Known as Poland’s Phoenix City, because it rose from the ashes of World War II, Warsaw is the perfect European getaway for so many reasons. It’s cheap to visit, it has so much history to discover, the food is hearty and delicious, and the nightlife is next level. Whether you are into history, classical music, contemporary art, or architecture, this city has somehting for everyone. Here are some of the best things to do in the capital city!
Explore the Old Town
Warsaw’s Old Town was first established in the 13th century, but a major part of the area was destroyed during the invasion of Poland at the beginning of WWII. After almost nine tenths of the city was wiped out, the Old Town’s rebirth was an incredible feat that has earned it Old Town UNESCO World Heritage Status. So, if you would like to go back in time to get a feel of what the history of this country was like, I’d suggest you explore the beautiful corners of the Old Town. You will love the area’s lively atmosphere and charming buildings, adding that the neighborhood is a prime spot for shopping, people-watching and getting your caffeine fix. Explore the narrow streets, pick up a souvenir at the market in the main square and soak in the atmosphere of this old part of town.
One of Old Town’s most recognizable buildings is The Royal Castle in Warsaw – Museum. The castle was completely destroyed by the German army during World War II and it was only reconstructed in the 1980s, but it blends into the Old Town’s atmosphere very well. This former royal residence and administrative center houses an impressive collection of Oriental rugs, coins and paintings. You can also tour the former apartments of Polish royals like King Stanislaus Augustus and Prince Joseph Poniatowski.
Visit the museums to get an insight into their history
Warsaw is one of those cities where you really have to learn about the history to be able to experience and understand it properly. Sincethere are approximately 70 museums dotted around the city, a walking tour of the city might be a good option.
The Warsaw Uprising museum covers a dark chapter of the 20th-century. The museum recreates the atmosphere, history and struggles that Varsovians went through in the attempt to liberate Warsaw from the Nazi occupation in 1944.
The POLIN – also called “Museum of the History of Polish Jews” – lies on the grounds where the Jewish district used to be in pre-war Warsaw. It opened its doors in 2013, for the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Frederic Chopin was one of the legendary composers in the world who hailed from Poland. If you walk around the city, you’ll spot several black benches with buttons on them, and when pressed, will play the music of Chopin. Concerts playing his music are held at regular intervals within different venues in Warsaw, namely the Nowy Swiat, etc. The Chopin Museum in Okolnik Street also houses his last piano, which guests can be fascinated by.
Explore the city’s nightlife
The city’s vibrant nightlife is one of the reasons why it’s so loved by travellers, and there’s no better way to see it than on a pub crawl. “Pawilony” is a little area in Nowy Świat street with 25 tiny pubs! It’s a perfect place to start the evening, to meet a friend or to do the hell of a pub crawl. Every tiny pub is a little bit different from the next one. There is plenty of choice for all tastes. Put on your party shirt, take your dancing shoes and get ready to cut shapes with other young travellers from all over the globe. Go to Warsaw’s “beer heaven”: the Piw Paw, with its characteristic walls covered by thousands of beer cups. Here you will find a rich collection of tap beers and over 200 bottles. Go to “Pijalnia wódki i piwa” and try their incredible shots as they make 13 different kinds of tiny vodka cocktails, served in shot glasses.
Eat like a local
Satiate your hunger by diving into their culinary scene, and in Warsaw you can easily do this on a budget. Traditional Polish cuisine is hearty and meaty, with strong seasoning and a lot of butter and cream. The country is particularly known for its pierogis (dumplings, both sweet and savoury), bigos (cabbage and meat stew), kotlet schabowy (pork cutlet) and a huge variety of soups from different parts of the country. Eat at a Bar Mleczny which means Milk Bar. The first Bar Mleczny, which was opened in Warsaw in 1896, had a menu mainly based on dairy items. Prasowy, Bambino and Sady are some of the best milk bars in the city. Try the most traditional of Polish fast food, Zapiekanka, an open-faced toasted sandwich made of half baguette or other long kind of bread. The best place to eat it in Warsaw is Zapiexy Luxusowe, in Widok 19 street. Despite the importance of meat in Polish cuisine, Warsaw is also known for some incredible vegetarian and vegan spots for any plant-based diets. Edamame Vegan Sushi is one of the best in the city, and it’s also worth checking out the cheap vegan burgers from Chwast Food and the burrito and soup lunch special at Momencik.
Breathtaking views of the city
Admire the views from the top of the Palace of Culture and Science, which is iconic must-see building. You can access the Palace’s terrace on the 30th floor and enjoy a mesmerizing 360° view of Warsaw. Most people come here for the view, but can also watch a movie here in one of their theaters, explore the museums (Museum of Evolution and Museum of Technology), visit the bookshops, take a dip a large swimming pool and satiate your taste buds at their coffee house. Have a drink at The Marriott Sky Panorama Bar, the tallest building in Warsaw while you enjoy the city of the city, with the Palace of Culture right in front of you. The tower of St. Anna, sometimes called “The Old Town Observation Terrace”, is also the best spot to enjoy a nice view over the old town.
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