Warsaw was one of the most damaged cities during WWII, but that didn’t get the Poles down! Today this is one of Eastern Europe’s busiest capitals with plenty to see and do. Travelling on a budget? There’s lots that’s free too!
1. Warsaw Rising Museum
If you visit one museum in Warsaw, it should be this one. It opened in 2004 and features films, pictures and displays about the resistance fighters struggle against Germany’s Nazi forces in the 1940s. There’s even a replica RAF Liberator bomber here. The revolt took place in 1944, the year after the 1943 uprising by Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. The museum is free every Sunday.
2. The Royal Route
The Royal Route runs for 7 miles from Warsaw’s Old Town to the Baroque mansion of Wilanow. Don’t fancy walking 7 miles? Follow the shorter, 2 mile, route from the Charles de Gaulle roundabout to the Old Town. Along the way you’ll see the 15th-century Royal Castle, the King Zygmunt III Waza Column and the Presidential Palace.
3. University of Warsaw Rooftop Gardens
The Roof Garden at the University of Warsaw is one of the biggest (and most beautiful) rooftop gardens in Europe. It stretches an impressive 9,300 square metres and has two sections: upper garden and the lower garden. Nearly every inch is covered in trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and flowers, fountains, waterfalls and granite sculptures. You can easily spend an entire afternoon here, taking in the views of Warsaw below and the Vistula River.
4. National Museum
The National Museum is one of the oldest and largest art and culture museums in Poland. It’s the ideal spot if you want to get the scoop on Polish history and culture. Luckily for budget travellers, this museum is free every Tuesday, so make sure you plan your flights to Warsaw accordingly.
5. Vistula River Beaches
Being land-locked doesn’t stop the locals from going to the beach. Warsaw has beautiful natural river banks and three beaches, on the right side of the Vistula River. There’s one near the zoo, one near Poniatowskiego Bridge (take the free ferry across the river to reach it) and another near Lazienkowski Bridge. Jump from beach to beach following the footpaths through the forests.
6. Lazienki Park
This 17th century Royal Baths Park is one of the prettiest in Europe and is also part of the Royal Route. You’ll have to pay to get into the Palace on the Isle but the rest of the park and gardens are free to enjoy year-round. Watch the ducks, peacocks and squirrels or watch a free piano concert next to the Chopin monument on a summer Sunday.
7. Fountain Light Show
This is Warsaw’s version of the Bellagio Fountains, one of the best free things to do in Las Vegas. The riverside fountain show takes place every Friday and Saturday at 9:30pm in August and at 9:00pm in September. The best views are from Podzamcze Multimedia Fountain Park, near the New Town. It’s a 30 minute show, with water shooting 25 metres into the air, accompanied by some fancy lights and visual effects.
Did we miss anything? Add your own free ideas for Warsaw with a comment below, or tweet them to us! We always love a tweet. 🙂