If you are looking for a unique and beautiful destination for a long weekend, then it is fair to say that 3 days in Warsaw, the capital city of Poland, is probably not very high on your list. It may, in fact, not be on your list at all. However, it is one of the quirkiest cities you will ever visit and well worth the trip. Warsaw is the gateway to the architecture, culture, rich history, cuisine, and drink of this often underrated country. There is more than enough to keep you occupied in Warsaw for a full three days, and the youth of the city, in particular, are very welcoming to tourists.
Forget any preconceptions that you might have about Poland and its capital city. This is a very safe place to visit. The locals are an incredibly warm and inviting group of people, and you will end your 3 days in Warsaw completely in love with this incredible city and everything that it has to offer. You may even find yourself planning the things that you would do on your next trip before you have even flown home.
Table of Contents
- Getting to Warsaw
- Making the Most of Your Time
- Day 1: Warsaw Old Town
- What to do and see in Warsaw Old Town?
- Where to eat in Warsaw Old Town
- Where to stay in Warsaw Old Town?
- Day 2: Cooking Pierogi and Palace of Culture
- What to do and see in Warsaw Day 2
- Day 3: Explore the new Warsaw
- What to do and see on day 3 of Warsaw
- Final thoughts
Getting to Warsaw
Getting to Warsaw isn’t too difficult. The city is served by Chopin Airport, the biggest and most contemporary airport in Poland. The airport is located just 10km outside the city itself. There is just one train from the airport to the centre with the 10-minute journey costing €1. A taxi ride will take a similar length of time and will cost between €10 and €12 euros. There is also a bus service with regular buses right into the city centre, and this will cost a very small amount. As the tickets are payable on the bus, however, you will need change.
Making the Most of Your Time
There are direct flights to Warsaw from many other countries within Europe. Unless you are flying from London, where there are 27 direct flights per day, you may want to plan your long weekend carefully, as there are only a couple of daily flights from other UK airports. This itinerary has been put together to help you make the most out of your 3 days in Warsaw and, as such, assumes that you will arrive on the earliest flight. It also makes the assumption that to maximise your sightseeing time in Warsaw, you will opt to remain in one hotel for the duration of your stay.
Day 1: Warsaw Old Town
The classic place to start any tour of Warsaw is the Old Town, and this really does give you a feel for the city and its inhabitants, so day one of our itinerary will focus on some of the many attractions you will find in the Old Town.
What to do and see in Warsaw Old Town?
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic Old Town is a great place to begin your itinerary, and a walking tour will ensure that you don’t miss out on any of the really important sites. It will also give you the opportunity to get your bearings and hear plenty of interesting facts from an expert guide.
The city of Warsaw was decimated during WWII when 85% of it was reduced to rubble. Whilst this destruction included many of the castles, churches, palaces and other historical buildings, the city was eventually rebuilt using historical documents and pre-war plans. This incredible reconstruction is well worth seeing and offers a real insight into the resilience of the city’s inhabitants.
The Narrowest House in the World
Whilst you are in the old town, don’t forget to check out Keret House – the narrowest house in the world. This is just one of the many quirky finds that there are in Warsaw.
The Taras Widokowy viewing platform makes a great place to take in a bird’s eye view of the Old Town. It is a must on any itinerary. It is a great and popular photo spot.
The museum is dedicated to the history of Polish Jews and whilst its exhibitions make for some rather sombre displays, it plays an important part in depicting the history of the Holocaust and Jewish history in general. 90% of Polish Jews did not survive the Holocaust. The museum looks at their place in history. The building that houses the museum is a stunning architectural example and worth a closer look as well.
The Saxon Gardens
There is something about taking a stroll in a well-kept garden that is incredibly relaxing. The Saxon Gardens, located near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, are the perfect antidote to city streets. With well-maintained lawns, wonderful flowers, statues and fountains, the park is peaceful and romantic. It is a great place to end your first day before heading out to dinner.
Music and culture play an incredibly important part in the life of the Polish people, and there are concert halls and theatres aplenty in Warsaw. If you want to experience this side of Polish life, then it is well worth booking some tickets. Your hotel should be able to assist you with this.
Where to eat in Warsaw Old Town
Whilst many people have heard of Pierogi (dumplings) and Kielbasa (sausage) there are plenty of Polish dishes that you will probably want to look for during your stay. Here are some of our recommendations:
- Manekin – their speciality is Naleśniki, the polish version of crepes and one of the country’s most popular dishes. Serving both sweet and savoury versions, they have a very long menu with something for everyone.
- Prasowy – one of many milk bars that you will find all over the country. This is a popular choice with locals for fresh, simple food on a budget. The dishes on the menu are all popular homemade dishes that are well worth trying.
- Krowaraywa – something you might not be expecting to see in a country where meat is a popular ingredient, this restaurant is a vegetarian’s heaven with a wide range of incredible burgers on offer.
- Pierogi – No trip to Warsaw is complete without a plate of Pierogi, and there are a great many places where you will find them on the menu but amongst the best are Pierogarnia na Bednarskiej and Mała Polana Smaków. For more budget-friendly Pierogi, try one of the many milk bars you will find on every street corner.
Where to stay in Warsaw Old Town?
- $$$ – Bellotto Hotel
- $$ – Campanile Varsovie
- $ – Moon Hostel
Day 2: Cooking Pierogi and Palace of Culture
Now that you have had a taste of just a little of what Warsaw has to offer, day two of our itinerary offers some real insights into the life of the locals.
Introduction paragraph to the day, and what the person will be getting up to.
What to do and see in Warsaw Day 2
A Polish classic, there really is no better way to immerse yourself in the iconic dish of Pierogis than by attending a cooking class. You will find a number of venues in the city that offer the chance to learn to make this dish from scratch. Forget the horrors of school cookery classes. There is plenty to learn, and the classes will certainly be fun. Be warned; there is a lot more to the humble Pierogi than first meets the eye.
It is wise to make sure you are not too full before you get to your class. It is likely that there will be plenty of opportunities to sample Pierogis as the class goes on.
Palace of Culture
Another place for some incredible views out over the city, head to the 30th floor of what is possibly the most recognisable building in the city. A gift from Stalin in 1955, the building was constructed by Russian workers and now houses the Warsaw tourist office, museums, theatres and a cinema, and, of course, an observation deck.
Whilst you are here, you may also want to visit one or both of the museums housed in the building. These are the museum of dollhouses and the museum of evolution.
Warsaw has a thriving nightlife and if you want to see how the Poles really let their hair down in the evening, then head to Mazowiecka Street. Here you will find a row of clubs and bars. Poland is more affordable than many other European countries when it comes to alcoholic drinks, so be careful not to overindulge!
Day 3: Explore the new Warsaw
Whilst the first two days of our 3 days in Warsaw, have provided a perfect opportunity to explore the older touristy areas of Warsaw, there is an edgier side to the city that is certainly worth exploring as well.
What to do and see on day 3 of Warsaw
The Praga neighbourhood is altogether a more alternative, edgier side of the city. It is found on the far bank of the Vistula River and is a district that was for much of its life in fact a separate town. Here the atmosphere is still one of fierce independence, and the overall feel is completely different to that of the Old Town. If you recognise parts of this area that could well be because it was used to represent the Warsaw Ghetto in The Pianist in 2022.
Areas that are particularly worth visiting include the Praga Band monument and also the historic Bazar Różyckiego market. There is plenty of street art to see all around the district, and many of the courtyards of the tenements have little local shrines that you can visit as part of a local tour.
A somewhat up-and-coming neighbourhood, Powisle is opposite Praga on the riverfront. Over the course of the last couple of years, this once-abandoned area of the city has seen some significant transformation. There are a wide range of eclectic businesses here making it great for some real exploring, and you will also find plenty of wine bars and cool cafes. For a bit of relaxation, you will also find a number of parks and even a waterfront boulevard where you can find some quiet and tranquillity.
Look out for the giant statue of the city’s symbol, which matches the statue you will find in the market square of the Old Town. The Modern Art Museum and the Copernicus Science Centre are both in this district and worth a visit if you have time.
Lazienki Park and Palaces
Whilst both of these are located a good way south of the main downtown area, they really are worth taking the time to visit. The park is huge, covering a space that is, in fact, larger than the entire Old Town. There are wide green spaces, lakes and woods to enjoy. Look out for the large statue of Chopin, an art museum inside the Ujazdowski Castle and the Botanic Gardens of the University.
The Palac na Wyspie, Palace on the Isle is the most beautiful of all the palaces that you will find. The Palace is situated on a small island on the lake in the park, and it is one of the most stunning buildings you will find anywhere in Warsaw. This is a truly magical place and the perfect way to end your time in Warsaw.
Warsaw is an incredible city with plenty to offer to the adventurous tourist. Travel is incredibly cheap, and there are some spectacular local dishes to try during your 3 days in Warsaw. Some of the best food you will find in the city is in the smaller local cafes and restaurants. Choose where the locals eat rather than the larger ones where the prices will be higher and the quality of the dishes not quite so good.
Autumn and spring are the most comfortable months to visit as the winter is incredibly cold and the summer uncomfortably hot. Of course, should you choose to visit in the summer, make sure you indulge in some Polish ice cream, something you will find on every street corner.