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In all previous places we’ve visited, we found one park (sometimes two) that was lovely and relaxing. In Warsaw, we found six and we didn’t even come close to visiting all of them.
The crown jewel is Łazienki. Situated a bit south of the city center, it’s sprawling and stunning. From the main entrance on the street (note, Warsaw’s parks only have one or two entrances), you first see the Chopin monument (he’s a big deal in this city), sitting at the back of a small pond and surrounded by flowers. There are benches all around, and there are free concerts on Sundays. You then descend into a forest and find paths decorated with Japanese lanterns. The Palace on the Isle is a beautiful building surrounded by bridges, water, and an old amphitheater. Behind it, we found a peacock (apparently they are common in Łazienki). The whole place feels secluded and separate from the rest of the city. And very special.
The park closest to our apartment was Saski, the oldest public park in Warsaw and one of the first publically accessible parks in the world. Much of the park and its buildings (including the Saski and Brühl Palaces) were destroyed during WWII and it has been only partially restored. But to us, it was still quite lovely. On the Eastern edge of the park is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Inside there are ponds and fountains and sculptures lining walkways. We were happy to have it so close by to where we were staying. Justin explored every inch on numerous runs.
Warsaw University Library Garden
Learning more about Warsaw’s history
Everyone says the Warsaw Uprising Museum is a must-do when visiting Warsaw and we agree. It’s set in a really cool building with a ton of photos and videos and artifacts. All the personal stories it tells about the uprising are extremely powerful. Tip: it’s free on Sunday!
The Warsaw Uprising Memorial is set in front of the Supreme Court building (not by the museum). The memorial is beautifully sculpted and quite moving. The Supreme Court building is imposing and incredibly cool looking.
The POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews is massive and informative. There’s a lot to read and learn here – you could spend a whole day if you really wanted to. Tip: it’s free on Thursday!
The Old Town and the New Town
The Old Town was completely rebuilt after the war and it’s colorful and quaint as Old Towns tend to be. But I think we liked the streets in New Town leading up to the Old Town better. There are a couple big streets bustling with shops and restaurants and beautiful buildings and in their own right. It’s a really nice stroll to approach the Old Town and take it all in. We did explore the Royal Castle which is on the outskirts of the Old Town. It’s a beautiful building with ornate rooms and a great collection of paintings.
The Palace of Culture and Science
Eats and Drinks
- We didn’t eat out at a Polish restaurant in Warsaw. Instead we had Pho at a Vietnamese restaurant, crazy hot peppers and other specialties at a Bosnian restaurant, and delicious homemade pasta at an Italian restaurant (Dziurka od klucza – highly recommended).
- We went to a great beer bar called Piw Paw. There are 3 locations. The one we went had 60+ beers on tap, but the largest has 90+. It had a great selection of Polish beers as well as imports. Super chill atmosphere and delicious free sunflower seeds.
- Fortuitously, a really great market called Hala Mirowska was a block away from our apartment so we went there several times to get fresh veggies to cook for dinner.
Other thoughts and tips:
- If you’re spending a week in a city, research when the free museum days are. We did this right when we arrived and it was great.
- For those travelers who also have a lung disease or mobility issues, there are some stairs and hills in Warsaw. We encountered them in Łazienki, going down to the library, and then at the library park itself.
- Polish supermarkets are awesome and everything is quite inexpensive.
- The dogs are nice too.