Poland like many countries in its region of Europe has many beautiful and colourful cities and towns waiting to be explored. When we visited Warsaw at the end of May, I was expecting it to be cold like the weather we were running away from in London, but it was beautifully sunny and warm. The perfect start to a getaway weekend we were looking for. The city is friendly and easy to get around, which makes it easier to jump right into exploring almost as soon as you arrive. The city was also preparing to host the NATO summit 2016 in July, where all the big wigs from around the world will be coming. From Obama, Cameron to Merkel and Hollande, all will be coming to talk politics and all sorts right in the heart of Warsaw. Certainly, glad were getting in before they were because otherwise there would be no hotel, let along a tent to sleep in. We had a couple days of blissful walking around the old and new town of warsaw; from hunting out its unique viewpoints to checking local eats and shopping spots. What better way to entice you to consider this cute city than to not only show you but give you a weekend guide to visiting Warsaw. Even better, I also made a video below taking you along for a little sightseeing in Warsaw. For more tour options in the city also check out Warsaw city tours, at Expedia that range from walking tours to cooking classes.
Grab a Bite in Warsaw’s Colourful Old Town
Okay, there are plenty of places to eat, but for a little ambience head to the old town where you have traditional and modern cafes all serving up Poland’s best cuisine as well as international, of course. Considering the heat in the city you will also notice hundreds of Gelato shops almost every few meters.
Take in a Little Sightseeing in Warsaw
I have never seen a city with as many churches as Warsaw. All beautiful and unique, and there is a lot of them. The star of the show for me was the Russian Orthodox Church, Cathedral of St Mary Magdalene. It’s easy to get to as the station is right next to it.
Get a Bird’s Eye View of Warsaw at The Old Town’s Clock Tower and Palace of Culture
Having walked through the streets of the old town, you will be led to the Castle Square where most people will be walking towards. Here you will find the clock tower. Brave the spiral steps and you will be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of Warsaw’s lined and colourful buildings. For an even better view of the city with a 360-degree panorama view, head to Palace of Culture. You may have seen me post about this on my Instagram here and here. It’s an old building rich in history topped with amazing views for about 30 Polish Zloty.
Explore The Old Town Square and Meet The Famous Mermaid
Locals and tourists alike will spend their days sipping wine and people watching in the Old Square. So the tip is to do as the locals do and find yourself a table down at that is the Old Town Square. When you have taken in enough wine, the Palace, and its gardens are only a few meters away and waiting to be explored.
Walk The Backstreets of Warsaw and Take in the Views
There are plenty of cute backstreets waiting to be instagrammed and the cool thing about it is that not a lot of tourist venture out to the backstreet so you will have the views all to yourself. For the quick and easy access start from the Old Town Square and head to the back streets.
Shop Til You Drop in Warsaw Zlote Tarasy Mall
If you like a bit of shopping on your getaway then head to Zlote Tarasy Mall. It’s not a place you can miss as the building itself is unique in architecture. It’s filled with hundreds of stores, restaurants, and cafes so there is definitely something for everyone. I think there is also a cinema, spa and gym in there too for those in the city slight longer and want a little more. Another plus is that it’s actually linked to a train station, both intercity train and city underground for those that may be visiting on a day trip from other cities in Poland.
Check out Cool Cafes In Warsaw
We also stopped by this cute little cafe by the name of How U Doing. Surprisingly with camera in hand, I still did take a snap of it, so you will have to make do with my snap of cheesecake and latte on our other stop at Nero. It seems they are big fans of the show Friends or more so Matt LeBlanc’s character; Joey. Grab a latte and have a bit of a chin wag. It’s hidden behind the street in Centrum. If you manage to find Marks and Spencers in the city center, its right across from M&S.
Hunt Out Warsaw’s Unique Views
Warsaw is a city that seems too big for its population and is small enough to see most of it a weekend but also big enough that you will stumble upon some cool gems. Below is a residential apartment block that I hunted out to take in this awesome courtyard view.
Grab A Cocktail and a Bite After Dark
When darkness comes the best spot in town to grab a cocktail is Marriott’s Sky Bar. You can take in the night views and sip cocktails in the heart of the city. You don’t even have to make a booking. If you want more entertainment in the city, Poland seems to advertise their strip clubs even on tourist guides. I guess they must not be shy about it. There are also a few casinos which seem to draw in quite a few tourists. I didn’t manage to check out either so can’t vouch for them.
Getting Around in Warsaw(And from Airport)
Getting around Warsaw is super easy. We tried and tested the underground system. Once you get to grips with which direction you want to head in, its a breeze. You can buy 24hr tickets or weekend underground tickets. The weekend ticket was 48 Zloty for both of us. For all you Uber fans, you will be glad to know that Uber operates in Warsaw and we had great Uber experiences with it as we used it a couple of times after walking for miles around the little streets and got too tired to walk back to the hotel.
We booked Uber from the airport as we landed in Modlin, having flown with RyanAir. The airport is about 30-40 minutes drive and with Uber was about £15.
You can also rent bikes in Warsaw and explore the beautiful parks and riverside. There are a bikes which you can pick up and drop in and around the city. Much like the Boris bikes in London or the Citi bikes in New York City.
Where to Stay in Warsaw
Originally I was going to stay close to the old town but in the end opted for the center of town. We stayed at the Marriott Hotel in Warsaw. Great location as you have the Zloty Tarasy Mall right across the road, the Palace of Culture is also across the road, I showed you a little video while having breakfast at the hotel. The station is also a few meters away, as well as the trams. This makes exploring nice and easy from your doorstep. If you want to explore on foot, the hotel is about 20-30 minutes walk from the Old Town and there are plenty of spots to stop by on the way. For a full list of hotels in Warsaw check out this list of hotels in the city.