Completely destroyed by the occupying Nazis in 1944, the Royal Castle was meticulously reconstructed in the 1970s to its sumptuous baroque splendour. This UNESCO World Heritage site is today one of Warsaw’s must-see attractions.
Warsaw Royal Castle
Dating back to 1350, the original castle was remodelled as a royal residence in the late 16th century by King Zygmunt III Vasa, with Italian architects. It was razed to the ground in 1944, on the orders of Hitler as a specific act of revenge for the Warsaw Uprising. What you see today is a meticulous reconstruction from 1971, with some authentic items reclaimed for the interiors. In 1980, the Royal Castle and Warsaw Old Town were granted UNESCO World Heritage status. The almost miraculous rebirth of the Castle makes it powerful symbol of the city’s resilience and Poland’s independence.
The Royal Castle particularly benefits from a tour, giving the full history and context to the building. You can find some excellent Royal Castle guided tours via GetYourGuide. These are rated by real customers, so you know which are the best.
What To See In The Royal Castle
View of the Royal Castle from St. Anne’s Church
Broadly speaking, the Royal Castle falls into two main areas: the Royal Apartments upstairs, also known as The Royal Route, and the Gallery of Masterpieces on the lower floor. You’ll also see Parliamentary Chambers split between the different levels.
For me, the Royal Apartments are the highlight, such as the Great Apartment, the King’s Apartment, and the Marble Room. These are dazzling baroque interiors, each with its own character. The Gallery of Masterpieces contains the Lanckoroński Collection, a gift to the Royal Castle in 1994. This includes two important paintings by Rembrandt.
In addition to the ‘Royal Route’ (the main rooms within the Castle), there is also the separate apartment of Prince Józef Poniatowski – known as the Tin-Roof Palace, the Royal Library – which is used for temporary exhibitions, the gardens at the back of the Castle, and the Kubicki Arcades – which are currently undergoing restoration.
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What To Expect When Visiting The Royal Castle in Warsaw
If you bought your tickets in advance, you can get into the Castle through the front gate, then turn left once you’re in the main courtyard – see below.
If you haven’t bought tickets in advance, you can get to the sales desk via the Justice Court Gate, to the right of the building.
Royal Castle side entrance
The ticket office is just to the left, through these doors.
Royal Castle ticket office
Carry on into the main courtyard and through the entrance to the museum itself.
Royal Castle courtyard
Your ticket will be checked and then you can go down to the cloakroom in the basement.
Royal Castle staircase
Once you’ve dropped off your bag, you can go back up the stairs to the first floor, where the Royal Route begins. You’ll probably have your ticket checked again.
The Royal Route
The Royal Route is a dazzling succession of apartment and governmental chambers. Each contains information about the purpose and history of the room.
The Marble Room is where courtiers would gather during formal audiences.
The Marble Room
The Knights’s Room is where senators and diplomats gathered during royal audiences. It is the ante room leading the all-important Throne Room.
The Knights’s Room
The Great Assembly Hall is often used today for music performances and other events.
The Great Assembly Hall
Much of the decoration and furniture of The Throne Room is original.
The Throne Room
In addition to function rooms, the Royal Castle contains a number of private apartment rooms, such as The King’s Bedchamber.
The King’s Bedchamber
The Gallery Of Masterpieces
The ground-floor area of the Castle contains a gallery of paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts from the collection.
The Gallery of Paintings, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts
Items include royal portraits and armour, each giving illustrating a small piece of Polish history.
The Gallery of Paintings, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts
You’ll also find the Deputies’ Chamber where the Polish governmental Sejm was convened.
The highlight of the lower gallery is the Lanckoroński Collection, containing two paintings by Rembrandt.
The Girl in a Picture Frame by Rembrandt
The Tin-Roof Palace
The Tin-Roof Palace is a separate royal apartment in an adjacent building.
The Tin-Roof Palace
You can reach this building and the Royal Gardens by following the steps down to the right of the Castle.
Stairs to the Royal Gardens
Then follow the pathway around the Castle to the back of the complex, where you’ll find the Gardens.
The Royal Gardens
Behind the Castle are fairly large (and steep) gardens with a terrace view. These are free to visit.
View of the Royal Gardens from the terrace
How To Visit The Royal Castle in Warsaw
The Royal Castle at night
Visitor numbers are strictly time allocated to avoid overcrowding, so it makes sense to buy them in advance via the official Royal Castle website, rather than chance it on the day. The site is in English and easy to use. Advance tickets are emailed to you as PDF attachments with your timeslot and a barcode.
If you wish to buy on the day, you’ll find the ticket office within the so-called Justice Court Gate, which is to the right of the building as you face it. You can also find it by going in through the main gate at the front of the building and turning right in the courtyard.
Last entry is 60 minutes before closing.
The Royal Castle in Warsaw address: Plac Zamkowy 4, Warsaw 00-277 Poland
The Royal Castle is open on Tuesday to Sunday between 10am and 5pm, with the last entry at 4pm. The Castle is closed to the public on Monday.
Additionally, the Tin-Roofed Palace is open on Wednesday and at the weekends, also between 10am and 5pm, with the last entry at 4pm. This is a separate building on a lower level to the right of the main building.
The Royal Gardens are open between 10am and 6pm daily, although the upper garden will be temporarily closed due to bad weather, and opening hours are extended during the summer. The gardens are at the very back of the Castle and can be reached by going past the Tin-Roofed Palace and following the road around the right of the entire complex.
The Castle is also closed on January 1st and 6th, the whole of Easter weekend, May 1st, Corpus Christi Day, November 1st, and December 24th, 25th, and 31st.
Ticket prices are as follows:
- The Royal Route: 50zł (concessions 40zł)
- The Gallery of Masterpieces: 40zł (concessions 30zł)
- The Tin-Roofed Palace: 30zł (20zł)
Entry for under-7s is free and visitors aged 7-16 pay only 1zł for each ticket.
Entry is free on Wednesdays.
Temporary exhibitions are charged separately and group discounts are available. Similarly, times and prices are subject to change, so check with the official Royal Castle website before more information.
With a prime location on Castle Square, at the start of the Old Town, the Royal Castle is very easy to find. It is served by either of the Plac Zamkowy bus stops or the Stare Miasto bus and tram stops.
Old and New Town Districts: Meticulously reconstructed after WWII, Warsaw’s historical Old Town contains many of the city’s key landmarks, including the must-see Royal Castle, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The New Town is quieter and home to excellent boutique hotels, such as the Mamaison Le Regina. The district is full of great restaurants, but try traditional U Barssa on the Market Square, if you can’t decide.
Tips For Visiting The Royal Castle in Warsaw
Ceiling of the Marble Room
- Visitor numbers are strictly limited and tickets are allotted in 20-minute slots. Aim to turn up 5 minutes or so early, so you can get your bearings and visit the cloakroom first.
- Expect to spend 2 hours on the Royal Route and an additional hour for the Gallery of Masterpieces. The upper floor is well-organised and logical. The ground floor is a bit harder to navigate. If you want to see everything, it may be wiser to split your visit over two separate days, otherwise you may be tempted to skip some of the key artworks towards the end of Gallery.
- A free audioguide is included with a ticket to the Royal Route. You can pick this up in the cloakroom area in the basement before you start the exhibition. The guides are flexible and thorough, allowing you get a good grounding in what you see.
- There is limited seating on the upper floor, so wear comfortable shoes. The gallery area on the ground floor has quite a few places to sit, however. It can get quite hot, so wear an upper layer you can remove. There are toilets halfway through the Royal Route and in the basement.
- There is a free cloakroom in the basement, which you are required to use for bags, coats, and umbrellas. There are also lockers, though you’ll need a coin.
- Photography is allowed.
- The upstairs rooms are bright and colourful, with tons of details, and the experience will appeal to many children. When I visited, I saw a group of kids lying on the floor staring up at the amazing details on the ceiling.
- Although the Castle is connected by a long spiral staircase, it is accessible. There are lifts between floors and the upper rooms are wide with stable flooring. The Gallery floor, however, is not so easy to navigate in a wheelchair, so ask before committing to a ticket.
- The Castle is served by the elegant Café Zamek on the ground floor. Take advantage of the terrace if the weather is good. There is also a large seating area in the basement where you can eat, although this is often full of school parties. On fine days, you can eat a packed lunch in the garden. Otherwise, there are plenty of cafes in the area to choose from.
- The gift shop is quite book intensive but you can get the usual tote bags and some rather nice Polish crockery.
- Card payments are preferred.
- You’ll be asked to show your tickets at several junctions in the Castle, so keep them handy.
Where Is This Place Located?Find this location on the Warsaw Visit Google map:
- Open the Warsaw Visit map
- Click on a marker and it will give you the name of the landmark, with a brief description and links for more information and directions. You can pan, scroll, and zoom around the map, or use the + or – buttons in the bottom left of the map to zoom in and out
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side, sorted by category. Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Each category is on a different layer, which can be switched on and off. So you can just see the Hotel or Restaurant pins, for example
- If you are using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location
Map pins are color coded:
- YELLOW: Warsaw Sightseeing
- BLUE: Warsaw Hotels
- RED: Warsaw Places To Eat – Michelin restaurants are DARK RED
- ORANGE: Warsaw Nightlife
- PURPLE: Shopping In Warsaw
- GREEN: Warsaw Transportation