Warsaw has something for everyone: whether you’re a lover of history, food, adventure, science, culture or shopping the city has something that’ll pique your interest.
There’s so much to see and do that you just can’t see it all in a weekend break, so I decided to put together a top ten of things to see and do in Warsaw…
Things to see and do in Warsaw
1/ Warsaw Old Town
It’s old but not as you know it – rebuilt after the Warsaw Uprising, the city’s Old Town is made up of buildings around 70 years old, but designed to look like they’re more like 200!
Beautiful cobbled streets, colour buildings with gargoyles and grotesques, and picturesque squares filled with cafes, churches and restaurants, it shouldn’t be missed.
2/ The Royal Castle
You can tell that that palace isn’t ancient, but even so it still has those classically gaudy rooms you expect from a royal palace, with colourful wallpaper and curtains and over the top decorations. Rebuilt during the ‘70s and 80’s, the castle was destroyed during WWII, but locals protected what they could, which means you can still see original features like King Stanislav’s throne and there’s also an impressive Canaletto Room, filled with the artist’s work.
Top tips: Entrance to the Royal Palace is free on Sundays. In addition, the castle looks completely different from the riverside, so be sure to take a stroll down there to check it out.
3/ Royal Lazienki Park
This place is huge and a must see during any trip to Warsaw. Created in the 17th century, this was the summer residence of Poland’s last king. The expansive grounds include a wide range of landscapes – from wooded pathways and lakes through to palaces, themed gardens and even amphitheatres and museums.
Ooh and ah over the Palace on the Island before jumping on a gondola and then go exploring to see what beautiful buildings, statues or gardens you might find. You may even bump into a peacock or two! During my trip I loved the Chinese-themed area full of lanterns and dragon decorations.
Top tip: In the summertime there are free Chopin concerts here every Sunday at midday and 4pm.
4/ An escape room
If you’re up for a bit of fun then be sure to hear to one of the city’s many escape room sites – the last we heard there are 15 different companies offering these, and this is likely to grow! These are rooms – with different difficulty levels available – which see you locked inside for an hour as you try to solve the puzzles and escape before the clock runs out.
A growing fad, we’re seeing more of these appear all over the world, but they’re a great price in Warsaw – we paid £30 for all four of us here, and having looked at the prices in the UK you can pay that much per person!
This was our first escape room experience and we chose an Indiana Jones-themed room. It was an absolute blast and our kids are now hooked so this could become a regular holiday activity!
5/ The Uprising Museum
The story of the Warsaw Uprising is so sad, but I loved that the city has created such an amazing museum in dedication of the people who fought and gave their lives during this time.
An immersive experience, the museum uses video and sound amongst other things to tell the story of the Warsaw Uprising, from before to during and after. At its heart is a monument that reaches through all the floors of the museum, its beating heart can be heard throughout, and if you get close you’ll discover that in the ‘bullet holes’ across the monument are speakers, which have locals telling stories of the people involved in the ‘Uprising.
It’s a very busy attraction and at times can be hard to get to some of the exhibitions, but it’s worth a visit as the ‘Uprising is still a key part of the city’s identity even today.
6/ Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
A beautiful monument, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier can be found on Piłsudski Square and is the only surviving part of the Saxon Palace that occupied the spot until World War II.
Every Sunday there is a ceremonial changing of the guard, which takes place at midday. Well worth stopping by for.
Top tip: I’d recommend getting there at least five minutes early for the changing of the guard in order to get a good spot to see the soldiers march by.
7/ The Copernicus Science Centre
A renowned interactive science museum, the Copernicus Centre is the perfect attraction for rainy days. There’s so much here to see and do that you can easily while away hours here, comparing your speed to a cheetah, making giant bubbles or heading out to space via the planetarium.
Top tip: Arrive early – the Copernicus Centre gets very busy and when they reach a certain capacity they stop letting people in (although you can join a long queue to wait for a spot as people leave).
8/ The Palace of Culture and Science
Located on Europe’s biggest square, this building is currently the highest in Poland. Supposedly the locals either love it or hate it, as it was a gift from the Soviets.
Personally I thought it was beautiful, even though I chuckled it reminded me of the building from the original Ghostbusters movie. I didn’t have time to actually go inside, but this building houses both the museum of Technology and the Museum of Evolution, plus the 30th floor is a viewing point for great photos of the city…
9/ St Florian’s Cathedral
Sadly I didn’t make it to the other side of the river, home to the growing hip district of Praga. Towering over everything else you’ll find the beautiful St Florian’s Cathedral – a neo gothic structure built at the end of the 19th century. I’ll definitely be heading there when I make it back.
10/ Neon Museum
What a novel idea for a museum! The Neon Museum is one of a kind in Poland, and if you’re looking for a unique trip out, well here you go. Found in the Soho Factory in Praga, it’s full of colourful polish signs from the 60s and 70s. Oh and run by the non-profit organisation the Neon Foundation, you don’t buy tickets, rather bricks?!
Top tip: Be sure to plan a trip here in advance – the museum is only open on afternoons from Thurs-Sat.
What you mustn’t miss in Warsaw!
This list is in no way a definitive list of all Warsaw’s attractions – as I learnt pretty quickly, Warsaw has a surprising amount of things to see and do!
I’ve shared with you my ‘mustn’t miss’ list, but to find out more about what the city has to offer I recommend visiting the Fall in love with Warsaw website.