Much like a Phoenix bird, Warsaw managed to rise from its ashes to its former glory. Poland’s capital was once one of the most beautiful cities in Easter-Europe, with a Royal Castle and Way, beautiful architecture, churches, and a city full of life and rich cultural experiences.
The Second World War almost but destroyed Warsaw entirely and the communist Age that came next just brought upon the Grey Era of the Soviets. The falling of the Iron Curtain seems to have drawn Warsaw into its Golden Age of rebirth. All of a sudden hope seems to be at home here.
Though Warsaw is not the most visited or popular tourist destination in Poland, it seems to have found its path. And by the way, if you are curious about what is the most popular destination in Poland, check Framey’s blog! The answer is there along with other great ideas on where to head next.
But returning to our surprising capital of Poland, let’s start discovering the top 30 Unique and Cool things to see in Warsaw!
1. Łazienki Krolewskie w Warszawie
A journey into a different era awaits when you visit this wonderful place.
The Łazienki Park or Royal Bath sits on a huge site of 76 hectares. The Park and Castle complex is wonderful in architecture and a harmonious setting with rich and fabulous gardens and lakes.
It is not just the biggest park in Warsaw but probably everyone’s favorite as well. And could it not be with all the natural beauty around the impressive King Stanislaw’s summer residence? And for those who get here during the summer months, remember that you have a date with Chopin and his harmonious musical notes.
If you are searching for the most iconic places in the city, the best place to start is Framey’s collection: Palaces and beautiful squares in Warsaw.
2. Old Town
The Old Town with its never-missing Old Town Square is Warsaw’s most colorful and iconic place to hit if you want to discover the spirit of the old city. Built during the 12th to 13th centuries, it is surrounded by fortification walls only a century later.
Old Town’s little narrow streets will take you on a passage through time.
The rest of the decor filled with colorful buildings complete one of the most picturesque views you will experience in Warsaw. The entire Old Town is a tourist’s heaven. Gift shops, cafes, and iconic architecture and sculptures are everywhere you look.
3. Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów
The Wilanów Palace is definitely going to be one the best places to see in Warsaw. The Baroque jewel Castle and the beautiful garden transform into a cascade of lights during nighttime.
But honestly, you can not take enough time to wander through the manicured gardens and admire the lake and fountains, the statues, and the majestic architecture of the buildings on the premises. Once inside the Palace, the rich collections of the museum transport you back to King John III Sobieski and Queen Maria Kazimera’s time.
4. Palace of Culture and Science
One of the highest buildings in Warsaw, the Palace of Culture and Science catches your eye with its iconic look.
And if you like how the Palace looks, you will love the panoramic views you can get from its viewing platform, up on the 30th floor.
The iconic building started its life as a “gift of the Soviet people for the Poles” and was the main scene for most of the communist exhibition shows, fairs, concerts, and events held during that era. Today The Palace of Culture and Science changed its destination a bit and is home to some of the trendiest pubs in Warsaw, a cinema, and theatres. It is one of the most popular event places for concerts and skating enthusiasts.
5. PGE National Stadium
Most European countries love football and their home football teams, and Warsaw is not different in this aspect.
The PGE National Stadium is the pride of the city, the largest of its kind, and the most modern stadium in Poland. Built for the European Football Championship in 2012, the venue is nowadays THE location for concerts and all types of other events.
6. Nowy Swiat
Nowy Swiat or the New World Street is one of the fashionable Posh streets to check in Warsaw. It has always been one of the city’s most important arteries, part of the Royal Route.
Truth is that there is a sort of a local saying that the Nowy Swiat might be the longest restaurant in Warsaw, an elegant hint to the large number of restaurants that can be found here.
7. Krakowskie Przedmieście
Another main street in Warsaw is the Krakowskie Przedmieście, which was part of the Route connecting the capital to Krakow.
Being such an important part of the social and military life of the city, it’s no wonder that a lot of the significant buildings and monuments accompany the street. The Monument of Nicolaus Copernicus, Frederic’s Chopin House, and the Presidential Palace are just a few of the landmarks you can stop on the way to the Old Town.
8. Warszawskie Zoo
Along the Vistula River on a 40 hectares lot, lies the Warsaw Zoo. And though one of the most visited Zoos in Europe, something entirely different is what makes the Warsaw Zoo so special.
It is the story of a couple that saved 300 Jews during the Nazi occupation, by hiding them in the villa or other abandoned animal enclosures on site. The story has been portrayed in the touching movie The Zoo Keeper’s Wife and it is a part of Warsaw’s history.
9. Saxon Gardens
The oldest park in the city, the Saxon Gardens tells yet another story. This time, it is the story of the Unknown Soldier, a sad reminder of recent troubled times.
The beautiful fountain, the well-maintained flower beds, and the shadow of the tree lines make this place a great one for a pleasant walk or simply for a moment of contemplation.
10. Multimedia Fountain
A festival of lights, music, and water awaits at the Multimedia Fountain.
It is particularly fetching during summertime when the laser lights and columns of water dance to music and tell stories about Warsaw. You can not say that during the rest of the year the Fountain is not beautiful as instead of steams of dancing water you get colors and Holiday music. You can really enjoy it every single season in a different light.
Since this is just one of the cool experiences you can have here, check Framey’s collection of Outdoors attractions in Warsaw.
11. Chopin Monument
Where else would a Chopin concert or classical music performance feel more at home than at the foot of Chopin’s Monument in the Aleje Ujazdowskie? I dare say that the red sandstone round pool, surrounded by the peaceful garden is the perfect setting for Poland’s favorite composer monument.
Just know that this is not the original Chopin monument. The original one, depicting Chopin under the weeping willows, was broken into pieces and melted by the Nazis during the Second World War. Reconstructed back in 1958, the Chopin Monument stands proudly as a homage to the famous composer.
12. Warsaw Barbican
One of the few medieval relics that survived the troubled Warsaw history is the Barbican. Surviving is saying a lot! Like most of the Old Town, it also was severely damaged by the bombings of WW II, and the reconstruction was based on 17th-century sketches.
And though it is a reconstruction, the fortress is now one of Warsaw’s landmarks.
13. Pawiak Prison Museum
Definitely not your run of a mill Museum!
But then again how could this place be ordinary? Pawiak Prison is the place where most of the Polish patriots and members of the Resistance were incarcerated. Including women and children…
Entering the surviving blocks of Pawiak Prison Museum takes you into a different world with death rows and quarantine cells, with testaments of how the prison used to operate. The truth is that this museum is a step in a dark part of history. Bombarded in 1944 and almost taken to the ground, with only the Pawiak Tree and a fragment of a gate surviving, the reconstructed prison has the original equipment, messages the prisoners sent, and even poems.
14. Hala Mirowska
A silent witness to Warsaw history, the old market, Hala Mirowska, is another step in time.
Built back in 1901, the Hala Mirowska has been through a lot. Imagine that this place was an execution site during the Nazi occupation, communists wanted to tear it down, and in the end they kept the brick halls for a depot. It was only back in ‘50 that it regained its status as a market.
To this day, Hala Mirowska stands as a piece of the real Warsaw, where you can find almost anything, repair everything and learn all that happens in the world.
15. Holy Cross Church
The Baroque little Church of the Holy Cross has a few stories of its own to tell.
Like most of Warsaw’s monuments, it was destroyed during the 1944 occupation. But the story of the beautiful church doesn’t stop that year. Like the rest of the landmarks, it was reconstructed in the following years.
You can admire its majestic Two Towers and the sculpture of Christ carrying the Cross at the entry. Apart from the story of the Holly Church’s resurrection, there is something else to discover here: an elegant inside, a golden altar, and the heart of Chopin immured here, according to his wish.
16. Statue of the Little Insurgent
Such a small significant statue and such a heart-wrenching feeling about it!
There is nothing worse than realizing how many Polish children fought and died, serving as orderlies, medical assistants, or scouts in the Warsaw Uprising.
The bronze little statue is not dedicated to a particular child, but to all of them! The Little Insurgent is wearing a hat too big for size and a machine gun, too big for his life! Polish scouts raised the money and built this statue to honor all those TOO big sacrifices!
17. St. Anne’s Church
If by now you are already used to hearing about monuments destroyed during WWII and then rebuilt, St. Anne Church puts a different spin on the story.
It survived the war almost intact but only to be nearly demolished by the nearby works conducted by incompetent workers. Only through sheer efforts and weeks of hard work, did the team manage to stabilize the church foundation and save it.
Story aside, there is a very good reason why you should check St. Anne Church. The 147 steps of the tower give some of the best views in Warsaw. Just climb it!
18. Teatr Wielki
Teatr Wielki is the name of the National Polish Teatre and Opera. And what an impressive venue it is!
And though it has been around since the 19th century, its history restarted no more than half a century ago, when it was rebuilt after the war. You might say that this is exactly like the vast majority of landmarks in Warsaw. And you are correct but it is still one of the most beautiful venues and it should be on your list!
19. Fryderyk Chopin Museum
There is no way to visit Warsaw and not stop by the Museum dedicated to one of its favorite sons, Chopin.
A vast collection of no less than 7500 items linked to Chopin’s life are housed in the beautiful Baroque Palace, Ostrogski Palace.
But to be fair, Chopin is not only at the museum, it is everywhere!
20. Warsaw Mermaid
I know that mermaids are not the first thing you imagine as Warsaw’s Symbol. The city is nowhere close to the sea or the ocean… So, how come the mythological creature is so important and present all around the city, you wonder?
Legend says that the Warsaw Mermaid is the twin sister of the Danish Little Mermaid. She swam up the Vistula river, all the way to Warsaw, which was only a fishermen’s village back then. A greedy merchant captured the mermaid, but the fishermen saved her and set her free. In return, the grateful mermaid promised eternal protection thus, the legend of the Warsaw Mermaid, protector of the city, was born.
21. Skaryszewski Park
Skaryszewski Park is a rare combination of wild and urban life, rarely to be found in a capital city.
The Park is quite large and very pleasant for all outdoorsy people. But it’s also an oasis for those who prefer to just chill and admire the little ponds or the lake, or to spend time watching the squirrels.
And since it’s not so far from the National Stadium you can hit two birds with one stone, so to speak.
22.Monument of Nicolaus Copernicus
For sure you know who Copernicus is and how his infamous book, De Revolutionibus (1543), revolutionized astronomy and the way we view the universe. Of course, the book got banned by the Inquisition and the Church, but the truth was out!
The bronze Monument of Nicolaus Copernicus sits rightfully in front of the Polish Academy of Sciences. And it’s not without a legend attached to it. During the German occupation, the Nazis tried to claim Copernicus as their own, by placing a bronze plaque. True that his parents were Germans but Nicolaus was born in Torun Poland.
23. Krasiński Palace
You can not leave Warsaw without having a look at Krasiński Palace, or the Palace of the Commonwealth. It is the reconstructed Baroque Palace you admire today, as the original was, again, destroyed during the German occupation.
No self-respecting Palace comes without a beautiful park! And Krasiński Palace is no exception. The small park, the pond, and the manicured garden make for one of the local’s favorite places to relax as it is not so crowded.
24. Bazylika Katedralna Św. Michała Archanioła i Św. Floriana Męczennika
This is definitely one of the hardest church names to pronounce correctly, but also quite possibly the most beautiful basilica in Warsaw. St. Florian’s Cathedral is also known as Praga Cathedral, and for good reason. You can spot the twin spires of the Towers even from the Old Town, as the Cathedral is one of the tallest buildings in the city.
Are you searching for other incredible places of worship? Check Framey’s collection: Warsaw’s best churches and cathedrals.
25. Zacheta Gallery
The Zacheta National Gallery of Art is, for sure, one of the largest contemporary art collections in Warsaw.
This is the place to discover and admire post-war Polish art at its best. The venue is home to all art-related events from concerts, and art exhibitions to book readings.
26. The Wishing Bell
One of the most interesting landmarks you can see in the Old Town is the Wishing Bell.
The old love story of the Bell’s origins is quite tragic and certainly does not have a fairy tale ending as the bellmaker dies of poisoning and his beloved retreat to a convict, heartbroken.
But there is still hope as the legend says that if you touch Bell while going around it, your prayers will go straight to heaven and your wishes will be granted. Let us know if it worked!
27. Monument to Maria Sklodowska-Curie
We saw that Warsaw knows how to honor its treasures and personalities.
So far, you’ve seen the monuments dedicated to Copernicus and Chopin, but there is one more beloved personality that has roots in Warsaw: Maria Sklodowska Curie.
The bronze statue of the Nobel Prize winner looks dreamy and peaceful overlooking the Vistula river and you should definitely look her up.
28. Carmelite Church
The Carmelite Church, located on the Royal Route, is one of the most beautiful neoclassical churches in the city. To say that its exterior is impressive is an understatement!
And even if the interior is not as breathtaking, you should know that is the place where Chopin was asked to perform for the first time so it is indeed a Warsaw landmark.
29. Świętokrzyski Bridge
If taking photos of great architectural spots is something you enjoy, there is one place you will appreciate, especially at night.
It is the cable-stayed Świętokrzyski Bridge on the Vistula river. The bridge is just stunning. Especially at night, when lights make each cable seem like rays converting from the top.
30. Old Town Market Square
Looking around the colorful Old Town Market Square you can see why the charming area was included in Unesco’s World Heritage list. The Warsaw Mermaid Statue, Warsaw’s protector, is sitting at the very heart of the Square.
As you can expect charming cafes and restaurants fill the Square during summertime, while the winter holiday season transforms the area into a faerie of lights!
There is so much more that one can learn from the Polish strength and how they recreated the beautiful shattered city and turned it back into the royal jewel that it was. I hope you enjoyed my selection of 30 Unique and Cool Things to See in Warsaw!
And keep on discovering!
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