Late in the 16th century, King Zygmund III moved the capital of Poland from Krakow to Warsaw, transforming this small centre of trade into the centre of the Renaissance and Europe’s biggest empire. Later Warsaw spent many years under the Soviet Union rule. Now it is a frontrunner, a country that has been rebuilding itself successfully for several decades. During your visit, take the opportunity to discover the city’s astonishing architectural diversity. The Lazienki Royal Palace and the Wilanów Palace are brilliant representatives of the 17th century architecture, while the Palace of Culture and Science was constructed under the principles of eclectic socialist realism. Make the most of your trip to Warsaw, following in the footsteps of Chopin, the great composer who grew up and lived in the Polish capital. The city’s many parks and gardens invite you to enjoy the pleasures of life in Poland during your stay in Warsaw.
Here is my one day itinerary for your inspiration to get the most out of your stay in Warsaw.
Start your day by walking around Krakowskie Przedmieście from Nicolaus Copernicus monument towards the Castle Square.
Notice the Hotel Bristol, built around 1900, the place where the most influential people of the early 20th century stayed and dined. The hotel has since then been renovated, but you can still feel the atmosphere of the older days inside, including the hotel rooms.
Admire the impressive Presidential Palace. The Palace was constructed in the middle of the 17th century and housed the Koniecpolski family, so it has been called the Koniecpolski Palace. Later the Radziwills lived here, so one might still hear people talking about the Radziwill Palace. Since 1994 it has been the official residence of the Polish President.
Listen to Chopin’s music, pressing buttons on one of the 15 Chopin benches located across the street from the Presidential Palace. In 1818, 8-year old Fryderyk delivered his first public performance there. In 2010, on the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth, Warsaw honored its most distinguished citizen by unveiling a walking route consisting of multimedia benches playing Chopin’s music.
Arrive at Castle Square for your 2 hour free walking Old Town tour by Orange umbrella tours. Orange umbrella guides have been doing tours of Warsaw for 5 years. The guides focus on stories rather than history and want to surprise you with their style of guiding.
The Old Town is a must-see on any visit to Warsaw. It has to be one of the newest ‘old towns’ in Europe. Famously re-built from the ruins after WWII, this place oozes charm and tranquility. The highlights of the tour: leaving the Castle Square behind you, head off along the quiet cobbled streets. The Market Square, with its renaissance buildings, is not to be missed. Even by the Old Town’s standards, this square is surprisingly quiet and has a cosy feel to it.
Exploring the quieter streets and alleyways will throw up all sorts of unexpected sights. The Warsaw Barbican is one of few remaining relics of the complex network of historic fortifications that once encircled Warsaw. Located between the Old and New Towns, it is a major tourist attraction.
12.00-13.00 Visit the Royal Palace, enjoying the many authentic interior details that have survived.
Open Tu-Sa 10-18, Su 11-18-free. Monday closed.
13.00-13.30 Marvel at the most beautiful views of Warsaw from a viewing terrace on the tower of St. Anne's Church next to the Royal Castle.
Open May to October:
Monday – Friday 10:00 - 21:00, Saturday – Sunday 11:00 - 22:00
13.30-14.30 Lunch at Zapiecek restaurant at Krakowskie Przedmieście 55. Tasting polish pierogi.
14.30-14.45 Going to The Royal Łazienki Park by bus 116 or 180.
Lazienki originates from the time after 1764, where Poland's last elective King acquired the nearby Ujazdowskie castle. A number of mainly Italian painters and architects were commissioned to create a Royal Summer Residence. During the years to come, a landscape park took form, together with a Summer Palace, Amphitheatre, Orangery, and pavilions.
Strictly speaking, Lazienki is a museum, but personally I consider it a park. As city parks go, Lazienki is a gem. Each step in the park takes you further away from the city bustle. Lazienki has everything you would expect from a city park, including a superb central lake and free Chopin concerts during the summer. You begin to fathom the scale of this park as you come across its numerous attractions. Even on a busy weekend, it is still easy enough to find a quiet shady nook or wander the well-tended lawns and winding paths in relative isolation.
A one day Lazienki pass includes a visit of the Palace on the isle, the old orangery, the Royal theatre, Myslewicki Palace, and the white pavilion. Sights open every day 9-17.30, with free admission on Thursdays.
If you go back to the Nowy Świat Street after your Lazienki visit, I recommend having a dinner in a Polish national style restaurant Specjaly Regionalne at Nowy Świat street 44.
Have you been to Warsaw? What would you recommend including in a one day itinerary? Share in the comments section.
- Published by Anita on May 20, 2017
Author: Anita Sāne
About the author
Anita is a part-time traveler, passionate photographer and a mature career woman from Latvia, traveling mostly solo for more than 10 years. She is a skilled travel planner planning and executing her travels by herself. Anita wants to show you how to travel the world and open your mind to new experiences. Follow her also on Instagram, Pinterest and Bloglovin.