, i.e., panoramic object detection, panoramic classification, and panoramic layout estimation. The experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of PanoSwin in panorama understanding.