10 Best Attractions in Warsaw Poland That You MUST SEE
The fascinating city of Warsaw, with its unforgettable history and varied architecture, has something to offer for everyone. Ancient churches built in the Gothic style of architecture, Neo-classical palaces, staid Soviet buildings and modern skyscrapers all dot the landscape of this interesting city and vie for attention with each other.
Warsaw is the largest city and capital of Poland. It has witnessed a tumultuous past and was almost totally ravaged during the Second World War. However, as a result of painstaking restoration work, the Old Town has been restored to its earlier appearance, as it was before the war. Fittingly, Warsaw is a now a cultural centre and a dream holiday destination.
Best Warsaw Attractions
1. Royal Castle Warsaw
Earlier the residence of Polish Kings, the Royal Castle today is a national monument of Poland. Although completely destroyed in 1944, it was reconstructed later and declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1980. Situated at the entrance of the Old Town, the Royal Castle has a majestic appearance.
In the centre of the building is a sixty metre high clock tower named the Sigismund Tower, which is an icon of Warsaw. Inside the castle, there are many rooms which have been restored and adorned with paintings and portraits of kings from the past, which you will love browsing through.
2. Lazienki Park
Not only is this the largest park in Warsaw, Lazienki Park is also considered as one of the prettiest parks among all the countries in Europe. Sprawled over a massive area, it incorporates the best features and landscaping of both French and English parks.
The park has many bridges, shady bowers, decorative water bodies, fountains and beautifully carved statues that enhance its beauty. Also known as the Royal Baths Park, Lazienki Park hosts many cultural and entertainment events. The park’s wonderful ambience also makes it a favourite place for a leisurely stroll for the young and old alike.
3. Wilanow Palace
This palace has survived the onslaughts of Poland’s tumultuous history and stands as an embodiment of Polish culture in the period preceding the wars. It has rightly been declared as a National Monument. It is built in the Baroque style along with some distinct Polish features such as the side towers of the palace which have been incorporated in its construction.
The interior of the palace is embellished with royal emblems and trophies won in wars by the earlier kings. In 1805, a portion of Wilanow Palace was converted into a museum, which now displays a varied collection of European art as well as other exhibits of the period. The museum is virtually a treasure house of the country’s rich art and royal heritage.
The palace garden is also laid out in the Baroque style. It is shaped like a semi-circle with two lantern shaped arbours in the corners. Ornate marble vase-like structures and statues adorn the beautiful garden. The Wilanow Palace and garden provide the perfect backdrop for hosting music concerts and cultural activities as well.
4. Lazienki Palace
This iconic palace on water is also called the Baths Palace. Built on a man-made island across the Lazienki Lake, it is connected by two bridges to the Lazienki Park which forms a part of thePalace complex. Although badly damaged by the wars, the palace was re-opened after being restored in the year 1960.
Lazienki Palace also has a distinct Baroque style of architecture, and its interiors are decorated with beautiful paintings and statues. The Lazienki Palace and Park complex is an extensive area with lakes, trees and beautifully maintained gardens whose beauty you will fully appreciate once you visit it.
5. Chopin Statue
A bronze statue of the famous pianist, Frederic Chopin, is located in Lazienki Park. Though planned for installation to coincide with Chopin’s birth centenary in 1910, due to certain unavoidable controversies, it was finally placed in 1926.The statue’s original mould remained intact despite the devastation of the war, and a replica of the original statue was reinstated in 1958.
Chopin’s statue is a must see site when you visit Warsaw. A part of the added attractions are the lovely piano recitals of Chopin’s music which are held here on Sunday afternoons during the summer months.
6. Saxon Garden
This small but beautiful garden lying in the very centre of the town is modelled on typical Baroque lines. Its main attraction is the large fountain in the centre, with statues encircling the corners of the flower beds.
Saxon Garden is believed to be the oldest park in Warsaw, and also the first park which was opened for the public. The garden looks particularly beautiful after dark, with its illuminated fountain and surrounding structures. You will be quite bewitched by the ambience here.
7. Palace of Culture and Science
You simply cannot miss this palace as it is the tallest building not only in Warsaw, but also in the whole of Poland. It is believed that Stalin had given this palace to the Polish as a gift from the Soviet people. According to various sources, this gift did not meet with the approval of the Polish at that time because it was a grim reminder of the Soviet domination over them.
This huge and spacious palace is said to have more than three thousand rooms. These include offices, libraries, academies and museums. The building is so big that it has the capacity to hold conferences where more than four thousand people can be accommodated. It has two huge halls, the Congress Hall and the Concert Hall. The Congress Hall has hosted music shows by internationally renowned artists and is popularly known as the home of jazz in Poland.
The principal attraction of this palace is the absolutely brilliant view it provides of the entire city from the terrace, on the thirtieth floor of the building. It also has the highest clock tower in the world.
8. Warsaw Uprising Museum
This museum was inaugurated on the sixth anniversary of the Great Uprising. It is a mark of tribute to all those who died fighting for the cause of the Liberation of Poland. The museum has a rich collection of photographs and memorabilia covering the turbulent times which the people of this country endured.
In the centre of the museum is a monument made of steel with inscriptions of dates and significant events related to the Uprising. The museum has a tower which offers splendid views of the city.
There is a Memorial Wall with names of thousands of martyred solders inscribed on it. A very heavy and solid bell weighing over two hundred kilograms is hung in the centre of the Memorial Wall, as a sign of commemoration for the soldiers.
A must see attraction of this museum is the model of the bomber aircraft Liberator B-247 which was used for the destruction of Warsaw. A 3D film called the ‘City of Ruins’ featuring these bomber planes with simulated sound effects, is also screened in the museum. It serves as a grim reminder of the horrors and devastation of war.
9. Warsaw Old Town
The Old Town of Warsaw is a World Heritage site. With its squares, walls and winding alleys, it is the very heart of the city and pulsates with life. A small triangle shaped square called the Kanonia Square has the narrowest house in Warsaw, as well as a statue of Virgin Mary which dates back to the eighteenth century. An old bronze bell can also be found in the middle of Kanonia Square.
The Old Town Market Square known as Rynek Starego Miasta, used to be the main square in Warsaw, where markets were held and public events celebrated. Although the Old Town was completely gutted by the Second World War, it was rebuilt after the war, exactly like the original.
A fountain along with a replica of the Mermaid Statue can be seen in the Old Town Square, while the original has been displayed in the Museum of History. A walk along Old Town will take you back in history and you will be captivated by its ancient, old world charm.
10. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The only remaining part of Saxon Palace, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, is a monument built to pay homage to all the heroes who gave up their lives for their country in the two World Wars. An eternal flame is kept lighted here and is under the surveillance of a Polish armed guard. It is here that most of the Polish military ceremonies and functions take place. Every foreign dignitary who visits Warsaw comes to this monument and lays a wreath here as a token of respect to the slain soldiers.
At every hour of the clock, the Changing of the Guards ceremony takes place here on each single day throughout the year. However, the twelve noon ceremony is recommended as being the best one to watch because it is attended by many Polish soldiers, and you can get the wonderful opportunity to talk and interact with them in person. As a matter of fact, no visit to Warsaw can be complete without visiting this great memorial which salutes the Unknown Soldier.