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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 planning a trip to Poland, here’s my 3-day Warsaw itinerary for all the best things to see and do in Poland’s capital city.
We recently 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
Warsaw has two airports close to the city – Chopin Airport which is only 15 minutes drive from Warsaw city centre, and Modlin Airport, which is 45 minutes from the city centre.
We arrived into Modlin Airport and took the airport bus to the city centre, disembarking at the Palace of Culture and Science (also known as PKIN). Two buses serve Modlin airport – Contbus and FlixBus. You can book your Flixbus tickets in advance to ensure you are guaranteed a seat. Bus tickets cost approximately £15 for a round trip.
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.
As we arrived fairly late, day one starts with our first full day in Warsaw.
Day 1 – 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 plan which resulted in the painstaking restoration of its buildings based on historical documentation and records. Looking at it today, you’d never know it looked any different.
Book a walking tour of the Old Town here to learn about the history of this fascinating place.
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 and enjoying the striking colourful buildings. After a leisurely breakfast, take a stroll through the beautiful streets and enjoy the historical architecture and winding cobblestone lanes that lead to the Market Square. You could easily spend a few hours getting lost in the Old Town, getting lost in it’s maze of cobblestone streets.
For lunch, avoid the pricey restaurants in the Market Square and head to Podwale 25, a restaurant that was recommended to me by a friend who grew up in Warsaw. We ate here on our first day and enjoyed a great traditional 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 look too special, but if you venture inside, 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 free entry into permanent exhibitions on Wednesdays. You can view the current updated opening hours and book your tickets in advance here.
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 from above. The tower is open every day until late and only costs 10PLN for an adult ticket, which is approximately £2 GBP.
Top tip: As you may know, the composer Frederic Chopin was Polish. You can enjoy daily Chopin concerts inside the Royal Castle. Book your tickets here.
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
If you’re interested in Warsaw’s turbulent past, you could also book a private Warsaw Ghetto walking tour, where you can learn about the origins of the ghetto, everyday life inside and the 1943 uprising of the ghetto.
Alternatively, if you’re more intetested in food, you can book a Polish dumpling (known as pierogi) cooking class.
Day 2 – 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 landscaped 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.
This Warsaw attraction is situated a little way out of the city centre and will require a bus or taxi journey. From Lazienki Park you can take the 116 bus. The bus journey is about 36 minutes but saves you the nearly 7km walk.
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 10PLN for the park to 35PLN for the entire Palace, which is approximately £7 GBP! A ticket to the Palace also entitles you to visit the park.
Budget tip: The Palace gives away a limited amount of free tickets for the Palace on Thursdays, 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 10am – 4pm, with the park opening at 9am.
Other attractions you can add to day two in Warsaw:
- Frederic Chopin Museum
- Copernicus Science Centre
- The National Stadium
- Book a food tour
Day 3 – Nowy Swiat, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Palace of Culture and Science
After a jam-packed day, you’ll likely want a slower start to day 3 of your Warsaw itinerary. 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 10am till 8pm 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 adult ticket for the PKiN viewing deck costs just 25 zł.
Other attractions you can add to day three in Warsaw:
- Zlote Tarasy shopping mall
- Museum of the History of Polish Jews
- Warsaw Uprising Museum
If you’re looking for a great place to stay in Warsaw, look no further…
Fantastic – S Pokój 1 – very basic low budget apartment for 2 people from £32 per night.
Bello ApartHotel – Small capsule rooms, close to the Palace of Culture and Science in the business district, about 30 mins walk to Old Town.
Safestay Warsaw Old Town – Great hostel with private rooms close to the Old Town. Double room from £49 per night.
Jess Hotel and Spa – Gorgeous spa hotel close to the Old Town. From £80 per night.
Hotel Bellotto – Treat yourself to this stunning 5-star luxurious hotel in Warsaw’s Old Town.
Hotel Bristol – From only £153 per night, you can stay in this gorgeous 5-star hotel!
So that’s a wrap for my 3-day Warsaw itinerary. 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.
If you’re planning to visit Warsaw soon, check out our full travel guide to Warsaw.
I’d love to hear about your visit to Warsaw. How did you spend 3-days in Warsaw? Did you find this Warsaw itinerary helpful? Let me know in the comments below.