The capital of P Poland,Warsaw, was almost completely destroyed during World War II, but has since come back with a vengeance, with a thriving arts scene and a mix of rescued and save ancient architecture, alongside modern buildings.
The Old Town was carefully rebuilt after the war and has since been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List with architecture from the gothic and renaissance periods. Next to these you’ll find concrete monstrosities from the Soviet era and new modern glass skyscrapers, making the city a truly fascinating and eclectic place to visit for architecture buffs. The progressive cultural scene is as varied as the architecture of the capital. Visit war monuments and classical art galleries or discover underground theatre and avant-garde cinema.
Take a stroll through the city, starting in the Old City; here you will find many of the of Warsaw’s most popular sites, including the Royal Palace, King Zygmunt's Column and the Barbican, a remnant of the wall that once surrounded the city.
You can walk or take a bus on the Royal Route, which runs from the Royal Palace to the Wilanow Palace. The trail is about 10 kilometres long and takes you past several churches, the Presidential Palace, Warsaw University and other attractions.
The Palace of Culture and Science is one of many examples of socialist realist architecture you’ll find in Warsaw. Its bell tower is visible from almost anywhere in the city. Take the elevator to the 30th floor for a beautiful view of the city and the River Vistula.
Warsaw is known for its public parks. The city has more than 80 parks; the oldest being the Saxon Gardens, which is just a 10 minute walk from the Old City. In this former royal garden you will find tree-lined avenues and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument to the soldiers killed in the war. It’s also home to the Warsaw Zoo where you can find over 5,000 animals spread over 40 acres of park land.
Warsaw has been home to many famous composers and artists over the century, such as Chopin, who was one of the most prominent residents of Warsaw. You’ll find reminders of the composer all around the city, in the monuments and street names and even a museum dedicated to him.
The best time to visit Warsaw is between May and September when the locals are taking full advantage of the warm weather in parks and outdoor restaurants. You can work your way through the city by bus, tram or train or you can use the rental bike system and cycle along the river.