48 Hours in Warsaw

With cheap air fares, Warsaw is perfect for an inexpensive weekend break.  The Polish capital has much to offer with its picturesque old town, historical landmarks, museums and parks yet is often overlooked in favour of Krakow.

Getting there:

Warsaw Airport Train
Train from Modlin to the city centre

We took an early morning flight with Ryanair from Leeds-Bradford airport, arriving into Warsaw Modlin 35 km north west of the city centre just before noon.  From a machine outside the arrivals hall we bought Warsaw bus shuttle and train combination tickets 20zl (£3.60) each to the city centre.  The shuttle bus takes approximately 8 minutes and connects to the train with a total journey time of 45 minutes.  Alternatively passengers can take a direct bus service with single tickets £7.60.

Stay:

Hotel Polonia Palace, Warsaw
Hotel Polonia Palace, Warsaw

We chose to stay at the Polonia Palace Hotel conveniently located close to the Palace of Culture and Science and just a short stroll from the central station.  This historic four star hotel has been the hotel of choice for ambassadors and diplomats through the decades.  It’s now been tastefully updated yet retaining its elegant charm and offers good value room rates.  A bonus is that with check-in from 2.00 p.m. guests can access their rooms on arrival into the city centre.

Below are suggestions of places to visit during your stay.

See and Do:

Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw
The Palace of Culture and Science

Begin with a visit to the Palace of Culture and Science which dominates the skyline and can be seen throughout the city.  The building was completed in 1955 on the orders of Stalin and contains a staggering 3,000 rooms over 42 floors.  Take the lift to the viewing terrace on the 30th floor 114 metres high.  On a clear day there are stunning views over the old town rooftops and across to the River Vistula.  Palace of Culture and Science, standard admission 20zl.  The palace is also home to theatres, a cinema, museums and the city’s tourist information office.

Explore the Old Town

Old Town Market Place, Warsaw
Old Town Market Place

Warsaw’s UNESCO World Heritage old town was painstakingly re-built after being badly destroyed during the Second World War.  Wander the maze of cobbled streets of the beautifully restored tall Renaissance and Baroque style merchants’ houses painted in shades of yellow, pink and pale blue.

The Mermaid Statue Warsaw
The Mermaid Statue, symbol of Warsaw

Stop off for lunch on a sunny terrace of one of the inviting cafes and bars that line the Old Town Market Place and sip a drink whilst watching the world go by.  Don’t miss viewing the Mermaid statue as it is the symbol of the city.

Old City Walls

Warsaw Old City Walls
Warsaw Old City Walls

Walk along the old city walls for some superb views of the city.  Only fragments remain with the best preserved stretches near to the Royal Castle.

Sigismund Column

Sigismund Column, Warsaw
Sigismund Column, Castle Square

Located in front of the Royal Castle and commemorating Polish King Sigismund III Vasa, who in 1596 moved Poland’s capital from Krakow to Warsaw.

Visit the Royal Castle

Royal Castle, Warsaw
Royal Castle, Warsaw

The castle was the former royal residence of Polish rulers.  Explore the Royal apartments, the throne room, and its art collection with paintings by Rembrandt and Canaletto.  Outside stroll through its beautifully reconstructed gardens.

St. Anne’s Church

St. Anne's Church, Warsaw
St. Anne’s Church, Warsaw

Located next to the Royal Castle and one of Warsaw’s oldest buildings with its attractive neoclassical facade.  Climb the bell tower for a bird’s eye view of the city.

Walk the Royal Route

University of Warsaw main building
University of Warsaw main building

The Royal Route connects three former residences of Polish rulers, the Royal Castle, Royal Lazienki Palace and Wilanow Palace.  Most of the city’s historic sites are to be found along this Royal Route which starts from the Royal Castle in the heart of the old town and leads to Wilanow Palace, a distance of 1.5 km.  Along the way pause to admire the neo-classical Presidential Palace and the University of Warsaw main campus next door.  Wander through the Baroque gates of the University and take a stroll through its campus.

Park Ujazdowskie, Warsaw
Park Ujazdowskie

Continue along wide tree lined avenues heading towards Belvedere Palace, flanked on one side by embassies and on the other by Park Ujazdowskie.  This park was laid out in 1896 and is a delight to stroll through with its lake, fountains and bridges.

Lazienki Park

Lazienki Park, Warsaw
Lazienki Park

Take a stroll along the leafy avenues of Lazienki Park and marvel at its stunning Baroque Palaces.  This vast park surrounds the summer residence of the last Polish King, with ‘The Palace on the Lake’ built in the late 18th century as the summer residence of Stanislaw II Augustus.

Chopin Statue, Warsaw
The famous Chopin Statue

The park is home to a winter garden, a Chinese garden and an amphitheatre where you’ll find a large statue of Frederic Chopin, the distinguished Polish composer and virtuoso pianist.  Each Sunday afternoon from May – September listen to a Chopin piano recital by the monument.

Wilanow Palace

Wilanow Palace, Warsaw
Wilanow Palace

This was the summer residence of King Jan III Sobieski before becoming the first Polish museum in 1805.  The palace is lavishly furnished with elaborate decorations and is surrounded by Italianate gardens and is often referred to as the Polish Versailles.

Vistula Riverside 

Vistula Riverside, Warsaw
Vistula Riverside

Walk along the ‘left bank’ (west) riverside promenade which extends for 1 km from near the Copernicus Science Centre to the old town.  This newly re-developed broad boulevard is popular with both walkers and cyclists.  Floating barge restaurants line its banks along with a mini beach to keep children happy.

Fountain Park

Fountain Park, Warsaw
Fountain Park

Located between the river and the old town this park is a venue for summer concerts and where water, light and sound shows take place after sunset on summer weekends.

Taste Local Cuisine:

Zapiecek Restaurant, Warsaw
Zapiecek Restaurant

Zapiecek serves traditional Polish cuisine including pierogi (dumplings), sour rye soup and sausages.  Zapiecek Restaurant

Gościniec, Warsaw
Gościniec Restaurant

Gościniec specialises in Polish pierogi (dumplings with a variety of fillings) and has a branch in the old town.  Gosciniec Restaurant

City Museums

Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw
POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

The city is home to some world class museums including the National Museum, Museum of Warsaw and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.  Further details can be found by following the links below to my previous visit to Warsaw during the winter months when I visited many of the city’s museums.

 

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A guide to Warsaw, Poland

 

56 thoughts on “48 Hours in Warsaw

    1. Thank you for your interest in this post on Warsaw. Yes, we also saw some of the 7 sisters in Moscow on our visits there. No likelihood of returning though so pleased we experienced it when we did. Hope you have a great weekend.

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    1. I’m certain you would enjoy visiting Warsaw Rajat. It’s a fascinating city with some beautiful architecture. I do hope you get there one day. Thank you for taking the time to comment, it’s much appreciated.

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  1. ThingsHelenLoves

    I’ve been guilty of overlooking Warsaw for Krakow, I’ve visited Krakow a few times but not explored Poland beyond that. Warsaw looks very elegant, less ‘big city’ than I’d imagined. I find it amazing that Warsaw, like many German cities, reconstructed damaged buildings post- WW2. Almost impossible to say what is original and what is reconstructed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Warsaw is a lovely compact city and I’m sure you would enjoy a weekend there. The reconstructed buildings blend in with the original ones beautifully and it’s almost impossible to tell them apart. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

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  2. Ah Marion, this is a city I don’t know much about … but through your eyes I managed now to learn a lot more about Warsaw (and that there’s so much to see). Hotel Polonia looks like such an imposing building – I’m sure one will enjoy your stay here.
    And a wander through the old town must be lovely – I like the mermaid statue. Oh yes, a walk through a green park is always a bonus in any city … and to taste the local cuisine, that’s something I really like!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Poland is definitely a country I’d like to see more of and your article certainly fuels the Warsaw wanderlust, Marion. It seems to have everything, from the squares, palaces and parks to the riverside promenade and museums galore. I think I’d particularly lose myself in the stories of the History of Polish Jews. Your digs looked lovely too, what a handsome hotel! Hope your most recent Polish adventure was as good as this one.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What a wonderful tour of Warsaw! This is a place that I know so little about so it was so great to learn more about it. I really love that beautiful old town area with the colorful buildings. It just looks so inviting for a stroll down all those streets 🙂

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  5. jasonlikestotravel

    I’d love to go back to Warsaw, the 36-ish hours I had certainly didn’t feel like enough. I think you covered all the bases for a weekend trip though 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you for your interesting post – I have also gone back to your 2018 visit. Your words and images have convinced me that Poland, and Warsaw should be visited – unfortunately my first trip to Europe since Covid will be at the end of the year – I suspect it would be too cold in November December, although it would be a different kind of beauty.

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  7. Poland is one of my favorite countries I’ve visited in Europe– and its capital, Warsaw, is no exception. I was ambivalent to the city during my first visit, but after a second visit a few years later, the city grew on me, and I’ve come to appreciate it all. I personally love climbing St. Anne’s bell tower for beautiful views of the colorful Old Town below. Zapiecek is an easy go-to for pierogis and a solid introduction to Polish food for first-timers. I especially enjoyed my visit of the Neon Museum during my second visit, and I look forward to returning to Poland to see more. Glad to see you had a lovely weekend getaway!

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  8. Warsaw is indeed a beautiful town, especially in summer! I love strolling in the Lazienski Park and around the Old Town. I used to find the Palace of Culture of Science amazing. But now… it only reminds me of a rouge state 😦

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    1. We enjoyed our recent short stay in the capital very much. Our previous visit was in wintertime and although the museums were very interesting to visit then, outdoors was nit so appealing. Thank you for taking the time to comment, it’s much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Anonymous

    Fascinating post on a city I’ve yet to visit Marion. The Palace of Culture is a well known landmark, but looks like there’s plenty more to see!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Great post Marion. We have some neighbours who come from Warsaw and they have been encouraging us to travel to Poland. Hope to do so one day. When was your visit? I just wonder how things have changed since the Ukraine invasion. Poland has been doing good things for their neighbour. Thanks for sharing. Happy Monday. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our visit was over the May Day holiday so less than three weeks ago Allan and we had a lovely weekend there. We spotted numerous Ukrainian cars and in the station there was a big reception centre for those coming in to the city. Otherwise everything else was just as before. Hope you get to visit Poland sometime as I’m sure you would like it there.

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  11. Sounds like you had an action-packed 2 days in Warsaw. Good thing the weather was nice! The Old Town looks beautiful. It’s too bad that it sustained damage during the war, but glad to hear that it has since been restored. It looks like a lovely place to wander around.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Hola, More Globe-trotting I see… Great pictures, as always…Probably mentioned before, but my husband’s family mostly came from Poland (Lodz) and the country features in my just finished book The Dobrowski’s Portrait set in WW2, Poland and the UK – still awaiting a publisher…Lucky some of the older architecture still stands today. Keep those corns at bay…and enjoy your perambulations. Cheers. Joy xx

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  13. Great post and wonderful photos, Marion 🙂 I never really knew that Warsaw offers so many things to do and see and has everything you want when you’re going on a city break; incredible landmarks; beautiful old town streets and squares; lively parks and gardens; cool museums; hearty local food; vibrant nightlife. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking an interest in this post on Warsaw. The capital is quite compact and easy to get around so we didn’t feel rushed. Hope you get to visit Poland sometime as it has some beautiful architecture and interesting cities.

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  14. The Polish people are very resilient as you look at their history. Even before the Nazis created havoc for the nation their history contains some unfortunate periods of time for the people. Yet in spite of that and the colorless period under Communist rule they have always had a pride in their culture and artforms. You can see from the pictures presented they care for the way they present their nation.

    Liked by 2 people

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