WARSAW (Poland)

06/01/2023

What to see in Warsaw in a weekend? Get inspired by my tips and choose what interests you and what you'd rather leave out

If you don´t know the Sygic app, I highly recommend it, it does a good job of planning trips. There you will find tips on the most interesting places for tourists in the locality, you will also find a short description of the monuments, you can click on what you want to see on a given day and the application will recommend the best route. You can track your movement directly in the application on the map. It's a shame that it can't write which public transport to get you where, that would save time :) Don't despair, I'll write it down for you.

If you intend to visit more in one day, I recommend buying an all-day ticket, from the machine at almost every stop. It costs only PLN 15 for the weekend and since we traveled in December, we didn't want to travel much on foot in that winter. It also certainly saves time, some distances between sights are longer. You can pay in the machines with coins, cards, and in some cases with banknotes. You will get a ticket, which you mark on the first ride (tape down) and then you don't have to worry about it anymore.

First day in Warsaw

In front of our hotel, Radisson Blu Sobieski, we got on the tram and went two stops further to the Centrum stop, which is a large interchange, with buses, trams and a train. We changed to a tram that went to the Królewska stop. You can walk to the Presidential Palace through a nice park, where there is also a fountain, a sundial and some statues. After the fountain is the first major stop:

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

It is a symbolic place of worship built in the central part of Warsaw. The building is built west of the local Royal Road, in the central part of the Saxon Garden in the ruins of the former Saxon Palace from the 17th century. Stanisław Ostrowski became the author of the appearance of the place in 1925, who had the ashes of an unknown defender of the city of Lvov, who fell in 1920 in the battles of the Polish-Soviet War (1919-1921), placed here. The building of the Saxon Palace was demolished by the Nazis during the Second World War, and the part with the place of worship is its only part that has been preserved.

A fire was burning here and the guard of honor was kept by 2 soldiers in former uniforms. The names of the fallen are engraved on the memorial plaques on the columns.

Then a large square opens in front of you - Plac Pilsudskiego.

Memorial to the victims of the plane crash near Smolensk in 2010

Here is another memorial to the victims of the plane crash near Smolensk in 2010. High-ranking officers and members of the government flew to Russia at that time to honor the memory of the victims of the Katyn massacre. No one survived the crash, 96 people died, including Polish President Lech Kaczyński and the entire high command of the Polish army.

Then there will be two big buildings in front of you, but no, it's not the Presidential Palace yet, the building on the right is the Military Ordinariate of Poland (I had to google what it is - a military bishopric responsible for the pastoral care of Catholics serving in the armed forces). And the one on the left I have no idea, but on the other side there are very luxurious stores like Hermes and Aston Martin. Then you pass the luxurious Hotel Bristol and on the left next to it is finally:

Koniecpolski Palace - Presidential Palace

You can't get to it, there are soldiers and barriers, you can take a picture of it from a distance.

Then you go along Krakowskie Przedmieście Street past the Church of St. Anne to Plac Zamkowy and admire the orange Royal Castle.

Royal Castle

Zamek Królewski is the royal palace and official residence of the Polish monarchs. It is located on Castle Square (Plac Zamkowy). Construction here began as early as the 13th century. The castle was rebuilt many times. During the German invasion of Poland, the castle was heavily damaged by bombing, and further damage occurred in 1944 during the Warsaw Uprising. Reconstruction did not begin until the early 1970s. Today, the castle serves as the seat of part of the National Museum and for various ceremonial events. The styles here include Gothic, Baroque and Classicism.

The castle is very richly decorated and the collections are very nice, there are also paintings by Rembrandt, I definitely recommend a visit. Tickets can be bought directly at the castle, you can pay by card, you get a guide in your headphones in the language of your choice and you go to see for yourself.

Trams run under the castle. Go down the stairs, cross the road and take the tram one stop to St. Michael the Archangel and St. Florian church. It is the Park Praski stop and the cathedral is right next to the stop. It can also be done on foot, we saved time.

Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel and St. Florian

A stunning building from the outside, from the official website it looks like it is only open during masses and other church events. The cathedral seemed quite closed to us, because it was surrounded by a fence and something was being built there.

So maybe a bit of an unnecessary stop, we spent about 5 minutes here and wandered into a neighborhood called Nowa Praga, because Prague in Warsaw, it just caught our eye. We took tram no. 20 to the stop Pl. Haller and went where Sygic was showing us. I don't know what we were supposed to see there, I had the feeling that we were in a housing estate in Ostrava, there was nothing there at all, we lost half an hour. I highly recommend skipping this quarter. Or maybe we were wrong, try to search better.

We walked to the Rondo Starzynskiego tram stop and took No. 1 to Park Traugutta, where we were supposed to walk to the orange citadel. This is something for guys and military lovers.

Citadel and Katyńskie Museum

We reached the orange entrance gate called the Katyńskie Museum (which commemorates the Katyn Massacre - the killing of 22,000 prisoners of war and civilians in Soviet concentration camps and POW camps in 1940), belongs to the Museum of the Polish Army and is located in the grounds of the citadel. We also saw the trenches and since it was cold and it was getting dark soon, that was enough for us and we didn't go any further. You can then go through the gate to the citadel, but it will probably look quite similar there. We recently saw a fortress Josefov in the Czech Republic, so we wondered what we would probably see there. And we went back to the tram.

Take tram no. 78 at the Park Traugutta stop and get off at Muranowska. On the left you will have:

Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East

The artistic concept of a wagon full of crosses recalls the victims of the Soviet invasion during World War II in 1939 and the subsequent repressions.

Then we took a bus to the Plac Krasińskich stop to the Warsaw Uprising Memorial.

Warsaw Uprising Memorial

It's really hard to miss. It is in a small square, with a columned building, with a large inscription and a large statue. It is dedicated to the great armed Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The purpose was to liberate Warsaw from Nazi occupation before the Soviet army came to take over. It was the largest resistance action of World War II. The uprising ended after 63 days with the total destruction of the city. The insurgents had no chance against the many times better armed German army. No one came to help them, not even the Soviet army. Over 200,000 people died. Until the fall of communism, the uprising was not allowed to be talked about, because it was directed against both the Nazis and the Soviets. The monument is at the entrance to the canal through which the insurgents evacuated.

From here we walked along Dluga street to the old center. On the corner of Dluga and Freta streets is the Barbakan restaurant, which I can warmly recommend, it is right in the center and they have great Polish pierogi. Plus about a million other dishes, in the summer there is also a garden, you can pay by card.

After strengthening ourselves with a good meal, we would prefer to go to sleep, we have already done enough, but no, nothing, there is no time! :) Already from the restaurant you can see the brick ancient Barbakan gate and the walls of the old town. Feel free to join the crowd and walk along the promenade along Nowomiejska Street, where there are many restaurants and bars. Here, as a beer lover, I recommend the bar on the right side of Same Krafty Vis-a-Vis to all like-minded people (by the way, do you know the Spanish series Vis a Vis from Netflix? I highly recommend it). There were 10 taps and for each one a different craft beer, so you can choose according to your taste and volume :) You can pay by card. But the bar is quite small, there are only a few tables for sitting and the rest for standing, it was crowded in the pre-Christmas period. In addition to beer, you can also order pizza made here, and it was good. If you can't find a place, there is another similar bar across the street.

Following this street you will reach a large square called Rynek Starego Miasta. Here you can taste the punch, I recommend punch with griotka, something for the ladies, and in the middle you can ice skate in the winter on the outdoor ice rink. So there were only food stalls. If you want craft stalls, you have to go further. If you want to eat, apparently a very popular restaurant in the square is Bazyliszek, because there was a queue all the way outside, and quite a long one. Well, if they wanted to freeze there...

From the square, go where most people go, to Świetojańska Street, where around the great cathedral St. John the Baptist, you can walk to another large square - Plac Zamkowy. Yes, we've been here once before today, when we viewed the Royal Castle in the morning. The stalls started right next door on Krakowskie Przedmieście and there were also craft stalls... and of course also stalls with food. And that is all, then just get to the hotel when you feel like it. We took bus no. 503, stop Pl. Theaters and got off at the Centrum stop. Or, of course, take anything to the Centrum stop. From here you can either walk to the Radisson Blu Sobieski hotel, about 1200 m, or change to a bus or tram that goes to the stop Pl. Zawiszy.

Second day in Warsaw 

Wilanow Palace and gardens

Address: Stanislava Kostki-Potockiego 10/16, Warsaw

Wilanow Palace is a castle complex built in 1679. It is built in the Baroque style and the building itself is set in extensive gardens, which are considered to be some of the most beautiful in all of Poland. King Jan III Sobieski who led the troops that liberated Vienna from Turkish rule in 1683 liked the area for his relaxation. There you will find a collection of paintings, books, weapons, coins, period furniture and much more.

How to get there?

From the Radisson Blu Sobieski hotel, take any tram 2 stops to the interchange - stop Centrum 27 - change to bus no. 519 and go for a little over half an hour to stop Wilanów 01. You walk a through the park for about 500 m and you are at the gate. I didn't really understand why we have to pay 10 PLN to enter the gardens in winter, when there is nothing to see, in the evening I understand, there were a lot of installations that light up in the evening, but during the day? However, there was no other entrance. Tickets are bought from the machine right at the entrance. There was still an open gate to the left of the turnstiles, where it was written that there was no entrance, however, I read that if you buy a ticket for a tour of the castle, it already includes entrance to the gardens. Tickets can also be bought online at ticket.wilanow-palac.pl, where you choose the date and time of the tour, and you'd better do it like this. Tickets for the castle could not be bought in the machine and there was no other entrance. The ticket to the castle costs PLN 35 per person and the castle is worth it, you go without a guide, for another PLN 12 you can rent an audio guide, it is in Polish, German, English, Russian, French. But everywhere at the exhibitions you have signs in PL and EN, the audio guide seemed useless to me. The tour is very nice, the palace is beautifully decorated, extensive collections of everything, a large Chinese collection, be sure to visit the castle.

Go back to the main road and catch a bus going to Lazienki Palace. We got off at the Lazienki Królewskie stop. There is a huge park around the palace and there are several stops depending on which side you come from.

Lazienki Palace and park

If you go in beautiful weather and not like us in a blizzard, I believe that you can spend a few hours in the park (it is 74 ha) and go around all the buildings, we only went to the main castle.

Lazienki Palace is a historical royal residence from 1793. Originally, it was built here in the 17th century used to house a spa, but according to the design of the Italian architect Dominic Merlini, it was rebuilt into a magnificent palace in the classicist style. The palace was mainly used as a summer residence of the monarchs. Other buildings were gradually added to the castle, such as the theater, the White House villa, the orangery, as well as water channels and paths, thanks to which the area was transformed into a park and garden in the English style.

The castle is located on an island in a man-made lake. But don't worry, you don't have to swim to it, there are pedestrian bridges. There are various art works and galleries in the castle. Due to lack of time, we were not inside, 2 castles per weekend were enough for us :)

Transport back to the center is not far from the park. There was no direct bus from the Agrykola bus stop to the center, so we took one bus to stop Rozbrat 04 and the bus to the Centrum stop was already there.

If the weather wasn't good or you were a shopping lover, then near the Centrum stop you have the huge modern Golden terraces shopping center with over 200 shops (but expect crowds, it's near a large underground station, so lots of people spend time waiting for the train here) or here is probably the most popular building in Warsaw - the Palace of Culture.

Palace of Culture and Science

The Palace of Culture and Science is a high-rise building in Warsaw, built in Śródmieście, in the central part of the metropolis. It is the most famous and most preserved monument of socialist realism in the country, the palace is officially known as the "Gift of the Peoples of the Soviet Union". It was built in the post-war years as part of the reconstruction and rebuilding of the metropolis after the devastating war. It was opened in 1955 and became the tallest building in Warsaw (which is no longer true today).

The palace includes several museums - technical, youth, evolution and congress hall. There is an observation deck on the 30th floor. On the roof of the building there is a transmitter that provides the television and radio signal of many stations throughout the metropolis.

And this friends, our tour of Warsaw is over, then a little rest at the hotel and hooray for the airport and back to the Czech Republic. Hopefully this guide will give you some idea of what you would like to see and what you want. 2 days is simply not enough to see everything.

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