Warsaw Attractions and Tourist
Attractions in Warsaw
Be assured that there are plenty of attractions and sights for you as a
tourist in Warsaw. Admittedly, all buildings are replicas of the originals, but
the Old Town is still a delight to the eye. And the monuments and museums about
the atrocities of the world wars are so thought-provoking and beautiful that
everyone has to bring it.
The Royal Castle (Zamek Krolewski)
The Old Town Castle was founded in the 1300s, and had its heyday 300 years
later, when it was home to the Polish kings and was considered one of the finest
palaces in Europe. In 1945 it was destroyed following Hitler's orders, but
painstakingly reconstructed in the period 1971-84, and now has the baroque
appearance it had before the war.
You can see the courtrooms, the royal residences and the Parliament Hall, and
visit the art galleries and exhibitions. Open all days except Mondays from 0900.
The entrance fee depends on which parts you want to visit, but expect a little
over 20 kroner.
Warsaw Uprising Museum (Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego)
This museum, [see picture first in article] opened in 2004, takes
you through the whole story of the heroic and desperate rebellion against the
Nazis in 1944, a story that is sure to shake you.
The Warsaw Uprising Museum is located in an old power station and has three
floors of interactive exhibits, photos, videos and objects, while machine guns
crackle and bombers lurk in the background.
- See DigoPaul for dictionary definitions of Warsaw,
Poland. Includes geographical map and city sightseeing photos.
You can rent an audio guide in English or other languages, but the exhibits
are signposted in several languages and explain well. The rebel museum is
located in ul. Grzybowska 79, and is open from 0800 every day except
Tuesdays. 10 to 18 on weekends. The entrance fee costs a lick and nothing. Also,
it is free on Sundays.
Old Town Square (Rynek Starego Miasta)
The Old Town Square is the masterpiece in an area that in 1945 was a smoking
brick mound where it was hardly possible to glimpse where the streets had been.
(That many historic buildings in Szczecin were picked apart to contribute 25
million bricks to the restoration of the capital's Old Town, no one speaks
highly.) The square is undoubtedly the most idyllic in the entire city, and has
been since the 1300s. used for everything from witchcraft and knight tournaments
to festivals and markets. The houses that flank the square look like they did in
the 1600s, but the town hall which was in the middle is demolished and replaced
with a fountain from 1855.
This majestic city gate and red stone fortress located on the north end of
ul Nowomiejska was built by Venetian architect Giovanni Battista in
1548. The fortifications stretched from the Vistula River and around the Old
Town, forming the boundaries of Nybyen, where the working classes lived
The Barbican was partially demolished in the 19th century, but reconstructed
in 1953-54. Today, it is a natural transitory year for pedestrians, where local
artists showcase their products and the city's youth gather.
Church of the Holy Cross (Kosciol sw. Krzyza)
This church is a stopover for anyone who likes Frederic Chopin. Here,
Chopin's heart is kept in an urn, according to his own will. The church has its
roots back to the 15th century. The church was destroyed in the 1650s. It was
rebuilt, and once again destroyed, this time by the Nazis in 1945. Now it has
been rebuilt and is a delight to watch.
The church is located in the middle of the main street Krakowskie
Przedmiescie south of the Castle. Open daily from 1000 (Sundays 1400) to
Just by the church at Krakowskie Przedmiescie, a pensive Nicolaus Copernicus
sits on his podium. This nearly 3-foot-tall statue of the famous astronomer who
determined that the earth goes around the sun (and not vice versa) was unveiled
in 1830. There are two identical statues, cast in the same form, in Chicago and
Marie Sklodowska-Curie Museum
Scientist Marie Curie, who discovered both radium and polonium (which she
named after her homeland) was born and raised in this house in ul Freta 16 in
Nybyen, just north of the Barbican fortress. Here is now a museum about her life
and work. Open all days except Mondays from 0930 to 1600. Entrance approx. NOK
Palace of Culture and Science (Palac Kultury in Nauki)
Poland's tallest and Warsaw's most recognizable building, and tourists'
foremost landmark, is the 232-meter-high Culture and Science Palace located in
the city's new center. It was built on Stalin's order as "a gift from the
Russian people" and was long hated by the Poles who saw it as a symbol of the
Communists' suppression of Polish culture. The building has had nicknames such
as Stalin's Palace, Elephant in lingerie and Vertical bracket, but now houses
congress halls, offices, concert halls, a cinema complex and several museums.
From the 30th-floor viewing platform, you have the city's best views of
Warsaw. Entrance is about NOK 50, and it is open from 0900 to 1800. The address
is Plac Defilad 1.
Frederic Chopin Museum
Poland and Warsaw's greatest cultural celebrity of all time, Frederic Chopin,
lived in Warsaw parts of his life. In this museum dedicated to his life and
music you can see pictures and objects related to the great composer. The museum
is located in ul. Okolnic 1 and is open daily from 1000 to 1800.
Entrance about 40 kroner, children half price.
National Gallery (Zacheta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki)
The city's oldest art gallery is located in a beautiful historic building by
the Saski Park in the city center. It now houses both Polish and international
exhibitions of contemporary contemporary art. The address is Pl.
Malachowskiego, open every day except Mondays from 1200 to 2000.
Wilanow Castle (Muzeum Palac w Wilanowie)
This castle (or Wilanow Palace as it is also called) from the end of the
1600s was the second residence of the Polish kings, and is today a museum open
to the public. The park, which surrounds the castle, covers over 43 hectares and
has several beautiful gardens, in both Chinese, Neo-Renaissance and Baroque
style. The address is ul Stanislawa Kostki Potockiego 10/16, and the castle is
open to the public every day (except Tuesdays) from 0900 to 1600. Entrance
approx. NOK 32, children half price. Free on Saturdays. For the park area it
costs NOK 10 for adults, 6 for children. Free on Thursdays.
Tourist in Warsaw
If you are reasonably healthy and good on your feet, most of Warsaw's
attractions on foot are no big deal. However, for those who do not want to walk,
there are other options. On weekends and all days in July and August there is an
old-fashioned tram route, which starts and ends at Plac Starynkiewicza.
Departure every 50 minutes from 1 p.m. 1100, price only a few bucks.
You also have a guided half-hour tour in open minibuses leaving from
Slottsplassen, which focuses on the Old Town's history and buildings. The price
is about 50 kroner. Or you can take a river cruise on Vistula. From May to the
end of September, boats run every 90 minutes from the jetty at the
Slasko-Dabrowski Bridge, just below the Castle. First trip 0930. The price is
NOK 35 for adults, half price for children up to 14 years.
If you want to walk, but can't bear all the way, know that Warsaw has a
well-developed public transport system. You buy a ticket in advance at a kiosk
or booth where there is usually a sign with the inscription "Bilety", which you
stamp when you board, whether it is a bus, tram or subway. A single ticket costs
five NOK, and a 24-hour pass around 15 NOK.
Day 1 in Warsaw
We start the day at the site where the city of Warsaw was founded, at the
Royal Palace south of the Old Town. The castle dates from the 1300s, and had its
heyday in the 1600s, when it was home to the kings of Poland and was considered
one of the finest palaces in Europe. In 1945, dynamite was blown up and
destroyed by Hitler's orders.
The castle was painstakingly reconstructed in the period 1971-84, and now has
the baroque appearance it had before the war. You can see the courtrooms, the
royal residences and the Parliament Hall, and visit the art galleries and
exhibitions. Depending on the route you choose, take an hour to complete the
In the castle grounds outside, a dark majestic figure hovers from the top of
a 22-meter-high granite pillar. The statue of 1644 by King Zygmunt III Vasa,
like everything else in Warsaw, was destroyed in 1945 and repaired a few years
later. The original pillar is a few meters away, behind the castle. King
Zygmunt, by the way, was actually Swedish and was called Sigmund. This is where
the street starts, which is popularly called The Royal Road, which extends four
kilometers between the two royal residences in Warsaw.
The first stretch is Krakowskie Przedmiescie Street, a wide and
beautiful parade street where you will find several of the city's most important
buildings. On your left hand as you descend, you first see the Gothic St. Anna
Church from 1454. The church was burnt down during the Swedes' invasion (yes,
doesn't that sound absurd?), But rebuilt in 1664 with the baroque bell tower
giving You have a great view of the Castle and the Old Town. Entrance can get
At the south end of a small park stands the monument to the 19th century
Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz. He is probably more important in Polish literary
history than Ibsen is in Norwegian, and all Poles from kindergarten and up can
tell you all about him. The original monument was destroyed by the Nazis in
1944, and today's edition was unveiled in 1950.
Further down, and still on your left, you will find the Radziwill Palace from
1644, which since 1994 has served as the residence of the President of Poland.
In this building, the Warsaw Pact was signed in 1955. The statue in front of the
palace represents Prince Jozef Poniatowski on a horse. This statue was also
destroyed during the war and has been rebuilt as a gift from the people of
If you continue south you will reach a statue of a man with a large and
pointed hat, Cardinal Wyszinski. Just behind the statue is the old St. Joseph's
Monastery. Below the monastery is the University of Warsaw, founded in 1816. On
the other side of the street is the Czapski Palace, where the Faculty of Graphic
and Painting Arts is located. Chopin's family lived in one of the building's
Next stop is the Church of the Holy Cross (Kosciol sw. Krzyza) on the right.
This church is a natural stop for anyone who likes Frederic Chopin. Here, at
Chopin's own wish, his heart is kept in an urn. The church dates back to the
15th century. During the invasion of Sweden in the 1650s, this church was also
destroyed. It was rebuilt, but destroyed again by the Nazis in 1945. It is now
rebuilt, and a delight to watch.
Just by the church at Krakowskie Przedmiescie, a pensive Nicolaus
Copernicus sits on his podium. This almost 3-meter-high statue of the famous
astronomer who determined that the earth orbits the sun, and not vice versa, was
unveiled in 1830. The Nazis, of course, attempted to destroy this statue, but it
was strangely found on a landfill in western Poland after the war, and placed in
its rightful place after some repairs. The building behind is the Staszic Palace
which houses the library and the Polish Academy of Sciences.
You are now just off the street Nowy Swiat, which for centuries has
been one of Warsaw's liveliest and nicest with its many cafes and shops.
Needless to say, it was completely demolished during World War II and rebuilt in
the years that followed? If you take a left into Ordynacka, you will
come to Frederic Chopin Music Academy, which educates musicians and where
concerts are held on Wednesdays.
After lunch we suggest you continue further south, to Three Cross Square (Plac
Trzech Krzyzy) and Ujazdowskie Street, which is one of the most
elegant in Warsaw. Here are several embassies, historic buildings, beautiful
villas, government buildings and luxury hotels. In the square lies the Church of
Alexandria from about 1820, with the statue of martyr John of Nepomuk, an
important Catholic saint in Eastern Europe. A statue of John Fra Neponuk is also
on the Charles Bridge in Prague, the bridge where he was killed in 1393.
End the day at the magnificent Lazienki complex, a large castle park of about
80 hectares that started as a hunting area for kings in the 1600s. Here you
could easily spend the whole day looking at monuments, palaces and temples.
Inside the castle itself you can see countless works of art and antiques. Here
is Warsaw's famous Chopin Monument, and the Palace of Belvedere from 1660, which
was the presidential residence of Lech Walesa. It is now a museum for the
national hero and country father Jozef Pilsudski.
Day 2 in Warsaw
Day 2 also starts in front of the Royal Palace, but takes in the historic
area north of the Castle, Warsaw's beautiful Old Town. It took many years to
restore the area after the devastation of World War II. Today, the Old Town is
on UNESCO's World Heritage List and a real delight to stroll around. It is
almost impossible to believe that most buildings here are less than 50 years
old, for everything looks like it did in the 18th century.
From the Castle you go northwest to the narrow street Swietojanska.
On your right you have Warsaw's oldest church, the nearly 700-year-old St.
John's Cathedral. In the crypt rests several of Mazovia's dukes, Warsaw
archbishops and cardinals and Polish Nobel laureates. At the end of Swietojanska
you come out on the southern corner of what is undoubtedly Warsaw's heart, Old
Since the 1300s, the Old Town Square has been used for everything from
witchcraft and knight tournaments to festivals and markets. The houses that
flank the square look like they did in the 17th century, but the town hall which
was in the middle is demolished and replaced with a fountain from 1855 with a
statue of Warsaw's symbol and protector, a mermaid with sword and shield. There
are many restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating on the terraces in the
summer, and this is a natural gathering place for all tourists and Warsaw street
artists. Sit down with a coffee or beer and soak up the atmosphere.
On the north side of the square is the Warsaw Historical Museum, which is
definitely recommended. East of the square is a view terrace with a great
panoramic view of the river Vistula and the eastern districts of Warsaw. The
terrace is located outside the English John Bull Pub, which may also tempt you
for a break?
As you continue up ul Nowomiejska from the Old Town Square, you
reach the Barbican [see image above]. This majestic city gate and red
stone fortress was built by the Italian architect Giovanni Battista in 1548. The
fortifications stretched from the Vistula River and around the Old Town, forming
the boundaries of Nybyen, where the working classes lived unprotected. The
Barbican was partially demolished in the 19th century, but reconstructed in
1953-54. Today, it is a natural passage for pedestrians, and a place where local
artists exhibit their works and the city's youth gather.
You can walk on top of the city walls in either direction. Go left, and after
a few hundred meters you will come to a memorial to all the children who lost
their lives during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. Continue west in the small
street Kilinskiego, and then down Dluga to the left. Here you will not be able
to avoid noticing the great dramatic monument commemorating the Warsaw Uprising,
which raged for two months in 1944. Around 200,000 Poles were killed in a recent
desperate attack on the heavily armed Nazis, while Russian forces sat a few
kilometers away on the other side of the Vistula and waited.
Further west lies Muranow, the Jewish ghetto during World War II. Muranow
was, as you know, completely leveled with the earth, and there is not much to
see here except for monuments and monuments. Go up Dluga again until you reach
the main street Freta.
In Freta 16, science woman Marie Curie was home, now a biographical
museum. Entrance fee, but it is cheap. Marie Curie was actually Polish, raised
in Warsaw and named Maria Sklodowska. She discovered radium and polonium, which
she named after her homeland. Just opposite the museum is the picturesque
Nybytorget. The Baroque St. Kazimierz Church on the east side was converted into
a hospital during the war, and over a thousand people died here when the church
was bombed in 1944. But despite its bleak history, Nybyen is a pleasant and
beautiful area to stroll around, with enough of lunch options.
After lunch we suggest you go down to Slottsplassen again and take bus 100 or
180 to Sadyba. This is where the Katyn Museum is located in Powsinska 13,
which deals with the massacres of the Russians on over 20,000 Polish officers,
intellectuals and leadership figures. Free admission. Very interesting, but it
sounds too bleak, so you continue all the way to Wilanowski Palace, a
17th-century royal summer residence. Here you can take a guided tour of the
castle, stroll in the 43-hectare gardens and parks, or take a relaxing stroll on
the idyllic lake.