Poland’s capital, Warsaw is a city of full of surprises. From the charming buildings of old town, palaces to vast green patches, and shiny skyscrapers- the city packs a punch and is a good starting point in your Poland itinerary.
We spent a day in Warsaw and had a pretty great time. I thought it was a very balanced capital city- good vibe, not too laid back, not too crazy either, lots of greenery and lots of old world charm. Here is my list of must-do’s, where to eat and where to stay.
My favourite places in Warsaw:
1. Lazienki Palace & Gardens: A gorgeous palace, it was once the summer residence of the last king of Poland i.e. King Stanislaw August. Their collection of sculptures and paintings is quite impressive and so are the royal gardens. It was a very green and tranquil place– you know where to find me in case I move to Warsaw! While you are here, lookout for the peacocks strutting their stuff and the bushy brown squirrels.
2. Walk through the Old Town: Warsaw was literally razed to the ground during World War II including the old town. The restoration has been pretty impressive so much so that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will find a lot hidden gems while walking through Warsaw’s old town. Keep a lookout for Monument of Nicolaus Copernicus (the man who stopped the sun and moved the earth!), Benches playing Chopin’s (world famous composer and pianist who hails from Warsaw) music, Church housing Chopin’s heart, Sigismund’s square, Mermaid statue at the market square and many beautiful buildings and churches.
3. Belltower of St. Anne’s Church: Perfect spot to get a bird’s eye view of the old town and Sigismund’s column. From here you can walk to the Barbican- a fortification for protection of the city.
4. Palace of Culture and Science: A gift by Stalin, it provides nice views of the city. I was interested to see this when I read that the Poles actually hate this building and believe the views are nice only because you can’t see this building from the top. Well, the building is a bit ugly, can’t blame them.
Where to eat: We had breakfast at Green Caffe Nero near our hotel (one of the few things open before 9 a.m. on a Sunday). Love the bread and coffee in Europe–simple pleasures of life! Lunch was traditional Polish cuisine at Zapiecek– Rye soup, pierogi, dried fruit compote and cherry chocolate cake. Highly recommended.
Dinner was a bit more fancy at the Soul Kitchen– prawns, duck with cranberry sauce and fish soup. Food was pretty good but the portions were just too large for the two of us!
Where to stay: We stayed at Hotel Reytan and we were pretty happy with their location, service and amenities. I especially liked the presentation and quality of food at the buffet breakfast. Very good value for money!
How to get around: Our hotel was pretty close to the Lazienki Palace so we walked there. We used uber a couple of times to save time (we only had 1 day in Warsaw!). Public transport is pretty good in case you get tired of walking.
Warsaw was a great start to our Poland trip! This was my first Euro trip that was smack in the middle of summer (June) and I was so amused with the 9:30 pm sunsets and 3:30 am sunrises.
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