On my recent trip to Warsaw and Krakow with regular travel buddy Jamie, I found that Warsaw is highly underrated! Having heard a lot about Krakow and nearly nothing about Warsaw, I expected to like Krakow better. However, Warsaw was much more authentic and less touristic than Krakow, with lots of interesting places to visit. We spent 2,5 days in Warsaw, and ended up liking the following places and activities best.
The most obvious place to see, but well worth it. Warsaw’s old town (stare miasto) has some wonderful big squares, candy-colored houses with beautifully detailed fronts and small alleys to wander around in.
Attend a show at the Wielki Theatre
My friend had once been to the Wielki Theatre in Warsaw before and really liked the experience. She arranged tickets for a performance by the Polish National Ballet called Lady of the Camelia’s. The building was beautiful, especially the ceiling in the auditorium. It is called the ‘moon ceiling’ (look at the picture to see why) and work on it was started in the year man first landed on the moon. The ballet performance itself, with a live orchestra playing Chopin, was also beautiful (yet sometimes a bit confusing). My friend knew that in Poland it is customary to dress up for the theatre, so we brought our heels and fanciest dresses, and were happy we did! Everyone dressed up nicely, adding to the special atmosphere.
This park huge and a bit further from the city center but easily reached by tram or bus. It is so big, featuring a palace, botanic garden, Chinese garden and more, that you could probably spend a full day here. Unfortunately, we visited on a rainy day and had to seek cover before we had a chance to see the whole park.
Rooftop garden on the library
On top of the university library, a wonderful rooftop garden has been established. The best thing? It is totally free! In summer it must be even more beautiful.
Enjoy Polish food (especially pierogi)!
Honestly, ‘tasty food’ wasn’t the first thing I associated with Poland before visiting. That totally changed! On our first night we ate pierogi. These are basically dumplings filled with vegetables and/or meat. My favorite filling was the cabbage/mushroom mixture. You can also get sweet pierogi, filled with fruit (like cherries or strawberries), served with vanilla sauce and some sugar. Besides pierogi, there’s plenty of other Polish food worth a try, such as potato pancakes, goulash and zurek soup. Hmmm… getting hungry now =)
Visit the Praga district
Only a few tram stops away from the old town, across the river, lies the Praga district. This area is less well-known, but worth a visit if you have some time to spare. There’s a beautiful church and lots of street art. Furthermore, we found a cute place to have a coffee. It’s called Caffee & Bistro Galeria Sztuki and has a beautifully decorated interior (all for sale as well!) and vintage music to go with it.
After Warsaw we took a train to Krakow, on which I will surely write a blogpost later as well.