Warsaw is the up and coming capital city of Poland. Steeped in history and culture, it is as interesting as it is beautiful. It is a major tourist destination for international travellers as well as European holiday-makers and it’s easy to see why with so much to see and do. Below is our list of the top 10 things to do when visiting this fascinating city.
1) The Warsaw Old Town
The Warsaw Old Town is one of Poland’s most popular tourist destinations and the oldest district in the city, dating back to the 13th Century. It was completely destroyed during World War II but was re-built using as much of the original materials as possible. As a result of this reconstruction, the Old Town was put on the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. The Old Town Market Square is at the centre of the Old Town and is a hub of activity, with cafes, street stalls, galleries and shops.
2) Warsaw Rising Museum
Warsaw Rising Museum plays host to a large array of artefacts, reconstructions, photos and short films that all focus on the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The artefacts and exhibitions range from written accounts of life under Nazi rule, love letters, weapons and even a reconstruction of the Warsaw sewers which were used in the rebellion. The Warsaw Rising Museum is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in this period of
3) The Palace of Culture and Science
The Palace of Culture and Science was built as a “gift” to the Polish people from the Soviet Union in 1952. It took three years to build and is the tallest building in Poland and the sixth tallest in the EU, standing at 231 metres tall. The view from the terrace on the 30th floor is a popular attraction, offering stunning views around the city. The building contains 3288 rooms in total which are used as cinemas, theatres, conference rooms, shops, offices and museums.
4) Kampinos National Park
Kampinos National Park lies on the outskirts of Warsaw and was constructed in 1959 covering 386 square kilometres. It is home to some fabulous wildlife, including moose, beavers, lynx and other endangered species and is a great place for walking, cycling or even horse-back riding. UNESCO placed it on their list of biosphere reserves in 2000 and it is easy to see why such a rich and thriving natural environment was considered.
5) Marie Sklodowska-Curie Museum
Marie Sklodowska-Curie Museum is located in Warsaw’s New Town district and has been open since 1967. It is devoted to the life and work of the Polish scientist, Marie Curie, who was born in Poland and married a French scientist, with whom she
made significant scientific discoveries and won two Nobel Laureates. The exhibits include films about her work in chemistry, letters, documents, photographs and personal items.
6) Warsaw Royal Castle
Warsaw Royal Castle was once the official residence of the Polish monarchy and is rich with Polish history. The castle has been through many wars and a re-build was necessary after World War II. The castle is now a national monument and museum and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a beautiful and interesting piece of architecture, featuring interiors that are considered to hold important artistic merit.
7) Lazienki Park and Palace
Lazienki Park and Palace is considered one of the most beautiful parks in Europe. It takes its name from “baths”, “lazienki” in Polish and is named so because of the bathing pavillion built in the 1600s. The magnificent park and gardens holds some beautiful pieces of architecture, including the Palace on the Water, the Myslewicki Palace, the old and new Orangery and the fabulous Roman Theatre, inspired by the Roman Amphitheatres, and which still plays host to musical concerts.
8) Warsaw Zoological Garden
Warsaw Zoological Garden is a scientific zoo that covers approximately 100 acres in Warsaw holding a fabulous selection of 5000 animals. It opened in 1928 and only closed for the duration of WWII, opening again in 1949. It includes a 6000 square metre elephant area, that houses African elephants; an shark aquarium; an ape house and many more exotic and exciting species.
9) Chopin’s Zelazowa Wola
Chopin’s Zelazowa Wola is situated 29 miles from central Warsaw and is the birthplace of the famous Polish composer, Frédéric Chopin. There, you can visit the house in which Chopin was born and the museum and statue dedicated to him, where concerts are held in the summer when famous pianists come from all over the world. Not only is this the place of such an important musical and cultural figure, but Zelazowa Wola is also home to stunning countryside.
10) The Wilanów Museum and Palace
The Wilanów Museum and Palace offers so much that a whole day will be required to fully appreciate all that it has to offer. The museum holds a vast collection of art, featuring pieces that date back over two centuries and originate from all over the world. The palace itself dates back to the 17th Century and was home to King Jan III Sobieski and is a fine example of Baroque architecture, featuring luxurious and ostentatious interiors and exquisite gardens.