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When you hear about Poland, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Perhaps it’s the beautiful city of Krakow. Or maybe you think of visiting Auschwitz? Either way, I’m willing to bet that Warsaw, Poland’s vibrant capital city, isn’t the first place that pops into your head.
I’ll admit that I’d never really considered Warsaw either. But when I spotted some crazy cheap flights and a cute Airbnb, we decided to give it a go. After spending three nights in Warsaw, we absolutely fell in love with this underrated destination. And I’m here to tell you how to spend three days in Warsaw yourself.
Warsaw is a bustling metropolis with so much to offer, perfectly balancing old and new architecture across the city, with a vibrant cultural scene to match. So, if you decide to head to Poland, here’s how to spend a weekend in Warsaw with a Warsaw travel guide to the best things to see, do and experience in this historical city.
A Travel Guide to Warsaw, Poland
Getting to and from Warsaw Airport
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.
You can find out more information from the Modlin Airport website.
10 Things to Do in Warsaw, Poland
Palace of Culture and Science
As the tallest building in Poland, the Palace of Culture and Science towers over Warsaw’s city centre and offers great views from the 30th-floor viewing terrace. Open from 10am to 8pm daily, head up after dark to see the city lit up below. The admission price is low at only 25zl per person. The viewing terrace is open from 10am till 8pm.
Warsaw’s Old Town
On our first morning, we headed straight for the Old Town, which is as picturesque and quaint as the name suggests. Just a short walk from the city centre, we arrived for breakfast and set up camp at one of the many cafes. People-watching is a great way to spend time and the Old Town offers plenty of opportunities to do just that.
A fantastic way to see the Old Town and learn more about it’s tumultuous history is to book a walking tour.
Surprisingly, the Old Town isn’t actually old at all. The majority of the historical buildings were completely flattened by bombs during World War II and have been reconstructed over the years; a true testimony to the resiliency of the Polish people. According to history books and photographs, the Old Town looks as amazing today as it did before the war.
Warsaw’s Royal Castle
A beautiful building which previously served as the official residence of the Polish monarchs. It was reconstructed after World War II when it was almost completely destroyed by the Nazis. Take the time to explore inside – it is truly jaw-dropping. You should allow at least two hours to take it all in.
The castle is closed on Mondays, but is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Admission is free to all permanent exhibitions on Wednesdays.
Enjoy a Chopin Concert
The legendary composer Frederic Chopin was born just six miles outside Warsaw. As such, there are countless Chopin concerts in Warsaw that allow you to enjoy beautiful piano music and an evening of culture. You can enjoy free Chopin concerts in Łazienki Park on Sundays in the summer or you can book a recommended Chopin concert here.
A nice long stroll down the river takes you to Łazienki Park, a green oasis in the midst of a bustling city. We took some time out of the city to explore some of the beautiful buildings and lakes. The perfect place to enjoy a picnic, you can relax for an entire afternoon. Be sure to check out the free Chopin concerts at the Chopin Monument held every Sunday afternoon at 12 noon throughout the summer.
For more information on visiting Łazienki Park, you can check out the official website.
On our second morning, we headed straight for Nowy Swiat, a picturesque street lined with cafes and restaurants. Strolling along this street, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d been transported to Paris. We settled down for breakfast in one of the many cafes and enjoyed the morning sun. Don’t miss Cheesecake Corner for some beautifully made cheesecakes and excellent coffee.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
A touching monument dedicated to the Polish soldiers who lost their lives fighting for Poland. The tomb is situated inside the Saxon Gardens in the remains of a Saxon Palace, destroyed in WWII. The tomb is constantly guarded by two uniformed soldiers and the changing of the guard happens every hour, on the hour.
While I don’t tend to do much shopping myself, I did enjoy visiting Zlote Tarasy. Located close to the Palace of Culture and Science, this modern glass building houses a huge shopping centre and entertainment complex. With plenty of places to eat and all of the best-known brands, you can spend a couple of hours shopping to your heart’s content. Or if like me, just enjoy the unique architecture from the outside.
Wilanów Palace is Warsaw’s very own Versailles! Unfortunately, we didn’t get time to head down to Wilanów and I think we definitely missed a trick. The palace managed to survive both world wars relatively unscathed and is a stunning example of pre-war architecture. To get there, you’ll need to catch a bus from the city centre, which takes about 35 minutes. Alternatively, many taxi companies will take you there from the city centre.
For more information on ticket prices, latest news and opening times, head to the official website.
If museums are your thing, Warsaw is a great place for you! With many museums covering a great range of topics, you’ll have plenty to keep you busy. Check out the Copernicus Science Centre, the Warsaw Uprising Museum, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews or the National Museum, to name but a few.
Or for something a little unusual, try this Polish vodka museum tour with tastings.
Here’s a handy guide to visiting Warsaw’s museums for free.
What to Eat in Warsaw
No Warsaw travel guide would be complete without mentioning the food. From sauerkraut and sausages to Bigos stew and Pierogi dumplings, Poland has a fascinating food scene perfect for those who like to try something a little different. Bigos, Poland’s national dish, is a rich and tasty dish consisting of meat and cabbage, often cooked in a bread bowl. While Pierogi dumplings, sweet and savoury, are a traditional Polish favourite.
Pastries and cakes are also very popular in Poland so expect to see lots of cafes with beautifully decorated sweet treats on display.
A friend who grew up in Poland recommended Podwale 25 for a delicious budget-friendly lunch.
Or you can book a Polish food tour to experience the varied flavours of Polish cuisine.
Getting Around Warsaw
Walking around a city is always my favourite way to get around because you get to really experience the city and see as much as possible. But if you’d rather not walk, you’ll find a good public transport system which is (apparently) very easy to use.
Where to Stay in Warsaw
While in Warsaw, we stayed in a great Airbnb apartment with an incredible view! Perfect for a quick stay in the city, it had everything we needed and enjoyed the most amazing view of the city skyline! Unfortunately, updating this post, it seems this particular Airbnb is no longer available for rental, but you can find many other budget friendly options on Airbnb.
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!
With just a few days, we only scratched the surface of what this interesting city has to offer. But, hopefully, this Warsaw travel guide should give you a great idea of how to spend a weekend in Warsaw.
Have you been to Warsaw? What were your highlights? Did I miss anything from my Warsaw travel guide? Let me know in the comments what you love about Warsaw.