As the capital and largest city of Poland, Warsaw is a bustling, revitalized city, casting off the long shadow of Communism. Today, it is known as a royal city because of its many residences and palaces. Stroll down the boulevards, explore the wealth of Chopin music, admire traditional art pieces, and soak up this modern city. I loved Warsaw. All around you see these grim Communist buildings giving way to a city filled with optimism, history, public gardens, and modernity. I thought the city had more charm, fewer tourists, and a much more visible cross-section of Polish history.
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Warsaw
1. Wander the historic streets
2. Explore the Chopin Museum
3. The Royal Castle
4. Learn about the Warsaw Uprising
5. Wander around the Lazienki Park
Other Things to See and Do
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1. Visit the Powazki Cemetery
This cemetery is the final resting place of many important figures in Polish history. The sculptures and architecture surrounding the tombs are something worth seeing.
2. Admire St. Anne’s Church
St. Anne’s Church (Kosciol Swietej Anny) is one of Warsaw’s oldest buildings with a high-baroque interior and contains several chapels. The building leaves an overwhelming impression on every visitor with its surprisingly rich interior filled with hand painted frescoes.
3. Tour the Gestapo Headquarters Museum
Although this is a small museum, it’s worth a visit if you’re a WWII buff. Officially known as the Mausoleum of Struggle and Martyrdom, its focus is on the harsh relationship between the Polish resistance and the Gestapo, with a profound exhibit taking you through the old detention cells which were used to hold and torture prisoners. Admission is 8 PLN.
4. Visit the Museum of Modern Art
Located only a few minutes walk from the Central Railway Station, the museum features contemporary art by Polish and international artists. Guided tours take place every Sunday at 2 PM and entry is free.
5. Check out the National Museum
This modern museum is a cultural institute with a substantial collection of ancient art, Polish paintings, and works from international artists. Admission to both the permanent and temporary galleries is 20 PLN per person, with discounts available.
6. See the Multimedia Fountain Park
The Multimedia Fountain Park comprises of two fountains: one which is 2,200 square meters, and the other which is 120 meters in length. The latter is often called the Water Organ. Children can play in a nearby water playground as the water dances to music, which varies from Chopin to Lady Gaga.
7. The Copernicus Science Center
The Copernicus Science Center is one of the most modern science centers in Europe. They have all sorts of interesting temporary and permanent exhibitions, great for adults and kids alike! Admission is 27 PLN with discounts available for students, seniors, and families.
8. Visit the POLIN
The Museum of the History of Polish Jews is a worthwhile stop for any history buff. It’s quite new, with both permanent and temporary exhibitions, and is home to cultural performances and workshops, as well. The museum documents the history of the Jews in “Po-lin”, from the Middles Ages to the present. Admission is 25 PLN. For faster access, buy your ticket in advance online.