Planning a visit to Warsaw, Poland? That’s what I did a just a few short weeks ago when looking for something fun to do to see in the New Year and it didn’t disappoint.
We were pretty open-minded when it came to our chosen destination in all honesty but I visited Krakow on a school trip a few years ago now and fell in love with the place so was pretty confident I’d love Warsaw too. Spoiler alert – I did. If you’ve got a few days to spare in the Polish capital in the near future, I’ve rounded up my favourite attractions along with a few of the standout bars, cafes and restaurants we visited.
Things to see
- Old Town Warsaw
We spent most of our stay exploring Old Town Warsaw and for good reason – it’s beautiful. The streets are lined with pastel-coloured houses and traditional restaurants and the square at the centre is home to a winter wonderland complete with an ice rink and market. If you’re happiest wandering around old streets and stopping off for food and drink on your way, the Old Town is a must.
- Lazenki Park
Parks in winter might not be everyone’s first choice of attraction but let’s just say we needed the fresh air post-New Year’s Eve celebrations. There’s not much to see when you first arrive, just a path joining its two entrances. Off the beaten track though you’ll find a palace, amphitheatre, Japanese garden and more. The place is full of hidden gems.
- The Royal Castle
In all honesty, a lot of Warsaw’s Royal Castle was closed when we were there but what we did see offered a fascinating interest into the city’s past. The building itself is pretty impressive too. If you head to the Old Town, you can’t miss it.
- The University of Warsaw Library
I can’t say a university library is usually on my list of things to see when I visit a new city but it might be after the one in Warsaw. We headed there just as the sun was setting and the views over the botanical library were one of the highlights of the trip for me. Another outdoor attraction but a beautiful spot regardless.
Where to eat and drink
Stumbling across this specialist coffee shop was a happy accident. Its walls are decorated with images of the coffee’s origins and the menu is made up of super interesting flavour combinations you’d be hard-pushed to find in a regular café.
Cafe Stor’s plant wall, quirky prints and vintage furniture make it an Instagram dream. They also do an unbelievable oat milk latte if that’s what you’re into. Their doughnut collection is pretty impressive too.
We queued for 40 minutes to get into this place on our first night. In fact, people queued outside all of their sites in Warsaw the whole week we were there! Once you eat at Zapiecek it’s not hard to see why. The traditional dumplings and goulash were out of this world.
I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a bar quite like this one. It’s dark, mysterious and full of monkey-themed ornaments. That being said, its cocktail menu is pretty extensive. Heads up if, like me, you’re not a smoker though, they’re served with a cigar menu.
If you prefer your cocktails in a more contemporary, setting with less smoke, Klar is only a couple of minutes’ walk away. They also do a truffle oil popcorn which confused me at first but, as I’m writing this post, it’s something I’d really quite like to snack on.
Drunk Cherry was recommended to us by some fellow travellers after they tried the ominous red liquor the bar is famous for. Unsurprisingly, it turned out to be cherry flavoured wine (served or hot and cold) and it definitely grew on me.
Have you visited Poland before? Where were the highlights for you?
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