After reading my guide for “Best life hacks for ‘how to travel more” (If you haven’t go check it out here), you now have some free time and totally ready to take a nice weekend getaway. And if you’re in Europe or around, Warsaw is the perfect location for it.
A couple of days is enough to discover the wonders of this city and to enjoy a relaxing weekend. There are many guides about historical and cultural sightseeing but here are some great (off the bitten track) surprising free recommendations for what to do in Warsaw:
Ever since I discovered the concept of free tours, I make sure to take one in every city I go to. Even if you’re not a massive fan of history, these free tours take you to all the must-see spots in the city in just a couple of hours and sum it up for you in a nice (free) little package.
I like to take one on my first day in a new city so I can check off my list all the must-haves and also, during the tour I make mental notes of places I might want to come back to (Yes, I do mean restaurants and Instagramable locations).
This time I took the old town free tour by “Orange Umbrella” which is conducted daily at 10:00 AM and 1:30 PM, leaving from the Sigismund’s Column at the Castle Square. You can also save your spot (free of charge on their website).
The original old center of Warsaw had been completely destroyed during Warsaw Uprising (Second World War), and the modern version is a replica which has been created in the 1950s. The tour reaches all the most famous sights like the Royal Castle, Saint John’s Cathedral, the Old Town Market, the city walls and the New Town and tells the story of the city’s history.
One of the largest roof gardens in Europe, the Library Garden is a perfect place for some midday relaxation and leisure time. Located just a short walk away from the touristy old town It has two gardens on its premises – the lowers one features a fish pond and some benches. This is a perfect spot for a picnic break (you can bring your own or buy a sandwich and coffee at the university’s cafeteria). The upper garden has all kinds of plants, and you can have a sneak pick into the library itself ( Note that the upper terrace is closed during the winter season (November–March).
When you visit, don’t forget to take a look into the building itself. The combination of raw concrete, massive glass windows, and lavish vegetation growing on the facade of the library make a great impression.
Pro tip: In the upper garden, you have a viewing terrace with a magnificent panoramic view of the Vistula river. A great viewing and selfie location.
After taking the free tour you’re already an expert when it comes to the buildings and its history, but during the summer weekends, the narrow allies and big squares of the old town together with the streets of the Royal Route (Krakowskie Przedmieście and Nowy Świat) turns into a real festival.
Alongside the colorful scenery, you can find musicians, performing artist, vast crowds of families, couples and tourist and all the dessert shops you can think off. Definitely worth dedicating a couple of hours to leisurely stroll around, enjoying the different sounds, smells (of food) and sights.
Situated on the right bank of the Vistula, Praga is seen as the most genuine and authentic part of the city but also the most ignored part. During my first visit to Warsaw, I didn’t even think about going there, only to discover its magic for the second time around.
During World War II, it did not suffer as much as the city center; hence, you can still admire its original architecture. The charming alleys, restaurants, trendy art galleries, and an exceptional combination of historical industrial architecture with modern design concepts have made Praga a favorite spot among Warsaw’s artists and creatives.
In Praga Koneser Centre (Pl. Konesera 2 ), in the renovated complex of the 19th-century Koneser vodka distillery, you will find today the Google Campus business center, designer shops, innovative restaurants, and small bars. The combination of old structures with modern architecture is truly a delight.
An excellent place for a morning hangs, coffee, or a visit to the multimedia Polish Vodka Museum to learn how the Polish drink is made.
Well, this one isn’t for free but due to its affordable prices, Warsaw is definitely a place you can splurge a bit and get a lot in return.
If you don’t know this about me yet- I have polish routes and just LOVE the polish cuisine and especially Pierogi, the national polish dish which is an all-time favorite of mine since I was a little girl. Even after trying at least 10 different (delicious enough) Pierogi dishes, nothing came close to how my grandmother used to make them until I found C.K. Oberza.
In this totally unimpressive restaurant hides one of the best Pierogi dished I’ve ever had (except home). So good you would want seconds right away. Come hungry and order Pierogi Ruskie (filled with fresh quark (like Cottage cheese), boiled and minced potatoes, and fried onions) and ask for some sour cream on the side. Trust me, you won’t regret it. (Send me a massage after letting me know how it was!!)
We stayed at the PURO Warszawa Centrum hotel, and it was truly a delight. Located just a short walk from the royal road, the old city and shopping stores, PURO is one of the most well designed and pleasant European hotels I’ve ever stayed in. The hotel lobby and rooms all designed in a modern Nordic style and equipped with all the latest technologies when it comes to smart rooms.
And the breakfast, oh the breakfast! A large verity and selection of cheese, meats, bread, and whatnot. (You can go to my Instagram Warsaw highlights to see more). You can’t stay here and not feel a little posh. The only disadvantage- you won’t be able to stop taking pictures of every nook and corner.
Well, Warsaw like its fellow European cities known for its cheap local beer (in some places is even less expensive the water LOL) but if you feel like something a little swankier, head on to the Loreta bar, Puro’s hotel cool rooftop place where you can have some refreshing cocktails and great views not only of the city but also of Warsaw most well-dressed locals.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a nice weekend getaway with your significant other, your mom, BFF or even on your own Warsaw is definitely the place to go. If you’re a history and culture lover, shopping fan or just need of a proper inexpensive downtime – Poland’s capital will have something to offer you.
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If you have any follow-up questions, need further recommendations, or want to know more about my route, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or a DM.