Warsaw (or Warszawa in Polish) strikes me as one of those cities where the good stuff really needs to be sought out.
Even Polish friends of mine agree that the capital isn’t their favourite when there are so many fantastic smaller towns like Kraków, Wroclaw or Gdansk which are big on character and charm.
Old Town Market Square
However, spending a day in Warsaw will still keep you occupied and its Old Town is really lovely to see.
Although mostly reconstructed due to bombing this site has been active since the 13th century but was essentially totally rebuilt following WW2.
In the middle of it you’ll find a statue of a mermaid, which is the city’s mascot of sorts so you’ll see images of her all around the place.
A must do when you visit according to locals and travellers alike is Lazienki Park which is really beautiful with its well kept gardens and tranquil ponds, surrounded by elegant statues.
Braving the downpour for a photo – the bonus was barely anyone was in it!
Unfortunately it was really raining down when we got there so all of my photos are too awful to post but on a beautiful day I’m sure it’s perfect!
Instead we focused on inside activities, including a visit to the Warsaw Uprising Museum which is an interactive one allowing visitors to discover more about a monumental event in this city’s history.
In 1944 an uprising was executed in an effort to free Warsaw from Nazi control but due to a few mishaps in the plan the outcome was disastrous and with little outside support, the Germans destroyed much of the city and many civilians died.
There is a lot to see in this modern museum and you could easily spend hours inside, which is exactly what we did until we could no longer ignore our hunger pains and went off in search of pierogi (Polish dumplings).
I thought they were pretty delicious although the fact that Zapiecek, where we ate, was so close to Old Town and offered sangria (which is pretty hard to by pass in my opinion) is a good indication that more tourists than locals probably visit here.
You’re able to choose a mix of fillings to sample and my favourite was spinach and cheese.
There are also a few dessert options available too and my friend tried a hot apple cider drink, I can’t remember the name but it was really delicious!
National pride on one of the city’s main streets
Lastly, if you enjoy music then seeing a Chopin recital while in Warsaw is definitely for you.
The famous pianist grew up in the city and is visible almost everywhere, even the international airport here is named after him.
As this was the last stop on a tour I was on there was large group of us so we had a private performance run by the Polish Concert Agency at the Concert Hall of the Polish Music Library.
We got to the concert by means of this attractive and hideously touristy train since it was raining that badly – a pretty funny sight to see!
The venue was lovely and the pianist played a selection of Chopin’s best known compositions, all of us were in awe as her hands flew across the piano for an hour!
Old Town Warsaw