We haven’t heard too much hype about Poland’s capital before our trip, but cheap flights lured us to book a weekend in Warsaw and we’re so glad we did!
Poland might not be the first place you think of when planning a European vacation. And probably if there’s one city that might not be on your bucket list is Warsaw, right?
But, is Warsaw worth visiting? We’re happy to say that the answer is yes!
Although it has a painful past, nowadays it’s a vibrant city that has a lot to offer and is more modern than you probably think (still preserving its history).
We’ve put together a list of our favourite things to do in Warsaw in a weekend!
Best time to visit
We went in December and we might say that it wasn’t the best idea. We really like the charm of this kind of city during winter time but the cold is really unbearable.
Best time to visit Warsaw is probably around late spring/summer, you’ll enjoy the city with pleasant weather.
How to get around
As a major city, it’s no surprise that Warsaw is quite big. Still despite this, it is possible to explore the city center on foot as most sights are quite close.
We’re going to share a few places that are not located in the center, but don’t worry: Warsaw’s public transport comes to the rescue. Buses, trams and underground are working really well, you can go anywhere by public transport.
Accommodations in Warsaw are pretty affordable by European standards, so you’ll be spoiled for choice!
Our advice is to stay near the city center where all facilities and restaurants are. We stayed at SleepWell Apartments Ordynacka and we absolutely recommend it; near to restaurants, shops and public transport stops, super cozy and well equipped.
Let’s find out what you can do during your weekend in Warsaw then!
#1 WALK THROUGH THE HISTORIC OLD TOWN
Pretty obvious, right?
Originally built in the 1200s, the original old Warsaw was destroyed during World War II. It has been rebuilt, so you’ll be able to enjoy the charm of this old town with its narrow streets, colorful palaces and market squares.
Don’t forget to go on top of St. Anna’s church bell tower to see the most beautiful view of the Old town.
#2 VISIT PRAGA
For those who are seeking Warsaw’s edgier, alternative side, look no further than the Praga neighborhood.
The district has often been marked with the reputation of being somewhat dangerous, and tour guides may still warn of visiting after dark.
It turns out that the reason why Old Town feels so safe and well kept is the real reason for Praga’s poor reputation. After WWII, all effort was put into restoring the Old Town and the district was subsequently ignored.
We’ll be honest and say that we’re not sure we’d tell the average tourist to venture into Praga. But if you consider yourself an adventurous traveller like us, go for it!
Did you know that during WWII 80% of Warsaw was destroyed, but only 20% of Praga was destroyed? Another reason to lose yourself in Praga, looking for street art and see how Warsaw really looked like before war.
#3 VISIT THE NEON MUSEUM
Another cool thing to do in Warsaw is to visit the Neon Museum. It is dedicated to the preservation of the neon signs of the communist era in Poland.
This collection is not very big (around 100 neon signs) but we loved it!
You can find a very cool gift shop too, where you can purchase lovely pieces of art inspired by neon signs.
Find out updated opening hours and price on their website.
#4 VISIT THE MUSEUM OF LIFE UNDER COMMUNISM
This museum helps you learn about Poland’s history from a very much different perspective. The communist regime was imposed on Poland by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II, and lasted until the year 1989.
At the museum you’ll find a collection of everyday objects manufactured under the communist regime (like radios, cosmetics, cigarettese etc).
It also features spaces furnished like an average PPR tiny house.
Really interesting and somehow impressive as well.
#5 VISIT THE JEWISH CEMETERY
In 1914, Warsaw’s Jewish population was around 330,000. In 1946, after World War II ended, it numbered about 18,000. The cemetery covers 33.4 hectares, and an estimated 200,000 people have been buried on its grounds.
This cemetery is one of the few remaining pieces of heritage of the Jewish people in Poland. It is one of the most evocative and moving places in Warsaw.