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Rob
Chicago

Rob from Chicago asked

Best things to See/Do

What are some the can't miss things to do and see in Warsaw? How many days would you plan there if you had 10 days in Europe?

Warsaw (Poland)

1 Answer
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answered first by
Cathy from Brussels

Hi Rob

I had a great weekend in Warsaw in January this year, and found plenty to do and see - much of it free, and the rest at a very reasonable cost.

I stayed right on the square by the Royal Castle, so everything in the Old Town was easily walkable.  The Warsaw Old Town square is a gentle 10 minute stroll and the entire area is ideal to wander around - amazing to think that the whole thing was faithfully reconstructed pretty well from scratch after been flattened towards the end of WWII.

One of the things I most enjoy when visiting a city is walking in the footsteps of its famous sons and daughters - in this case, Frederic Chopin and Marie Curie-Sklodowska.  The nicest way to do this is to either do a self guided walk using the excellent brochures from the very helpful Centrum Informatyczne UW, or to join a guided walk.  Many of the guided walks - which focus on varied aspects of Warsaw's history from its Jewish heritage and the wartime Ghetto to Warsaw under Communism - are free, with participants donating what they feel the tour was worth.

I really enjoy sculpture, so I love the fact that Warsaw is bristling with interesting statues, including the massive Monument to the Heroes of Warsaw.

In the newer part of town, it's impossible to miss the Pałac Kultury i Nauki - a stonking great piece of brutalist architecture that was an unwanted 'gift' from Poland's Soviet brothers and sisters. If it's a clear day, it's worth catching the lift to the top for a view out over the city. 

Warsaw's many museums are wonderful and very affordable.  If you only have time to do one, then let it be The National Museum in Warsaw, which houses the jawdropping Faras Collection. These 8th-12th century Christian frescos were rescued from a site in Egypt that was subsequently flooded when the Aswan Dam was constructed, and are utterly unique and totally exquisite.

Otherwise, there are more Baroque churches than you can shake a stick at, classical concerts to attend (with Chopin being a staple offering) and the city has many lovely parks which are perfect for strolling around.

How much time should you spend in Warsaw?  Well, the better question is what else do you want to fit into your 10 days in Europe?  I could keep myself busy there for a week (using it as a base for short day trips), but realistically speaking, I would suggest that you could do it justice in two days.


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