Warsaw Old Town

40 Best Things to Do in Warsaw: Ultimate 2023 Edition

Warsaw, Poland’s capital, is the Europe travel destination of the year for 2023. Already compared to when I visited last year, it is noticeable that more and more international tourists are coming to find out what Warsaw has to offer! I assume this also applies to you. However, maybe you are not sure what exactly you want to do, as Warsaw is a large city with lots of attractions. Never fear, this novice expert on Warsaw is here! 

Warsaw offers so much to do. From beautiful architecture, mostly rebuilt after the tragedies of World War II, paid attractions, museums, delectable food, shopping opportunities, flower-filled gardens, and many more truly outstanding outdoor areas, there is something for everyone! Whether you plan to spend 24 hours or an entire week, there is more than enough to be done for all ages. And, Polish people are generally pretty amazing hosts, even if not friendly at first, so it should be easy to fall in love with Poland like I did when I visited last year.  

In this article, you will find 40 things that are worth doing in Warsaw. Of course, there are so many more museums, parks, and restaurants to explore. Entire books could be filled, and have been filled, with what to do in Warsaw. But I hope to have picked 40 that are worth your time, and a few that might not make it into guidebooks or other online articles. If you have a certain activity that you are looking for, please use the table of contents to help you, as I have separated each activity into 5 categories.

I am truly humbled that you have chosen to read this list, and hope you find it helpful! At the bottom of this article, you can find my profile including links to social media, and if you have further questions about what to do in Warsaw, please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to give more free advice to you on what to do! As for now, enjoy this article, and safe travels in the future!

Tours & Experiences in Warsaw from our sponsor Viator

Amazing Architecture in Warsaw

Many people who come to Europe come to see the amazing architecture that many cities have to offer! Warsaw is no exception. There are various architectural styles to be visited from gothic to baroque, to neoclassical. What makes Warsaw unique is that most of the beautiful buildings you will see were rebuilt, due to their destruction during WWII. The Polish government spent many hours meticulously rebuilding to make Warsaw anew like a phoenix from the ashes, with many buildings still appearing as the original building once was. 

Specifically, I think there are 8 buildings or areas worth visiting in Warsaw related to architecture. And, in most cases, these buildings are all found near the city center, making it very easy to just spend a day casually walking the nearby streets and alleys and finding many other beautiful buildings not included on this list. This is an activity I highly recommend, as Warsaw is flat overall, making it easy to just explore without an itinerary. But, read on to find out about the areas included on this list.

Read: The best hotels with a pool in Warsaw: Our recommendations

Old Town Market Square

If a list about what to do in Warsaw does not include this stunning spot, it is an incomplete list indeed. The Old Town is the pride and joy of Warsaw, starting from the statue of a mermaid found at its center, which is a symbol you will find all throughout Warsaw. The beautiful colorful block houses built here are reminiscent of a city in Italy rather than other Polish architecture you might see, with narrow alleyways, cobblestone streets, and arches overhead. The Old Town in general is a perfect place to walk around and get lost. 

Warsaw, one of the best cities to visit in Poland
The old town of Warsaw, one of the best cities to visit in Poland. Taken by Poland Insiders photographer Andrzej Tokarski.

Of course, coming to the Old Town means you will be with a lot of people, so I recommend visiting early in the morning or at night, when all the school groups have left, making the environment a bit quieter. But, any time of day and time of year is still fine, as the Old Town’s beauty shines through no matter the season.

In the Christmas times, you will find the Warsaw Christmas Market along the city walls, and in the Market Square. Here you can buy Polish souvenirs, drink mulled wine, a variety of vodkas, try oscypek with jam, or take silly photos in a photo-booth. And you cannot skip the ice-skating around the mermaid statue, which is an extremely romantic activity.  

Top activities to do in the Old Town include walking along the ivy-covered walls, getting a scoop of ice cream and exploring, or going into a souvenir shop and pursuing. The beauty of this activity is that it costs as much as you want, depending on your dining and shopping choices. You can even choose to eat on the Market Square, if you want, which is a beautiful place to enjoy a meal, although the restaurants are extremely touristy, and not necessarily very authentic. Slip into a nearby alley to find a better restaurant that will have much lower prices.  

Overall, I would recommend spending at least half of a day in the Old Town, no matter how long you stay. There are also many other things to do on this list very close by, making it a good base of operations. And, if you are staying close, it is a fun place to hang out more than once too. Getting to the Old Town is also extremely easy, with direct buses from Chopin Airport, and trams every 2 minutes from both across the river and near the center, and also dozens of buses driving up to Plac Zamkowy every hour. So, for the most essential Warsaw experience, visit the Old Town and the Market Square.  

Wilanów Palace 

Wilanów Palace is one of the best attractions in ALL of Poland. Often called the Versailles of Poland, this name is more than fitting. This is easily my favorite location in all of Warsaw, due to its affordability, and number of things to see and enjoy. The only downside is that Wilanów Palace is a little bit removed from the rest of the city, but there are buses from Metro Wilanowska, or even the Old Town, that go directly there. And the city is currently building a tram line that will eventually get very close to the Palace supposedly by January 2024, so explore that if you are coming later than this year (although Polish construction is notoriously slow). 

Wilanow Palace in Warsaw, Poland
Wilanow Palace in Warsaw, Poland. Taken by PolandInsiders writer Jeremy.

Why is Wilanów worth visiting? First, the palace itself. It is a beautiful building that used to be the royal residence of King Jan Sobieski III, in which he collected much art from all over the world. It was, however, opened to the public as a gift to the people who could come and see all the art, a unique opportunity in Europe at the time of this event. Now, it is still open to the people.  

Inside, you will first visit a special exhibition and see artwork being restored. When I last went, it was a collection of beautiful Oriental art bought by various owners of the palace over time. The rest of the palace will allow you to see the salons, dining areas, gaudy bedrooms, and hallways full of statues. And the coolest part about everything is that much of it is original, as the building was spared during the relentless bombings of WWII. I easily spent 2 hours inside when I visited the first time, and it is a fun activity for everyone! 

Additionally, the Palace comes with a beautiful set of gardens as well, which makes the trip even more worth it! In the gardens you will find wonderfully manicured hedges, a seasonal rose garden, beautiful stone statues, romantic benches, and stunning views of the beautiful palace itself. During the wintertime, this garden hosts a Christmas light show that my girlfriend and I enjoyed immensely and is something you should check out for sure if visiting in December. Also, walking down the stone stairs in the back will lead you to a canal with a lovely walk under leafy trees near some of the more expensive houses in Warsaw, which is a perfect ending to a perfect day at Wilanów.  

As far as costs go, Wilanów is very affordable in my opinion. Garden tickets cost 10 PLN, while the museum tickets, which include garden access, cost 35 PLN. Reduced admission is also available to those attending Polish university of below, and is free for those under 6! Tickets can be bought in advance, or found in the ticket office a little bit away from the front entrance. Tickets for the garden can be bought at ticket kiosks outside the entrance.   

Finally, it is important to note that tickets are FREE on Thursdays, but that tickets are limited and first-come first-serve. Also note that once you have a ticket, you need to enter slightly to the side of the main gate of the palace. Also note that the tickets you buy are time sensitive, so make sure to enter the museum between the times shown on your ticket, or you might have to buy another ticket! For hours, which change quite constantly, check here.

Warsaw Royal Castle 

The Royal Castle, a beautiful, orange-tinged building with a central clock tower, is found at the southern entrance to the Old Town in Plac Zamkowy, where you can also see Sigismund’s Column, one of Warsaw’s symbols. The castle itself has a lot to do, with a garden, an interior plaza, and a museum full of art, both Polish and European in general. Thus, if you are already going to the Old Town, it is necessary to visit the castle as well. When I first visited, I got the audiobook and took my time going through the palace, which has so many different rooms to visit! 

Royal Castle in Warsaw
The Royal Castle in Warsaw. Taken by Poland Insiders photographer Andrzej Tokarski.

This castle has a variety of exhibits. First, you must visit the gaudy interiors of the castle, with rooms full of artwork, adornments, painted ceilings, chandeliers, and enough colors to paint a rainbow. Especially stunning are the Royal Apartment, Royal Bedroom, and Great Assembly Hall. But it is also entertaining to go down below the castle into the Gothic cellar, and see an entirely different, older, style of architecture that is prominent due to Teutonic influence in Poland. In the exhibitions available, you will find art by Rembrandt as the centerpiece, but also many other artists including Lucas Cranach the Elder. 

Choosing which ticket to buy can be a little tricky, as with many famous attractions, there is not a ticket that gets you admission to all places. One possible ticket to purchase is The Royal Route, which includes many of the rooms in the main part of the palace, including all the palace rooms, senate rooms, and every other room on the first floor. These tickets cost 50 PLN. If you want to see the artwork, you can buy a separate ticket for The Gallery of Masterpieces, which includes Rembrandt and other famous paintings. This ticket costs 40 PLN.  

Finally, if you want to see the Tin-Roofed Palace, a side building that also has many beautiful rooms, tickets cost 30 PLN. Audiobooks, which I highly recommend for the full experience, are available in Polish, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, and Ukrainian depending on the route, and cost 10 PLN.  

Additionally, it is important to note two things. First, the castle is CLOSED on Mondays. Secondly, admission is FREE to all the permanent exhibitions on Wednesday. So, if you want to see both the art and the Royal Route, this is the day to visit for sure! Like with Wilanów, the tickets must be “purchased” at the ticket window, and they are limited, so get there early, especially to beat the school groups in May and June.  

Also, it would be remiss to skip the Gardens of the palace, a common sight for large political gatherings and speeches. But there are also some beautiful fountains and hedges, and a quiet café to have a coffee or eat lunch at. Hours change constantly, so check here for more information.

The Archcathedral Basilica of St John the Baptist 

This distinctive church in the heart of the Old Town cannot be missed! Its stair-stepping roof can be seen from many beautiful vistas throughout the city, whether across the river, or from Plac Zamkowy. This catholic church is built in the style of Brick Gothic, like many churches and castles across Poland, and serves as an icon of the Old Town, and Warsaw. If you are in the Old Town, it is necessary that you visit this wonder, both from the inside and outside. 

The Archcathedral Basilica of St John the Baptist
Outside the Archcathedral Basilica of St John the Baptist. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

The inside is typical, at least in my experience of visiting 10 different European countries and counting, of catholic churches, with high vaulted ceilings supported by massive columns, all in a Baroque style. Of course, as with many buildings in Warsaw, it was almost entirely destroyed during WWII, and rebuilt to capture its former glory. What is also of interest in this archcathedral are the many important Poles buried in the crypts below you as you walk up and down the aisles.  

Perhaps the most famous is the last King of Poland, Stanisław August Poniatowski, as well as presidents of the second republic of Poland (between the World Wars) and famous painters, writers, and states people. History is abundant, so make sure to read up on it before visiting! 

The other big draw of this church is the impressive organ. To show it off, there are daily organ concerts at noon in the cathedral, and every year there are several festivals dedicated to organ music at an international level. While the schedule for 2023 has not yet been released, from July to September the Interational Organ Music Festival takes place on Sundays in the evening, with organists from all over the world coming to pay.

All concerts are paid admission, so entering the church as happens is not recommended. The daily concert costs 30 PLN and I could not find information on how much the festival concerts cost. But you can visit here to learn more and see information as it is added.  

As with many churches, admission is free. And the church stays quiet, with large tour groups staying away. Just remember to be respectful, quiet, and not take flash photographs while inside. Additionally, while the church is open for pretty much all working hours so that churchgoers can make confessions and pray, I would not recommend visiting here on Sundays or holidays, and of course visiting at concert times would require paid admissions. 

University of Warsaw Main Campus 

The University of Warsaw is consistently ranked as the 1st or 2nd best university in all of Poland, and as a top university in the world. Of course, as a tourist, you are not interested in what the courses have to offer, but rather the beautiful buildings of the campus make it a fun place to visit. The main campus is on the Royal Route, a 10-minute walk from the Royal Castle and houses over 30,000 students at any time.  

University of Warsaw Main Campus
University of Warsaw Main Campus. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

Here you will find old rebuilt palace that are now used as administration buildings, the old library building directly in the center which appears like a church, a nice set of gardens, benches, and trees, which are perfect places to relax and study, and more. Unfortunately, getting inside the buildings can be difficult, although I imagine if you choose to walk inside buildings that are classrooms, no one will give you too much notice. Just do not walk into any classrooms, even though some are stunning!  

Of course, if you feel uncomfortable even walking into the campus, there are a few other options available. First, you can just take a picture at the Main Gate of the university, an iron beauty with the seal of the university above, a common photo spot and location for news broadcasts about the university. Additionally, you can attend the University of Warsaw Museum, which is a small, free exhibit available to all people, which can kill about 30 minutes if you so choose. 

Additionally, many events take place on the campus throughout the year, such as Culture Fairs, and the Student’s Festival, which is a concert that hosts some of Poland’s most popular artists, which cost 50 PLN for non-students at its last rendition. Following the university’s Instagram page, @uniwersytetwarszawksi can help reveal some of the events going on at this busy hub. So, if you are already in the Old Town, make sure to give the campus a visit! 

Holy Cross Basilica 

The Holy Cross Basilica is directly across the street from the university’s main campus. One of the most notable churches in Poland, this church was first built as early as the 15th century, but the main church was first built in 1615. Over various raids and wars, the church stayed a key center of Catholicism in Warsaw, and today is a beautiful and quiet church to visit. Despite its prime location in the heart of Warsaw, many tourists do not open its heavy doors to peek, and I recommend that you should. 

Holy Cross Basilica in Warsaw
Holy Cross Basilica in Warsaw. Taken by Poland Insiders photographer Andrzej.

The church is a rebuilt Baroque-style building, without the typical Baroque features of frescos (like Michelangelo’s in the Vatican). Thus, the church stays simple and solemn. Its exterior, however, is stunning, with its dual towers visible from many high points in the city. But even inside you will find many gaudy shrines, high roofs, beautiful columns and archways, and the prime reason people visit the church, the buried heart of famous composer Fryderyk Chopin.  

Chopin is one of Poland’s most beloved figures, and while his body was buried in France where he died, his heart was taken back to be buried here, as Poles claim Chopin wanted this to happen. While it is uncertain whether this was true or not, regardless of that you can enjoy this interesting feature of the church.  

As with the Archcathedral in the Old Town, this church is open at all normal working hours for confession and prayer. And I would not recommend visiting on Sundays or holidays out of respect for worshippers. But, in general, if you want to spend 10-15 minutes and take a cool unique picture, make sure to take a stop inside this church, as it is too convenient to not stop at.  

Praga District 

This is the only attraction on this list that is an entire district! Praga is located on the east side of the Vistula River, and due to this it initially was its own city that developed its own unique culture and personality. This personality still shines through today, although much of the original town was destroyed even before WWII by floods. And while Praga had a reputation for being grungy and dangerous during communism, the district has been re-vitalized since then, and you will find lots of trendy restaurants, cafes, and artwork scattered throughout its streets. 

Art on a building in Praga District.
Art on a building in Praga District. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

Even so, the buildings still give you a grungy vibe, which makes it a distinctly different architectural experience from every other attraction on this list. The buildings are brick or concrete, but still hold a charm. Of course, there is not much to do in Praga beyond walking around, but I found upon visiting it for the first time that this was the best thing to do anyways! Attractions in Praga can be found later on this list, including the Neon Museum in Warsaw and the Warsaw Zoo.  

So, I would recommend spending a morning or afternoon over in Praga, exploring its streets, and having lunch at one of the many nice restaurants on this side of the city. The restaurants over here are less touristy, and thus you are certain to get a more authentic experience. And getting to Praga is not very difficult. Trams from the City Center and the Old Town cross the river directly there consistently. You can also take a high number of buses, and there are even small regional trains included in transport tickets that stop at Warszawa Wschodnia Railway Station if that is what you want. So, do not skip Praga, and explore the counter-culture vibes! 

Fort Bema  

Fort Bema is a location not usually mentioned on traditional lists of things to do in Warsaw. There are many reasons, but perhaps the main reason is that it is in a hard-to-reach spot if you do not have a car. But I visited it for the first time during my holidays, as I was stuck in Warsaw and took it upon myself to visit an attraction at every Metro station in Warsaw. This was the attraction for Metro Ulrychów, and it turned out to be one of the coolest sights I visited! 

Fort Bema
Fort Bema. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

Located northwest of the city center, Fort Bema is a former fortress that one of many in an “inner ring” of fortresses that were used to protect Warsaw during the 19th century. Originally called Fort Parysów, this fort was closed in 1909, and has now become a park since the early 2000s. This park is a beautiful spot, with moats with ducks, many birds, big leafy trees, and large grass fields that are perfect for kids and dogs. You can walk up and down the fort and see the derelict brick structures, and choose to walk inside if you dare, although there is lots of garbage inside, and it is not necessarily the safest activity. 

If you are up for it, I would recommend spending an hour here. Afterwards, you can have a meal at Wola Park Mall. But, getting there is somewhat challenging. From the Old Town, take Bus 190 to Księcia Janusza and transfer to either Bus 197 or Bus 201, which still requires an 8-minute walk afterwards. From the Centrum, take the M2 to Księcia Janusza, and switch to the same bus. Parking is very limited, so keep that in mind if you are driving.

Attractions to see in Warsaw

For the next items, you will find activities that are not necessarily unique experiences to Warsaw. These include waterparks, pools, observation decks, and more. However, these experiences are still top notch in Warsaw, and might be great experiences depending on the time of year you come, or how long you decide to stay. Additionally, many of these activities are the most kid-friendly in Warsaw, so consider spending half of a day or more at some of these. Read on to find out more.  

Palace of Culture and Science (PKiN) 

The Palace of Culture and Science is an icon of Warsaw, although its history is complicated, and its legacy is tainted. This building, at the heart of the city center, was the tallest building in Poland for many years until the recently completed Varso Tower. This building is in a “Stalinist” style, as it was a gift from Soviet dictator Stalin to the Polish people. For this reason, the building is often associated with the negatives of the communist period in Poland, and many people would rather see it gone.  

The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw.
The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw during sunset. Taken by Poland Insiders photographer Andrzej.

While its history is complicated, what is simple is how beautiful the building is. It looms over the city and is the centerpiece of the surprisingly beautiful and modern skyline of Warsaw. The building provides contrast, with its dark brown color and older style, and beautiful clock at the top. Within the building itself are many different museums. However, the crown jewel of the building is the observation deck.  

A short elevator ride zips you up to the top, where you get a 360-degree view of the entire city on a clear day. When I recently went with my parents, it was amazing how many different sights in Warsaw and surrounding areas you can pick out from the top. I think this experience is a perfect way to be welcomed to Warsaw, and will remain the best view of the city, even as the Varso Tower eventually opens its own viewpoint.  

The terrace is open from 10 AM to 8 PM, and is usually open every day, barring some holidays. Since the viewpoint is quite popular, I would recommend buying your tickets in advance. Even when I went right at opening, there were two large school groups in front of me that took a while to get all tickets bought, and the ticket people are generally slow. Tickets can be bought in advance here but remember that you must commit to the time! Tickets cost 25 PLN for regular admission, and 20 PLN if you are eligible for discounts.  

The city center of Warsaw during sunset.
The city center of Warsaw. Taken during sunset from the Palace of Culture and Science by Poland Insiders photographer Andrzej Tokarski.

I would recommend visiting at sunset if you get the chance, although you will certainly want to buy your ticket in advance, as this is an unsurprisingly busy time. During the summer, it is unfortunately impossible to visit at sunset as it happens later than the opening hours of the observation deck, so visit at noon instead for a brilliantly clear view.  

Moczydło Water Park 

Warsaw is not super-hot in the summer, with average high temperatures of 24 C (75 F) in July and August. But, on those occasional days when Warsaw can get to 30 C (86 F) or above, there are not a lot of good options for cooling off. There is only one, tiny swimmable lake within city limits, and swimming in the Vistula River is extremely dangerous and off limits. Thus, a possible option is Moczydło Water Park, found west of downtown, in Wola. This park recently opened for the summer, on June 3. The park is open until the end of the summer seven days per week from 9-19. 

Outside of Moczydło Water Park.
Outside of Moczydło Water Park. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

This water park supplies a variety of pools, although they are not heated, so be prepared for slightly cold water. There is a large swimming pool for sport, including lanes with decent depth, and there is a shallower recreational pool. In the recreational pool, there is a variety of slides that wind their way into the pool, artificial waves, a lazy river, and general fun for all. There is also a small child’s pool with low depth with safety intended, and a water playground. Overall, users say that lines typically are no longer than 20 minutes at peak times and days, so it is not the busiest place in the world, but still get there early. 

At the park, there is food available, as well as the occasional food truck. You can also rent chairs for 20 PLN per chair and sporting equipment, and there are of course changing rooms and deposit lockers on site. A ticket to the pool costs 50 PLN for anyone who is not a Polish child. Based on the size of the waterpark, I would estimate that at most 5 hours is enough to get maximum enjoyment, but even 2 hours could be a good freshener on a hot day. Tickets can be bought in advance here. To get to the park, take the M2 metro to Młynów and walk about 10 minutes. Parking is also available in a limited amount. 

Warsaw Zoo 

The Warsaw Zoo is a fun way to spend an afternoon in Warsaw during all seasons of the year. Additionally, the zoo itself has a very interesting history. Animals in some capacities have been kept in this part of Warsaw since the 17th century, but the current zoo was first opened in 1928 to the public. During World War II, many of the animals were tragically killed, but the zoo still served an important purpose. The zookeeper Jan Żabiński saved the lives of more than 300 Jews by hiding them in the zoo during WWII, a story memorialized in the English-language book The Zookeeper’s Wife.  

Flamingo birds at Warsaw Zoo.
Flamingo birds at Warsaw Zoo. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

While some of the big-name exhibits were disappointing when I visited, mostly because the animals seemed depressed about life (which is understandable) there were some standout exhibits, especially the tropical tanks, birds, and elephants. There are also nice trees and flowers to see as well. Overall, there is certainly enough to be done, including watching the public daily feedings of a variety of animals, including hippos and penguins. For kids, there is also a playground with a mini basketball court and a summer train ride. 

Tickets can be bought from the windows, at automatic kiosks at the park, and online in advance. Just be warned that the lines can get very long for the windows, and when we went, only one kiosk was working. Also, if you see the line, check to see if people are waiting for the kiosk or not, as many people in line want to pay with cash at the window.  

However, buying a ticket beforehand requires making an account online, but it is not too much hassle, as you can also use your Facebook account to make an account for the ticketing account. Additionally, the Zoo’s hours depend on the season. To get to the zoo, take a tram from near the Old Town across the river to Park Praski 01, or take the M2 to Wileński and walk about 15 minutes through the park. 

Park Szczęśliwicki 

Park Szczęśliwicki (I dare you to say that 3 times fast), found in Ochota southwest of the city center, is a large city park. So, while there are the typical park activities (more on those later), such as the lake, tree-filled groves, and wildlife, this park also has a variety of big-name attractions worth visiting. These include a pool with waterslides, a gravity alpine-coaster, and the largest attraction, that being an artificial ski hill. 

The pool is near the lake’s southern end. While there is an indoor pool run at a different location, the jewel here is the seasonal outdoor pool, open this year from June 8 and open every day starting from June 23, from 9-19. The pool complex includes a large swimming pool, a recreational pool that allows for different activities and has a bridge going over it, and one small slide. A regular ticket to this pool, which can be used for any number of hours you wish, costs 26.50 PLN, and half that for those who are eligible for a discount. Tickets are bought at the pool upon arrival.  

The other facilities worth a checkout are the ski hill and alpine coaster. The alpine coaster is available when the weather is good, so mostly during the summer, and is a self-operated downhill track with an average gradient of 21%, and a maximum speed of 36 km/h (22 mph), which feels extremely fast on the small coaster cart you ride individually. Additionally, there are even two-person coasters available so that people in wheelchairs can also enjoy this activity, a huge rarity in a country where disabled persons are not always accommodated so easily.  

Additionally, this activity is affordable, at 7 PLN per ride, but you can also buy tickets for 2 rides, 6 rides, and 10 rides. Just be warned that the track is quite popular, so expect waiting times up to an hour in busy times! But tickets can be used for 30 days after purchase, so if you feel like coming back another time, that is a possibility! 

Finally, there is the artificial ski hill. This “hill” towers at 152 meters (500 ft) above its surroundings and supplies a stellar view of the city. As the closest mountains are about 5 hours away, this is the only real opportunity to ski anywhere near Warsaw. Here, you can ski and snowboard all year round on the gentle slope and get the winter experience you have been crazing. Of course, it is best in the winter when real snow joins the mix.  

This attraction is open year-round from 10-20 to the best of my knowledge. Tickets depend on your preferences. You can buy a 60-minute pass for 30 PLN or a 120-minute pass for 50 PLN. There is also a complicated point system which I do not recommend trying to figure out. The park is a little bit removed from the city center. The fastest way to the park is to take Bus 128 from the city center near the Palace of Culture and Science. 

Warszawianka Water Park 

Looking for some pool time anytime during the year? This water park is an indoor facility that is open year-round and has so many activities for all ages. There is an Olympic swimming pool with lap swimming. There is a recreational pool for kids with a jacuzzi section, a lazy river, 3 different waterslides, and an outdoor heated swimming pool that stays open year-round. Compared to other pools, this water is kept heated, consistently at 28 C (82 F). There are also many other activities, including a spa and wellness center, and the occasional water obstacle course.  

Because the pool is indoors, it is a little bit pricier. From Monday to Friday, Using the pool for 1 hour costs 32 PLN, and for 2.5 hours costs 56 PLN. If you want to have access to the sauna this is an added 13 PLN or 20 PLN depending on how many hours you bought. On weekends and holidays, the price rises a bit more, to 34 PLN for 1 hour plus 19 PLN for the sauna, and 62 PLN for 2.5 hours plus 17 PLN for the sauna.  

2.5 hours is probably enough time to enjoy the facilities, especially on a cold winter’s day. The facilities are open from 6-10 PM weekdays and 6:30-22 on weekends. The facilities are a little tricky to reach due to tram line construction. The quickest way from the center is non-direct, by taking the M1 to Wilanowska, and switching to Tram 75 to Malczewskiego 06.  

PLEASE NOTE that this is the official website. When googling this title in English, you might get results for a hotel with the same name that also has an indoor water park. However, this hotel is in the countryside about 40 minutes by car north of Warsaw, not 20 minutes from the city center by bus. So, make sure to only reference the official site linked here, there is NO hotel attached. 

Dining and Shopping in Warsaw

Polish food is some of the most underrated cuisine in Europe in my opinion. While not overly fancy, there are so many good soups, pierogi, coffee, beer, and more. Warsaw has some of the best food anywhere in Poland, from Polish cuisine to international fare. Additionally, there is top class shopping given that Warsaw is the capital city. In this next section, you will find 4 different locations you should go to for good eats, and shopping sprees.

Nowy Świat 

Nowy Świat is another area you are going to find on lots of lists of things to do in Warsaw. And rightfully so. This is the center of Warsaw’s nightlife, but also a good place to hang out during the day. Nowy Świat is connected to the Royal Route, and has many restaurants, cafes, and bars. Translated to “New World Street” in English, you are certain to discover a new world full of drunk Polish people and tourists alike. 

At night, the streets come alive with activity, as young people flock here to drink the cheapest beer you can find not from a convenience store. There is a particular intersection, at Chmnelna, a pedestrian promenade home to some of the best pizza I’ve had in Warsaw (visit Pizza na Chmielnej), where there is lots of activity. There are also some somewhat hidden back alleys where you can find many cheap dive bars, with classic underground seating and good vibes.  

A gelato ice cream place on Nowy Świat street in Warsaw.
A gelato ice cream place on Nowy Świat street in Warsaw. Taken by Poland Insiders photographer Andrzej.

You cannot go wrong coming to Nowy Świat for a good time at any hour of the day. During the day, many bars also serve as restaurants with good Polish and international eats, and there are also still good drinks to be had, such as cherry liqueur and coffee if you do not drink alcohol. Overall, if you are looking for a night out, I recommend coming here, or if you want to eat a meal at a lower price than the Old Town, come here. Getting to Nowy Świat is super easy, with an M2 metro stop dedicated to it, but also many buses serving its stretch. It is also only a 10-minute walk from the city center.  

Arkadia Mall 

Arkadia Mall is perhaps the pre-eminent mall in all of Poland. While Poland has many large malls, especially at train stations, Arkadia trumps them all as the largest in Poland. Here, you will find every clothing store imaginable, from low to high prices. Thus, you and a lot of Poles will be here at any given time of the day, but it is still a fun time. The mall is also huge, so it is a great place to take an air-conditioned walk on a hot day if you find yourself nearby.  

Run by Westfield, the international mall conglomerate, there is also a movie theater, and indoor and outdoor playground, and much fine dining. However, maybe one of the coolest places to eat at is Max Premium Burger. Max’s is a Swedish chain that was so popular in its home country that McDonalds had to shut down stores. There a few scattered around Poland, but this is the easiest one to eat at. Of course, there are many other good restaurants to eat at. And the movie theater shows all the newest movies, is typically empty, and is a good date spot if you want to see a Polish movie while in Poland. 

The mall is open every day except SUNDAYS from 10-22. Stores inside may have slightly different hours, so make sure to check on those. Additionally, the mall is very easily reachable, with two major tram lines from the center and the east converging here. It is also a short 10-minute walk from the closest M1 metro stop. Parking is also widely available, with 3718 free parking spaces found below the mall. 

Hala Mirowska 

Hala Mirowska is a food hall and shopping center just north of the city center. As food halls are an essential reason to visit Warsaw this summer, this one is one of the best to visit. This large undercover market, first opened in 1902, and re-opened after the war in 1953 and then 1962 further, is a vibrant place to shop. You will find many Poles here, shopping for fruits, veggies, meats, and other daily shopping. You can also buy any number of delectable Polish pastries; I recommend pączki, cream-filled Polish donuts. 

Outside the western entrance you can also find a beautiful flower market, with cheaper flower prices than you will find almost anywhere else in the city. There is also a pharmacy, and a few restaurants and food carts. Overall, this is an amazing place to go people watching, and try some delicious Polish food that might have been hand-picked by the people selling it to you! You will truly see the beautiful personalities of Polish people at work here, and I cannot recommend it more.  

Like most commerce in Poland due to the law, Hala Mirowska is closed on Sundays, but open from 6-20 every other day of the week except holidays. Go in the morning to see the peak of activities and get a coffee and pastry. Getting there is also simple. Tram 17 or 33 from the city center will get you there in 2 stops. Or you can take a nice walk through the skyscrapers of Warsaw for about 20 minutes to get there. The hall is also parallel to the left of the Saxon Gardens (more on them later) and is thus only about a 20-minute walk from the Old Town and Royal Route.  

Hala Koszyki 

For a food hall that is focused on dining, Hala Koszyki is the best one of the few I have been here (I am slightly biased because I went on my second date with my now girlfriend here). Hala Koszyki is in the student driven Politechnika area of Warsaw, just south of the city center. This food hall, however, can feel quite classy. There are fancy restaurants available, as well as quick convenience food stands with food from around the world, including Italy, Japan, and more. You can also find a few stores selling books, kitchen supplies, or more. 

The food and drink are certainly the main reason to go here. Due to the food court style of some of the restaurants, if you are in a large group, it might be a good place to go because everyone can choose their favorite food or try something new. There is also a main central bar where you can get a cocktail on top of your meal that will be cheaper than in the restaurants. Of course, you can also attend these restaurants, such as Jeff’s, an American restaurant that is worth it for the beautifully decorated interior that is reminiscent of a 1950s diner in the US (the food, not so much). 

Unlike other food halls, Hala Koszyki is open late, from 8 AM – 1 AM from Monday to Saturday, and it is even open on Sunday from 9 AM – 1 AM. However, its location is not well-served by transit, with Bus 151 and 159 stopping nearby, but coming from less popular destinations. Instead, either walk 20 minutes from the center, or take the M1 to Politechnika and walk about 15 minutes.  

Beautiful Gardens in Warsaw

While Warsaw is home to many parks, which will be covered at the end of this article, Warsaw also has some beautiful gardens. These gardens will have flowers and manicured hedges and be guaranteed to be freshly trimmed during peak times (a not common guarantee in most parts of Poland, grass will get quite high here before being taken care of by the city). In Warsaw, there are four gardens worth visiting, with the bonus being that three of them are free, one of them are open 24/7, and the other is low cost, and next to another popular attraction. Read on to find out more! 

Saxon Gardens 

 The Saxon Gardens are part of the oldest public park in Warsaw, opened first in 1727. The gardens were originally private, as the attached gardens to an aristocrat’s mansion, and nearby to the Saxon Palace, which is currently being rebuilt. Now they are public, and through the bombings of WWII that destroyed the Palace, they exist as they have looked for centuries. This park, full of leafy trees that supply an excellent shade source for relaxing on a bunch, eating lunch, or watching people go by, gives way to a central alley full of flowers. Last year, these flowers were blue and yellow to support Ukraine, this year a long row of colorful tulips adorned the way.

Saxon Gardens in Warsaw, Poland
Saxon Gardens in Warsaw, Poland. Taken by PolandInsiders photographer Jeremy.

At the end of this central part is a large fountain surrounded by beautiful stone statues. To the side up a hill is a beautiful water tower with marble-looking columns, and below it is a duck pond with benches surrounding it. If you walk a little bit farther, you end up Piłsudski Square, which houses a variety of monuments, including one towards the unknown soldier, guarded 24/7.  

The Saxon Garden’s central location makes it an amazing place to hang out for an extended amount of time. Be warned that many tour groups make their way through here, so it can get quite busy. Also, large political gatherings happen here, like ones that happened recently related to a new government policy. So, avoid the area in these circumstances. Otherwise, as the Gardens are a 15-minute walk from both the city center and the Old Town, and directly between them, it is likely you will walk through the beauty of these gardens. Just make sure to stop and take it in and take a break.  

University of Warsaw Library Rooftop Gardens 

These gardens are one of the most unique sights in all of Warsaw. Located partially on the roof of the University of Warsaw New Library, this free attraction offers great views of the Vistula River to the east, and of the city skyline to the west. It is naturally quite a popular sight amongst students, both for studying and for relaxing. Off the roof, you will find a variety of ponds and trees to walk amongst, and relax, with this part of the garden housing most people relaxing. 

Rooftop gardens in Warsaw, Poland.
Rooftop gardens in Warsaw, Poland. Taken by PolandInsiders writer Jeremy.

As you make your way up the steep set of stairs next to a seasonal water feature, you will be privy to the views of everything around you. There are some big round windows to get a view inside the building of students studying your best chance at a view since the library is not open to non-students. Also on top are ivy-covered gates, various metal bridges, hedges, lawn spots, and everything you can ask for in a garden. Overall, it is a nice place to take some pictures of the views, or yourself, or even couples or family photos depending on who you are traveling with.  

Typically speaking, the hours of the gardens are the same as daylight hours. Additionally, during the winter, the rooftop part of the garden is not open. That part is open from April to October. But during the typical tourist season, the best time to visit, the gardens are open from 8-20, with the winter hours being 8-15. The location is a bit removed from the main city, with the easiest way there being to walk downhill from the Old Town or University Main Campus, which will take between 10 and 20 minutes depending on where you start. Or take the N2 to the Copernicus Science Center stop and walk about 15 minutes.  

Krasiński Gardens and Palace 

The Krasiński Gardens is a place I find myself quite often these days. Despite its location about 10 minutes from the Old Town, it is relatively low-key, and is a great spot for all the park activities you wish. The gardens are attached to the Krasiński Palace, originally opened in the 17th century for a politician. The palace was rebuilt to its former glory soon after WWII, when it was bombed, with the remains of its extensive library housed inside. As far as I know, you cannot go inside the palace, but it is a beautiful place to take pictures of and just appreciate what it is. 

Krasinski Gardens & Palace
Krasinski Gardens & Palace. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

The gardens are the spotlight. The maze of paths takes you through open fields, a perfect place to sun or have a picnic, benches with shade from large trees, a duck pond full of ducks all year round, and a few playgrounds for the kids. If you get hungry or thirsty, seasonally there is a bike café that offers pastries and a coffee.

In front of the palace, you will find the most garden-like part of the area, with manicured hedges and occasional flowers peeking through. If you are near the Old Town, or staying nearby, it is a nice place to enjoy an hour or two to relax and recover from all the walking you will do while in Poland! 

The gardens are found about 10 minutes from the Old Town, and close to the Ratusz Arsenał metro station on the M1 line. At this point, there are also many buses and trams that stop from all over the city, including from across the river and Wola. Additionally, there are other bus stops on the east side of the park that have buses directly to and from the Old Town, Royal Route, and other main attractions.  

The gardens are open year-round, although these gardens are surrounded by gates, and can thus be closed off, so they are not open 24-7. But, if you are in the area, certainly stop here and enjoy a moment like the many I have at this park during the spring season. 

University of Warsaw Botanical Gardens 

Do not get confused by the name! The University of Warsaw Botanical Gardens are different from those mentioned earlier on top of the library’s roof. These gardens are found near an extremely popular tourist destination, this being Łazienki Park (more on this later). Thus, it is a good place to stop as an added garden journey on top of any other you choose. However, with these gardens comes a price, as the curated flowers cost money to see. 

However, it is worth it. These gardens are described as “spectacularly lush,” and include over 5000 species of trees and other plants. Inside, you will find seasonal gardens, Polish gardens, world plants, and an indoor tropical greenhouse that is a nice place to explore on a slightly colder day. There is also a chapel hidden in the back that it a fun journey to find. Overall, the gardens supply an experience other free gardens cannot in Poland and should be visited if you like gardens. 

The gardens, while not free, are not overly expensive. Since you could spend an hour or two here if you wished, the price is well worth it. Tickets are 20 PLN on a typical day, but on Mondays (except holidays) during the summer season from March to October they cost only 10 PLN.

The gardens are only open to the public with a ticket from March to October, with the gardens being open from 10-18 in March, April, and September 10-20 from May to August, and 10-17 in October.  Additionally, the greenhouse is closed on Mondays during the summer because of the free days. During the winter, the outdoor section is closed, but you can get a guided tour of the glass houses to warm up. More information on tickets can be found here.  

Transportation to and from the Botanical Gardens requires bus transport due to the tram line’s reconstruction. From the center, you can take either Bus 520 or 525 to Pl. Na Rozdrozu 55 and walk 7 minutes. At the time of writing this, Google suggests taking some other buses that do not normally run on this line, such as Bus 116, so I would recommend sticking with the first choice, as these buses typically always run this route all year round. 

Museums to see in Warsaw

Warsaw, as the capital city, has many museums to visit. The following list holds eleven that seem worth it. From history, to art, to music, these museums encompass everything there is to know about Poland. Some of the museums, such as the National Museum, can be half-day trips, while some, such as the Fotoplastikon, might only take you 30-45 minutes. But they are all worth it if you choose, and as I believe it important to connect with the local history and culture of a destination when traveling to it, all these museums are good places to do so, and I highly recommend you do! 

National Museum of Warsaw 

The National Museum of Warsaw is one of the most fabulous museums in all of Poland. Its three stories hold the finest collections of art, ancient relics, and more that are available to the public in Poland. In fact, it compares favorably, in my opinion, to museums like the Met in New York, without a high price tag or work stolen from the country or origin. In this exhibit, you will find a collection of both the finest Polish treasures and ancient art given as gift. 

The National Museum in Warsaw
The entrance of the National Museum in Warsaw. Taken by Poland Insiders photographer Andrzej.

Maybe one of the most unique exhibits at the museum is the Nubian Christian exhibit contained within the Faras Gallery. A group of Polish architectures were charged with helping the Sudanese government save ancient relics of such communities after the building of the Aswan High Dam was ordered, which would devour these ancient villages. As thanks, some of the artwork was given to Poland, and Poland now has the largest such collection in all of Europe. 

Some of the other impressive areas include the medieval artwork on the first floor. Much of the artwork has been saved from many consequential churches throughout Poland and is extremely impressive to see. Another impressive collection is oriental pieces, as former Polish royalty was fond of buying such pieces from traders. Thus, the largest such collection in Poland can be found in this museum.  

Of course, the most interesting part is all the museum’s paintings. While the artists certainly are not well-known unless you are a big art history person, they are still stunningly beautiful. You will find some of the most famous Polish paintings here, such as The Battle of Grunwald by Jam Matejko, but you can also find works of more famous masters, such as Botticelli and Rembrandt. These beautiful paintings do an excellent job of capturing the Polish zeitgeist, from pastoral nature scenes to scenes of depression and longing for freedom. 

Painting inside the National Museum in Warsaw
A visitor in front of an impressive painting inside the National Museum in Warsaw. Taken by Poland Insiders photographer Andrzej.

When I went with my parents, we only spent 2 hours there, but this is the sort of museum you could easily spend half a day at if you are into art. Or, if you just want to pass some time, 1-2 hours is also sufficient. The Museum is open from 10-18 on Tuesday to Thursday, and Saturday and Sunday, from 10-20 on Fridays, and closed on Mondays. A ticket costs 25 PLN, which is a huge deal in my opinion. Additionally, Tuesdays are free, and from 17-20 on Friday’s admission is 50% off. 

Getting to the National Museum is super easy. From the town center, take any tram east towards the river to the Muzeum Narodowe stop, which takes about 5 minutes. From the Old Town, take any bus to the city center or elsewhere south, such as Bus 116, 175, or 180, and get off by the famous fake palm tree. Parking is extremely limited on the nearby streets, but its location means you do not have to drive at all. 

Warsaw Uprising Museum 

Warsaw, and Poland as a whole, has had a tragic history. One chapter of this sad history is told at the Warsaw Uprising Museum, found in Wola. This museum tells the poignant tale of the Wola Massacre and the overall Warsaw Uprising. The Warsaw Uprising was an attempt by Poles in Warsaw to fight back against Nazi forces in WWII, that had some success, but ultimately led to mass destruction. Orders were made to kill anyone who moved, which resulted in the deaths of 40 to 50 thousand Poles in 1944. Also, the Uprising’s events resulted in a Nazi order to destroy almost every building in Warsaw.  

The stories are told in a very emotional, but comprehensive way. You work your way through the museum, first learning about the onset of WWII, and how Poles fought back. You learn about what life was like in Warsaw during the war. Eventually, you learn about the attempted uprising, and the retaliation, and hear stories, see pictures, and read writings about what entailed. It is a horrific event, but a necessary one to learn about to fully understand Poland. 

The Uprising Museum is open from 8-18 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 10-18 on Saturday and Sunday, and closed on Tuesday and Thursday. Tickets cost 30 PLN and can be purchased online, but I found it not at all necessary, the museum never gets that busy.  

Getting to the museum is also simple. By Metro, use the M2 to get to Rondo Daszyńskiego, and walk about 5 minutes. Or, from the train station, take any tram north to the specific tram stop dedicated to the museum, which is announced in both English and Polish. From the Old Town, take any tram west other than Tram 4 to Okopowa and walk south for about 10 minutes.

Chopin Museum 

Having a bad day? When I was having a bad day on my first trip to Warsaw, coming here was the balm I needed. The Chopin Museum is dedicated to one of Poland’s heroes, the famous romantic composer Fryderyk Chopin. His music is world famous, and Warsaw was the place where he grew up and went to school and learned how to compose.  

Inside Chopin Museum in Warsaw
Inside Chopin Museum in Warsaw. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

What I appreciate the most about this museum is how interactive it is. You get the chance to touch screens to look at pictures and drawings and music scores, you can sit in sound booths to get a surround sound experience of his music. And, on the bottom floor, you can sit with headphones on and listen to whatever Chopin music you like in its entirety, with there being sufficient booths for 15-20 people to listen to at once. Overall, you are given a comprehensive picture of his life, and if you like music, I recommend this museum.  

The Chopin Museum recently reopened and is open from 10-18 from Tuesday to Sunday. Tickets can be bought online in advance, or at the office, which I would recommend as the museum’s quiet location means it does not get a high number of tourists at once. A regular ticket costs 25 PLN, but free admission day is on Wednesday. The quiet location means it is a little bit harder to get to, but it is not far removed from the Royal Route and city center. Take a short walk from the Nowy Świat-Uniwersytet on the M2 to get to the museum, with this stop being easily reachable from the city center and Old Town. 

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews 

This museum is at the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto during WWII. Thus, it is not surprising that the story that is told at the museum is very sad. The building itself is beautiful and worth a picture or two, made of glass and copper and in an interesting shape. Inside the museum, things get sad quick. As you go through the museum, you will learn about the ups and downs of Jews throughout the history of Poland, dating back a thousand years. This community grew to be one of the largest in the entire world before being decimated by the Holocaust, a part of history extensively covered here. 

But good times are explored too, such as the two golden ages for Jews during their time in Poland. You will find artifacts such as the first artifact from Poland holding Yiddish. You will learn about Kazimierz in Kraków, the once booming Jewish quarter of Poland’s former capital. This museum was good enough to receive the European Museum of the Year Award in 2016, so you too should give it a visit. 

POLIN is open from 10-18 from Wednesday to Monday and closed on Thursday. On Saturday, the hours extend to from 10-20. Tickets cost 45 PLN and they are recommended to be bought ahead of time online due to high volumes of visitors. Tickets are also free on Thursdays. The museum is just north and west of the Old Town. From the Old Town, you can take Bus 180 to the Museum in about 9 minutes or choose to walk for about 15 minutes. From the city center, take Tram 15, 35, 36, or 78 to Muranów and walk for about 6 minutes.

Copernicus Science Center 

The Copernicus Science Center, named after another of Poland’s heroes, is a must-do if you have kids, or if you are interested in science. Inside, you will find hundreds of interactive exhibits that teach you all about science and supply hours of entertainment for young ones. Additionally, a cool feature inside of this museum is the Planetarium, which is of special interest given Copernicus is famous for his studies and theories about the cosmos.  

During the summer season, a ticket will give you access to the amazing rooftop gardens, which supply a stellar view of the city skyline and next-door Vistula River. As you hang out with the rowdy school kids, you can also appreciate the cool colors and shapes that are to be explored. But the view is one of the best in the city, so make sure to be prepared for an Instagram shoot! 

This museum is SUPER popular. Thus, it is 100% necessary that you book tickets in advance, because they almost always sell out before the day starts, due to lots of school groups coming to visit. The museum is open from 8-18 Monday to Friday, with two more hours from 18-20 on Fridays and 9-20 on weekends. Tickets can be bought here and cost 40 PLN on weekdays and 42 PLN on weekends, and 45 PLN after 6 PM. The planetarium costs an added 28 PLN for a showing. 

The Copernicus Science Center’s location is very convenient, with its own dedicated metro stop on the M2 line which makes it very easily accessible from the city center. From the Old Town, it is a little bit harder, but walk down the hill from Plac Zamkowy and take either Bus 106, 118, or 127 to within walking distance of the center. There is also limited paid parking in front of the science center that is also free during the weekends, otherwise parking is very scarce.

Warsaw Neon Museum 

The rest of the museums on this list are quicker to visit and can serve as a good extra activity if you are in the neighborhood or especially interested in the museum’s subject. First off, all there is the Warsaw Neon Museum. Located in a small warehouse over in Praga, it is hard to find a better collection of Soviet-era neon signs anywhere in Warsaw.  

Called “one of the best city museums in Europe” by The Guardian, you will find signs for restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. Generally, neon signs were omnipresent across Soviet bloc states, so you will see a small piece of what was behind the Iron Curtain by visiting this museum. 

The museum is open from Monday to Saturday from 12-18, except for Tuesday when it is closed for school tours, and open from 11-17 on Sundays. Tickets cost a reasonable 16 PLN, but the museum also encourages extra donations because it is a private institution. Its location in a small area of Praga means options are limited, but if you are in the right place, it is quick to get there. From the Old Town, you can take Tram 26 to Gocławska, and walk about 6 minutes from there. From the city center, take Tram 22 to the same stop, and walk again for about 6 minutes. There seems to be a small parking lot available outside the museum. 

Museum of Maria Skłodowska-Curie 

If you have learned anything new about Poland from reading this article, it should be that Poland has not had too many worldwide famous people, and thus Poland celebrates those people hardcore. Maria Skłodowska-Curie is one of Poland’s most famous citizens, but most people do not even know that she is Polish! This is partially because textbooks, at least in the US when I was learning history, only refer to her by her married name, despite that she signed everything with the hyphenated version including her Polish maiden name. This is a highly argued point by Poles, so do yourself a favor and do not disagree with them. 

Inside the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Museum in Warsaw
An inside look into the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Museum in Warsaw. Our Poland Insiders photographer was able to visit it for free.

But the museum itself is dedicated to explaining the life and work of the famous scientist, the only women to win two Nobel Prizes, and the only person to win two Nobel Prizes in different scientific fields. You will find a massive collection of things that may or may not have belonged or touched her at some point in life, including photos of friends, collectibles, random documents, newspapers about things going on during her life, and more. Some of the cooler things there include a leather purse which once held the money given to her to start her study of radium, and an elephant that was a gift from American president Herbert Hoover.  

The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 12-18. Tickets are a very reasonable 11 PLN and are free on Tuesdays. Audio Guides are available in English and included with the price of the ticket for a full comprehensive experience. The museum is in a very convenient location, found just a short walk north of the Old Town through the Barbican, and near one of the best budget stays in Warsaw.

Xawery Dunikowski Museum 

This museum is an extension of the National Museum of Warsaw, found in a palace called “The Rabbit House” that holds the sculpture works of Polish artist Xawery Dunikowski. Dunikowski is a very interesting man, who was in jail at one point for shooting another artist and serving in the French Foreign Legion. Otherwise, he was making sculpture after sculpture, earning himself international fame, before being interned in Auschwitz during WWII.   

Xawery Dunikowski Museum
Xawery Dunikowski Museum. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

The museum itself has many of these sculptures. However, it is important to notice that much of the year, the museum is only open for special exhibitions. However, there is a wonderful sculpture garden outside that is open during the day and entirely free, and you can still admire the beautiful palace from the outside! Check back at the website to see when the inside of the museum is open too, as it is a special treat.  

The sculpture park is open from dusk to dawn every day. The museum is located next to Arkadia Park, and nearby Warszawianka Water Park. Thus, the easiest way to get to the museum is to take the M1 to Wierzbno south of downtown and the Old Town and take either Tram 4 or 31 one stop east or walk about 15 minutes. The only parking nearby is street parking, so it is very limited.

Fotoplastikon 

This interesting, under-the-radar museum is included in Atlas Obscura, and thus features a bit more traffic lately. It is hidden inside the courtyard of an old tenement building right by the city center and the Palace of Culture and Science and holds a lot of charm. The Fotoplastikon was initially used in the early 20th century as an actual entertainment hall, where viewers could see moving pictures through tiny windows, like you might see now-a-days at an old-fashioned carnival or fun house.  

The Fotoplastikon also hosts a variety of workshops, and lectures on films in general but especially related to Warsaw. But for sure the main draw is the old-fashioned movie screens, with wooden stools set out for you to sit and peer at the moving pictures inside. Overall, I found this place to be very charming, and recommend it as a quick 30–45-minute stop at most, and it is certainly not inconvenient to visit due to its location.  

The Fotoplastikon is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10-18 and closed on Tuesdays. Tickets cost a very reasonable 10 PLN and are free on Thursdays. Make sure to be confident in the entrance and location on Google Maps! I was not initially, but the location is correct, it is just very unassuming. Finally, getting to the museum is very simple. Simply cross the street from the city center square, and you will find it on the opposite side.

Interactive Museum of Pinball 

Want to visit one of the highest rated attractions in Warsaw on Google? The Interactive Museum of Pinball, while not holding any special connection to Warsaw or Polish history, still is a real fun time! Established in 2016, the collection at this museum holds over 150 pinball and arcade games, 100 of which are restored to their original condition. The machines date back as far as 1932, but the majority are from the 1980s and 1990s.  

Once inside, you get free range of all the pinball machines with your ticket, as they cost nothing extra, which is super unique! If you need a break from playing, they offer a bar at the museum, so you can have a nice beer or cocktail and get some snacks. Additionally, if you get hungry or want to see something nearby, you can come and go after you buy your ticket, as you are given a wristband this lets you back in whenever you want during the day. Overall, this a place where you can kill a few hours, or more if you are really into video games. 

The opening hours are updated frequently on their website, but are currently from 12-22 from Monday to Thursday, 12-24 on Friday, 11-24 on Saturday, and 11-22 on Sunday. Tickets are a little bit on the pricier end but given the unique experience and ability to come and go, the price tag of 49 PLN is certainly worth it. Kids under 12 cost 35 PLN, and kids up to 4 are free.  

The location is a bit hard to access, although there is some limited parking. From the city center, you can take Bus 127 or 158 to Spiska, and use the underground tunnels to get across the tracks to the museum. Or take Tram 22 or 24 to Plac Zawiszy and walk for about 12 minutes. From the Old Town, take Bus 178 to Karolkowa, and walk about 8 minutes from there.  

Museum of Life in the Polish People’s Republic 

This museum, also called the Life Under Communism Museum, supplies a window into the dark and dreary times of the communist era of Poland from the end of WWII to the end of the 1980s. You will learn about how Poland rebuilt itself following the war, but faced increased scrutiny and censorships form the puppet government set in place first by Stalin, and many Soviet leaders to follow. 

You will find exhibits about the various government programs of the era, such as the Milk Bars that you can still find in the city, as well as Stalin’s gift of the PKiN, Polish security services and their war of persecution, and much more. Overall, it aims to help you reflect on the struggles of Poland, and how they have shaped Poland today and for the future to come, and to allow younger people and tourists to understand, at least to some extent, how hard this ear was for people. 

The Museum is open 7 days a week, with opening hours being 10-18 from Monday to Thursday, 12-20 on Friday, and 10-18 on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost 26 PLN, but if you are going with a family, you can buy a three-person ticket for 64 PLN and a 4-person ticket for 80 PLN. Included in this price is an app you can download that gives you a free audio tour! Tickets are extremely limited, at only 50 tickets per hour, so buying online may be advisable.  

Location-wise, the museum is found not far from the city center. So, take any tram heading south from either the city center or Ratusz Arsenał, such as Tram 4, 35, or 78 to Plac Konstytucji, and the museum is steps away.

Outdoor Activities in Warsaw

Warsaw is a surprisingly green city, with parks, both large and small, scattered around its limits. There are a few popular gems of parks, but also other areas of outstanding beauty, including the Vistula River and a beach, that are worth visiting. Additionally, there are two areas on the outer reaches of Warsaw that can still be reached by a city bus that will be mentioned at the end. Polish people like going on walks, and thus going on a walk in a public park will help you get in touch with being a true Pole. Read on to find out about eight outdoor areas worth visiting in Warsaw.

Łazienki Park 

Łazienki Park is another must-do attraction in Warsaw, no matter how long you plan to stay in the city. Łazienki is one of the largest and best-maintained parks in the entire city, and its location makes it an easy place to stop by and explore. With so many paths, gardens, cool buildings, wildlife, and events going on during the summer, Łazienki is a place that you can easily spend parts of a few days at if you so choose, or just one long sunny summer afternoon. And, because everything is free unless you want to pay for the extras, it is a budget-friendly option.  

Perhaps the centerpiece of Łazienki Park is the Palace on the Isle, an 18th century palace plopped between a few ponds. This palace is a common place for wedding shoots and weddings themselves, so expect it to be quite busy during the summer. And understandably, it is stunning.  

The Palace on the Isle in Lazenski Park
The Palace on the Isle in Lazenski Park, Warsaw. Taken by Poland Insiders photographer Andrzej.

Beyond the palace, another key spot in the park is the Chopin Monument up the hill on the west side of the park. This spot is especially of note, because every summer, from May to September, the park hosts FREE Chopin concerts, with piano maestros from around the world coming to perform. Every Sunday, at 12:00 and 16:00, a free concert is conducted. So, do not miss this awesome opportunity! 

Other than these events, the park itself is worth a walk. In the park, you can also find some unique animals, including peacocks, swans, squirrels, and more, which are not usually found in other Polish parks. But, selecting a bench or lawn chair along the pond south of the Palace on the Isle and sitting for an hour or two is also an amazing way to pass the time.  

If you feel like you want to see what is going on from the water, during the summer you can pay for a ride on a little boat around the pond, which is as close to a Venetian gondola ride as you could get in Poland. The cost is variable and cash only, so make sure you come prepared. 

Finally, within the park itself are a variety of paid attractions run by the city. With a joint ticket, you can venture into the Palace on the Isle, and see the gaudy interiors. There are also several other attractions included on one ticket, including the Old Orangery, Myślewicki Palace, White Pavilion, Water Tower, Kubicki Stables, and the Cantonists’ Barracks.

Each of these buildings is connected to Łazienki Park’s first history as a royal residence and gardens. For admission into the Palace and the first 4 attractions on the list, a ticket is 45 PLN. You can add the last two for an added 5 PLN. Reservations are available by e-mailing ahead, except on Fridays, when all the attractions are free! 

Łazienki Park is relatively easy to get to. In fact, if you really want to, it is about a 30-minute walk from the city center to the northwest entrance. If you do not want to do that, there are bus stops on the west and east side of the park. On the west, you can take Bus 116 or 180 from the Old Town, or Bus 100 from the city center.

On the east side, you can take Bus 107 or 171 from the city center, Bus 185 from near the Old Town at the riverfront. The first two buses on the east side also stop north of the park too if you are coming from the city center. There are a couple tiny parking lots, so public transportation is recommended. 

Poniatówka Beach 

As was mentioned earlier, Warsaw does not really have any swimming beaches, due to the Vistula River being unsafe to swim in, and a lack of swimming lakes within the city proper, except for one exceptionally crowded and tiny one that is not worth visiting. But, if you want to go to the beach for every reason except swimming, Poniatówka Beach is easily the best, and most convenient, beach in Warsaw.  

Poniatowa Beach in Warsaw
Poniatowa Beach in Warsaw in Poland. Taken by Poland Insiders photographer Jeremy.

This sandy stretch is on the east side of Vistula River in the shadow of PGE Narodowy, the Polish national stadium. With a stellar view of the Warsaw city skyline, especially at sunset, it is a unique beach to hang out at. The most common activities at this beach are barbeques. Poland is big into barbeques in the summer, and every grocery store starting in May will have cheap charcoal grills, and all the grilling supplies you could ever need. So, coming to the shores of Poniatówka Beach is to smell food and smoke.  

Additionally, this is a popular spot amongst students at nighttime to drink (just a reminder that public drinking is illegal in Poland) and smoke, so maybe avoid it at these hours unless you also want to take part in these activities. Overall, this sandy beach is a solid place to relax, eat some food, and enjoy a sunset with friends or loved ones. 

There are a couple of ways to get to the beach. From the center, you can take Tram 7, 9, 22, or 24 over the river to Rondo Waszyngtona, and walk back to the beach in about 10 minutes. From the Old Town you have two options, both which involve more walking. Either take Tram 26 to Aleja Zieleniecka, and then walk about 20 minutes, or walk to the Centrum Nauki Kopernik metro station and take the M2 one stop to Stadion Narodowy, and walk about 15 minutes. Parking is EXTREMELY limited, so unless you plan on getting there at the crack of dawn, public transportation will be your friend.

Warsaw Barbican 

This outdoor area is an area you might just pass through without exploring further. However, especially for kids, it is a fun place to run around and explore for 30 minutes to an hour. The Warsaw Barbican is a remnant of the fortifications that at one point in history encircled the entirety of Warsaw. So, basically, this area used to be a key entry point into the old city. Designed in a Venetian style, the brick building has a romantic feel, and does not feel like you are in Poland. The building was destroyed during WWII but rebuilt from 17th century sketches. 

Barbakan Warszawski in Warsaw
The Barbakan Warszawski towers in Warsaw. Taken by Poland Insiders photographer Andrzej Tokarski.

Additionally, you can choose to explore the City Walls which extend from the Barbican in either direction. There are spiral metal staircases, stone bricks, little windows, city views, monuments, quiet green areas, and more to be discovered in this area. Especially at the east end you can get a spectacular view of the river and the city to the north. During the winter, this area houses the main part of the Warsaw Christmas Market, where you can warm up on a cold December’s day with some mulled wine or Polish delicacies.  

Because of its location, it would be silly to skip this cool feature of the Old Town. It is found on the northern edge of the Old Town, so if you are entering the Old Town from the north, you will see it regardless. From Plac Zamkowy, you can head off to the left along the walls, which will lead you to the Barbican without entering the Old Town proper if you so choose. Thus, getting to the Barbican is as simple as taking any mode of transport to the old town. But make sure to take some pictures, as this structure is too cool to skip.

Kabaty Woods 

Located about as far south in Warsaw as you can get without leaving the city proper, Kabaty Woods is a massive public park full of trees and meadows that can be explored for hours. Overall, this park is suitable for all ages and fitness levels, as it is generally flat, and the paths are well kept.

Kabaty Woods
Inside Kabaty Woods. Taken by Poland Insiders photographer Jeremy.

Throughout the forest, especially on a sunny day outside the summer, you will see Polish families on long walks, or Polish grandparents in groups taking part in Nordic walking. You will find monuments scattered throughout the park, and a diverse array of wildlife, with foxes, deer, wild boar, badgers, and more calling the woods home.  

Every season is a good time to visit these woods. During the spring, the trees regain their green leaves, and the sunlight makes the meadows a great place to get some sun and enjoy the newly warm weather. In the summer, the woods are a good place to cool off, or enjoy some recreation, as there are reservable picnic shelters. You will also see people using their off-road vehicles in the meadows and hosting large gatherings.  

In the fall, you can see the spectacular phenomenon of the “golden Polish autumn,” as for a few brief weeks, every tree is resplendent with gold, yellow, and tan leaves, that eventually fall off an make the world’s largest leaf pile. In the winter, when snow is on the ground, the woods are a good place to cross country ski, or snowshoe, and enjoy the pretty white plains in the meadows. 

Getting to Kabaty Woods is straightforward. All you must do is get to the M1 metro from wherever you are in the city and take it south all the way to the end, at the Kabaty Metro Station. From there, it will be about a 15–20-minute walk to the northern entrance of the park.

Within the park, you might expect to spend an hour or two walking around the center or edges of the park. Some of the trails are marked with different colors if you want to take a pre-defined path, but I have found it fun just to make my own path through the park. Parking is very limited on the north side, but there is some at the Powsin Culture Park on the east side of the woods.

Vistula River Promenade 

As you explore Warsaw, you most certainly will see the Vistula River many times as you walk around. The Vistula is Warsaw’s most important river today, as it flows both through Warsaw and Kraków, the current and former capitals. The river almost cuts the city in half, although most commerce and people live on the west side, with the east side being industry and housing. While the Vistula is not suitable for swimming as previously mentioned, it is a pleasant place to take a walk if you are nearby. 

Vistula River Promenade
Vistula River Promenade during sunset. Taken by Poland Insiders photographer Andrzej.

The best place to take a walk is along the promenade. While this promenade is not officially defined on Google Maps or the internet, it can best be defined as the extensive paved concrete walking and biking trail along the five-kilometer (three mile) Vistula Boulevard, starting from near the Most Łazienkowski and continuing north to Żoliborz Beach. Along the way, you will find a variety of staircases along the river which are a perfect place to sit and enjoy a moment or two.  

Of course, this is also a spot for many university students to enjoy a drink and relax in large groups, so keep that in mind. Also keep in mind that if you choose to join, there are no restrooms, unless you choose to enter one of the bars on a boat on the river, which I think is worth it anyway, so maybe start there in the first place. There is generally a lack of restaurants and places to buy food along the river, and those that do exist get quite busy. But one nice place is Elektrownia Powiśle, which houses a nice food court with a bar and shopping center. 

Getting to the promenade is very easy. If you are in the Old Town, walk downhill to the water, and start walking from there. From the town center, you can get there by taking any tram east to the last stop on the bridge and walking down. If you want to rent a bike or scooter, you can use Lime, Bolt, or Tier if you download their apps, and you pay by the kilometer from there. Otherwise, you can rent a bike from any of the 300 Veturilo stations throughout the city. Visit here for more information.

Park Moczydło 

If you are a consistent reader of this blog, you will have seen this park mentioned many times in other articles. That is because I truly believe it is one of the most underrated destinations in all of Warsaw. I recently went there on a picnic date with my girlfriend, and it was one of the nicest evenings I have had in almost a year here. Taking that into account, it is also not far from the city center, so you have no excuse to skip it if you are looking for a nice park to hang out at! 

The park itself is straightforward as far as parks go. There is a beautiful duck pond with swinging benches, hammocks, and regular benches scattered around, and stations to buy safe duck feed as well. On the outer edges of the park there are a few playgrounds for kids, and a few pop-up food trucks and ice cream shops during the summer to get your picnic food if you are not bringing your own.  

But, by far the crown jewel of the park is the massive artificial hill, on which you are treated to a stellar view of the city to the east, and the setting sun to the west. During the winter, the hill becomes a very popular sledding destination. Overall, the hill gets a 10/10 as far as Polish hills go, and it will be hard to find a better free view in Warsaw. 

Getting to the park is very easy. The M2 metro line runs nearby, and you can get off at either Młynów or Księcia Janusza and walk about 5-10 minutes either way. Or, from the Old Town, you can take Bus 190 directly to the park itself. It is also a leisurely 45-minute walk from the city center, or a 15-minute bike ride. Parking is available on the street only.

Kampinos National Park 

As promised, these last two attractions, while within Warsaw, start on the outskirts of the city and extend outside the city limits. The first is Kampinos National Park, by far the closest national park to Warsaw. Its eastern edge sits right on the outskirts of the city and is reachable by public transport (more on that later). This national park is Poland’s second largest, and houses a wide variety of environments, animals, and monuments to the wars, as fierce battles fought by Polish insurgents were often fought in the wooded confines of Kampinos. 

Inside Kampinos National Park 
Inside Kampinos National Park. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

The park is a stellar place for both hiking and biking. I went with two friends last October and appreciated how flat and even the trails were throughout the park. Additionally, you can quickly peek into some small Polish villages found around the boundaries of the park, and even though you are only 20 minutes by car from Warsaw, you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.  

Within the park, you can see marshes, a small area of sand dunes, heavily wooded forests, and in the northern part, the banks of the Vistula River as it winds its way north. There is also the chance of seeing the resident moose, a rare sight in Poland indeed! 

There are hundreds of trails that weave their way through the park. As trail signage is not the best, please bring your phone with internet access! There is service throughout the park, and Google Maps can help you make sure you are going in the right direction, and generally has the major trails listed on the map for directions. If you get lost, head back the way you came, and always come prepared with the 10 essentials of hiking if you plan on doing a longer hike through the woods.  

Getting to Kampinos is done easiest by car. There are a variety of parking lots surrounding the park, with the official website of the park listing 19 official lots with hundreds of total spots. But what is especially cool is that you can reach the park by Warsaw city bus. Our choice was to take Bus 250, leaving from the Młociny Metro station, at the very northern end of the M1, every 30 minutes, and it takes about 45 minutes to get to your final stop at Laski Trenów.

The other possibility is to take Bus 210, also leaving from Młociny Metro and riding for about 30 minutes to the end of the line in Truskaw, where you can enter the park almost at once. 

Mazowiecki Landscape Park 

You have made it to the end! The final place on this list is a park I went to on my first full day in Warsaw after returning this past September. Mazowiecki Landscape Park is a perfect place to enjoy a hike in a place that feels like you are far removed from the city without being far from Warsaw proper. This park holds a variety of Polish landscapes to explore, including heavy forest, marshes, and a few dunes. There are also remains of bunkers from the war. Nearby Macierowe Bagno, the marshes, you can also see a quirky tree house that is reservable on Airbnb under the name “My Tree Home.” 

Mazowiecki Landscape Park
Mazowiecki Landscape Park. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

However, maybe the best part of exploring this park is going to the restaurant in the middle of it. Called Barek na Dakowie, you can get a variety of delicious Polish foods from a quaint little wooden shop, and sip on a refreshing Polish beer. When I was here, I had some delicious Polish sausages paired with a beer, which was the perfect refreshment after a long afternoon of hiking. There are also restrooms here, which are not super common in the park (although they are portable toilets). 

As far as transport, there is a small parking lot found next to a church in Stara Miłosna, the most eastern neighborhood still within Warsaw. From there, you walk directly into the woods south, and can spend a few hours exploring the park. Also, at this location there is a bus stop from the city proper. It is the last bus stop still within the Zone 1 transport ticket, so you are safe there! Take Bus 502 from near Politechnika Metro and ride to Rumianokowa 02 in about 30-45 minutes.

Conclusions

Warsaw has so much to offer to every tourist. I hope this list provides you with more than enough options to start with, but do not be afraid to go do your own research to customize your trip! Also, once in Poland, if you make any Polish friends ask them for recommendations on everything! Polish people are very happy to help with this sort of thing, as most take great pride in sharing the best of the best their home has to offer. 

Additionally, consider buying the Warsaw Card to see many of the attractions on this list. The Warsaw Card can be purchased for 24 hours for 149 PLN, 48 hours for 199 PLN, and 72 hours for 239 PLN, and less on all accounts for children 16 or under. Overall, I think it is a real deal if you stay in Warsaw for 72 hours, as there are over 20 attractions for which the card allows free admission, including 9 on this list, and you get extra discounts as well. It may be less of a deal if you stay for only a day, as you would really have to rush around to get your money’s worth.  

Other than that, I recommended reading more about Warsaw before you come. Watch some YouTube videos, read some of the blogs linked on this website, or find something written by a local. Warsaw can be the experience of a lifetime, there is a reason it is the Europe travel destination of the year. Safe travels and reach out to me on my socials if you have any questions!

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