Looking for things to do in Warsaw? The Bumper Crew has it covered! What do you do when you have a free weekend and a few days off the following week? You book a weekend break oversea, of course! Our visit to Warsaw was one of our most spontaneous trips ever. Stacey booked the flights during her lunch break on a Friday afternoon, and we flew at 0610 the following morning. We didn’t have many options for destinations, but Warsaw was available, so we took the opportunity. And it didn’t disappoint.
The Polish capital is a wonderful city with a dramatic history, and there are plenty of things to do in Warsaw to occupy you for a few days.
Warsaw turned out to be one of our favourite city breaks ever, and if you were considering going, you should move it to the top of your list. It’s quite a fascinating place regarding its architecture, from the historic buildings of Old Town to the grand buildings of Łazienki Park and the 1950s Palace of Culture and Art (which you can, and should, definitely go up!).
So, read on to discover the very best things to do in Warsaw!
Things to Do in Warsaw
1 | Explore Old Town
Rich in cafes, shops and restaurants, Old Town is the gem of Warsaw. Despite being heavily damaged during the Second World War, it was meticulously restored. And what an amazing job they did. So amazing that it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site as “an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century.”
Warsaw Old Town is a charming area with cobblestone streets and colourful buildings. The heart of the Old Town is the Old Town Market Square, which is surrounded by picturesque townhouses and churches. One of the most famous landmarks in the Old Town is St. John’s Cathedral, which dates back to the 14th century. The Old Town also has several museums, such as the Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Warsaw Uprising Museum.
We loved Old Town so much that we spent most of our time here wandering around the little streets and squares, listening to the musicians and soaking up the relaxed atmosphere. It’s chock full of cool little bars and restaurants, so if you like a good beer or are a bit of a foodie, you won’t be short of places to visit.
2 | Visit Warsaw Barbican
The Warsaw Barbican is a fortified outpost built in the 16th century to protect the city from invasion. The Barbican was constructed as a semicircular fortification that surrounded the Old Town, and it was connected to the city walls by a bridge. It’s a fantastic-looking building and one of Poland’s best-preserved examples of Renaissance military architecture. The Barbican has a moat and battlements designed to be a formidable barrier for attackers. You can’t visit Warsaw without exploring the Barbican, and it can be accessed via the Royal Route for picturesque views of the Old Town from its walls.
3 | Wonder at the Neon Museum
The Neon Museum is quite a unique place. It’s home to a collection of old neon signs from the communist era in Poland. It was founded in 2005 with salvaged neon signs from around the city, from signs used for commercial buildings and some used for propaganda. There are over 200 signs from the 1950s to the 1980s! The signs are an essential part of the history of Poland, and some of the signs in the Neon Museum were created by leading Polish artists of the time. They offer a unique insight into the country’s visual culture during the communist era. It’s worth noting the Neon Museum is closed on Tuesdays!
4 | Visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Unknown Soldier’s Grave in Warsaw is a monument located in Pilsudski Square, and it honours the unknown soldiers who died fighting for Poland’s freedom. The memorial was unveiled in 1925 and is guarded by the Honorary Battalion of the Armed Forces, which is responsible for the ceremonial guard of the monument, with the ceremony of changing of the guard taking place every hour.
5 | Take the Elevator at the Palace of Culture and Science
The Palace of Culture and Science is one of Warsaw’s most iconic buildings because of its socialist realism and art deco look, plus it’s also massive! It was built between 1952 and 1955 as a “gift” to the people of Poland from the Soviet Union and was designed to symbolise the country’s new communist government. The building is over 230 meters tall, making it the highest building in Poland and one of the tallest in Europe. There are loads of things inside, like a cinema, theatre, library, and museums, but the best thing is that you can take an elevator to the top to the observation deck, which is up on the 30th floor.
6 | Play an Escape Room
We’ve played escape rooms all over the place. We try to do one whenever we travel, but the one in Warsaw was one of our favourites. That’s probably because we almost spaced without any clues. We are yet to escape without a hint, but we were close! That’s either because we pick difficult ones or we’re thick. You decide which. Ha!
For a unique and exciting experience, Room Escape Warszawa is an excellent option. If you don’t know what an escape room is, it’s an interactive game that allows you to solve puzzles and clues to escape from a locked room, usually in under 60 minutes. They are fun and challenging and sometimes a little bit frustrating! Ha!
7 | Stroll Around Łazienki Park
If you want a bit of peace while you’re in Poland, Łazienki Park is the place to go. Łazienki Park is a beautiful green space in the heart of Warsaw created in the 17th century as a royal bathhouse for King Stanisław II Augustus. It was later expanded and transformed into a public park in the 18th century, and these days, it’s pretty big, so expect to spend some time there getting around it all.
Aside from a pleasant stroll, the park has some other stuff on offer, like the Palace on the Water, also known as the “Palace on the Isle,” which is located on an island in the middle of one of the park’s lakes. The palace is now a museum, home to a collection of art and artefacts from the 18th and 19th centuries. You’ll also find the Chopin Monument, which is dedicated to the famous Polish composer Fryderyk Chopin. And if you’re lucky, you might get sight of a cute red squirrel! They are friendly, provided they think you have something to feed them!
8 | Visit the Royal Castle
The Royal Castle is another iconic landmark in Warsaw that you can’t avoid. Located in Old Town and, more specifically, the wonderful Castle Square, the Royal Castle was the official residence of the Polish monarchy from the 16th century until the 18th century. It was initially built in the 14th century as a defensive fortress but was later rebuilt and expanded. The castle underwent several reconstructions and rebuilding works, the last of which was in the 1970s after it was destroyed during World War II.
Inside the Royal Castle, you can explore the State Rooms, filled with artwork and furniture from the 16th to the 18th centuries. You can also see a collection of royal artefacts, including tapestries, paintings, and sculptures.
9 | Eat at Hala Mirowska
This one is for the foodies! No great city is without a great food hall! There’s one in Lisbon, Barcelona, plenty in London and Warsaw is no exception. We just happened to stumble upon Hala Mirowska, and we’re so glad we did! Hala Mirowska is an absolute must for the foodies among you. It’s an indoor market house in a grand, Art Nouveau-style building with a glass-covered central hall. The building itself is ace, but inside you’ll find almost any food to suit your needs, a few selling non-food stuff like clothing and a bustling atmosphere you’d expect in any decent food market. It’s worth noting the market is open every day except Sundays.
10 | Find Keret House
The last up on our list of things to do in Warsaw is to find Keret House, and there’s a reason for that. It might not be worth a special visit, but if you’re tying in a visit to the food market above, it’s only another ten minutes to walk.
For those interested in art and contemporary architecture, Keret House is for you. This narrow house, located between two existing buildings, is the thinnest in the world, according to Guinness World Records, with the narrowest part measuring 92 cm wide. Interestingly, because Keret House doesn’t meet Warsaw building regulations, it’s officially designated as an art installation. There are only two spaces at the dining table, the fridge only holds two drinks, and the house has no windows that open! Sadly, Keret House isn’t open t the public, but you get the bragging rights to say you saw the world’s narrowest house!
In conclusion, Warsaw is full of history, culture and entertainment. From visiting the Neon Museum to exploring the Palace of Culture and Science, there are plenty of things to do in Warsaw for visitors of all ages and interests.
Things to Do in Warsaw
- Explore Old Town
- Visit Warsaw Barbican
- Wonder at the Neon Museum
- Visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- Take the Elevator at the Palace of Culture and Science
- Play an Escape Room
- Stroll Around Łazienki Park
- Visit the Royal Castle
- Eat at Hala Mirowska
- Find Keret House
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