Warsaw, Poland is one of our favorite cities in Europe with its long and rich history, as well as a picturesque historic city-centre to explore.
The interesting thing about the the city of Warsaw is that over 90% of the city was destroyed at the end of WWII in response to the Warsaw Uprising. However, walking through the old city, this might come as a surprise to you as Poland rebuilt many of their historic architecture.
Walking through the city of Warsaw gives you a nice mixture of modern and historic architecture as well as an in depth look at the historical events that have happened in the city. Come explore Warsaw with us in our 18km walking travel guide.
Since we arrived so early in the morning, we first went to the Royal Castle and surrounding Castle Square. The castle long served as the home to the Polish monarchy. Leveled to the ground in WWII, the building has been reconstructed and is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the middle of the square is Sigismund’s Column.
Being so early, the square was empty, allow us to get photos with no tourists, but it obviously meant we had to come back later in the day when everything was open.
St Anne’s Church
Across the square is St. Anne’s Church, which has the Old Town Observation Terrace in its belltower. Just a walk up a narrow winding staircase to an amazing view of the whole city.
Old Town Market Place
Our next stop was the Old Town Market Place. The square is lined with beautiful facades that were rebuilt to their 17th century glory. One entire side of the square is home to the Warsaw Historical Museum.
To get the best photo, it is best to arrive early in the morning. However, if you want to enjoy the many cafes it is better to arrive later in the day.
We then walked to the end of the old city, to the Barbican. This old fortified outpost once served as part of the historic city walls.
Walking outside the old city, we headed to Krasiński Square. At one side of the square is the grand Krasinski Palace. On the other side of the square is the Warsaw Uprising Monument.
Our next stop massive Grand Theatre with its nice facade. As one of the largest theatres in Europe, the complex takes up an entire block and hosts the national opera and ballet.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
We then walked to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and its eternal flame. You can also watch the changing of the guard, which takes place on the hour of every hour daily.
Behind the tomb is the Saxon Garden. Once the grounds of a palace, the building was destroyed in WWII leaving behind beautiful gardens with flowers and fountains.
A few blocks behind the gardens is Nozyk Synagogue. This is the only synagogue that survived the war, although it faced heavy damage, from which has not fully been restored. The building still serves as an active community to this day.
Museum of Culture and Science
Nearly a 2km walk west brought us to the Museum of Culture and Science. As the tallest building in the country, it is a significant feature in the skyline, while providing the best panoramic view of the city.
Tickets to the observation deck cost 20zł/adults and the line can get long, so be ready.
The observation deck is open daily from 9AM to 6PM.
From May to September the deck is open Sunday to Thursday from 9AM to 8:30PM and on Friday and Saturday from 9AM to 12AM.
Ghetto Wall Fragment and Memorial
We then walked to the Ghetto Wall Fragment and memorial located at 62 Złota Street. To get to the memorial you must follow small signs into an apartment complex courtyard. The small remaining brick wall shows the reality thousands had to live with during the Shoah.
Memorial of the Evacuation of the Warsaw Ghetto Fighters
Walking to the Uprising Museum we passed the Memorial of the Evacuation of the Warsaw Ghetto Fighters. It is a small memorial at the location of where the last group of Warsaw Ghetto Resistance Fighters escaped.
Our next stop was the Warsaw Rising Museum. The museum is focused on the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazi occupation. It not only covers the general history of the Polish underground, but the individual stories and artifacts of fighters themselves.
Tickets to the museum cost 18 PLN/adults with free admission on Sundays. Make sure to arrive as early as possible, as the entry line can get long.
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 8AM to 6PM
- Thursday from 8AM to 8PM
- Saturday and Sunday from 10AM to 6PM
We then took a long walk to Jewish Cemetery of Warsaw, one of the largest in Europe.
Remember, the cemetery is closed on Saturday’s for religious reasons, so do not plan to walk across the city if you are in Warsaw that day.
Our next stop was the Umschlagplatz, a memorial at the site of deportations of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. It is the square that was the waiting area for 300,000 Jews on their deportation trail to the Treblinka extermination camp.
Bunker on Mila Street
We then walked several blocks to Miła 18. During WWII this location served as an underground bunker for the leaders of the Jewish Combat Organization, a Jewish resistance group in the Warsaw Ghetto. On May 8, 1943 the Nazis found out about the spot, and attempted to smoke them out. At this point 300 Jewish resistance leaders committed suicide to prevent surrender. There now sits a memorial for these resistance fighters on this spot.
Monument to the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes
One block south is the Monument to the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes. This memorial to the ghetto uprising is placed at the first armed clashes of the uprising.
Right behind the monument is the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The museum covers the thousand-year history of Polish Jews through an immersive and interactive experience. The massive museum can take several hours, so plan accordingly.
Tickets cost 25 PLN/adults and 30 PLN for the main and temporary exhibit. The hours of the museum are as follows:
- Monday, Thursday and Friday from 10AM to 6PM
- Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 10AM to 8PM
- Closed on Tuesday
Friedrich Chopin Museum
If you are in Warsaw over a summer weekend, you need to go to the evening show at the Multimedia Fountain Park. The popular fountain shows can bring in crowds over 20,000, so arrive a bit early to get a good seat.
The shows run May through August on Friday and Saturday at 9:30PM and in September on Friday and Saturday at 9PM.