Top 20 places to visit in Warsaw, Poland
Warsaw, Poland is such a cosmopolitan and urban city with lots of character, fascinating old neighborhoods mixed in with new attractions and architecture. I found a visit to the capital of Poland quite inspiring and worthwhile, even though the city was completely demolished by the Nazis during World War 2. The industrious Poles have rebuilt the entire historic center, brick by brick, including some of the outlying neighborhoods of the city. With painstaking detail and hard earned work, they have rebuilt the city to up its glorious past, and have been awarded a Unesco World Heritage certification for all their efforts. It is a beautiful and cosmopolitan city and here are my top 20 places to visit in Warsaw, Poland.
Colorful Warsaw neighborhoods & cool hangout spots
Just outside of the city center, the city is filled with vibrant neighborhoods, large green belts and beautiful parks, plenty of shopping/trendy places for locals and tourists to enjoy the day-to-day scenes in the city. Warsaw is really is a beautiful city and worth visiting when traveling through Poland, and there is plenty of activities and attractions to keep you busy and entertained while exploring the capital.
1. Palace Square in Old town – the heart of the central district and fronting the royal city palace, Palace square also known as Plac Zamkowy . Filled with outdoor cafes, fountains and shops, the square is a fantastic area to just soak in the atmosphere and enjoy people watching or even trying out some local dishes from the area.
2. Street art in the city is starting to pop up in so many areas especially on a large scale format. You will find lots of building sized street art (not graffiti) throughout the city and especially around the university area and shopping promenades in the city. If your interested in street art, you can pick up a visit Visit Warsaw map which shows a walking tour of some of the most popular and even prominent street art in the city that is a fun way to explore the city on foot.
3. The Warsaw Neon Museum – is a fun and colorful place to visit and check out many of the historic and old neon memorabilia that have been preserved in this museum. You can check out many of the old Soviet signs that were all over the city and later stored in this large factory and eventually converted into a neon museum. You can check out the Warsaw Neon museum website here for more details.
4. Hang out in some of the gorgeous parks of the city including Lazienki park where you can take some sweet swan boats all around the large lake fronting the summer palace. Closer to the center of the city are the Saxon gardens with beautiful fountains, statues and gorgeous blooming gardens to explore and photograph.
5. Hala Mirowska – this is a very popular, local market located in a beautiful historic building. The Hala Mirowska is an old world style marketplace is where you can shop for quality meats, fish, specialty Polish products and various fresh produce at very affordable prices. There are many flower vendors, delicatessen and dessert shops that make this a fun place to explore and try out some of the specialties from the area. To find out more about the Hala Mirowska, you can visit their website here.
6. Hang out at the Barbikan – which are the remains of the old city ramparts and towers – they represent the remaining relics of the historic fortifications that once encircled Warsaw. You can actually walk through many of the ramparts around the Barbikan and enjoy views outside and into the old town itself.
7. Palace of Culture and Science – a gift to the city from Stalin, the Palace of Culture and Science is now a multi purpose center with cinemas, museums, exhibition centers, book shops and conference halls. Also you can take an escalator to the 30th floor for panoramic views of the entire city center and beyond for 20 PLN. To check out what else is happening at the Palace of Culture and Science, you can visit their website here.
8. Warsaw Rising Museum – a must see attraction in the city, this museum is one of the most popular museums in Poland which chronicles the various time frames of Warsaw’s past and specifically before and after World War 2 when Germany invaded Poland and eventually destroyed over 90 percent of the city.
9. Tomb of the Unknown soldier – Grob Nieznanego Zolnierza, just inside freedom square is located the tomb of the unknown soldier – it is in the center with a simple covered pavilion with two guards quietly standing guard. A very contemplative space, the beautiful baroque fountain and park behind it are lovely to explore with all the colorful annual flower beds in the Saxon gardens.
10. Fryderyk Chopin Museum, located in a stately Neo Classic building opposite of the university, the Chopin museum is dedicated to Warsaw’s famous composer. The museum has collections of his autographs, musical scores, photographs and personal items from his life with details about his time in Warsaw and of course listen to some of his famous compositions. To check out more details and information on the museum, you can visit their website here.
11. Chopin monument – at the entrance to Lazienka park, the large bronze statue fronting a small pond with colorful annual flowers is a quiet place to relax and even take in some free classical music on the weekends. From the monument, you can climb down a set of stairs to explore the rest of the expansive natural park below including the thermal spa and the summer Lazienka palace and some of the other landmarks.
12. Visit the main palace at Plac Zamkowy – Even though this royal palace was completely ruined and rebuilt by the Nazis, the replica was painstakingly recreated to exact standards. All the rooms were decorated in the typical Baroque style that was very popular during the timeframe the city was built. The palace is now a museum where you can visit most of the royal chambers and other assembly rooms on an open tour or with a docent. For more information and details on a visit, you can check out their website here.
13. Multi media fountain park – is just on the outskirts of the old town and fronting the Vistula River. You can enjoy a multi media presentation in the evenings with a water fountain and laser light extravaganza accompanied by popular artists like Lady Gaga and transitioning to famous composers like Chopin. You can check out the schedule of water performances here.
14. Copernicus Museum, for those interested in Science and technology, this museum has many interesting exhibits and even some experiments that you can conduct on your own. You can check out more information on their website and events here.
15. Saxon Gardens in the central district – Just behind the tomb of the unknown solider, this large park in the center of the city and close to the old town is a nice respite to enjoy the many beautiful gardens, statues and fountains within the park. You can also visit the tomb of the unknown soldier just in the front of the park area in an open air cement pavilion.
16. Frederic Chopin birthplace, Zelazowa Wola – which consists of his home and gardens is located at the edge of the Kampinos Forest and is a perfect getaway from the city and enjoy the area and his music being piped along the many lanes throughout the gardens
17. Gestapo headquarters museum – a relatively small museum in a grand classical style building that was the former Gestapo headquarters. You will find the interrogation cells in the cellar and can watch some movies that document the experience and atrocities made by the Nazis when they occupied Warsaw. It’s a very somber but important part of the cities past and the messages on the cell walls tell that story well.
18. Jewish Ghetto Memorial and Jewish Museum– fronting the Jewish museum and near the center of town is a large monument surrounded by concrete block apartments in the ghetto. The monument skillfully captures the heroic, perseverance and tragedy of the Polish Jews imprisoned in the ghetto and later deported to concentration camps. In the center of the ghetto is the contemporary Warsaw Jewish Museum which features a multi-media narrative of the Jewish community in Warsaw and celebrating over 1,000 years of existence up to the Holocaust and beyond.
19. Powazki Cemetery – the largest cemetery in Poland, it houses many beautiful memorials and famous Polish dignitaries and personalities. The main memorial wall by the entrance documents many of the famous people who are buried here. The expansive grounds are divided into two large sections – one primarily for Catholics, and the other for Jewish graves.
20. Old town square with the statue of Syrena the mermaid – Lunch or leisurely drinks in any of the outdoor cafes and bars surrounding this square is a fun way to enjoy the day even late into the evening. There are many performers, musicians and even Hello Kitty and Sponge Bob were walking around the square for visitors to take pictures with.
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So you can see that there are plenty of things to do and explore in Warsaw. I hope you enjoyed this post on my Top 20 places to visit in Warsaw. If you like it, can you please share the post with any of the social media buttons located around the post. Thank you so much and I hope you have a fantastic visit to Warsaw, Poland.