How to spend one day in Warsaw
*Pentru varianta în limba română, apasă AICI.
Have you ever thought about choosing Warsaw, Poland, as a citybreak destination? To be honest, I was thinking about visiting this city, but I have not put it on my urgent to do list. When we took the decision of spending New Year’s Eve in Moscow, Russia, I started by checking all the flights from Bucharest and I have noticed the possibility of having a long layover of 10 hours in the capital city of Poland. Taking into consideration that we had almost six days to explore Moscow, we thought we can dedicate 10 hours for Warsaw as well and we did not regret our decision at all!
The most beautiful part is that if you are traveling from Europe, we can find direct cheap flights with low cost companies such as Wizz Air or with Lot Polish Airlines, the flag carrier of Poland. You could also choose to include Warsaw as a layover for other destination and visit the two cities together as we did.
HOW TO GET THERE
Chopin Airport is situated just 7 km outside the city so you can get pretty fast to the city center and this makes your short trip even easier.
We bought two tickets valid for 75 minutes for the bus no. 175 right from the airport directly to Warsaw Old Town for 4,40 Polish zloty, which means around 1,05 Eur. We took the bus from the airport, just in front of the Arrivals terminal.
The journey lasted around 40 minutes because you will stop in multiple bus stations, but it gives you the chance to get familiar with the city and its architecture. Don’t get yourself fooled by the communist aspect of the city, it will amaze you later, believe me. We stayed in the bus till the last station which name I am not able to pronounce of write, but you can see it in the picture below.
*PS: If you choose to visit the city in a layover, as we did, you can find some storage lockers in the airport if you want to leave your bags which cost 14 Polish zloty/24 hours, if I recall correctly, which means around 3,50 Eur.
WHAT CAN WE VISIT
It was just 8 o’clock in the morning when we got to the old city center and started to explore the area, which was more than perfect for us since we love taking many pictures of the places we visit and we also hope to succeed in not having so many people around us. The Old Town is extremely beautiful and it surprised us with its stunning architecture.
We found out with this occasion that the Old Town Square was ruined by the German army in 1944, but is was restored immediately after the World War II, beginning in 1950, preserving the style from the XVII century. It is said that Warsaw was rebuilt based on some paintings made by the painter of the royal court when Stanislaw August Poniatowski ruled.
- So, this is where our adventure in Warsaw, the capital city of Poland, started. It is important to let you know that, in 1980, the historical center of the city was included, along with the Royal Castle, in the UNESCO World Heritage List, as a reward for all the work done for the reconstruction of the city after the World War II. This is definitely one of the reasons you should add Warsaw to your travel list.
- Right in the heart of the Old Town, we find the stunning Royal Castle, which you can’t miss in a city break. The castle was home for polish monarchs over the years, including Sigismund III, which used it in the XIV century, when he also demanded its extension. This took place a short time after the declaration of Warsaw as the capital city of Poland. I must say I was disappointed that the Tower of the castle was in renovation when we got there, but that couldn’t take away the beauty of the place.
- We wandered around the streets of the old town without knowing exactly where we were going. Our only goal was to visit as much as we could in this city that managed to steal our hearts. It was kinda freezing outside, but we came prepared for cold weather so we could not complain.
- It is interesting to know that Warsaw was a citadel, initially being surrounded by soil walls that were fortified with brick walls over the years. One of the attractions of the city is a part of this self defense system and it is called the Barbican. This classical gothic structure also separates the old part of the city from the new one.
- Although I usually read a lot about the destinations we are planning to visit, I must admit that the time didn’t allow me to do it on this occasion. I think we still managed to see all the important attractions of the city. In our walk within the old town we saw from above the “I love Warsaw” sign, which didn’t actually contain the word “love”. It had a Christmas tree instead due to the jolly period in which we decided to visit the city.
- We came back to the Royal Castle trying to discover even more streets of the Old Town. One thing I really liked about the city is that you can find so many traditional cute restaurants and cafes and they all invite you take a seat and enjoy the atmosphere. It was hard for us to stay on track, but we knew we had little time at our disposal and wanted to see as much as possible. We returned to the palace because I had already put my eyes on a tower from where we could see Warsaw from above and we could not miss that. I love searching for the perfect place to admire a panoramic view of the cities I travel to. The ticket was 6 polish zloty/person, the equivalent of 1,5 Eur, but I have to warn you there are no lifts available, you have to take the stairs to the top. The view is well worth it: 360 degrees panorama, the old town and all its beauty, The Royal Castle and, let’s not forget, Vistula River.
- While we were up there, I had the “great” idea of crossing the bridge over the Vistula River because I saw such a beautiful church there and we wanted to check it out. I said “great” idea because the wind nearly blew us off the bridge. But there we found The Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel and St. Florian the Martyr which surely deserves a visit.
- Because our time was almost finished, we headed to the Palace of Culture and Science, which we had seen already from the bus on our way from the airport, but also from the panoramic deck in the Old Town. You cannot say you visited Warsaw without paying a visit to this building. On the way there we stopped for a late lunch, but I will tell all about that in a bit. This is the tallest building in Warsaw (231m) and also the 8th tallest building in the European Union. It was a gift from the Soviet Union to Poland, initially being named after Stalin. This is the reason why this building is controversial between polish people because it reminds them about the suppression of the Russians after the World War II.
- Unfortunately, the time didn’t allow us to see the strongest point of the building – the panoramic deck at the 30th floor (114m). The ticket costs 20 polish zloty/adult, so less than 5 Eur, and there are lifts available to the deck and you get there in less than 25 seconds.
- I have to admit I am really sorry we didn’t get the chance to see the Fryderyk Chopin Museum, which is one of the symbols of the city; even the airport has its name. It is said to be a true jewelry of the classical baroque art built in the honor of the great composer. The ticket costs 22 polish zloty/adult, the equivalent of around 5,30 Eur, and the museum can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday from 11.00-20.00. This place should not be missed by the classical music lovers.
WHEN AND WHAT WE EAT
Taking into consideration that we got to Warsaw extremely early and we didn’t get a chance to eat breakfast, after we explored the cobbled stone streets, we decided to stop in a chic restaurant with the most beautiful view in town for our first meal in this city. And what place could have been more suitable than Warszawski Sznyt Restaurant which is situated right in the heart of the Old Town with the best view of the Royal Palace? As a plus, the breakfast was delicious!
It is mandatory to eat the traditional pierogi before you leave Poland, which are extremely popular, but also yummy. There are so many flavors that I am sure you will find something that you like. Pierogi, also known as polish dumplings, are a traditional dish very similar to Italian tortellini. Basically, they are dumplings filled with different ingredients.
From what I have experienced, there are two major categories: boiled pierogi (the traditional ones) and fried pierogi. I went for the second choice because when we entered the restaurant I fell in love with my “neighbor’s” plate so I knew what I want to try. We chose to share a big portion of pierogi and we got three types of them because you can mix them as you prefer. So fried pierogi with meat and champignons, forest mushroom and cheese and the third choice, which was yummy, Camembert and Dor Blue cheese. Lunch was accompanied by two cups of mulled wine which played a huge role in putting a big smile on our faces when we left for the next flight. I went for the classical wine and my boyfriend for a combination between wine and rum.
We chose to have lunch at one of the restaurants from the famous polish chain called Zapiecek, which I recommend with all my heart. I think they are around six locations in Warsaw and we stopped at the one just near the Palace of Science and Culture since this was our last attraction.
Even though it was sad for me, I must tell you there are so many sushi restaurants in Warsaw which was surprising for me. You can literarily find restaurant by restaurant with this specific for an excellent price. I don’t think I have ever seen so many sushi locations in one place. It is true I haven’t been to Japan yet, so I cannot talk about that, but I was really impressed. I say it was sad for me because time didn’t allow me to taste it so I can tell you how good it is, taking into consideration sushi is my favorite dish.
But, because it was our first time in Poland, we decided we should go for the traditional food so we can have a full polish experience.
That being said, we jumped in bus no. 175 to the airport right from the station in front of the Palace of Science and Culture and we continued our way to the lovely Moscow which we wanted to visit so much. I promise I will soon write a new travel blog about this destination.
PS: I almost forgot to tell you some information about visa regulations. Since I am Romanian, I was lucky and I just needed to present my passport or ID. You can find more information in the link below:
Blonde around the World ❤