Top 30 places to see in Warsaw
Warsaw is a city with centuries of history. Since the 16th century it has been the capital of Poland. The city has been repeatedly attacked by enemy nations. The greatest damage was inflicted on Warsaw at the end of World War II. The city was razed to the ground. The residents of Warsaw rebuilt it literally brick by brick. Thanks to their work, Warsaw is today a thriving city, enjoying both residents and tourists in its beauty and unique architectural style.
30 things to see in Warsaw
- See the bronze column of King Sigismund in Castle Square. It was this monarch who once moved the capital of Poland from Krakow to Warsaw. Also on the square you can touch a medieval monument – a fragment of a fortress wall, which in ancient times surrounded the Old Town.
- It is one of the main attractions of Warsaw – Royal Castle, the former residence of Polish monarchs. There are always different exhibitions open for tourists. You can wander through the castle halls, enjoy the exhibition of landscapes. By the way, entrance to the castle on Sundays is completely free.
- Take a photo with the statue of the Warsaw Siren on the Market Square. This statue is a symbol of the city. The locals will gladly tell you the ancient legend connected with it.
- Walk around the palace and park complex Royal Lazienki. The area of the complex is 76 hectares. Here you can not only walk around the park zone, but also visit the famous Lazienki Palace on the island, the Myshlewicz Palace, the Hermitage, the Diana sanctuary, and many other places of interest.
- Take an excursion to Wilanów Palace, one of the few buildings that survived the Second World War.
- Watch the film “Warsaw Will Never Forget” at the Historical Museum. The film tells of the impressive extent of the destruction of the Polish capital during World War II and the painstaking work of the restorers who rebuilt the city. The museum exhibition is very diverse and occupies 4 floors, so you will not get bored.
- Old Town. It is one of the most beautiful places in Warsaw. You can feel the historical atmosphere of medieval Warsaw, take a walk in cobblestone streets, take a ride in a real carriage.
- Market Square. Here you can buy works of local artists, or order a portrait of yourself.
- If you want to go on a 3-hour bicycle tour around Warsaw, you can order one in Russian.
- To visit the National Art Gallery “Zachęta” (Zachęta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki)
11. Visit the Warsaw Zoo. Now the collection of the Warsaw Zoo has almost 5 thousand animals, among which there are rare and endangered species.
Taste national Polish cuisine in small family restaurants, e.g. “At Fuker’s”. Order the famous bigos, zrazy, or pazy. Try the marinated pork hooves. The gastronomic pleasure is inexpressible.
13. Try a taste of Polish beer (Bazyliszek, Pinta, Artezan) in one of the many pubs of the city. For example in the pub PiwPaw.
14. See a spectacular light and sound water show at the Multimedia Fountain Park.
15. Enjoy the divine sound of the organ in St. John’s Cathedral, near Castle Square. It was in this cathedral that the coronation of the last Polish king took place.
16. Visit a unique landmark in Warsaw – the two-tiered exotic plant garden on the roof of the library of the University of Warsaw. Admission for tourists is free!
17. Visit the Museum of the Polish Army and the National Museum as well. Why two museums in one point? Because they are located in one building.
18. To see the wonderful Chopin Museum in Warsaw.
19. To visit the Warsaw Uprising Museum on Bartycka Street. Immediately after the war, out of the rubble of the destroyed city almost 120-meter high mound with a monument to Poland at war on top was poured.
20. To feel like a real researcher, to make an independent scientific discovery in the Copernicus Science Center.
21. To see the Palace of Culture and Science, a gift of the Soviet people to Poland. This building is the tallest in all of Poland, and it also has the second largest clock in the world. From the observation deck of the building there is a beautiful view of the city.
22. Visit the observation deck on the top floor of the Palace of Culture and Science (Pałac Kultury i Nauki). From the observation deck you can see the whole capital city.
23. Taste delicious sweets made according to old Polish recipes at Blikle.
24. Have a good time at Wodny Park water park.
25. Visit the largest church in Warsaw – Holy Cross Church built in the 16th century.
26. Take a photo against the Barbican wall that was built in the 14th century and protected the city from invaders until the end of the 18th century. 27.
27. See the exhibitions at the Center for Contemporary Art (Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej)
28. Expand your knowledge at the Museum of Technology and Industry (Muzeum Techniki i Przemysłu), also located in the Palace of Culture and Science.
29 . Enjoy jazz music in the Tygmont Jazz Club.
30. For those who love geology, we recommend visiting the Geological Museum of the State Geological Institute (Muzeum Geologiczne Państwowego Instytutu Geologicznego).
Nowadays Warsaw is much less popular with tourists than other European capitals. And for good reason. It is a beautiful city that is always glad to see tourists!
The 35 most interesting sights in Warsaw
The capital of Poland, a city with centuries of history and bustling modern life, is famous for its historical sights. The cathedrals hold the heart of Frederic Chopin, ancient icons and other religious relics. Warsaw’s palaces, which are a must-see, impress with their grandeur and beauty. Once you know all this, you can make your own route around Warsaw.
Sightseeing tours in the Polish capital
Anyone interested in the history and architecture of European cities will find it interesting to walk around the city accompanied by an experienced guide who can tell you about the palaces and monuments. When you come to Warsaw you can go on special tours, such as “Secrets and Legends of Warsaw”, “Warsaw Chopin”, walking tours of the Old Town and the Royal Lazienki.
Night Capital of Poland from the Vistula River
Independently you can visit the Fountain Park, Copernicus Science Center and Maria Curie Museum, the Warsaw Uprising Museum, take a walk along the Royal Route or, if you have time, explore the surroundings.
What to see in one day in Warsaw by yourself
In one day you can explore the Old Town or choose one or two thematic routes. Short distances of the Old Town will allow you to get around the famous churches of Warsaw. You can devote a day to the parks, starting with the Lazienkowski Park in the morning and ending with the Fountain Park in the evening.
Fans of Chopin will prefer to visit the museum dedicated to his life and work, the Church of the Holy Cross and take a photo next to the monument to the composer. Those interested in the history of World War II will find it useful to visit the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising and find monuments to the Young Insurgent and Ghetto Heroes.
If you have two days to spare, you can add to the aforementioned routes a visit to medieval dungeons or several palaces with parks around them. It is definitely worth seeing the narrowest house in the world, and learning about the history of Polish Jews in a museum. Using a map or guidebook you can easily find the most interesting and unusual places in the Polish capital.
A bird’s eye view of the city
Interesting places to go with children
The city has many things to do and places to see with children. Children will enjoy watching and stroking animals in the zoo, and learning about the origins of civilization and where light comes from in the Copernicus Science Center.
There is a water park with pools for children and adults and slides of different heights. In winter, you can skate on the city’s market square, admire Christmas decorations and drink hot chocolate in one of the cafes on the Royal Route. Children will also be interested to see the monument to the Mermaid and listen to the legends about her.
Where to take beautiful pictures in Warsaw
In summer numerous parks in Warsaw attract citizens and tourists. You can picnic and feed squirrels in the Lazienki Park. Go boating in Wilanów Palace Park. Take a walk along the Warsaw Citadel and the picturesque banks of the Vistula River. It will be nice to walk through the Old Town, see the numerous palaces and monuments and take memorable photos there.
The Royal Castle dates back to the 14th century. At that time the castle consisted of a tower and several wooden structures next to it. The castle we see today was built by King Sigismund III in the 16th century and since then has been the residence of kings, presidents and members of parliament. During World War II the castle was completely destroyed, but then it was rebuilt. The tour of the castle begins in the royal chambers, exquisitely furnished and decorated with paintings depicting scenes from Polish history.
The Column of Sigismund III
The Column of Sigismund III stands in the heart of Warsaw’s Old Town. The monument was erected in 1644 in honor of the man who made Warsaw the capital of Poland. The statue depicts King Sigismund holding a sword, which symbolizes courage, and a cross, which speaks of his willingness to fight for truth. Legend has it that when the sword falls from the king’s hand, disaster will strike the city. The prophecy came true during the Warsaw Uprising, when the controversial actions of the Poles against the army of the Third Reich resulted in thousands of deaths and the city was destroyed.
The square in front of the Royal Castle was built as part of the palace ensemble of the Old Town. It is a wide square surrounded by beautiful old buildings. In the center of it stands the Column of Sigismund III. The square is a favorite meeting place for citizens and tourists, there are many cafes and restaurants.
Church of St. John the Baptist
The church of St. John the Baptist was built in the 14th century, but the building that exists today was rebuilt after the war. In one of the walls of the church is a fragment of a tracked tank, which shots destroyed the building. The church serves as a tomb for the ashes of famous citizens – the last king of Poland Stanislaw Poniatowski, the first president Gabriel Narutowicz, the writer Henryk Sienkiewicz and other famous Poles.
Holy Cross Church
The Church of the Holy Cross is the most visited church in Warsaw. In the 15th century it was a small wooden chapel, then rebuilt in the Polish Baroque style. The church is famous for the fact that in one of its walls rests the heart of Frederic Chopin. The composer died in France and, according to legend, on his deathbed asked for his heart to be returned to his native Poland. Chopin himself is buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris, and his heart is laid to rest in his homeland.
Fountain and Mermaid Sculpture
Standing on the Market Square Mermaid with a sword and shield is a favorite of Poles. It is the symbol of Warsaw and its coat of arms. Mermaid’s images can be found everywhere – on flags, mugs, T-shirts and buses. There are several versions of Mermaid’s origin, but what they all have in common is that she is Warsaw’s protector. That’s why she stands on the square, ready for battle. The monument is installed in the center of a round fountain, around which in winter a skating rink is organized.
Old Town Market Square
The square was built together with the foundation of Warsaw in the 13th century. After the war it was rebuilt according to all architectural styles – Renaissance, Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassical. It is here that dozens of souvenir stores, boutiques and some of Warsaw’s top restaurants are located. The Mermaid Monument stands in the center.
St. Anne’s Church
St. Anne’s Church is one of the oldest churches in Warsaw, built in the 14th century. Since then, the church has seen several devastations and has been rebuilt differently each time and today its late Baroque facade resembles the one rebuilt in 1788. Next to the church there is a tower erected in the 16th century. 147 steps lead to a platform with a beautiful view of the Old Town.
Church of St. Casimir
The St. Casimir’s Church originally served as the residence of a wealthy Polish family, but in 1688 Queen Maria Casimira Sobieska bought the building and gave it to the order of nuns she brought to the city. During the war a hospital was opened in the church, which turned it into a target for enemy bombing. In 1944 more than a thousand people who were hiding in the church were killed in an air attack and the building was destroyed. It took six years to rebuild it.
Krakowskie Przedmiescie is a promenade in Warsaw, part of the Royal Route. Along it are the most beautiful buildings and cathedrals of the city, as well as many bars and restaurants, where you can find any cuisine. In the mid-2000s the street was modernized, widened and covered with granite from China. The famous Chopin benches have been installed here, sitting on which you can read about the composer’s life and, by pressing a button, listen to fragments of his works.
The Royal Tract is a wide avenue that connects the Castle Square of the Old Town with the Lazienki Park. Today, the tract connects several of the most beautiful streets of Warsaw – Krakowskie Przedmieski, Nowy Svyat, Ujazdowski Avenue, Belwederska Street. Along the streets are located the University of Warsaw, the Chopin Museum, the Academy of Fine Arts, the Church of the Holy Cross and many other buildings. In 1994, the Royal Route was recognized as a historical monument.
The dungeons stretch under the Old Town of Warsaw. The oldest of them are about 700 years old. There are many legends connected with the dungeons, and one of them tells of a terrible monster – Basilisk, who lived in the dungeons and had countless riches. He turned everyone who trespassed on its treasures to stone with his gaze. But a man was found who guessed to show the basilisk a mirror. The beast turned to stone, and the wealth went to the trickster.
The palace “Under the Badge
The palace “Under the Badge” was built in the 18th century and served as a residence of the Polish kings. It owes its name to the copper roof. Today the palace is part of the museum complex of the Royal Castle, and a unique collection of oriental carpets is preserved there.
Belvedere Palace was built in 1660 and served many purposes – it was also the residence of the kings and an earthenware factory. During the war, Belvedere was rebuilt on the orders of the Nazi Hans Frank, governor-general of occupied Poland. It is one of the few buildings that survived the occupation. Today, the palace serves as the residence of heads of state who come to Poland on official visits.
Warsaw Citadel – a section of the fortifications that protected the city in the Middle Ages. Construction of the citadel began in the mid-16th century. Today the citadel serves as a bridge between the Old and New Town. Inside the citadel there is a small but interesting museum, where you can learn how military practices changed from the Middle Ages to the present day. The museum also provides information about medieval torture and methods of obtaining information from suspects.
Ujazdowski Castle was built in the 13th century and has undergone many reconstructions since then. Like many other buildings, it was damaged during the Warsaw Uprising. The castle was rebuilt 30 years later and today houses the Center for Contemporary Art.
Historical Museum of Warsaw is located on the Market Square of the Old Town. Its exhibitions present the city’s history in photographs, letters, personal belongings of citizens and artifacts found during excavations. One of the expositions is devoted to the history of Palmyra village, where during the war mass executions of civilians took place.
The Old Town (Stare Miasto) is a historic district of Warsaw, formed around the Royal Castle built in the 13th century. The city was completely destroyed by the Nazis during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. To rebuild it architects searched for whole bricks, stucco shards, decorative elements in order to recreate the look of the city as faithfully as possible. The Old Town in Warsaw is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Wilanów Palace, together with the park and several buildings around it, constitute a monument to the long and rich history of pre-war Poland. The complex is an excellent example of Polish Baroque and one of the best examples of 17th century architecture. Flowery gardens, museums and a lake with boats for hire make this complex a place to spend a whole day. In the winter, there is a light installation with thousands of lights.
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Lazenkowski Palace, better known as the Palace on the Water, is located in Lazenkowski Park. In the palace you can admire a collection of paintings, including six paintings by Rembrandt and about 140 paintings by Flemish painters. There is also a famous collection of portraits depicting the history of King Solomon. In the image of the king himself, King Stanislaus August is depicted.
Park Royal Łazienki
Lazienki Park was laid out in the 17th century and soon began to serve as a summer residence of King Stanislav August. The best way to start your walks in the park is to visit the Łazienki Palace, then the amphitheater and the greenhouse, and then the Myslewicz Palace, which recreates the interiors of the royal residence. In spring, tulips bloom in the park, as well as squirrels, ducks, deer and even peacocks live there. A perfect place for a picnic.
Frederic Chopin Museum
The museum dedicated to the life and work of the great composer is a combination of music, history and modern technology. The museum has about 5,000 artifacts, including a strand of the maestro’s hair, his elementary school textbooks, his last letter to his family and even the passport with which he came to England. Chopin’s Paris apartment has been recreated, along with paintings that belonged to him, and an intriguing exhibition of portraits of women who left a mark on his life.
Monument to Frédéric Chopin
The monument, located in Lazienki Park, depicts Chopin sitting in the park under a willow tree. The willow branches symbolize the musician’s thin hands and fingers. For the Nazis, who wanted to wipe Polish culture off the face of the earth, the monument was an ideal target. After the war, it was possible to recreate the destroyed monument and install copies in various countries, including Japan, France and the United States, as a symbol that Chopin’s music reaches into the hearts of people around the world.
Museum of the History of Polish Jews
The museum was opened in 2013 on the grounds of the former Warsaw ghetto. It is dedicated to the history of the Jewish community, which flourished in Poland until the Holocaust. The exhibit begins with the “Forest” gallery, which tells the story of the Jews who, fleeing persecution in Western Europe, came to Poland in the 10th century and founded the largest community in Europe here.
Monument to the Ghetto Heroes
The Monument to the Ghetto Heroes commemorates the brave men who gave their lives in the fight for freedom during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943. The monument features bronze figures of the rioters, surrounded by a wall which symbolizes the walls of the ghetto, and the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Ironically, the stones used to build the monument were sent to Warsaw by the Nazis, who wanted to use them to build their Victory Tower.
Monument to the Young Rebel
A small bronze monument to the Young Insurgent is erected in honor of all the children who participated and died in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. It is said that the prototype of the Young Rebel was a 13-year-old boy, wearing the pseudonym “Antek”, who was killed during the uprising.
Warsaw Uprising Museum
Known for its interactive and educational exhibits, the Warsaw Uprising Museum is among the most popular museums in Poland. On the first floor visitors can hear the sounds of falling bombs, machine gun bursts and the heartbeat of the Polish insurgents and be transported in their minds to Poland in 1944. One of the most impressive exhibits is the 3D film “City of Ruins”, which shows Warsaw before and after the city was methodically devastated by the German army.
Monument to Nicolaus Copernicus
The Nicolaus Copernicus Monument was erected in 1830 to serve as a reminder of how Copernicus changed the usual idea of world order. During World War II, the Nazis attached a plaque to the monument stating that Copernicus was in fact German. The anger of the Poles was so strong that the Nazis removed and hid the statue. Now it stands again in the center of Warsaw, symbolizing wisdom and love of science.
National Museum of Warsaw
Opened in 1862, the National Museum has thousands of exhibits from around the world. Among the most famous exhibits are paintings of “The Jewess Selling Oranges” by Alexander Gremski and “The Black Woman” by Anna Bilinska. These two paintings were stolen from the museum during World War II, and later returned to their homeland at the request of Polish citizens.
The zoo in Warsaw, founded in 1928, is famous not only for the variety of animals that live there (12 thousand animals of 5 thousand species), but also for the fact that during the war its owners, Jan and Antonina Zabinskie saved a huge number of Jews by hiding them in the basement of their villa. Today, the villa has been turned into a museum, where you can learn more about the exploits of the couple. In the center of the zoo is a pavilion where you can pet and feed some of the animals with apples.
Multimedia Fountain Park
The Fountain Park, opened in 2011, amazes visitors with its combination of high technology and art. Water jets shoot upward at a height of 25 meters, forming a screen on which animated films are shown, with subjects ranging from a mermaid swimming on the Vistula to Polish folk tales. The animation is accompanied by music by Chopin, Jean Michel Jarre and even Lady Gaga. The park is located on the banks of the Vistula, within walking distance of the Old Town.
The House of Keret
Etgar Keret is the owner of the world’s narrowest house. At its widest point, his house reaches 152 cm, and at its narrowest – 92 cm. These parameters are considered too small for a living space, so it is more of an art installation than a house for the government. It is located between two buildings, an old brick building and a concrete one from the socialist era. Architect Jakub Szczęsna, who designed the house, says he wanted to show in practice that one does not need much space to live comfortably.
Copernicus Science Center
The Copernicus Science Center offers an entertaining approach to research and innovation. The Center is divided into thematic exhibitions such as “Man and the Environment”, “The Light Zone”, “The New World in Motion”, and “The Roots of Civilization”. They will be of particular interest to younger visitors. The center also offers a planetarium and programs for teenagers and adults on psychology, sociology, biotechnology and economics.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Museum
The museum dedicated to the famous Polish scientist, winner of two Nobel Prizes, offers a glimpse into the atmosphere of the 19th and 20th centuries and the environment in which Maria Curie made her discoveries. Three rooms recreate her life, displaying photographs, awards, family documents and a genealogical tree. There is touching graffiti on the facade of the building.
Palace of Culture and Science
The Palace was built with money donated by the Soviet Union to the Polish people. This Stalinist high-rise style building is the tallest in Poland. Today it houses numerous corporate offices, movie theaters, restaurants, and swimming pools. Tourists are attracted by the observation deck, which offers a panoramic view of Warsaw.