Choose from 11 Fun Things to Do in Warsaw
This stunning Gothic cathedral in the heart of Warsaw's Old Town is one of the most interesting historical landmarks. Built in the 14th century, St John's Cathedral - or Katedra Sw Jana - is one of the oldest churches in all of Poland, but was completely destroyed during World War II during the Polish Uprising. However, like much of the Old Town, it was reconstructed after the war, true to its original architecture.
In addition to being the site of many historical events, such as the coronation of the last Polish king, the cathedral also houses the beautiful red marble tombs of many Mazowian dukes, and its crypt is the resting place of many celebrated Poles such as Nobel Prize-winning author Henryk Sienklewicz. The Gothic architecture and artwork is some of the most impressive in Warsaw, and is not to be missed.
In the center of Old Town, getting to St. John's couldn't be easier. The 12, 13, 26, and 32 trams will leave you off right next to it at the Stare Miasto stop.
While the cathedral is open daily, they do not allow tourists to enter during mass, so be sure to check the mass schedule on the website when planning your visit.
Originally used as a communication route, Warsaw's famous Royal Way (or Royal Route) is a beautiful, 2.5 mile-(4 km) long road that goes from the The Royal Palace at Old Town to the Wilanow Palace. Walking this road assures you an incredible view of Polish historical landmarks, including St. Anne's Church, the Tyszkiewicz Palace, the Holy Cross Church, St. Alexander's Church, Lazienki Park, and so much more. An entire day can be spent exploring the monuments and side streets that are considered part of the "Road of Kings", and there are innumerable sights to be seen.
An impressive monument to the Polish composer Chopin sits in the Lazienki park, and during the summer, classical musical concerts are held on the lawn. In addition to being the living quarters of many Polish nobles, including the Polish president, museums, chic shopping, people-watching, and fine eateries are abound on this most beautiful and historic of streets.
The Royal Way begins at the Royal Palace in Old Town and extends out to the Wilanow Palace, making it a perfect guide to a historic tour of Warsaw. Be sure to wear good walking shoes, and remember that the actual Royal Way isn't just one street (Krakowskie Przedmiescie), but also includes a series of connecting streets. A good monument map will ensure that you take in all of interesting sights.
- Most of the main sites of the Warsaw Ghetto are wheelchair accessible, but there are some narrow lanes and uneven streets to navigate
Stop to try a local beer or taste traditional Polish fare and admire the incredible architecture all around you. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this area is not to be missed.
- Warsaw is magical at night with illuminated fountains and buildings.
- Be sure to sample Poland’s iconic dumplings (pierogi) at a local restaurant.
- Warsaw is Poland's city of transformation—a fascinating place for history and culture fans.
Built in the beginning of the 17th century, the Royal Castle of Warsaw - or Zamek Krolewski - marks the entrance to Old Town, and was the official seat of the Polish monarchy up until the beginning of the 19th century, and also housed the Polish Parliament throughout history. Although, like most of Old Town, the castle was destroyed during World War II, it underwent major reconstruction between 1971 and 1984, and is now fully open to the public.
The beautiful brick facade of the castle is bookended by the bulbous spires so common to Polish architecture, and the castle square alone is worth visiting. In addition to the classic Polish architecture, Italian influences are strong, as the palace was designed by an Italian architect. As such, the building is exquisite, and should be on every Warsaw visitor's agenda.
Containing an incredible collection of artwork and art objects, the interior of the castle is a beautiful also houses part of the National Museum, as well as functioning as a frequent meeting place for the Ministry of Culture. The different rooms of the palace are decorated with amazing attention and fealty to the original state, before the war. Be sure to pick out the two Rembrandts that were donated in 1994 by the Countess Karolina Lanckoronska.
The palace is hard to miss coming into Old Town, sitting right on the Vistula River, and can be accessed easily by tram or bus, at either the Stare Miasto or Pl. Kamkowy stops.
The admission price varies depending upon which rooms and collections you wish to see. Entry into the permanent exhibitions is free on Sundays, but tickets are limited, and tour guides are not available. Also, be aware that no visitors are allowed entry one hour before the palace officially closes.
- Bring warm clothing if traveling on an open-air boat—it can get chilly, especially in the evening hours.
- Some boat cruises are wheelchair accessible.
- Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the many attractions and beautiful scenery you’ll see.