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Dec 2, 2022

The Highlights of Warsaw: 8 Must-See Attractions

Warsaw is one of Europe’s most historic—and underrated—travel destinations. The city is Poland’s capital, with a population of 1.7 million people, making it one of Europe’s largest cities. Located in the center of the Masovian Plain, the Vistula River divides Warsaw and offers sensational city views. 

Warsaw Old Town, which dates back to the 12th century, also offers some of Europe’s finest medieval architecture. Fortunately, despite the destruction of World War 2—which destroyed most of Warsaw—the Old Town is in incredible condition. The local community repaired much of the damage after World War 2. 

However, the city also has a 21st-century modern twist. Warsaw Business District is a hub of excellent shops, restaurants, and food; it’s the ultimate showcase of Poland’s impressive economic development since the 1990s and a must-see during your visit. 


Here are some of the best things to do in Warsaw: 

1. Stroll Around Warsaw Old Town

A visit to Warsaw ‘isn’t a visit to Warsaw’ without a stroll through the Warsaw Old Town, which dates back to the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries. The top attraction in Warsaw’s Old Town is the Old Town Market Square—a stunning square rebuilt after World War 2 with many cafes, bars, and restaurants. You’ll also adore the ancient buildings surrounding Plac Zamkowy; they are ideal for social media snaps. 

If you want stunning views of the Warsaw Old Town, look no further than the Bell Tower of St Anne’s Church. The free-standing bell tower—locally known as Taras Widokowy—dates back to 1582 and offers incredible city views. In addition, you should also visit the Royal Castle in Warsaw; it’s the 16th most-visited museum worldwide and served as the official royal residence of several Polish monarchs.


2. Explore The POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

On the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto, you’ll find the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The city laid the museum's cornerstone in 2007 and opened in April 2013. The museum has various interactive exhibits—making it fantastic for learning about World War 2 and the thriving Jewish community in Warsaw before the Holocaust. 

The museum faces the Memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, whereby the Jewish community resisted the Nazis in 1943. The museum is also one of Warsaw’s most impressive modern buildings. Finnish architects—Rainer Mahlamäki and Ilmari Lahdelma—designed the museum’s postmodern style using glass, copper, and concrete. 


3. Walk Around Palace on the Isle and Lazienki Park

The Palace on the Isle, commonly called Baths Palace, is a stunning classicist palace in Warsaw’s Royal Baths Park. The building is a pristine example of neoclassical architecture, dating back to the 17th century. The palace was built for Prince Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski—one of the most influential writers, politicians, and philosophers in Polish history. 

Nonetheless, the palace is also within Warsaw’s largest park—Lazienki Park—which occupies 76 hectares in the city center. There are various historical buildings in Lazienki Park, including the Stage on the Isle, the White House, Myślewicki Palace, and Old Orangery. These buildings all date back to the 17th century, providing excellent photos and places to relax during summer. 


4. Learn at Copernicus Science Centre

The Copernicus Science Centre is an excellent science museum for people of all ages. First opened in 2004, the museum offers over 450 interactive exhibits that enable visitors to discover the laws of science and carry out experiments. It’s the most advanced science museum in Europe and the biggest science institution in Poland. 

The center includes four main sections: a two-story building with permanent and temporary exhibits, a workshop, a multimedia planetarium, and a surrounding discovery park. All in all—it has everything you need to learn about science. 


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5. Watch Events at PGE Narodowy Stadium

The Stadion Narodowy im. Kazimierza Górskiego—also known as PGE Narodowy—is Poland’s biggest sporting stadium and home to massive football matches and concerts. With a fully-retractable roof and a capacity of 72,900 for concerts and 58,580 for football matches, the stadium is perfect for large-scale events. 

Tourists can enjoy a guided tour of the stadiumLink opens in a new tab, whereby they enter the cloakroom where footballers prepare for matches and walk around the pitch. The stadium runs English-speaking stadium tours weekly. Also, look out for events during your visit; many great musicians, including Sir Paul McCartney and Beyonce, have played here.


6. Visit The Palace of Culture and Science

If you want to witness Warsaw’s 20th-century communist history, check out the Palace of Culture and Science. It’s the second-tallest building in Warsaw and Poland and the 8th tallest in the European Union. Numerous 21st-century skyscrapers surround the Palace of Culture and Science. As a result, it offers a magnificent contrast between Poland’s communist past and the modern-day economy. 

In addition, the palace is home to Warsaw’s modern-day creative scene. You’ll find museums, cinemas, theaters, and a spectacular observation deckLink opens in a new tab looking over the entire city from 114 meters. Why not grab a bite to eat and a drink at one of the pubs within the palace? 


7. Cool Down at The Multimediálna Fontána

One of the best places to cool down in the summer is the Multimediálna Fontána. It comprises 367 water jets that create a marvelous light, sound, and music show after dark. Children can play in the water fountains during those hot days. You can also watch an animated story about the history of Warsaw—including its good and bad times—while enjoying food and drinks with family and friends. 

During the winter, the fountain changes into a multicolor animated sculpture accompanied by Christmas music. The best spot to watch the light show is on the grassy slope, where you can admire the spectacle without obstruction. 


8. Discover History at The Warsaw Uprising Museum

The Warsaw Uprising—where the city’s inhabitants revolted against the Nazis—was one of the most significant moments during World War 2. The best place to learn about it is the Warsaw Uprising Museum. The city established the constitution of the museum in 1983, but it only opened in 2004 (60 years after the Warsaw Uprising). 

The museum has hundreds of artifacts, including the weapons used by insurgents to love letters between partners. The museum has a goal to present the brutal reality and courage shown during the Warsaw uprising through recordings, stories, and possessions of the Polish Underground State. It’s a must-see for anyone interested in World War 2. 


Warsaw: A Fantastic European Weekend Break

When people think of a European weekend break, they usually think of Prague, Paris, or Rome. These destinations are incredible—but Warsaw is also a superb, underrated European city destination. Poland’s vibrant capital has history, nightlife, unique cuisine, greenery, and great weather during the warmer months. 


So, why not add it to your list of European cities? 


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