Things to do in Warsaw

Things to do in  Warsaw

Welcome to Warsaw

Warsaw has emerged from the war-torn destruction of World War II as a resplendent city, and Poland’s capital now thrums with an energy all its own. A colorful confection of 17th-century townhouses gives Old Town Square Market enchanting charm; the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto (Getto Zydowskie) is a poignant reminder of the past; and St. John’s Cathedral (Katedra Sw Jana) never fails to impress with its Gothic grandeur. See all of the visual treats and more on a sightseeing tour—explore in a Communist-era van or retro Fiat, on a Segway, or on a walking tour. Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum near Krakow, a former Nazi concentration camp, makes for an accessible day trip, and offers insight into Poland’s sobering past; while excursions to Gdansk and medieval Malbork showcase the beauty of Poland’s architecture. Music lovers can enjoy a Frederic Chopin piano concerto or visit the birthplace of the renowned composer in Masovian Country, revelers can capture Warsaw’s party spirit on a bar crawl, culture connoisseurs can learn about the city’s communist and Jewish heritage at the Life Under Communism Museum (Czar PRL), and history buffs can admire countless historic monuments on The Royal Way in Warsaw, home to the Royal Castle and Wilanow Palace.

Top 14 attractions in Warsaw

Warsaw Old Town (Stare Miasto)

Almost entirely destroyed during WWII, Warsaw’s historic Warsaw Old Town (Stare Miasto) underwent an extensive restoration that transformed the area into a vibrant riverfront hub. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the neighborhood boasts striking recreations of 17th- and 18th-century structures, as well as the Warsaw History Museum.More

Palace of Culture and Science (Palac Kultury i Nauki)

A towering 758 feet (231 meters) high, Warsaw’s Palace of Culture and Science was commissioned by Stalin during Poland’s communist era. Today, the country’s tallest building comprises concert halls, offices, shops, restaurants, and a 30th-floor viewing terrace.More

Warsaw Royal Castle (Zamek Krolewski)

Rebuilt following the destruction of World War II, the Royal Castle stands watch over the entrance to Warsaw Old Town. Explore beyond the brick facade to find a trove of historic furniture, artwork, and gilded decor. From the Great Apartments to the Throne Room, Warsaw Royal Castle showcases centuries of Warsaw history.More


Hugging the Vistula River’s east bank, Praga is one of Warsaw’s oldest, yet most up-and-coming, districts. The only part of Poland’s capital to escape destruction in World War II, this once-derelict area mixes grimy prewar streets and art nouveau blocks with a contemporary buzz evidenced in its street art and trendy restaurants and bars.More

Warsaw Jewish Ghetto (Getto Zydowskie)

The haunting monuments and memorials of Warsaw’s former Jewish Ghetto (Getto Zydowskie) tell the story of its tragic past—during World War II, it was the largest Jewish Ghetto in all of Nazi-occupied Europe.More

St. John's Archcathedral (Archikatedra Sw. Jana)

Near Warsaw’s Old Town Market Square, St. John’s Archcathedral dates back to the 1300s, making it one of the city’s oldest churches. The site of the 18th-century coronation of Poland’s last king—and of his tomb—this striking, neo-Gothic cathedral was revamped in the 1800s before being destroyed in World War II and rebuilt in 1960.More

Warsaw Old Town Market Square (Rynek Starego Miasta)

Colorful buildings flank Warsaw Old Town Market Square, where centuries of history have unfolded against a picture-perfect backdrop. Christmas markets and an ice-skating rink keep the square bustling through cold-weather months. In summer, cafés open their doors for a season of outdoor dining and drinking with a view.More

Warsaw Royal Route (Trakt Królewski)

Linking Warsaw’s three royal abodes—Royal Castle, Palace on the Isle, and Wilanów Palace—the Royal Route is a historic road offering plenty of sightseeing. Starting at Castle Square in Warsaw Old Town, it runs 7 miles (11.5 kilometers) south to Wilanów Palace, and sparkles with lights and decorations during the holiday season.More

Wilanow Palace (Museum of King Jan III)

Commissioned by Poland’s King Jan III Sobieski in 1677, the baroque Wilanów Palace is one of Warsaw’s few surviving pre–World War II treasures. Located just outside the city and dubbed “Poland’s Versailles,” this onetime royal summer retreat features opulent apartments, art collections, decorative gardens, and a lake, among other regal touches.More

Warsaw Uprising Museum (Muzeum Powstania)

Set in a converted power station, this museum charts the World War II Warsaw Uprising, when Poland’s underground resistance tried to oust the city’s Nazi occupiers before the arrival of the Soviet army. The museum charts the unsuccessful 63-day insurrection through multimedia experiences, artifacts, and personal testimonies.More

Museum of Life Under Communism (Muzeum Zycia w PRL)

Set among the Communist architecture around Constitution Square, Warsaw’s Museum of Life Under Communism showcases life behind the Iron Curtain, from milk bars to interior design and even exercise. Previously known as Czar PRL, it's now called Muzeum Życia w PRL, which translates as Museum of Life in the Polish People's Republic.More

Vistula River (Wisla)

Running an incredible 654.5 miles (1,053 kilometers) and traversing the entire length of the country, the Vistula River (Wisla) is Poland’s longest river, passing through both Warsaw and Krakow.More
Katyn Museum (Muzeum Katyńskie)

Katyn Museum (Muzeum Katyńskie)

A moving memorial to victims of the 1940 Katyn massacre, the Katyn Museum is housed in the 19th-century Warsaw Citadel that was commissioned by Tsar Nicolas I to house Russian troops. Personal effects, documentation, and portraits evoke the World War II tragedy, while an audio guide fills in missing pieces of history.More


The northern district of Żoliborz is one of Warsaw's most attractive areas and has long attracted the creative class of this capital city. Largely suburban and known for its leafy streets, its name comes from the French Joli Bord, which translates to “Beautiful Embankment” in English. While Żoliborz may sound like a quiet area, its sophisticated flair, verdant parks, and rich food and drink scene shouldn't be dismissed.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Warsaw

Polish Dumpling Cooking Class, Lunch or Dinner with Liqueur Tasting
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Warsaw for WWII Buffs - private tour by retro minibus
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Wolf’s Lair Private Day Trip from Warsaw
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The 10 Tastings of Warsaw With Locals: Private Food Tour
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All about Warsaw

When to visit

Warsaw celebrates summer with a jam-packed roster of outdoor festivals such as Midsummer’s Eve, Warsaw Fashion Street, and Summer Jazz Days. Be sure to pack an umbrella as, even in summer, rainstorms are likely. In early fall, crowds disperse and hotel prices drop, and October sees the Warsaw Film Festival kick off.

Local Currency
Polish Zloty (PLN)
Time Zone
Country Code

People Also Ask

What is Warsaw known for?

Warsaw is known for Warsaw Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was lovingly rebuilt after its destruction in World War II, the Warsaw Royal Castle, and parks and palaces. Highlights include the high-rise socialist realist Palace of Culture and Science, fascinating museums, and a world-class craft beer scene.

How many days do you need in Warsaw?

Warsaw deserves at least three days. Explore palaces and castles following the Royal Route; take a walking tour of Warsaw Old Town; and learn about WWII at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Warsaw Rising Museum. A Chopin concert and a beer or vodka tasting are well worthwhile.

What do people do in Warsaw?

Warsaw is a capital city replete with culture, nightlife, museums, galleries, restaurants, and city parks, not to mention craft beer bars and microbreweries. Activities run from exploring Warsaw Old Town and the Royal Route through to cooking classes, beer tastings, vodka discovery, and enjoying green spaces like Łazienki Park.

Is Warsaw better than Krakow?

Warsaw is more than twice the size of Krakow, but both cities are well worth visiting. Krakow is much better preserved than Warsaw, which was destroyed by the Nazis after the Warsaw Rising, so is prettier and feels more historic. Warsaw, as Poland’s capital, has better bars, clubs, shops, restaurants, museums, and galleries.

Is Warsaw worth visiting?

Yes. Besides UNESCO-listed Warsaw Old Town and the historic palaces and parks that make up the Royal Route, Warsaw is home to a wealth of museums and galleries, great restaurants, and world-class beers and vodkas. The Praga district offers spectacular street art murals, a neon museum, and a riverside beach.

Is Warsaw in Germany or Poland?

Warsaw is the capital of Poland and sits almost 300 miles (480 kilometers) east of the German border. Warsaw is not in Germany and has never been part of Germany, although the Prussians briefly ruled the city around 1800 and Nazi Germany occupied it during WWII.

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