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Warsaw, Poland’s capital city, is a thriving modern metropolis with outstanding history and incredible stories to tell. Aside from the impressive city skyline and the famous old town, there are so many things to do in Warsaw, and I’d say three days in Warsaw is the perfect amount of time to really discover what this underrated city has to offer. So, if you find yourself jetting off to Poland for a few days, here’s my 3-day Warsaw itinerary for all the best things to see and do in Poland’s capital city.
A few years ago, we spent 3 days in Warsaw when I spotted some cheap flights and decided to visit for our wedding anniversary. When we first got married, we started buying expensive gifts for each other. But as the years went by, we realised we have everything we need and decided to spend the money on an ‘anniversary trip’ each year instead – the first of which was three days in Warsaw, Poland.
I’ll always have fond memories of Warsaw. My husband was convinced he wasn’t going to enjoy the trip but we were both so enamoured with the city that we left Warsaw after three days promising we would return!
So, read on for my tips for visiting Warsaw on a budget and making the most of three days in Warsaw. This 3-day Warsaw itinerary will take you through the best of what the city has to offer at a leisurely pace. This Warsaw travel guide is based on seeing the city at a comfortable speed, with lots of coffee stops, rather than racing from one attraction to another. If you do prefer to travel faster, I’ve included a list of other attractions you can add into each day.
Warsaw itinerary for 3 days in Warsaw
Arriving in Warsaw
From the airport, we took the Modlin bus to the city centre and disembarked at the Palace of Culture and Science. I recommend you book Modlin Bus tickets in advance as ticket holders are given priority during busy periods and, as such, you may have to wait a while for a bus with available seats. The Modlin bus travels from both Chopin and Modlin airport and is very reasonably priced at just 21 PLN each way, which is approximately £4-5 – by all accounts the cheapest airport transfer I’ve ever taken!
We booked our flights through Skyscanner and managed to find return flights from London for £40 in September.
We arrived in Warsaw in the early evening with just enough time to freshen up and head out for dinner at Trattoria Ti Amo, which is an Italian restaurant. Now I know what you’re thinking…why eat Italian food in Poland? Surely we should’ve been eager to try the local food? And we were! But after travelling for several hours, we were starving and this place was a stone’s throw from our apartment and looked nice, so we had pizza (I’m sorry!).
As we arrived fairly late, day one starts with our first full day in Warsaw.
Day one – Old Town, Royal Castle, Taras Widokowy
Warsaw is famous for its beautiful Old Town, which actually isn’t old at all. During the second world war, Warsaw’s Old Town was almost completely destroyed by bombs, leaving all but a pile of rubble. However, following the end of the war, Warsaw’s Old Town was the subject of a five-year reconstruction which resulted in a painstaking restoration of its buildings according to historical documentation and records. Looking at it today, you’d never know it looked any different.
Knowing the above will add so much more depth to your visit to the Old Town. And I’d suggest heading straight to the Old Town on your first morning to explore.
Sit yourself down at one of the many cafes and enjoy some breakfast while watching the world go by. After a leisurely breakfast, take a stroll through the beautiful streets and enjoy the (not so old) buildings and winding cobblestone lanes that lead to the Market Square. You could spend up to two hours getting lost in the Old Town and while away the morning until lunch.
For lunch, avoid the pricey restaurants in the Market Square and head to Podwale 25, a restaurant that was recommended to me by a Warsaw local. We ate here on our first day and enjoyed a great bigos stew in a bread bowl – yum!
After lunch, head to Warsaw’s Royal Castle. Although the original castle dated back to the 16th century, it was completely destroyed in 1944 and like much of the Old Town, had to be rebuilt after the war. Fortunately, some of the castles original details were retained in a secure location during the war so you can still enjoy this authentic piece of Warsaw’s history.
From the outside, the castle doesn’t really look like much, but venture inside and you’ll find beautiful rooms, with incredible details, paintings and decor. I’d suggest allowing up to two hours to really enjoy the castle.
The Royal Castle’s opening hours depend on the time of year you visit, but generally you’ll find it’s closed on Mondays, with entry into permanent exhibitions free on Sundays.
If you’ve still got time and energy left after exploring the Royal Castle, head next door to Taras Widokowy, a viewing terrace at the top of the bell tower of St. Anne’s Church. Climbing the 150 steps to reach the panoramic view at the top is well worth the effort to gain a different perspective on the Old Town. The tower is open every day until late and with the entry fee only 6 PLN (approximately £1.24!!!), it would be a crime to miss this lovely view.
Other attractions you can add to day one in Warsaw:
- The Historical Museum of Warsaw
- The Presidential Palace
- The University of Warsaw
- The Grand Theatre
Day two – Lazienki Park, Wilanow Palace
Start your second day in Warsaw with a slow stroll down the Vistula River. Along the river, you’ll spot the National Stadium and the Copernicus Science Museum, which I’ve heard is fantastic for both adults and children alike.
Continue your walk down the river until you reach Lazienki Park, the largest park in Warsaw. As well as 76 hectares of greenery, you’ll find various historical buildings such as The Palace on the Isle and The Old Orangery, plus a selection of beautifully sculpted gardens.
Throughout the year, Lazienki Park is host to many cultural events and exhibitions, including free summer concerts near the Chopin Monument, which take place every Sunday from May till September. You’ll find more information about park events and exhibitions here.
You could spend an entire day exploring Lazienki Park, but if you’re keen to fit more into your day, I’d suggest paying a visit to Wilanow Palace, Warsaw’s very own ‘Versailles’ – without the hordes of people!
This gem is situated a little way out of the city centre and will require a bus or taxi journey, unless you don’t mind the long walk. From Lazienki Park you can take the 519 bus, which you can catch from Spacerowa 01. The bus journey is a short 16 minutes but saves you the nearly 7km hike.
As well as a spectacular palace and luscious gardens, you’ll also find the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanow, the oldest museum of art in Poland.
To really enjoy Wilanow, you’ll need to set aside an entire afternoon. Entrance fees vary depending on which parts of the Palace you want to visit, but generally ticket prices range from 5 PLN for the park to 30 PLN for the entire Palace.
Currently, at the time of writing this article, the Palace gives away a limited amount of free tickets for the Palace on a Thursday, on a first come first serve basis, so get there early if you want to save yourself some money.
The Palace is open daily from 9:30 am, with the park opening from 9 am.
Other attractions you can add to day two in Warsaw:
- Frederic Chopin Museum
- Copernicus Science Centre
- The National Stadium
Day three – Nowy Swiat, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Palace of Culture and Science
After a jam-packed day, you’ll likely want a slower start. If that’s the case, head over to Nowy Swiat, a beautiful avenue that dates back to medieval times. The buildings along Nowy Swiat are very Parisian in style, making this the perfect spot for breakfast, coffee and people watching.
Pull up a pew at one of the dozens of cafes along Nowy Swiat and enjoy a lazy morning watching the world go by. The many shops, cafes, bars and restaurants make this a hot spot for lively tourists and laidback locals, and is definitely worth a visit both during the day and after dark.
After breakfast, check out the local boutiques as you stroll to State Park to watch the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier sits in the only remaining piece of the Saxon Palace which was destroyed in World War Two and serves as a sobering tribute to the fallen Polish soldiers of the First World War.
The Tomb is guarded by two soldiers 24 hours a day, with the changing of the guard occurring on the hour every hour. If you’re in town on Sunday, be sure to check out the ceremonial changing of the guard which takes place every Sunday at 12 noon.
After lunch, head over to the modern part of the city where you’ll find the impressive but controversial Palace of Culture and Science, which is the tallest building in Warsaw. The PKiN, as it’s known, was a ‘gift’ from the Soviet Union to the Polish people. The stark contrast of this intricate landmark with the towering skyscrapers around it make for fantastic photos from both on the ground and from the 30th floor viewing terrace.
Inside the tower, you’ll find theatres, a cinema and museums, but I’d suggest taking the lift straight to the viewing terrace where you’ll be treated to incredible views over the whole city. We visited the observation deck after dark to see the city lit up but with the terrace open from 10 am till 8 pm daily, you can select a time that suits you and your plans. Although, I’d suggest taking the trip to the top around sunset, so you can enjoy the city at dusk. A normal ticket for the PKiN viewing deck costs just 20-22 PLN, depending on what time you visit!
Other attractions you can add to day three in Warsaw:
- Zlote Tarasy shopping mall
- Museum of the History of Polish Jews
- Warsaw Uprising Museum
Where to stay in Warsaw
For our visit to Warsaw, we booked a very cheap but awesome Airbnb apartment. We fell in love with this apartment because, although small, it enjoys one of the best views in the entire city. The location was perfect, the apartment had everything we needed and the hosts were extremely helpful and friendly. We’ll definitely be staying here again should we ever return to Warsaw – it really made our trip!
For other accommodation in Warsaw, check out these cheap apartments in Warsaw with 5 star ratings:
A beautiful 2-bedroom apartment for 5 guests – £37 a night
A gorgeous guest suite in the Old Town – £23 a night
Or check out these budget hotels/hostels in Warsaw:
Tours/events in Warsaw
If you want to get to know the city better with a guide to educate you, check out these tours and events in Warsaw:
Chopin Piano Concert – £12.28
Chopin in Warsaw: Guided Tour – £40.02
So that’s a wrap for my 3-day Warsaw travel guide. I hope you found this Warsaw itinerary helpful and you enjoy your visit to this awesome city! There really is so much to do in Warsaw that it’s impossible to fit it all in the first time you visit. I’d suggest choosing the attractions that interest you most and really soaking up the atmosphere and history of this interesting place, rather than cramming in too much and rushing from one place to another.