As most of you know – I was born in Poland and this is my very first post about my native country. I have been to the capital – Warsaw – on multiple occasions, most recently 1.5 weeks ago and I am going back again in 1.5 weeks. I must admit that Warsaw was not my favourite city back in the day, but the city has certainly been growing on me lately. Practically all reasons for the aforementioned change are listed below, in my top 10 to-dos in Warsaw.
Let’s dive in:
- Palace of Culture and Science
Anyone who has even been to Warsaw or has seen one picture from the capital of Poland, surely recognises this impressive building in the very city centre – the Palace of Culture and Science. Interestingly enough, it was a gift from Russia’s Stalin to Poland in 1955 and is still considered Warsaw’s most recognisible landmark. The palace is the tallest building in Poland (237m) and has a terrace on the 30th floor with a nice view over the city.
All of the above makes this #1 spot a must Instagram/postcard-worthy picture. What is more, there are interesting things to do in the area – from Złote Tarasy (upscale shopping mall) to the great old cinema (Kinoteka), Hard Rock Café, railway station and many others.
Address: Plac Defilad 1, 00-901 Warsaw, Poland & http://www.warsawguide.com/palace-of-culture-and-science/
- Łazienki Park & Belvedere
Gorgeous park in the centre of Warsaw (also called the Royal Baths Park) – similarly to Central Park in New York and Hyde Park in London – it is a must-do in the capital. It’s the largest park in Warsaw (76ha) and includes numerous monuments such as Orangery, Chinese Garden, Little White House, Chopin Monument or Ujazdów Castle. The park also happens to have the best restaurant in Poland – Belverdere (located in the 150 years old New Orangery building– absolutely splendid!).
A must-do on a sunny day, especially during summer Sundays as there are live concerts around Chopin Monument. Take a leisurely stroll around the park with lunch/early dinner on the terrace of the Belverdere and you’ll enjoy the “French joie the vivre” in the capital of Poland 🙂
Address: 01-999 Warsaw, Poland & www.lazienki-krolewskie.pl/en
- Royal Route (from Old Town to Wilanów)
“Road of Kings” describes the Royal Route once taken by Poland’s kings to get from the Royal Castle in the Old Town, all the way to Wilanów Palace. This route constitutes a very pleasant, historically significant, walk, which will give you a great taste of Warsaw, its culture and history. Absolute must-do for everyone.
“The Royal Route begins at Warsaw’s Castle Square and runs south down Krakowskie Przedmieście (Kraków Suburb Street), ulica Nowy Świat (New World Street), Aleje Ujazdowskie (Ujazdów Avenue), ulica Belwederska (Belweder Street) and ulica Sobieskiego (Sobieski Street), finally to arrive at Wilanów (King Jan III Sobieski’s personal residence).
The route, with other portions of Warsaw Old Town, is one of Poland’s official national Historic Monuments (Pomnik historii) as designated September 16, 1994. Its listing is maintained by the National Heritage Board of Poland.”
Address: Old Town – Wilanów, Warsaw, Poland & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Route,_Warsaw
- Plac Trzech Krzyży (Three Crosses Square)
My favourite part of town for many reasons, mainly due to numerous luxury venues, starting with Ferrari dealership, through Ermenegildo Zegna, Burberry and Omega boutiques, ending with Timeless Gallery Group Showroom in the Warsaw Stock Exchange building (on the 1st floor). Also, Sheraton Warsaw is there and is a good place to stay when in Warsaw on business and/or pleasure.
Address: Plac Trzech Krzyży, Warsaw, Poland & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Crosses_Square
- Concept 13
Located on the top floor of VITKAC (a luxury department store), Concept 13 offers great food, vibe and wonderful views. I strongly recommend having Caesar salad with chicken and their Chablis to go with. Also – try the bread and butter they serve before the meal – every single person I took there was blown away 🙂
Before or after the meal at the top of the building, make sure to stop by at the shops located downstairs – from Louis Vuitton to Lanvin, there’s certainly something to take home from a nice trip to Warsaw 🙂
Address: Bracka 9, 00-501 Warsaw, Poland & http://www.likusrestauracje.pl/en/Restaurant_Concept_13
- Marriott Panorama Sky Bar
An institution in itself – Poland’s highest-located hotel bar – has been the “place to be” in Warsaw for as long as I can remember. I used to go there during my business trips and before Warsaw undertook real transformation (from more “grey” and “old fashioned” to more “modern” and “trendy”). The bar has a great view, good business crowd and is also very central, making it a great place for meetings, both business and also to unwind after a long day. The bar has recently been renovated (2014) – giving the place a more modern look and feel.
Address: Aleje Jerozolimskie 65/79, 00-697 Warsaw, Poland & http://panoramaskybar.pl/en
- Żurawia Restaurants: Palmier, Sushi Zushi, San Lorenzo & others!
Palmier is another institution – especially for breakfast / brunch. You can easily meet celebrities here, all in a very relaxed yet classy atmosphere. Terrace is great in the summer and the location is perfect – very close to Plac Trzech Krzyży (#4 on the list). I personally go for Eggs Benedict with Spirulina smoothie.
Adjacent restaurants are also superb – Sushi Zushi is the best sushi in town (really delicious!) and San Lorenzo offers some great seafood. All in all, you cannot go wrong here in terms of dining / going out.
Address: Żurawia 6/12, 00-001 Warszawa, Poland & https://www.facebook.com/palmiercafebrasseriebar/
New place in Warsaw, recommended to me by a close friend and a senior leader in a top Polish company. Wonderful selection of bubbly, ranging from accessible ones to real trophies. I would definitely recommend champagne tasting consisting of 3 different champagnes – which is not only a great experience but also good value. The sommelier (Marcin) knows his stuff – so don’t be shy and ask him for recommendations.
Food is also very good (I recommend having oysters to go with champagne) as is the ambience and the crowd. Enjoy the Warsaw well-heeled society 🙂
Address: Plac Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego 9, 00-001 Warsaw, Poland & https://barbubbles.com/
- Nowy Świat (New World Street)
This pedestrian street, which makes a part of the Royal Route (#3), really made me like Warsaw after a long period of rather lukewarm reception (to put it mildly). Nowy Świat really brought new energy to Warsaw with its numerous bars and restaurants as well as large passage with limited traffic that enables biking, roller-skating etc. Very pleasant for a walk, party or just sight-seeing.
Address: Nowy Swiat, Warsaw, Poland & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nowy_%C5%9Awiat_Street
- Hala Koszyki
All the rage this year in Warsaw – as it is the first and the only food market hall in Poland. Koszyki reminds me very much of other market halls around the world, but is clearly the hot spot for social gatherings and a favourite for the locals these days. Cma is a good bar opened 24/7, otherwise I do recommend reserving a table outside and enjoying a drink in the sun with best friends.
Address: Koszykowa 63, 00-667 Waraw, Poland & https://www.koszyki.com/news/hala-koszyki-juz-otwarta-en-us/
To sum up – Warsaw used to be rather grey and uninspiring – mainly due to the fact it was destroyed after the war. However, the capital of Poland has undergone a major transformation and is fighting hard to further boost its allure to tourists. I strongly recommend visiting the city, especially if you haven’t been there in the last 3-4 years. LOT – the Polish carrier – has been doing great job by expanding its direct connections globally – all the more reason to visit Warsaw some time soon. When you do – hit me up – perhaps we’ll manage to grab a drink with a view 🙂