If you find yourself in Poland then you need to make your way to the vibrant capital city, Warsaw. Not only does the city offer visitors an up close and personal view of its dark history, it’s also teeming with life and begging to be discovered. From the Jewish Ghetto to one of the best rebuilt historic centers in Europe, read on for what to do in Warsaw, Poland!
Warsaw Free Walking Tour
Of course, no trip to a European city is complete without a walking tour! Get your bearings and learn more than you would on your own while in Warsaw. From Old Town to the Jewish Ghetto and communism, many tours are offered and their expert guides will ensure you have a fantastic time. Don’t forget to tip at the end! We recommend using the Free Walkative Tour. Not only are they awesome but you can find them all over Poland. Check out Free Walkative Tour’s website for deets (contact them to double check tour times)!
Palace of Culture and Science
The Palace of Culture and Science is the first building to catch your eye in Warsaw. Built during the communist era, this building has an important story behind it and one you should hear about on your walking tour! Today you can stroll around the exterior, enjoying a seat in the beautiful park while admiring the architecture or venture inside to catch a flick, shop till you drop, or grab a bite to eat.
A truly evil place but one that is essential to remember, Treblinka served as a death camp for almost 1 million Jews. Unlike Auschwitz, this camp was destroyed by the Nazi’s to cover up their tracks. However, it is still vitally important to visit.
There is a small museum on site with some material remains and some survivors’ stories but the main memorial lies in an open field where the camp once stood along with thousands of stones dedicated to the victims. You can find more info as well as a downloadable audio guide on the Memory of Treblinka website.
It’s a short drive from Warsaw and the easiest way to get there is by rental car or by booking a tour. We took a train and a taxi which turned out to be quite an adventure. Be sure to have plenty of cash on you since the museum and taxis only accept cash. Look for our post with more details soon!
See a Chopin Concert
You can’t talk about Warsaw and forget to mention one of Poland’s most famous figures, Frédéric Chopin! You’ll see advertisements all over the city for a concert but we highly recommend Chopin Point. It’s not expensive and you’ll receive an intimate hour of Chopin’s music from an internationally acclaimed pianist in the exact spot where Chopin played as a teen. You’ll get a welcoming drink of Polish mead as well!
Explore Warsaw’s Old Town and Get an Awesome View
Warsaw was a pile of rubble after WW2, but when you walk through Old Town you can hardly notice. They did a fantastic job at restoring Old Town to its original glory and walking through today is quite charming. It’s even more charming with some ice cream! Climb to the top of Taras Widokowy to soak in some panoramic views of Warsaw. Make sure to grab the Old Town walking tour for some important sites to see like the Old Town Market Square.
See Warsaw’s Jewish Ghetto from WW2
Warsaw does have a very dark history but don’t let that turn you away. When looking for what to do in Warsaw we strongly suggest exploring the Jewish past that is essential in Warsaw’s history. You can find where the old ghetto wall stood as well as some actual remnants of the Jewish Ghetto. Again, take a walking tour to really get a close look and some great information on site.
Frédéric Chopin Museum
If your love of music runs deep like ours then you’ll also want to visit the Frédéric Chopin Museum while in Warsaw. It’s very interactive, wonderfully detailed, and ends with a listening area to appreciate all of his works. Be sure to check the Frédéric Chopin Museum’s website for concerts! They are very cheap and make a great addition to a museum visit. Be sure to reserve your seats because they sell out fast!
Visit Marie Curie’s birthplace
The Maria Skłodowska-Curie Museum is a biographical museum dedicated to one of the most important scientists in history. If you’re interested in her life and in Warsaw then take a look inside!
See the Resting Place of Chopin’s Heart
Even more Chopin! We weren’t joking when we said he’s famous in Poland. His heart is resting in the Holy Cross Church. It’s a gorgeous church and you’ll find the wall that states his heart is there. When he passed away his sister tried to bring his body back to Poland but was only allowed to take his heart. France has his body but his heart lies in Poland. Very fitting!
Warsaw Uprising Monument
You can barely walk a block before you see something commemorating the Warsaw Uprising during WW2. One of the best monuments to see is the Warsaw Uprising Monument just west of Old Town.
Museum of Life in the PRL (Communist Poland)
One of the most unique museums we’ve visited in former communist countries, the Museum of Life in the PRL is definitely worth a visit. Entry was super cheap and it’s not very big but it’s full of some really special exhibitions. See what times were like in communist Warsaw, from fashion to culture to people’s homes. It’s a well done museum with lots of detail to appreciate!
The pinnacle point in communist Warsaw, Constitution Square is where the parade would end and the party would be. Granted, the party doesn’t sound that great but this square is a great look into communist history. You’ll find communist ideal statues as well as some murals, placed in the four corners of the square to represent the four seasons.
It’s not Poland unless you’ve had some Pierogi. We’ve seen so many options of things to pack inside these scrumptious dumplings and all have been delicious. The more cheese the better, we say. Dig in!
Potato pancakes are a famous dish that rose from the old peasantry and we’re thankful for that. You can find potato pancakes practically anywhere and they’ll even douse them in delicious garlic and cheese sauces or goulash. Can’t go wrong with that!
One of the prettiest parks. Period. So many monuments and buildings are sprinkled throughout this park and you’ll find a ton of green space. You’ll also see the beautiful Place on the Isle.
If you’re in the mood for more Chopin then be sure to visit his monument.
What goes great with a stroll through Łazienki Park? Lody! That’s Polish for ice cream. Enjoy an entire afternoon in this park and satisfy your sweet tooth!
Praga is the district that survived WW2 and it’s standing today for you to see. It’s just across the Vistula River from Old Town and there are some beautiful churches to visit as well as some great eats. If you want some pizza and cold Polish brew then try Restauracja Tereza. They are super friendly and the atmosphere is great.
Museum of the History of Polish Jews
This museum is a tribute to the Polish Jews and their long history. The outdoor memorial represents the Jews who were sent to the camps on one side and on the other those who rebelled in the Jewish Ghetto. If you want to visit the museum then go early! It can get quite crowded. If you don’t venture in then do take some time to look at the memorial itself!
Summary of What to Do in Warsaw, Poland
We’ve listed quite a lot of things to do while you’re in Warsaw but we’ve barely even scratched the surface. While there is more to do in this wonderful city we can say that we truly enjoyed what we listed above and we’re sure you would too. Hopefully you are coming to Warsaw soon and will have a great time as well.