Since I moved to the UK, I have met many Polish people; few of which have ended up being good friends of mine. They had always mentioned how beautiful Poland is and how I should definitely visit one day. So, when the opportunity came up, I just couldn’t resist. I wanted to discover as much as possible by exploring two of Poland’s main cities, Krakow and the capital, Warsaw. Inevitably, I also visited Auschwitz-Birkenau; an experience which I will never forget.
To avoid having a very large post, I decided to split my blog into two parts; one for Warsaw and one for Krakow and Auschwitz.
I caught a direct afternoon flight to Warsaw Modlin II airport ✈️, and after only a couple of hours later, I landed in Warsaw. My hotel (Holiday Inn Warsaw City Centre), was located in the newer part of Warsaw’s city centre, but also really close to the old town and all the points of interest, which made it an excellent choice.
Tip: To get to the city centre from the airport, you can either take the bus, catch a train (station is not located inside the airport), or a taxi. I used Uber, which cost approx. £20. It was roughly a 40 minute drive.
I dropped my bag at the hotel, and straight away, I headed to the old town where I found myself at the main Castle Square 🏰; the heart of Warsaw! It was just so beautiful! I was surrounded by these impressive colourful buildings with medieval architecture that you usually see in fairytales, small little shops, musicians, and street artists. It had just stopped raining and so the reflections in the water turned this place into a photographer’s paradise! Having strolled around for a while, I discovered a really nice steakhouse called Sznyt, where I had great food and I would definitely recommend. It is located at the main square and as you can imagine, its view is also amazing!
The Scooters 🛴
While strolling around, I noticed the large amount of electric scooters scattered all over the town. When I found out that they’re for the public I got really excited and needed to discover how I could get my hands on one. I scanned the QR code on one of the scooters, downloaded the app on my phone, followed the instructions, and off I was! I hopped on it and explored Warsaw town by night!
It was one of the best experiences of my life! It was so convenient and fun! I also had the chance to stop wherever I wanted to take pictures and explore the different monuments, to see Chopin’s museum, Warsaw University, various restaurants and cafes, shops, and many other things! As you can imagine, I had already taken a million photos within the first couple of hours of being in Warsaw, some of which you can see here:
Tip: The scooter is actually much more expensive than any other means of transport, including Uber. But, it is a unique experience and it is something you should definitely try at least once if you find yourself in Warsaw!
A Beautiful Route
For the next couple of days, I explored deeper into Warsaw. I hopped on another scooter and decided to follow the cycling path through various parks towards the old town. The route was gorgeous! I had not really realised how many parks there are in Warsaw! My favourite one is Ogrod Saski, which also happens to be where Chopin, the famous pianist, spent most of his childhood playing with his sister! It also has quite a nice fountain here ⛲.
Right next to the park is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; a monument dedicated to unknown soldiers who fought for Poland. Further along the cycling path, I ended up at the Charles De Gaulle roundabout where the Royal Route begins. On this road, I found some of my favourite shops:
- Pijana Wisnia 🍷 – a Polish liquor shop! It sells some pretty unique products.
- Magia d’Italia 🍦- One of the best ice cream shops in town.
- Karmello 🍫 – A gorgeous chocolate shop!
In the same area, you will also find the very popular Zapiecek restaurant, which offers traditional Polish food, including the famous Pierogi 🥟 (or dumplings). I personally did not really enjoy the Polish food, but you should try it at least once!
Following this beautiful road I ended up back at the heart of the old town and in front of the famous Mermaid. According to the legend, anyone who touches the tail of the statue will be lucky in love..!
In the old town, I had the chance to visit a couple of small galleries 🎨, grab lunch in a very urban style cafe, taste the famous Paczki doughnuts 🍩, and bought a very interesting book from a local bookshop about the history of Poland, which you can find here!
Fact: The old town is not really that old! 85% of Warsaw was destroyed during WW2 and had to be rebuilt.
A Gorgeous Library 📚
Just 15 minutes outside of the old town and following the path from within Warsaw University, I found myself standing in front of one of the most interesting buildings; the Warsaw University Library.
It has a very unique building designed to promote sustainability. It represents a symbolic synthesis-symbiosis of opposites that consists of a mutual interconnection of nature and culture, and embodies the idea of a “shrine” of books and a “marketplace”. Inside there are various book shops and cafes which you should check out. And of course, you should not miss visiting the gardens, situated next door…
A Chopin Concert 🎶
Being in the city of Chopin, it was impossible not to attend a piano concert! In fact, I had the opportunity to attend a concert that took place in the very building that Chopin, then a teenager, played the piano! The concert hall is called Chopin Point and is located in the heart of the town. It is an experience that you should not miss, specifically if you love classic music! Tickets were around £9 and can be booked online.
An important part of my travels is to gain an understanding of the history of the country I visit! As a result, visiting The Uprising Museum was a must for me. It actually is a great experience and I would definitely recommend going as you’ll have the chance to get a better insight into what happened to Poland, and specifically Warsaw during the war! It was the first time that I truly realised how much Poland and its nation has suffered…
If you want to learn more about the history and legends of Warsaw, I also recommend booking one of the Free Tours with a local guide via Walkative.
While I was in Warsaw, I also wanted to visit the Copernicus Museum. But because of the school breaks, the tickets were unfortunately sold out for the whole duration of my visit. Nevertheless, it is a place that I will definitely visit next time.
TIP: Make sure you book your tickets for the museums online because during school breaks they can be sold out!
While in Warsaw, you can’t really miss probably one of the most notable buildings located in the city centre; The Palace of Culture and Science. It’s the tallest building in Poland and the 6th tallest building in Europe!
As the name suggests, this building hosts various culture and science. But it also lets you catch a lift to the 30th floor, where you can see a panoramic view of Warsaw from above.
A Mall with a See-Through Roof
Finally, if you would like to do some shopping or get some food, you should visit the Złote Tarasy mall, which is adjacent to the central train station. Apart from the great variety of shops and restaurants, this place also has some of the most beautiful views due to its roof!
Hopefully this post gave you a few ideas about all the things you can do in Warsaw. Overall, the city is beautiful and offers so many different things that you can see and explore. I definitely recommend visiting it when you have a chance. The low fares from various airports in UK also make it a very attractive destination!
Next stop is Krakow! You can read about it in my next blog post!
Until next time…