Warsaw: 6 fantastic places to visit

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Welcome to wonderful Warsaw! It’s hard to think of Warsaw, without thinking about the Second World War, but despite the fact that more than 85% of the city was destroyed during the city’s occupation, Warsaw is in no way an eyesore! It is, in fact, one of Europe’s most attractive and verdant cities, full of sights that will delight you, surprise you and take your breath away.

If we were going to list every place in the city that you can’t miss, we’d be here for a year and a day, so we’ve whittled our list of the top places you have to visit down to six that you really, really must see when you’re in Poland’s amazing capital. 

1. Warsaw University Library Garden

First up is the Warsaw University Library Garden. Yes, we know that a university library garden might not sound like the most obvious place to start a list of must-see sights in a major European city, but, take it from us, this place is really something else. This innovative inner-city garden is divided into two parts, the Lower Garden and the Roof Garden.

The Lower Garden is open year-round and features a series of wonderful granite sculptures, a small waterfall and a pond, which provides a happy home to some cute local ducks that we’re sure the kids will love. The Roof Garden is open from April until the end of October and, though the Lower Garden undoubtedly has its charms, its definitely the star of the show.

Divided into four sections according to the colour of the plant (golden, silver, crimson and green), the Roof Garden is its own little world of magic high above the streets of Warsaw. It’s somewhere you just can’t miss and the cherry on the cake is that entrance is free!

2. Royal Castle

This spectacular 17th-century palace is actually less than 50 years old! Amazingly, it was declared part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site before it was even finished. The reason for that is that the castle, along with most of the Old Town, was entirely destroyed during the Second World War. As soon as the war ended, the locals started rescuing as much of the building’s original materials as they could in preparation for its reconstruction. 

Work didn’t actually start until 1971 and wasn’t finished until 1984, but once done the castle was restored to its former glory as one of Warsaw’s most emblematic buildings. Nowadays, the palace houses an impressive art collection, including works by Rembrandt and Canaletto. 

When you’re in the area, make sure you visit the Old Town, which, like the castle, was rebuilt after the war. It’s incredible that these “old” buildings are actually modern constructions. 

3. Palace of Culture & Science

The Palace of Culture and Science is without doubt somewhere you must have on your list of places to visit in Warsaw. This imposingly impressive building, the sixth tallest in the European Union and the second tallest in Poland, has a fascinating story to tell.

It was a gift to Poland and its people from the Soviet Union and as such is seen by some as representing a period of their history that they’d rather forget. Some, including many of Poland’s political leaders, even want to see this spectacular building demolished!  

Today, the palace is home to an 8-screen cinema, 4 theatres, 2 museums, a swimming pool and a university! If you’re going to visit, we recommend taking the 19-second lift ride up to the 30th-floor viewing terrace for some truly incredible views out over the city.

4. Vistula River

We love a city with a river! And the Vistula in Warsaw is one of our very favourites. Not only is this slow-rolling river a sight to behold, but its banks are one of the focal points of Warsaw’s thriving social life. The Vistula even has its own natural beaches right in the heart of the city. So, if you’re in need of somewhere to take a dip or just to kick back and relax then it’s the place to go.  

 The river’s banks are also home to the Vistula Boulevards, where you can take a stroll, find something delicious to eat and enjoy the pleasures of watching the world go by. Keep an eye out for the mermaid (though her 8-metre height make her hard to miss!). Legend has it that she made her home here in the waters of the Vistula and protected Warsaw as it grew from a village to a city. And now she’s a symbol of the city.

5. Lazienki Park

In a city full of open spaces and parks, Lazienki is the largest of them all. Its 76 hectares are one of the places you just have to visit when you’re in Warsaw. The jewel at the centre of the park is the Palace on the Isle, a fabulous neoclassical palace which stands on a small island in the middle of the park.  

Built in the 18th century for Poland’s last king, the palace is a magical place that is a window into an almost fairy-tale world of bewigged courtesans and regal luxury. The rest of the park is pretty special too and it’s the perfect place to head if you’re looking for a picturesque picnic spot.

6. Zacheta National Gallery of Art

Every city has many facets, and if culture is something you’re interested in when looking for places to visit in Warsaw, then the Zacheta really has to be on your list. This brilliant gallery is home to a fascinating collection of Polish modern art.  

As you wander its rooms, you’ll be amazed by the originality and the quality of the art on display, from sculptures and painting, to videos and photos. The Zacheta is part of the modern, thriving city that Warsaw is today and is a fantastic place to see another side of Poland. Admission isn’t free, but it is cheap. A family ticket can be bought for the equivalent of just a few euros. 

We know you'll love Warsaw

Of course, that’s just the beginning of places to visit in Warsaw. There’s so much else to see and do in this vibrant city that so perfectly combines modernity and history, but visit these six places and your trip to Warsaw is sure to be a success.

Frequently Asked Questions

Warsaw is a beautiful city all year round, but the summer months are probably when it’s at its very best. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have its charms in spring, autumn and winter!

Yes, Warsaw is relatively cheap to visit, especially for a major European city.

It’s delicious! As it’s a major international city, you can find food from around the world but make sure you try some of the local specialities.

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