15 Best Things to Do in Warsaw, Poland

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Warsaw is Poland’s capital and largest city, and for anyone traveling to the Eastern European country, it’s a must-visit destination.

Warsaw has a long history to uncover, and the rebuilt and refurbished Old Town that’s listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site is the highlight of this historic center.

There are palaces, castles, and churches to explore, but also a darker side of the city to unearth too, as much of Warsaw was destroyed during World War II.

You can visit Gestapo prisons, learn about the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 that changed Polish history for the rest of the 20th century and see the monuments to the infamous Warsaw Ghetto. It’s one of the most intriguing cities in Europe, and to help you to plan your trip, here are the best things to do in Warsaw.

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Poland (Travel Guide)

15 Best Things to Do in Warsaw, Poland

1. Warsaw Old Town

Old Town Warsaw - things to do in Warsaw, Poland

The heart of Warsaw is the UNESCO World Heritage listed Old Town, which forms the oldest part of the Polish capital.

This is one of the best things to do in Warsaw, particularly if it’s your first time in the city, as you’ll be able to get acquainted with the historical background of the capital.

Despite looking authentic, much of the Old Town was rebuilt in the 20th century, but it was masterfully and faithfully restored as best as was possible.

Unfortunately, World War II changed the face of Warsaw forever, as the city was almost entirely and deliberately destroyed by the Nazis.

The rubble of the destruction was used where possible to reconstruct the old buildings, squares, palaces and castles that were destroyed. Today, you can find a bustling, colorful and lively place to explore.

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2. Wedel Factory

chocolate museum display

Chocolate lovers can rejoice because in Warsaw you can visit Poland’s largest chocolate producer at the Wedel Factory.

You’ll be able to see where the chocolate bars are made on a guided tour of the factory, before of course, trying a few samples out yourself.

If you love chocolate, then you’ll love visiting the Wedel Factory, and compared to many of the city’s darker attractions, this is pure, light relief.

3. Castle Square

Castle Square - things to do in Warsaw, Poland

Castle Square is one of the main components of the Old Town, and here you can find an iconic plaza, which acted as the gateway to historic Warsaw in medieval times.

The square is surrounded by restored townhouses, and the centerpiece is, of course, the Royal Castle.

While it might not look like a castle in the traditional sense, for many centuries this was the stronghold of the Polish monarchy, as the royal rulers of Poland lived within its walls.

It was destroyed several times over and rebuilt again finally after World War II.

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4. Neon Museum

neon museum - things to do in Warsaw, Poland

The Neon Museum could well be the most enthralling museum in Warsaw if the most bizarre.

This is quite literally a museum dedicated to neon signs, many of which date back to the socialist era.

It’s a strange insight into a different world, and you’ll be taken on a visual journey through the city’s relationship and history with neon as you walk through the galleries.

Purchase your Neon Museum admission ticket with Viator today

5. The Royal Route

Wilanow Palace in Warsaw, Poland

The Royal Route is one of the most important historic avenues to be found in Warsaw. The road connects Castle Square and the Old Town, to Wilanow Palace, a royal palace.

Along the way, you can enjoy many of the city’s most historic sights, with museums and government buildings standing alongside royal residences.

At the far end, you can visit the royal palace built by John III Sobieski, one of the most famous kings of Poland, who ruled during the late 17th century.

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6. Copernicus Science Centre

Copernicus Science Center - things to do in Warsaw, Poland

The famous astronomer and mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus, who theorized that the earth revolved around the sun, was born in the Kingdom of Poland.

The Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw honors his legacy by giving visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the world of science and astronomy.

Perhaps the most exciting exhibit here is the Heavens of Copernicus, a giant planetarium that allows you to explore outer space.

7. St. Anne’s Church

things to do in Warsaw, Poland

Found in Castle Square, St. Anne’s Church can claim to be one of Warsaw’s oldest churches, with a history dating back to the 15th century.

Like everything in the city though, it’s been damaged and rebuilt several times over. However, the neoclassical facade which dates from the 18th century somehow survived the destruction of World War II.

The church’s bell tower can be climbed, making this the ideal spot to gaze out over the surrounding Old Town, and over the rest of Warsaw too.  

8. Church of the Holy Cross

Holy Cross Church (Kosciol Swietego Krzyza), Warsaw, Poland in the evening

While being a fine example of a Roman Catholic Church in Warsaw, the Church of the Holy Cross is perhaps better visited for the curious historical memento found within its stone pillars.

The famous composer Chopin was born in the city, and before he died in France in 1849 he made one last request.

He asked for his heart to be sent to Warsaw, and when it arrived, it was entombed within the walls of the Church of the Holy Cross. You can still find the plaque and inscription here today.

9. Palace on the Isle

Palace on the Isle, Warsaw, Poland

The Palace on the Isle, otherwise known as the Lazienki Palace, is one of the most majestic royal buildings to be found in Warsaw.

Located in the green climes of Lazienki Park, the palace was originally built as a bathhouse for a nobleman, before it evolved into a royal residence of its own right.

It was constructed on a small island on the lake and occupies one of the most beautiful locations in the city.

10. National Museum

Buildings of Polish National Museum at Jerozolimskie Avenue in Warsaw, Poland

The National Museum is the most encompassing museum that you can visit in Warsaw, and you can easily spend hours exploring the labyrinth of corridors and browsing through the exhibits.

The museum holds thousands of paintings and items, some dating back to prehistoric times, and it tells the tale of Poland through different ages in history.

As well as local and European exhibitions though, you can also find plenty of displays focusing on history from around the world, including the Ancient World.

11. Warsaw Uprising Museum

Warsaw Uprising Museum in Poland

To understand the trauma that the city endured during World War II, then a visit to the Warsaw Uprising Museum is a must.

This is one of the most important things to do in Warsaw, as you’ll learn first hand how the Polish Underground staged a massive uprising in the city just as the Soviets were reaching the river.

The Soviets never came to help though, and the Polish fighters became trapped and surrounded.

The Germans mercilessly slaughtered anyone they could find, but still, the Poles held out for 2 months. In the aftermath of the uprising in 1944, the Germans then destroyed Warsaw in retaliation.

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12. Palace of Culture and Science

Aerial photo of Warsaw city skyline in Poland at sunset

If you have a keen interest in science, then you won’t want to miss out on visiting the Palace of Culture and Science while you are in Warsaw.

Even if you aren’t interested in science, then you can’t miss this, as it’s the tallest, most communist looking building in Warsaw.

Built during the socialist era, this is a behemoth of grey concrete and urban design, and it still dominates the Warsaw skyline decades after its construction.

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13. Warsaw Mound

Memorials in Warsaw, Poland

Another important memorial to World War II and to the uprising can be found at the Warsaw Mound.

Again, this is another of the most important things to do in Warsaw, and here you’ll find a monument atop a hill on the outskirts of the city.

The steps leading up to the summit are steep, and they were built from the debris and rubble leftover by the German destruction of the city.

From the top of the Warsaw Mound, there are wonderful views over the surrounding city.

14. Museum of the History of Polish Jews

View of the museum of the history of polish jews in Warsaw, Poland.

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews is another of the most important things to do in Warsaw, especially if you have an interest in the city’s history.

The museum is dedicated to Polish Jews, most of whom lost their lives during the Nazi occupation in World War II.

Rather than just focusing on the Holocaust though, the museum looks at the history of the Jewish people in Poland for the last one thousand years.

While the building also looks out across the humbling monument built to those who died during the Warsaw Uprising. It’s one of the most intriguing things to do in Warsaw, and shouldn’t be missed.

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15. Gestapo HQ

View of the Pawiak prison museum (built in 1835) in Warsaw, Poland

Officially known as the Mausoleum of Struggle and Martyrdom, this is a museum that’s found in the former headquarters of the Nazi Gestapo, who terrorized the city during the German occupation in World War II.

The museum offers a harrowing insight into what happened behind closed doors, and to the suffering endured by Polish resistance fighters.

The museum has preserved the prison cells that were used to hold prisoners, and although it’s a strange place to visit, it’s a moving part of any trip to Warsaw.

Recommended Multi-Day Tours

things to do in Warsaw, Poland
  • G Adventures The Best of Eastern Europe: From fairy-tale Czech towns to Budapest, the Pearl of the Danube, experience the unique culture, food, and history of Eastern Europe. This two-week trip through six Eastern European countries offers an intriguing combination of urban centers, village life, and outdoor pursuits. Visit castles, churches, and romantic town squares, indulging in Berlin’s café culture and Prague’s beer.
  • G Adventures European Trail: You. Europe. 26 days. Ready? You’d better be, because this epic London-to-London romp through the Old World’s greatest cities doesn’t slow down for stragglers. Geared towards budget-conscious travelers eager to check an entire continent off their must-do list in one fell swoop, this adventure will take you from the busy streets of the English capital to Paris’ most elegant galleries and cafés, the stunning natural brilliance of the Swiss Alps, the ancient beauty of Italy’s Florence, the Eastern European charm of Budapest and Krakow and the party capitals of Berlin and Amsterdam before wrapping up with a celebratory pint in a London pub. Phew! We’re tired just talking about it.
  • G Adventures Budapest to Berlin on a Shoestring: If you’re looking for culture, charm, and history in equal measure, Eastern Europe is the region of your dreams. You’ll hit up four countries in seven days, but don’t fret about missing anything — there’ll be loads of free time to explore local attractions and really get a feel for Kraków, Prague, Berlin, and Budapest. Cobblestone streets, thermal baths, and castles await, and with transport by trains and buses and a load of adventuresome new friends by your side, you’ll come away with memories of exciting days and epic nights.

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Best Things to Do in Warsaw, Poland


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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA

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