Last Updated on July 25, 2023 by Dina
Warsaw is the capital of Poland and one of the largest cities in Europe. It is located in the central part of the country and has a population of approximately 1.8 million people.
Warsaw has a rich history dating back to the 14th century. During World War II, the city suffered serious damage and was subsequently rebuilt – today it is one of the most important cities in Europe. Read the ultimate travel guide of My Pretty Travels Blog and discover the best things to do in Warsaw!
Warsaw at a glance
I recommend that you learn about the attractions of Warsaw before your visit so that you can adjust your expectations accordingly and enjoy the city without disappointment. As in all other cities, it is important to know what the city has to offer in order to make the most of it. Let’s check them before discovering the best things to do in Warsaw.
- The city has a rich history, but as I mentioned earlier, it was almost completely destroyed during World War II. What you see today, buildings, squares, etc. are often not “authentic” in the sense that they are landmarks that were rebuilt exactly as they were!
- Warsaw is full of museums, galleries, and exhibitions. So even if it’s cold/snowy, you can still have a good time visiting museums and other indoor spaces.
- It is a fairly large city – you won’t be able to walk around the entire city. You will need to take a taxi or public transport to get around.
- Warsaw today is a modern city with many job opportunities: many companies have relocated their headquarters to Poland.
- It is cheap! They don’t have euros, but the Polish Zloty – so it’s perfect for an affordable getaway.
- The Old Town of Warsaw is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List. It includes picturesque streets, temples, colorful houses, as well as a medieval castle.
8 BEST THINGS TO DO IN WARSAW
#1. VISIT THE OLD TOWN
The Old Town of Warsaw, also known as Stare Miasto, is located in the heart of Warsaw and it’s beautiful! It is considered one of the best-preserved historic areas in Europe and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980.
When it comes to the best things to do in Warsaw, a visit to the Old Town is definitely a must-see. The Old Town is characterized by its picturesque cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and relaxed atmosphere. The central square, Market Square, dates back to the 13th century and is surrounded by charming buildings. There you will find many cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops. It’s worth taking the time to sit and have a coffee, try a traditional drink, and shop for souvenirs.
Here are also held the Christmas markets of Warsaw. Christmas in Poland is very beautiful (as well as Christmas in snowy Vienna). What’s better than a beautiful snowy European capital and the classic glühwein?
💎 My Pretty Travels Tip –If you want to shop for souvenirs, this is the best area! You’ll have a hard time finding a better place in other neighborhoods of Warsaw.
#2. ATTEND A CHOPIN CONCERT IN THE OLD TOWN
***It is recommended to buy tickets a few days in advance***
One thing you absolutely must do in Warsaw is attend a piano concert! It’s a very popular activity in the city: if you didn’t know, Frederic Chopin was one of the most famous classical music composers and was born very close to Warsaw.
Even if you’re not a fan of classical music, I highly recommend dedicating an hour to enjoy the best classical music from top pianists. You can buy tickets online from here.
I wasn’t 100% sure and when I decided, for that day the tickets had sold out with the pianist I wanted, I had to look for an alternative solution. Don’t skip it – book your tickets at least a few days in advance! The experience lasts for 1 hour and it’s something different that’s worth experiencing.
Also, the location is in the old town, so it’s very convenient to go for food or drinks afterwards.
#3. VISIT THE ROYAL CASTLE
If you’re looking for the best thing to do in Warsaw, visiting the Royal Castle in the Old Town should be at the top of your list! This historic castle has been standing since the 14th century and has been the residence of Polish kings for centuries.
Despite being destroyed during the Swedish invasion in the 18th century, the castle has been renovated and now operates as one of the largest museums in Poland. With audio guides available, you can take a self-guided tour through the castle’s many buildings and halls, admiring works of art, paintings, sculptures, and antiques along the way.
Even if you’ve seen other European royal castles before, the Royal Castle is definitely worth a visit to learn more about Poland’s rich history, art, and culture. And if you’re on a budget, be sure to visit on Wednesdays when admission is free!
#4. VISIT LAZIENKI PARK FOR A RELAXING DAY OUT
If you happen to visit Warsaw during good weather, you must visit Lazienki Park! It is one of the largest and most popular parks in the city, featuring rivers, lakes, and many historical buildings.
It is generally a very beautiful place to relax and have a cup of coffee – after all, you are on vacation, right? There, you will also find the Lazienki Palace, which was built in the late 17th century as a summer residence for the King of Poland, Stanislaw August Poniatowski. They s palace is an impressive building, and they say that visiting is one of the best things to do in Warsaw but since we had already visited another palace, we skipped this one.
If you are traveling to Warsaw with children, the park is perfect because you will see squirrels, and ducks, and it is completely safe and clean.
#5. ENJOY THE VIEW FROM ABOVE – THE PALACE OF CULTURE AND SCIENCE
If you want to see Warsaw from above, visit the Palace of Culture and Science in the heart of the city. It is a tall building, 237 meters high, constructed in the 1950s as a gift from the Soviet Union to Poland. Today, the building serves as a center for cultural and scientific events, with museums, offices, and other floors, but as a tourist, what you can do is buy a ticket for the top floor and admire the view from above. It won’t take you long, perhaps half an hour, but it’s worth it as an experience, as it is considered one of the best things to do in Warsaw! Just remember that the space is open on the top floor, so if the weather is not good, I would advise you to avoid it.
The Palace of Culture and Science is an iconic landmark of Warsaw and a popular tourist attraction..However, some people view the building as a reminder of Poland’s communist past and its Soviet domination. Despite this, it remains a symbol of the city and an important part of its cultural heritage.
#6. EXPLORE THE TREASURES OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM IN WARSAW
If you’re looking for the best thing to do in Warsaw, visiting The National Museum in Warsaw should definitely be on your list. The National Museum in Warsaw is one of the most important museums in Poland, located in the city center. It was founded in 1862 and houses approximately 830,000 works of art, from antiquities to contemporary works, as well as archives and collections from all over the country.
The museum boasts collections of paintings, sculptures, iconography, archaeology, and decorative art, as well as printed books and maps. It’s an interesting museum that you can easily spend 2-3 hours exploring and learning more about the history of Poland. If you only have 1 or 2 days in the city, you could skip it, but if you have several days, it’s definitely worth a visit.
#7. EXPLORE WARSAW’S ROYAL ROUTE
The Royal Route is a 10-kilometer-long route that connects the Zamek Królewski in the Warsaw Castle with the Wilanów Palace in the southern suburbs of the city. It is one of the most popular areas in Warsaw, visited by both tourists and locals. One of the best things to do in Warsaw is to walk along the Royal Route (you don’t have to walk the entire length) and admire some of the best sights of Warsaw.
Along the route, you can see attractions such as the Palace Square, the Presidential Palace, and luxury hotels, and if you enjoy walking, you can end up in the Łazienki Park.
#8. DISCOVER THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER MONUMENT & THE SAXON GARDENS
The Monument of the Unknown Soldier and the Saxon Gardens are two other popular tourist destinations in Warsaw. The Monument of the Unknown Soldier is located in Pilsudski Square, near the center of the city, and is dedicated to the fallen soldiers of Poland. The Saxon Gardens are located just behind the monument and are one of the most popular parks in the city. It is also clean, safe, and perfect for relaxing after a walk. Again, I would emphasize that especially if you are traveling with children and the weather is good, it is perfect for a few hours of relaxation.
SHOPPING IN WARSAW: WHAT TO BUY?
Warsaw is a city with a wide variety of markets and shops, so there are many things you can buy depending on your interests. Shopping can be one of the best things to do in Warsaw if you know where to go! Some of Warsaw’s most popular shopping destinations include Arkadia shopping center, which offers a great variety of branded clothes, shoes, accessories, and other products.
If you love shopping in general and have come to Warsaw for that, Złote Tarasy mall offers many brands at good prices. Additionally, you can visit the old town of Warsaw, where you’ll find many souvenir shops, handmade jewelry stores, and local products. If you’re into books, you can visit the Empik bookstore, while if you want to buy local food and drinks, you can go to Hala Mirowska, a large market with fruits, vegetables, and other local products.
Is there nightlife in Warsaw? Of course and having a good time is definitely one of the best things to do in Warsaw!
The city is full of bars, cocktail lounges, clubs, beer halls, and places to have fun. There are so many that your problem will probably be deciding where to go first! One area with bars is right across the river, called Praga. There you will find several restaurants and bars to drink your Polish beers or cocktails. It’s a bit alternative and attracts a lot of young people. Here are some addresses for your night walks in Warsaw.
Once you go to the last bar, you will see that it is on a pedestrian street that has several clubs and music venues on the left/right. In the background, there is something like a shopping area that has various bars inside and restaurants – when I went there was live music and quite a crowd.
If you want to experience the nightlife in Warsaw a bit more intensely and are looking for shot bars, a student crowd, and dirt-cheap beers, head to Pawilony: on the main street with the shops, you will see a small alley where many people go in and out. There are bars there – not necessarily high quality, but definitely cheap. If you are in the 20-25 age range, I think it’s just what you need!
WHERE TO STAY IN WARSAW
Where to stay in Warsaw? As the capital, it has endless options and you won’t have trouble finding something affordable and good. The average price of a double room in Warsaw is around 50 euros per night (not in high season!).
I stayed in the Old Town: it is a fairly quiet place, where no cars pass at night, pedestrian, and therefore I had a more authentic experience of the city. The negative, of course, is that the restaurants you will find there are all touristy (without, of course, meaning that they are not good!), but for example, if you want something more modern or to go somewhere with good cocktails, you will have trouble. From this point of view, I would say it is better not to stay in the Old Town, but to prefer somewhere centrally located in the New Town. Check out the following deals on booking.com before you book your stay.
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