Warsaw was never a city that was on my radar. Despite Warsaw being the capital, whenever someone mentioned Poland, I always imagined visiting Kraków or Gdansk. In my mind, Warsaw a big city. A city that had been rebuilt after WWII. And, therefore, it was a city that lacked character or charm.
Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
After spending one day in Warsaw, I was hooked. And knew I needed to come back because one day was not enough (I am also thankful for the super cheap flights that guided us there, because they are the reason that this city is now my radar). I can’t wait to go back again some day – let me tell you why.
So, you only have one day in Warsaw like I did? Here’s my guide on spending one day in Poland’s Capital.
GETTING TO WARSAW
Warsaw Chopin Airport: The most convenient location to fly into is Warsaw Chopin Airport, located just 20-30 minutes from Warsaw’s city centre by car. From there, you can easily reach the city centre by shuttle, cab, or Uber.
By Train: Coming from another European city? Warsaw is very centrally located in Eastern Europe and is easily accessible by train from many major European cities. We travelled by high speed train from Kraków to Warsaw in only 2.5 hours.
WHERE TO STAY IN WARSAW
If you’re looking for the best hotel in Warsaw, PURO Hotel Warszawa Centrum is your spot.
I am obsessed with this hotel. It’s centrally located, very trendy, and has spacious rooms. The details were immaculate and I still swear I had one of the best sleeps of my life in this hotel room (shoutout to the super comfy bed and some top-notch blackout blinds!).
THINGS TO DO IN WARSAW
Warsaw Old Town
To be totally honest, I was hesitant to visit the Old Town in Warsaw, because I was it was going to feel artificially pretty and lack character. The original Old Town was bombed during WWII and completely destroyed. After the war, it was completely restored to resemble the town prior to the bombings.
When you visit the Old Town, it is hard to ignore how perfect it is – much more perfect than any other city I’ve visited. However, the newness does not take away how insanely beautiful it is. The way the architects were able to recreate what was completely destroyed in itself is impressive, and you can’t help feel a sense of happiness walking through the town. It is a definitive comeback story.
Climb to the Top of the Bell Tower at St. Anna’s Church
For the most spectacular views of the Warsaw Old Town, and Warsaw in general, climb up the winding staircase to the top of St Anna’s Church. I mean, just check out these views.
Łazienki Park is a huge park located right in the city centre of Warsaw. It is the perfect place to roam, especially in summer months when you can enjoy the patios and greenery.
In the park, you’ll find historical buildings, including my favourite: Palace on the Isle. This gorgeous bath house was built in the 17th century and was fortunate enough to survive the Warsaw bombings during WWII. It is a time capsule of what once was, in a city that was so brutally destroyed.
Stroll Down Nowy Swiat
Also known as “The Royal Route,” walk from the intersection at Aleje Jerozolimskie (Jerusalem Avenue) to the Old Town. You’ll pass many monuments and historical buildings along the way, as well as tons of shops and restaurants.
Visit the Praga Neighbourhood
Located across the river from the Old Town, we fell in love with the Praga neighbourhood. Described as an “edgier” neighbourhood in Warsaw, this area used to be mostly off-limits to tourists, some would say even dangerous. But, in recent years, it has cleaned up it’s act and has rose in popularity.
The streets of Praga are lined with graffiti murals. If you love street art, make sure to check out 11 Listopada 22.
After venturing around the neighbourhood, along 11 Listopada, we stumbled upon a “parking lot” filled with tables and chairs, bars, live music, and surrounded by street art. Needless to say, this place was cool. We stop in, and ended up staying there for hours in the sun, drinking beers and listening to music. If you’re looking for this spot, type in one of the restaurants “Chmury” into Google Maps, and it’ll lead you there.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK IN WARSAW
Best Brunch in Warsaw: Aioli
The food here was incredible, and affordable. And they have the most perfect outdoor patio seating, so you can enjoy brunch in the sun during the warmer months.
Best Pizza in Warsaw: Ave Pizza
If you’re looking for affordable and delicious pizza with all kinds of unique toppings in Warsaw, Ave Pizza has you covered.
Best Pierogi in Warsaw: Zapiecek
Zapiecek is a popular pierogi chain in Warsaw – and let me just say, it is popular for a reason. With options of several fillings, both boiled and fried, this places knows how to make a top-notch pierogi (and this is coming from a girl who has eaten more than her fair share of pierogi in her lifetime).
Best Bars in Warsaw: Pawilony Nowy Świat
This is an area filled with over 20 small bars, outdoor seating, and other random vendors. It is a popular spot to grab a cheap drink in central Warsaw and offers a really cool atmosphere.
SO NOW YOU’RE READY TO VISIT WARSAW
You can find all my favourite spots in One Day in Warsaw on the map below.
Simply put: Warsaw should not be dismissed as “just another big city” when planning a trip to Poland. It deserves a lot more love then it gets. And I hope that you can find it in your itinerary to spend more than just one day in Warsaw.
And while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out my Kraków City Guide.