Warsaw Itinerary – 2 Days in the Polish Capital
Today we welcome our Guest Author Dorota to share with us a practical Warsaw Itinerary for those who fancy a trip to the historic Polish Capital. Dorota is a Polish travel blogger who has been to Warsaw numerous times since her childhood. I’m sure her insider tips and depth of knowledge about the city will help us explore the best of Warsaw in two days.
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Over to Dorota now..
Warsaw is the capital of my home-country, Poland. It has numerous attraction to see and two days are not enough to cover them all. But it’s enough time to see the basic Warsaw attractions and also to get off the beaten path for a short while.
I’ve never lived in Warsaw but I’ve been there on numerous trips, the first one being in primary school and the most recent – this year. Warsaw has a cool vibe and I like to explore it over and over again.
2 Days in Warsaw – An introductory Warsaw Itinerary
On the first day I recommend you to cover the must-sees, i.e. The Old Town, Krakowskie Przedmieście street, the The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, The Palace of Culture and Science and Łazienki Park.
After that, on day two you will decide what you want to explore further. If you’d like to know history better, I’d recommend the Warsaw Uprising Museum. You could also get off the beaten path and walk around Praga district or find street art.
That’s how you will maximize the time and experience during the two days, or a weekend in Warsaw.
2 Days Warsaw Itinerary – Day 1
Explore The Old Town –the world’s biggest reconstructed historic area
The history of Warsaw dates back to 13th century. Unfortunately, during the World War II, after Warsaw Uprising majority of the original buildings got destroyed. Only six houses out of 260 survived.
Current Old Town is a reconstruction and it is the biggest reconstructed historic area of this size in the world.
What to see in the Old Town, Warsaw? Let’s dive in..
The Castle Square is a vibrant spot in Warsaw. On the square you will see the Sigmund’s Column, presenting Sigismund III Vasa. It is the oldest monument to a person not related to religion in modern Europe. Its construction had a political goal – to glorify the Vasa dynasty and strengthen the king’s power. The monument is original – it was hit by a bullet during the Warsaw Uprising but luckily, it fell on the ground in such a way that it didn’t get damaged.
You can see a great overview of the square if you climb the tower of St. Anne’s Church located nearby.
The Royal Castle
Originally, in the 14th century, the dukes of Masovia owned the castle here. The Kingdom of Poland took possession of it later.
During the reign of Sigismund III Vasa, after the capital was moved from Cracow to Warsaw, the castle was significantly expanded. Later it underwent a turbulent history, and it was plundered, rebuilt, damaged, rebuilt again…
During the war, the castle was almost completely destroyed and it was not rebuilt until 1984 (!).
I recommend you to see the castle from the inside. Audio guide is included in the price and you can learn a lot of interesting information about Polish history.
The Old Town Marketplace with Mermaid
The Old Town Market Place is a beautiful spot to rest. The most important thing to see there is the sculpture of a mermaid. The Warsaw Mermaid is in the coat of arms of the city and she is considered a protector of the city.
City Walls, the Barbican
Old Warsaw was surrounded by a double line of defensive walls. The first one was built around the 14th century, the second one in the 15th century, when the first was no longer enough. The barbican was a part of the walls and it was supposed to increase the security of the city. It performed its defensive function only once – during the Swedish Deluge.
After the World War II and the destruction of the city, it was decided to rebuild the Barbican, which was added to the list of Warsaw monuments. In the Barbican you can find a plaque commemorating people fighting during the Swedish Deluge.
Book a Historic group tour for a more immersive experience of the Old Town
The Little Insurrectional Statue
This is one of the statues that always touch me, no matter how many times I see it. The monument commemorates children who fought and died in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.
Krakowskie Przedmieście street, Presidential Palace
Krakowskie Przedmieście street is one of the main streets in Warsaw and it’s a part of the so called Royal Route – the old communication route from the Royal Castle to Wilanów Palace. Along it you will find interesting attractions, including the Presidential Palace. If you get off it a little bit, you can also reach The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier commemorating all soldiers who died fighting for Polish independence.
The Palace of Culture and Science
Some like it, others hate it… This building was a gift from the Soviet people to Poland and personally, I think it’s beautiful in its ugliness 😉 It’s inspired by the “Seven Sisters” located in Moscow.
On the 30th floor of the palace you will find an observation deck with a magnificent view of the city. You can buy tickets online. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to book a specific hour, so you may end up spending a lot of time in the queue.
„Łazienka” in Polish means a bathroom, so the name of this park can be translated to Royal Baths. When I was little, I didn’t understand that it is just a name and I imagined the king walking around naked, with a towel around his waist… 😉
Personally, I prefer wilder parks, I like to see nature more than human’s work on it – but Łazienki has a charm of its own. You can see a little Palace on the Isle there, a small Amphitheater and a monument of Frederic Chopin. If you’re lucky, you may see a peacock walking around, and spot some squirrels hopping on the trees.
Click here to know the travel documentation needed for travelling to Poland
2 Days Warsaw Itinerary – Day 2
If on the first day you managed to see everything from the list above, you have covered the basics 😉 Day two depends on what you’d like to explore further. I will give you a couple of options and you will decide which one sounds the most interesting for you.
Warsaw Uprising Museum
You’ve probably understood by now that Warsaw Uprising which took place in 1944 played a huge role in the history of Polish capital. And you are right. For that reason, I think it’s important to broaden your knowledge about it and the Uprising Museum gives you an opportunity to do so.
It is not the best museum I’ve seen, just because of the organization – it’s a little chaotic and doesn’t clearly lead the visitor. I ended up reading information in the wrong order. Anyway, it is an amazing museum to visit if you want to learn more history and understand Poland a little better.
Alternative Warsaw attractions
If you want to get off the beaten path, you may explore the district of Praga. I’d recommend you do it with an guided walking tour or a retro bus tour to learn more about its history and characteristics – but also to stay safe. Not all areas in Praga district are okay.
Another option is to hunt street art – you can find a lot of it in the city too.
If you love architecture and you’d like to learn even more about Polish kings, you can visit Wilanów Palace. It was built in 17th century and survived Poland’s partitions and both World Wars. In the palace you can see beautiful interiors, as well as collections of paintings.
Warsaw has countless museums and I am sure you will find something interesting! Chopin Museum, Museum of Life under Communism, Museum of Polish Vodka, Copernicus Science Centre, even a so called Selfie Museum “Be Happy” 🙂 I’m sure you will not be bored!
Practical Tips for 2 days in Warsaw
- Warsaw has only 2 lines of metro so it is often easier to use buses and trams.
- Download an app called “Jakdojade”, which will plan your route from any point A to point B with public transportation, give you timetables etc. You can also buy tickets within the app.
- First-timers can also book an audio-guided hop-on hop-off bus tour for easy and hassle-free sightseeing.
Packing for Europe? Don’t forget the checklist from backpack & explore.
2 days in Warsaw – What to eat?
While being in Poland you need to try traditional cuisine – pierogi ruskie (dumplings filled with cheese and potatoes), kotlet schabowy (pork fried meat), bigos (a kind of stew made with sauerkraut and fresh cabbage), żurek (sour soup), rosół (chicken soup), barszcz (beetroot soup).
Usually the tastiest and cheap traditional food is in places called “bar mleczny” (milk bar). They will not look great but they will feed you well and they will not ruin your budget 🙂 Apart from these, on a more expensive side, I like a chain of restaurants specializing in pierogi called Zapiecek and a restaurant called U Szwejka.
Book a top-rated pub-crawl in Warsaw for a fun evening with friends and family.
Where to stay in Warsaw on a trip?
The best area to book your accommodation is within a walking distance from the Old Town. Since Dorota usually lives with her friends when she visits Warsaw, here are some recommendations from Backpack & Explore based on budget and reviews.
NYX Hotel Warsaw by Leonardo Hotels, Warsaw is a travel-sustainable property (labelled by Booking.com) and has been reviewed as one of the best places to stay in Warsaw.
Radisson Blu Sobieski is rated well on all fronts including great value for money. It also has free parking.
Spichlerz II Old Town Apartment, Warsaw is a top-rated accommodation in the heart of Warsaw, the Old town. It’s a walking distance away from all major attractions of Day1 of our Warsaw itinerary
OperaApart, Warsaw is another great place to stay housed in a building dated 1970. It is just 0.7 mi from Krakowskie Przedmieście and 0.7 mi from Presidential Palace.
Thanks to Dorota for this wonderful introduction to Warsaw with these amazing pictures and anecdotes. If you liked this article and want to read more such practical travel guides, please consider subscribing to our newsletters. Save it on Pinterest for easy reference on your next trip.
You may also like another guest post on Prague , the historic city of Czech Republic.
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Author in her own words
My name is Dorota, I come from Poland. I travelled and volunteered on three continents and I am fascinated by the beauty we can find in the world. But I love exploring Poland too, I think it’s one of the best and most diverse countries in Europe! I write a blog Weekendowka (in Polish language), which focuses on weekend trips in Poland to make it easier for others to explore this lovely country. You can see more on my Instagram @weekendowka and Facebook fanpage.
All images, unless otherwise mentioned belong to the guest writer, to the best of our knowledge. Other images used in the post including those in the pins are from creative commons library of Pixabay.
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