It’s unfortunate but true: Warsaw is so large it manages to be hostile to walking. The downtown area just sprawls further and further west of the Vistula River until you’re convinced it doesn’t ever end. And unlike any city we’ve been to before, every stop is a full 30 minute walk away. This can pose some problems for the two-day tourist visiting Warsaw, as riding around in a taxi everywhere can sometimes ruin the whole city experience.
So, with some careful consideration and on-the-ground expertise, we’ve curated a two-day itinerary in Warsaw that will allow you to hit the city’s best sights all in the space of 48 hours. And on a side note, we have walking in mind—it helps you get the feel of a city better than anything else.
On the first day of your Warsaw itinerary, hit all of the major historic sites in the city to get a richer understanding of the city.
Morning: Stroll through history in Piłsudski Square and Saxon Garden
Saxon Garden is the perfect serene setting at which to start your Warsaw itinerary. We recommending grabbing breakfast at one of the many options on the Royal Mile—Café Bristol is a good one—and heading on over to Piłsudski Square and Saxon Garden. Besides being the perfect place at which to take a leisurely stroll and digest those Polish pancakes, the square and garden are the technical center of Warsaw. The former is the site of all of the country’s military parades, the Polish Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and a monument to Pope John Paul II’s pleas against communism. On the other hand, the Garden is devoted to pure pleasure, replete with stunning statues, walkways, and fountains to give you the necessary inspiration to make it through the day.
Afternoon: Explore the Palace of Culture and Science and Marszałkowska Street
Head just a short walk southwest and perform one of the necessary duties of any and all Varsonian tourists: a visit to the Palace of Culture and Science, the Soviet’s 1951 “gift” to Warsaw that towers over the rest of the city. A relic from Poland’s communist-occupied past, the Palace remains the tallest building in Poland today and houses over 100 museums, educative institutes, and corporate offices. The observation deck on the 33rd floor also offers such incredible views of the city you’ll wish you could live in Warsaw. When you’re done soaking in the city, take a walk south down Marszałkowska Street and enjoy some of the city’s best shopping and food (with a detour down Chmielna ul.).
Evening: Walk through Łazienki Park and the CSW Zamek Ujazdowski Museum
Located southeast of downtown Warsaw and just east of the southern stretch of Marszałkowska Street, Łazienki Park is an essential experience on your Warsaw itinerary. The city’s largest park and the venue for concerts, yoga festivals, and home of the Warsaw University Botanic Garden, Łazienki Park is brimming with surprises. If you spend some time exploring maybe you’ll even come across the park’s two castles and countless age-old monuments. The park also hosts Chopin concerts at the artist’s own memorial statue are a regular local staple every Sunday in Łazienki Park at 12pm and 4pm. And when you’re exhausted from all of he walking, head to the park’s northwest corner to the castle-turned modern art museum CSW Zamek Ujazdowski for one of the best Varsovian museum experiences you can get. As the sun sets on the first day of your Warsaw itinerary, dine in at the CSW’s eastern side where quintessential fine-dining experience Qchnia Artystyczna is waiting just for you.
On your second day, soak up the sun and get ready to explore all that Warsaw has to offer.
Morning: Enjoy the water on the Vistula River Walking Paths and Poniatowski Bridge Beach
Warsaw boasts not one, not two, but four beaches in the downtown area alone. Whether you’re completely beat or ready to keep on truckin’, start off the second morning of your Warsaw itinerary by treating yourself to a nice long walk down the Vistula River’s west bank. The extensive walking paths have phenomenal street food located at strategic stops, and they also will take you right past the Museum of Modern Art and Copernicus Science Center. When you reach the Poniatowski Bridge Beach, head east and don your skinnies, because the Poniatowski Bridge Beach is calling your name.
Afternoon: Learn about Warsaw’s Old Town
After taking a hike north through the residential Praga district, cross the Śląsko-Dąbrowski Bridge and head into Old Town—the site of preserved historic Warsaw, complete with a grand tour of the Royal Castle, a visit to the countless gelato stands, and some classic Polish dumplings. A few hours spent perusing the Old Town is the perfect way to put a close to your formal Varsovian adventure, but hey, the night is still calling.
Evening: Eat, drink, and be merry in Chmielna ul.
This neighborhood is our favorite late-night hangout in the city. Nestled in the young, bustling area surrounding Chmielna ul., lay many bars that are fueled with precious local brews. Some walls are covered in neon and bottle caps, and we promise you won’t find any dive with as much personality as these great and small bars. When you’re done wetting your gullet, go out in style and either check out later-in-the-night local hangouts just off the Royal Mile, or if you’re in more of a clubbing mood go scour the streets of Mazowieka ul. In any case, Warsaw nightlife won’t disappoint for your last event on your Warsaw itinerary.