This trip to Warsaw provided me with two days and two nights for walking around the city. Warsaw is a big city and I have seen some of the main tourist sights, yet I still have not seen many of the primary places listed as top attractions on TripAdvisor. I tend to walk around with a vague plan for a destination. This has the positive aspect that I discover places I would not have found if following a mapped out itinerary of attractions to check off my tourist sight list. On the flip side, I often miss visiting some of the most popular places or even a place I walked by, but did not notice as a significant attraction for the city.
This was my fifth trip through Warsaw in the past two years. Each trip to Warsaw has always been primarily an overnight transit stop on my way to some other city like Gdansk and Krakow in Poland, Nice, France and Sofia, Bulgaria. Basically I toured Warsaw for one day on my way to Chania, Crete and one day on my return from Greece before flying to Stockholm the following day.
Photo Walk through Warsaw City Center
This photo walk is a start for the first time tourist who might wonder what Warsaw looks like today and what there is to see.
I made a Google Maps with pins starting from Pin #1 at Warsaw Central Station, a natural starting point since the train is a direct link to Warsaw Chopin Airport in 20 minutes. Numbered map pins indicate the location of these photos in walking order, except Pin 2 shows Holiday Inn Warsaw City Centre and Pin 3 is Warsaw Rising Museum.
Holiday Inn is where I stayed my first night in Warsaw.
Warsaw Rising Museum was my main activity during the day before my evening walk to Nowy Swiat and Old Town in the evening. The museum is one I highly recommend to develop an understanding of why Warsaw suffered some of the most extensive damage of any German occupied city during WW2 in the last year of the war when Soviet liberation seemed so near.
This view from Pin #4 InterContinental Warsaw (my IC hotel review) puts much of central Warsaw in frame with the direction for a walk from Nowy Swiat to Old Town Warsaw when looking from right to left across the photo.
Train from Warsaw Chopin Airport to Warsaw Central Station takes 20 minutes at a ticket cost of 4.40pln/$1.16 places you across the street from the Palace of Culture and Science on the right side of PKiN as seen in my photo from InterContinental Warsaw. The train station is on the same street as InterContinental Warsaw at the other end of the large PKiN city block and out of my photo frame. Centrum Metro Station is on the far right corner of the PKiN block.
When arriving by Modlin Airport bus, the city center bus stop is outside the Kinoteka at the Palace of Science and Culture shown as Pin #6 on my Google map.
Modlin Bus ticket prices are actually as low as 9pln with advance purchase and 1pln booking fee for online purchase. Walk up ticket price at airport is 35pln.
Polonia Palace Hotel ranked #8 of 134 hotels on TripAdvisor at time of this article.
Pin #8 Performance artists in square outside Metro Centrum
Pin #9 Hotel Indigo Nowy Swiat Warsaw
There are three IHG hotels in central Warsaw. I had a reservation for Hotel Indigo Nowy Swiat on PointBreaks for 15,000 points when the hotel was $135 room rate. I ended up canceling my reward night to stay at Pin #2 Holiday Inn Warsaw City Centre (my hotel review) my first night in the city. The change of hotel location allowed me to earn 60,000 IHG points for $291 with three hotel stays for my three nights in Warsaw this trip.
I wanted to see what I missed by canceling my Hotel Indigo reservation.
Nowy Swiat is a popular bar and restaurant entertainment district I toured during my stay at InterContinental Warsaw in 2017. The receptionist at Hotel Indigo suggested I check out PiwPaw Beer Heaven for a place to drink a pint.
Pin #9 PimPaw Beer Heaven
One of the issues I had with PiwPaw besides being quite crowded and loud is I never saw a beer menu. The wall of taps was much darker than my brightened photo and I struggled to see the kinds of beer in the taps behind the bar counter. I ordered a Polish pilsner, which started out tasting fine, but I was tired of the bitter taste before finishing my pint. I paid 14pln for a pint. Most beers were 16 or 18pln. This is nearly double the price for many places in the city where a pint of common Poland lager like Tyskie is 6 to 9pln.
If craft beer is your taste, then there are plenty to choose from at PiwPaw.
The decor intrigued me with walls totally covered in beer caps; thousands and thousands of beer caps.
There are probably 50 or more restaurants and pubs within a 5 to 10 minute walk around this area of Nowy Swiat.
Pin #10 University of Warsaw
Universities always attract me and I wandered around the University of Warsaw (1816) campus buildings for 20 to 30 minutes.
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) was a child musical prodigy. His French born father took a position teaching French at the Warsaw Lyceum. Chopin received his musical education at Warsaw Lyceum. He composed and performed in the city of Warsaw before leaving Poland at the age of 20 and settled in Paris.
Pin #10 Presidential Palace Warsaw
The Presidential Palace was designed in 1818 at a time when Poland was ruled by Russia. The palace survived the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.
Pin #11 Sigismund’s Column (1644)
King Sigismund III of the Polish-Lithuania Commonwealth moved the capital of Poland from Krakow to Warsaw in 1596. Sigismund’s Column stands outside the Royal Palace and was originally erected in 1644.
Poland was one of the major powers of Europe from 1386 to 1772 with its territorial peak in the 16th and 17th centuries when its (map) lands included most of what are today’s Ukraine, Belarus and Baltic countries.
Pin #12 Royal Palace
Warsaw’s Royal Palace was originally constructed 1598-1619. The palace was demolished by the Swedish in 1655-56 and again during the Polish Uprising Sep 1944. The palace was reconstructed over the past four decades with the Wisla river bank gardens still being completed in 2019.
Wednesday is free admission to the palace.
Pin #15 Warsaw Barbican
For more on the sights between Sigismund’s Column and the Barbican, see my October 2017 article on Warsaw when I took an Orange Umbrella free walking tour of Old Town.
Pin #16 Mały Powstaniec (the “Little Insurrectionist”)
Mały Powstaniec (the “Little Insurrectionist”) is a statue memorializing the significant role of children in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Girls and boys were members of the Polish Scouts and many of these scouts participated in running messages and ammunition between the Polish Home Army fighters in the fight against the Germans to liberate Warsaw. As overground passages through areas of fighting across the city became impassable, the ‘sewer rats’ used Warsaw’s network of sewers to move from part of the city to another. Warsaw Rising Museum exhibits cover the extensive role of children in the Warsaw Rising.
Pin #17 National Theater
Pin #18 Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
In Saxon Park is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier commemorating Polish war dead.
These photos are just a small portion of what a tourist can see in Warsaw. There are many museums, Warsaw Zoo, the up and coming neighborhood of Praga across the Wisla River and I still have not visited Łazienki Park, Warsaw’s largest park and the top attraction in the city based on Warsaw TripAdvisor reviews.