Warsaw in one day.
Despite an old but still widespread idea, Warsaw is, in my opinion, a very beautiful town and it is a pleasure to spend several days here, since there is a lot to see and to do.
However, as I said in the introduction to these city guides, here I will try to arrange an itinerary that can be completed in just one day and so I had to exclude many places. I hope you will like my selection.
In the list you will find some special icon. The symbol marks my favourite place, a suggestion for a rainy day and points out a spot where you can go if you have more time.
One day itinerary (and some extra spot).
- A – Palace of Culture
- B – New Town
- C – Old town square
- D – Royal Palace
- E – Royal Route
- F – Chopin Museum
- G – Copernicus Science Centre
- H – Museum of Polish Army
- I – Łazienki Park
- J – Remains of Ghetto Wall
Our tour of Warsaw starts from the unmissable Palace of Culture. Loved and hated by the locals, is a clear example of Soviet Architecture. Moscow hosts seven buildings (the seven sisters) very similar to this one. A visit here is a must in order to enter into the recent past of the town but also to enjoy the nice museum of technology hosted inside. The view from the top is great on a clear day.
From the Palace of Culture, let’s have a quite long walk to reach the new town that in spite of its name is actually older (15th century) than the “old town”. Following the suggested path we will go through the nice Plac Bankowy and close to green areas and we will reach the outer walls of the old town. The main street here (Ulica Freta) is very nice and leads us to the most important landmark of this part of the town: St. Kazimierz Church.
Back on our steps along ulica Freta we will reach the Barbican and from its walls we will enter into the old town. My suggestion is to take a walk also in the secondary streets since you can enjoy some great glimpse and an out-of-time atmosphere. Following the main street Nowomiejska we will reach the old town market square and the statue Warsaw’s symbol: the Mermaid. All the colourful buildings were completly destroyed during world war II but now it is a jewel again.
Going on in the same direction, soon we will have in front of us the huge Plac Zamkowy, meaning the castle square. It depends on your available time whether to visit or not the Palace. Honestly I’m not thrilled about it but you can enter in the court and you can enjoy the view on the river Vistula from the square. Maybe is better to go. There is still a lot to see.
The most enjoyable urban walk in Warsaw is surely the Royal Route made of Krakowskie Przedmieści and Nowy Swiat. All around we will see historic churches, the University, the Presidential Palace and a lot of other valuable buildings.
We are going to leave the Royal Route for a little detour toward the Chopin Museum. This one is a modern museum, very interactive. If you are a fan of the most famous Polish composer or more in general of the Classical Music I warmly suggest you to visit this place.
Let’s keep going down, toward the riverbank so to reach the most modern museum in Warsaw: the Copernicus Science Centre. Children would love it but also adults can enjoy the quite huge exhibition covering all the branches of the scientific world.
We can keep walking along the river and then turn right when we reach the Most (Bridge) Poniatowskiego. Right after, on our left side, we will find the Polish Army Museum. My suggestion is to limit your visit to the open air part hosting Airplanes, Helicopters and Tanks. Really interesting for the aficionados.
Let’s take a tram or, if it is a nice day, let’s walk through the uninterrupted sequence of parks that will let us reach my favourite place in Warsaw: Park Łazienki, a paradise for squirrels include the beautiful Ujazdów Castle and a romantic lake. It is a special place, even more special in Summer season when, next to the Chopin monument, there a free open-air concerts of young talents from all the world, here to celebrate the Polish genius.
It should be now the end of the day but before starting to plan our evening, let’s take some moment to visit one of the few remains of the Ghetto wall. Warsaw ghetto was the biggest in Europe. Its original border is nowadays marked by a metal strip that you will see in many places in central Warsaw. One of the few remaining wall fragment can be seen, entering into the building located in Zlota street at number 62. In the inner courtyard you will find it. A pause from this hurry day will let you think about the tragic past of this town.
- – National Museum
- – Museum about life under Communism
If it rains, you can exploit better all the museums mentioned above but my suggestion number one, in this situation, is to spend some hours at the National Museum. You can enjoy the huge collection of Polish paintings, enriched by some Italian, Flemish and French works. However the main reason to be here is the ancient (Greek, Roman) art collection and especially the absolutely astounding exhibition of Paleochristian Nubian wall paintings, picked in the Nile area by Polish Archeologists and rebuilt here.
Are you crazy for Soviet stuff? Then, if you have a spare half a day (is on Kamionek area, on the other side of the river), you can spend it in this small museum, basically an house full of object that were part of the ordinary life at the Socialist time. Funny and interesting place.
One specialty to try in Warsaw.
Local cuisine improved a lot in the last years turning the solid local dishes into something a bit lighter and open to international influences but what I suggest not to miss here is a very traditional local sweet: the Sernik. It is the local version of the cheesecake but for someone it is the original one. I won’t argue but I can confirm that cheesecakes… well, Sernik in Warsaw are delicious so, please give a try.
Warsaw music and more.
I will start this chapter with a memory of my first trip to Poland. In my aim of listening to some local music I bought a tape of a very famous polish rock band: Perfect. I remember that I’ve listen to that tape several times when I was back home but still, my favourite song of it was a live instrumental version of Oči Čёrnye that in Polish becomes Oczy Czarne.
Let’s move to some other artist, actually to “the Artist”. Chopin is everywhere in Warsaw. I will skip the sugary Nocturnes and I will head to the great, tough, proud Polonaises. I took the most famous, the Opera 53 in A flat played by Horowitz.
Getting closer to the present times, I have to confess my total love for Basia Trzetrzelewska, better known just as Basia, former female lead singer of Matt Bianco and in my opinion the real soul of the band. She recorded a lot of great jazzy albums very elegantly performed. I mention here one of her first solo songs, Promises from Time and Tide album.
Warsaw it’s a town full of art, you can find it in every corner. From this point of view, it would be interesting to mention the Italian Bernardo Bellotto and his work that was fundamental for reconstruction of Warsaw centre. The Venetian painter was using almost a photographic technique allowing him to catch any detail. His paintings were used for rebuilding not only Warsaw but Dresda as well.
Warsaw Photo Gallery
And if you like there is also a short video to show the beauty of this town.