Warsaw is packed with things to do, but you can still see a lot in two days. This itinerary is perfect for getting the most out of two full days, such as a long weekend.
The view from Warsaw Old Town’s Market Square
Some Things to Keep in Mind About Exploring Warsaw
There is a lot to see in Warsaw. This two-day schedule includes many key attractions, focusing on the the historic Royal Route and Old Town highlights, as well as the state-of-the-art POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Soviet-era Palace of Culture and Science. On the second afternoon, we have offered a choice of activities to suit your interests.
Excellent Warsaw tours are available. These bring a professional context and local insights. We’ll link to several below, as we move through each attraction.
Consider which area of Kraków you book accommodation in, as this will impact any sightseeing or activities. Our Warsaw Visit Map helps you work out how close you could be staying to the attractions you most want to see.
It’s impossible to over everything over two days. If you find yourself rushing, stick with the things which interest you most. The Old Town, in particular, is beautiful enough to just sit outside with a coffee or beer and watch the world go by. If the weather looks good, you should probably pick the Łazienki Park option over the indoor museum.
Excellent English is spoken in most places. Debit / credit cards and contactless payments are accepted everywhere, unless stated. With many attractions, it makes sense to book in advance.
Sightseeing always includes a lot of walking. Make sure you have comfortable footwear and protection against the rain. The tourist season is from April to October, and opening times vary accordingly. Certain areas get crowded in summer – we have tried to accommodate this – but the itinerary will also work out of season.
Warsaw Two-Day Itinerary Summary
- Duration: Roughly 10 hours of touring each day (not including evening meal and nightlife).
- Areas Covered: The Royal Route into Warsaw Old Town; Heritage Interpretation Center; Royal Castle; Palace of Culture and Science; POLIN Museum; choice of either Warsaw Rising Museum or Łazienki Park.
- Sights visited: Royal Route: Nowy Świat and Krakowskie Przedmiescie; St. Anne’s; Castle Square; Sigismund’s Column; Old Town Square; Mermaid of Warsaw statue; Heritage Interpretation Center; Barbican and City Walls; Royal Castle; Palace of Culture and Science; POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews; choice of either Warsaw Rising Museum or Łazienki Park.
Day One: Morning
Greetings From Jerusalem Avenue
8:45am: Nowy Świat
There’s some interesting street art around the lower end of Nowy Świat, which makes for a fun treasure hunt.
Start with Greetings From Jerusalem Avenue on the Charles de Gaulle roundabout. This artificial palm tree was created in 2002 by artist Joanna Rajkowska as a comment on the Jewish exiles who once lived in Warsaw. You can reach the site via bus or tram (alighting at one of the Muzeum Narodowe stops). The Warsaw Powiśle train station is also nearby.
Mural Commemorating the Attacks on Cafe-Club
Then, if you cross to the Empik building at the left-hand corner of Nowy Świat, you’ll find Władysław Zych‘s early 60s mosaic, that dramatises two acts of resistance by the communist People’s Guard on a Nazi-filled café-bar that stood on this site.
You’ll also find a couple of works tucked into a side street behind Nowy Świat, including Niedźwiedzie brunatne – hibernating brown bears – from 2009 by Dutch artist Roa and one of Polish singer Olga Jackowska aka Kora.
These are a bit trickier to find. Walk up Nowy Świat, past Flying Tiger on the left. On the other side of the road, at building number 25, you’ll find a passageway leading to a complex of bars. These are great for an evening drink. The Roa mural is opposite the Manhattan pub and the Kory Jackowskiej mural is on a little courtyard to the right.
9:00am: Breakfast – Wrzenie Świata
Once you’ve found the brown bears, retrace your steps and continue up Nowy Świat past Foksal on the right – Coctail Bar Max & Dom Whisky is on the corner. Continue past OTO!SUSHI and, again, you’ll find another passageway at building number 48. Carry on through here until you see Wrzenie Świata, which sits on the street Konstantego Ildefonsa Gałczyńskiego, parallel to Nowy Świat.
This is an atmospheric independent bookshop with coffees, teas, and bagels. You can also sit out on the terrace on sunny mornings.
09:45am: Nowy Świat
With breakfast done, you should be ready to start the day properly. Rewind back through the passageway to Nowy Świat, reversing your route to the café. Then turn right into Nowy Świat. Like much of Warsaw, what looks old is actually a post-war reconstruction, and these elegant 19th-century neoclassical buildings are an approximation.
Nowy Świat was once part of the Royal Route connecting the Old Town Castle with the palace at Wilanów. As such, the street became a key address. Today, you’ll find restaurants, bars, and international brand shopping along Nowy Świat.
10:00am: Krakowskie Przedmiescie / Royal Route
Eventually Nowy Świat becomes Krakowskie Przedmiescie. As the Royal Route moves closer to the former seat of power, you’ll find government buildings and some important religious and educational buildings. There are also some of the city’s grandest hotels.
The road starts with the statue of Copernicus on the right, in front of the Staszic Palace – home to the Polish Academy of Science. To the left is the Church of the Holy Cross, which contains the heart of Chopin.
Further up on the right is the Czetwertyński-Uruski Palace and the main building of the University of Warsaw. Just past this is the rococo Visitationist Church – one of the few Warsaw churches that survived WWII unscathed.
Krakowskie Przedmiescie is then flanked by two examples of Warsaw grandeur around the turn of the 20th century: the Hotel Europejski on the left and the Hotel Bristol on the right.
Next is the Presidential Palace – home to the Polish head of state – and the baroque Potocki Palace, directly opposite. The Carmelite Church on the right has one of Warsaw’s most elaborate neoclassical façades, with belfries shaped like censers and a green globe representing the earth. Chopin had his first employment here.
The square in front of the church has a monument to the poet, activist, and national hero Adam Mickiewicz. There are some public toilets a little further on, opposite the Giovanni Rubino restaurant.
Krakowskie Przedmiescie ends with St. Anne’s, one of Warsaw’s most ornate churches.
10:30am: St. Anne’s
St. Anne’s is a lavishly decorated Catholic church with a stunning trompe l’oeil ceiling and several other unique architectural features.
The separate bell tower provides one of the best views in Warsaw and is perfect for photos of Castle Square.
View of Castle Square from St. Anne’s
11:15am: Castle Square
To the left is Sigismund’s Column and, to the right, is a view of the stadium and the Castle itself – which we’ll return to after lunch. Although much of what you see here is a post-war reconstruction, the results are stunning enough to have made the UNESCO World Heritage list.
At the far end end of the square, past the Castle, take the left turning into Świętojańska. After 2 minutes, you’ll pass the striking frontage of St. John’s Cathedral, which has a significant in Polish royal history.
Syrenka – The Mermaid of Warsaw
11:30am: Warsaw Old Town Square
Continue on from St. John’s and, after a few minute’s, you’ll emerge into Rynek Starego Miasta, Warsaw’s Old Town Market Square. Smart town houses in earthy colours border the square with an inner square of restaurant umbrellas.
In the centre you’ll find Konstanty Hegel’s Syrenka statue – the Mermaid of Warsaw. There are variations on this theme around Warsaw, based on the city’s coat of arms. You can learn more about the backstory at the Museum of Warsaw, which occupies a number of the historic houses on the top end of the square. This large collection of artworks and artefacts tells the story of the city and the people who have lived here. You could always substitute this for the Royal Castle visit, if you want to know more.
Museum of Warsaw Heritage Interpretation Centre
11:45am: Heritage Interpretation Centre
The Heritage Interpretation Centre makes for optional detour, which you can skip if you want to spend more time exploring the Old Town. This fascinating branch of the Museum of Warsaw tells the story of the destruction of the city and goes behind the scenes on the post-war reconstruction. It gives a great deal of context to the very streets you have just been walking around.
To find the museum, take ul. Celna, in the bottom corner (close to Bistro Warszawa), then turn left into Brzozowa. The museum is on the left, just a couple of minutes away, with Muzeum Warszawy above the doorway.
Day One: Afternoon
12:45am: Warsaw Barbican and City Walls
Retrace your steps once you’ve finished in the museum and then cross to the far side of the Market Square. Take Nowomiejska, to the left of the main Museum of Warsaw building.
At the end of the street, just before you reach the Barbican, you’ll see a small orange sign pointing left to some public toilets.
Beyond this are the Old Town fortifications and the inside of the Barbican. The city walls were originally built between the 13th and 16th centuries, but have seen subsequent restoration and rebuilding. The 1540 Barbican was designed by Jan Baptist the Venetian, although the whole structure was partially dismantled in the 19th century, before reconstruction after its near destruction during WWII.
Most tours of Warsaw Old Town will include an overview of the Barbican and city fortifications. There is a small museum within the Barbican that is open during the summer months.
1:00pm: Lunch – To Lubię
Once you’ve had a look around the city walls, it’s time for lunch. Follow the road out of the Barbican and take a right into Freta. On the right, you’ll find To Lubię, a cosy cafe located in one of the towers of St. Hyacinth’s Church. You can get sandwiches and soups, as well as more substantial plates, and a delicious tea or coffee. You can eat outside in the pretty street if the weather is good. The cafe also specialises in Dominican mead.
St. Hyacinth’s interior
St. Hyacinth’s is a Dominican church with a fine, white Baroque interior, and is also worth a look.
Warsaw Royal Castle grounds
2:30am: Warsaw Royal Castle
After lunch, trace your way back through the Old Town to the Royal Castle, where you’ll be spending most of the afternoon. It’s a 7-minute walk.
Once you’ve had a good look around the square, you can head into the Royal Castle for the rest of the morning.
In a typical act of spite and vandalism, the Nazis blew up much of the Royal Castle during the brutal occupation of WWII, so what you see is a remarkable reconstruction, like much of Warsaw’s Old Town. However, most of the objects inside are either original or authentic to what was one of Europe’s most splendid palaces.
We have a full walkthrough of what to expect on our Royal Castle page.
Warsaw Royal Castle tours are well-worth taking part in, as they’ll give thoughtful context and insight to what you see in the museum.
Day One: Evening
5:30pm: Café Zamek
If you fancy a quick pick-me-up, you can get refreshments just next door to the Castle, less than a minute away. Café Zamek is tucked quietly away in plac Zamkowy. There is a powerful but faded aristocratic charm about the antique furniture and chandeliers. You can eat a full-blown meal here but there are also fine cakes and coffee to be had. Best of all, the terraces look out over the castle grounds and the Vistula river. You’ll pay a little bit extra here but it’s generally worth it.
From the Castle Square entrance to the Royal Castle, turn right and follow the castle walls into plac Zamkowy. You should see Café Zamek ahead at the other side of the square.
Stare Miasto 02 tram stop
6:15pm: Getting to the Palace of Culture and Science
Once you’re feeling fully revitalised, leave Café Zamek and cut back across Castle Square, hugging the wall of the castle. Just past the castle, to the left, you’ll see a flight of stairs down to the main road. Go down these to the bottom and turn left. Pass the ticket machine and, just past the newsstand, take the first crossing only. There is a bus and tram stop just ahead on the left side of the road.
If you cannot use the stairs, there is a lift and escalator (and some public toilets) in the building opposite McDonald’s, towards the back of Castle Square.
There should be a #4 tram every 9 minutes in the direction of Wyścigi. Travel 4 stops to Metro Świętokrzyska 05. The journey takes 6 minutes and the fare currently costs 3.40zł.
Look up and to the left and you should see the Palace of Culture and Science, 5 minutes away, with a flank of more contemporary skyscrapers behind it. Make your way towards the building as you make your way towards it. Pay attention as you cross the busy roads.
View from the Palace of Culture and Science
6:45pm: Palace of Culture and Science Observation Deck
No visit to Warsaw is complete without a trip to the Palace of Culture and Science. This imposing and controversial 1955 skyscraper was a ‘gift of friendship’ from the Stalin. The building itself contains three theatres, a cinema, cafes and restaurants amongst its 3000+ rooms. The highlight, however, is the observation deck on the 30th floor, which gives a bird’s eye view of the Polish capital.
A tour of the Palace of Culture and Science will give you access to some grand ballrooms, conference halls, and marble staircases, as well as the fantastic views from the 30th floor.
8:00pm: Dinner – Restauracja Warszawska
Restauracja Warszawska is an excellent restaurant in a dramatic, Bond villain-type lair of concrete. The food is a modern take on Polish classics by Cordon Bleu chef Dariusz Barański.
Find your way back to the Centrum Metro station and cross over to the far side of Marszałkowska. Turn left and continue up the same main road. You’ll pass the Wars Sawa Junior shopping mall on your right. Turn right after 500m into Stanisława Moniuszki – there’s a branch of Orange on the corner – and then left at the end of the road into plac Powstańców Warszawy. The restaurant is in the 5-star Hotel Warszawska, which is on the left at the very end of the road. The entire walk should take 11 minutes.
8:00pm: Nightlife – Bars and clubs around Nowy Świat
Finish your night with the bars on and around Nowy Świat. There are many here or tucked into side streets. Try Pijana Wiśnia or PiwPaw Beer Heaven on near by Foksal.
Leave the Hotel Warszawska and you’ll see Świętokrzyska on your left. Turn right into this and follow the road for about 5-6 minutes. You’ll pass the Nowy Świat-Uniwersytet Metro station. Turn right into Nowy Świat, which cuts across Świętokrzyska.
Day Two: Morning
Fat White Coffee
9:00am: Breakfast – Fat White Coffee
Kick-start your morning with a great cup of coffee at Fat White. Chemex, AeroPress, drip, and cold brews are all available, as well as a fine espresso and flat white. You won’t get much more than a snack to eat in here but the Putka bakery across the road is really good if you need something more substantial.
Fat White and Putka are both on Gen. W. Andersa, which can be reached via the Muranów tram stop.
POLIN Museum’s stunning bimah
10:00am: POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
One of Warsaw’s contemporary highlights is the huge, state-of-the-art POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. From the stunning building to the imaginative multimedia displays, this excellent museum covers a millennium of Jewish history in Poland.
Obviously the museum covers the bleak history of the Holocaust but this is countered with beauty and joy, not least in the breathtaking reconstruction of the bimah from the Gwoździec Synagogue – a visual highlight that will stay with you.
Turn left outside Fat White, taking the zebra crossing. Turn right at the crossroads into Mordechaja Anielewicza and continue for another few minutes. Cross at the traffic lights. The POLIN is the contemporary building through the trees once you get to the other side. It’s a 7-minute walk from the cafe.
Gdański Bar Mleczny
1:00pm: Lunch – Gdański Bar Mleczny
Milk bars are a Polish institution. Once government subsidised, these cheap, nutritious, and functional eateries came to prominence during the communist era – though they actual pre-date.
Gdański Bar Mleczny is a minimalist contemporary update of the milk bar, with a frame of benches, glowing balls suspended in nets, and bold typography, set against cheery yellow walls. Queue up at the counter, eat in or take away, this is great tasting Polish home cooking. Outstanding value too!
Once you leave the POLIN, take the same route back to Fat White, but remain on the left-hand side of Gen. W. Andersa instead of crossing the road to the cafe. Stay on this road for 5 minutes and you’ll see Gdański Bar Mleczny on your left.
There is a faster route with a shortcut through to Gen. W. Andersa which you can find with Google Maps.
Day Two Options
Warsaw Rising is another of the city’s award-winning museums but we appreciate that it may be too much for one day in conjunction with the POLIN. What’s more, if you’ve good weather during your stay, you will want to make the most of being outside.
Therefore, we have given two options for the rest of the day, depending on your interests and circumstances. What’s more, if you’re in town for a longer stay, you could choose one option today and the other tomorrow, with the morning free for a lazy start or some shopping.
Day Two: Afternoon (Option 1)
Warsaw Rising Museum
2:30pm: Warsaw Rising Museum
After nearly 5 years of Nazi occupation, the Polish underground resistance undertook a major operation to liberate Warsaw, through August and September of 1944. This incredible museum, in a former power station, opened in 2004, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of this heroic struggle.
As with the Schindler Museum in Kraków, the Warsaw Rising Museum gives a sometimes overwhelming insight into the contexts and day-to-day realities of life under Nazi occupation. Warsaw and its people paid a terrible price during the war but this excellent museum is also a tribute to those who fought for independence.
The museum takes 30 minutes to reach via public transport. However, if you take part in a tour of Warsaw Rising, you’ll get an excellent overview and can arrange a pickup as part of the deal.
To reach the museum on your own, turn left outside Gdański Bar Mleczny, cross at the lights, and walk to the Muranowska 02 bus stop slightly to the left on the other side of Stawki. Catch the 157 bus in the direction of Szczęśliwice, which run every 15 minutes. Get off after 9 minutes at Mennica 03, which is the 9th stop. The fare currently costs 3.40zł.
Head back up Żelazna in the same direction the bus has just come from and turn left into Grzybowska. You’ll need to walk another 10 minutes, unfortunately, and it’s a bit of a boring walk past glass office blocks. Look for Holmes Place on your left and the elegant curve of the Warsaw Spire peeking above the other buildings. Get a cab, if you’re pushed for time.
Finally, once you get to the crossroads of Grzybowska and Towarowa, you can see distinctive shape of the museum across the road to your left. Cross over and continue along Grzybowska, then turn left into Przyokopowa. Look for Starbucks on your right – the red brick museum is opposite.
Day Two: Evening (option 1)
6:00pm: Dinner – SZUM
This is very much a business and new-build residential part of Warsaw. Nevertheless there are places to eat. SZUM does pizza and seasonal comfort food with a twist. The menu is loaded with little surprises. There are cocktail with some original flavours, a strong selection of wines, and a clean contemporary interior.
Exit Warsaw Rising through the same gate you entered and turn right into Przyokopowa. After 2 minutes, turn right into Giełdowa and continue for 270m. Roughly 3 minutes later, you’ll find the restaurant on the right.
8:00pm: Nightlife – Kulturalna
After dinner head back to Kulturalna, tucked into the Teatr Dramatyczny, itself part of The Palace of Culture and Science. This retro bar and club has bags of atmosphere and generally excellent staff. You’ll also get great music, DJs, and live events. It’s open until midnight.
SZUM to Kulturanlna is possible via the M2 Metro line from Rondo Daszyńskiego to Swietokrzyska. However, there’s a bit of walking at either end, and it’s simpler to ask the restaurant to call you a cab. You’ll be there in 10 minutes.
Day Two: Afternoon (Option 2)
3:00pm: Łazienki Park
Another way point on the Royal Route, Łazienki Park is a 76-hetare complex of palaces, follies, and monuments, set amidst Warsaw’s largest public garden. Originally designed for private baths, which give the site its name, Łazienki was gradually adapted and embellished by King Stanisław II Augustus.
There are numerous reasons to visit the grounds, including the variety of gardens, the showcase island Palace that sits on an ornamental lake, the sculpture gallery in the Old Orangery and Royal Theatre. You couldn’t get further from the popular myth of concrete Warsaw.
As with the Warsaw Rising Museum, Łazienki Park takes roughly 30 minutes to reach from Gdański Bar Mleczny. However, if you sign up for a tour of Łazienki highlights, you’ll get an expert’s insight into the grounds, with all fees included, plus pickup and transport there and back.
If you are travelling independently, there are a number of buses and trams from close to Gdański Bar Mleczny. Try the 116 that leaves every 12 minutes from Muranowska 05.
Come out of the milk bar and turn left on Gen. W. Andersa. Turn right into Muranowska at the junction and then right again into Bonifraterska. The bus stop is just ahead. It’s a 6-minute walk in total.
Look for the bus to Wilanów and get off at Łazienki Królewskie 01 (10 stops). The journey takes 18 minutes and the current price is 3.40zł.
The bus stops opposite the park with entrance gates all along the perimeter of the grounds.
Day Two: Evening (Option 2)
Cool Cat TR
7:00pm: Dinner – Cool Cat TR
Cool Cat delightfully laid-back restaurant with hearty, wholesome food and shady outside dining. Bao buns and K-fries, ramen, burgers, and all-day breakfasts illustrate what’s on the menu.
Exit the gardens near the Józef Piłsudski Monument, close to where the bus first dropped you off. Then cross over to Bagatela and keep walking for 5 minutes. At the roundabout, take the second turning on the left and walk along Marszałkowska. The Cool Cat is a minute or so further on the right.
9:00pm: Nightlife – Bar Wieczorny
With what some reckon to be the best cocktails in Warsaw and a spacious summer garden, Bar Wieczorny is a fine place to wind down at the end of a long day. There’s a tasting menu of 6 signature cocktails, which are currently gooseberry (gin), strawberry (vodka), hawthorn (gin), currant (tequila), viburnum (bourbon), and beetroot(rum). And there are classics on hand if you don’t like the sound of those. You’ll need a taxi to get back after!
Bar Wieczorny is less than 10 minutes away by vehicle and 17 on foot but you may consider getting a taxi. There are various buses from the pl. Unii Lubelskiej 58 stop, although at this time of night you may have a wait. Walk back down Marszałkowska and across the roundabout, as if you were returning to Łazienki. The walk takes about 5 minutes and the stop is on the left, about halfway down.
Look for the 168 to Spartańska and get off after 4 stops at Wiśniowa 02. The journey takes 4 minutes and costs 3.40zł.
Once you get off the bus, walk back a little the way you’ve just come and turn right into Wiśniowa. The bar is less than a minute away on the left. Keep your eyes peeled, as it’s easy to miss!
Plan your Warsaw visit with Warsaw map of Warsaw’s attractions, restaurants, sightseeing and hotels.
Each type of landmark has a different colour marker on the map:
- 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
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.
Click on the icon in the top left corner for an index of every location, 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 Visit Warsaw map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
More Warsaw Itineraries
See our range of itineraries to suit your stay in Kraków:
- Warsaw One-Day Itinerary
This tour is for visitors to Warsaw with limited time who want to get a flavour of the city. Here, you’ll find a window into the history and culture of Warsaw.
- Warsaw Three-Day Itinerary
This three-day schedule includes many key attractions, such as the Royal Route and the Old Town, as well as a mix of classic and contemporary Warsaw. But a day trip to Kraków is also part of this itinerary.
- Sightseeing In Warsaw
This page summarises the key attractions you won’t want to miss during your trip to Warsaw, with information on how to visit them.
- Things To Do In Warsaw
This page is full of suggestions for some essential and fun things to see and do in Warsaw. Here, we offer an overview of different activities and link out to where you can find out more information.