Warsaw is a city that has risen from the ashes on various occasions. A great city for centuries, the Polish capital was virtually flattened during the bombings and devastation that occurred during the Second World War and the famous Warsaw uprising.
The second half of the 20th century saw the city become part of the communist bloc and the socialist architecture and urban planning is still omnipresent in vast areas of the city.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and Poland’s subsequent economic success, the capital has evolved into a modern European metropolis with a skyline and infrastructure unrivalled in Eastern Europe.
Day 1: Visit the beautiful Old Town and learn about the history and culture of the city in the Polish National Museum and the Uprising museum
Start your weekend in the Polish capital by walking to the Old Town, the prettiest part of the city. The picturesque houses on Market Square are a beautiful reminder that this city has an old core which survived the horrors and destruction of the Second World War. On Market Square you will be able to brush up on some local delicacies and on some typical hand crafted Polish figurines as a souvenir.
Complete your visit to the Old Town by admiring the impressive collections of Polish art and other historical items in the National Museum (Aleje Jerozolimskie 3), which is one of the branches of Poland’s national collection housed in museums all over the country.
After lunch in one of the many smaller restaurants around Market Square, head back to the new centre of Warsaw, where the Palace of Culture and Science is located. The building, which nowadays houses public and cultural institutions, is still the highest tower in Poland and was originally built to symbolize the might of communism.
The palace’s link to Stalin and communism is the reason for the building’s very limited popularity among Varsovians, who gave it nicknames like ‘Beijing‘ or ‘Stalin’s syringe‘
A few blocks west from the Palace of Culture and Science you will find the Uprising Museum (Grzybowska 79), a fantastic place to learn about one of the most famous episodes in Warsaw’s history in a lively and interactive manner.
Start your night out with a hearty Polish dinner at Butchery and Wine (22 Zurawia str), an excellent restaurant that specializes in meat and offers a variety of Polish and international dishes. The chef strongly recommends his Tartar beef, which is a common Polish starter before enjoying one of the mouthwatering main courses. Another Polish delicacy is the obligatory shot of house Vodka after desert.
After dinner, head back to the the centre to enjoy a night out in one of Warsaw’s party temples, such as XOXO (Marii Konopnickiej 6), one of the newest clubs in Warsaw, which will impress you with its chic and hip clientele, its great atmosphere and its internationally renowned Djs. Note that it is strongly recommended to go early and to check out their facebook page to know what event will be hosted on that particular night in order to avoid long queues and a possible refusal at the door.
Day 2: Experience the contrasts of Warsaw by visiting distinct neighbourhoods before trying some local delicacies.
Wake up in Hotel Metropol, a great, well priced mid range hotel located just a few streets from the Palace of Culture and Science. Hotel Metropol’s breakfast offer is extensive and it will provide all the nutrition you need in order to recover from your hangover or just to start the day well.
Explore the very diverse neighbourhoods that you can find in Central Warsaw by having a look at the modern high rises that make up Warsaw’s new skyline. Just a few blocks from Warsaw’s new centre, you will find some of the remnants of communist Poland, which deliver stark contrasts to the glass skyscrapers that are now omnipresent in the Polish capital.
Try some Polish craft beers in the Piw Paw (Żurawia 32/34), a small, centrally located pub that will delight you with its vast assortment of local and international beers. This beer temple is actually open 24hours a day, which means that you will be able to enjoy some beers in a comfy setting and engage into deep conversations without having to worry about last call or closing time. A great spot to socialize, to try some local delicacies and to support micro-breweries that would remain undiscovered if it weren’t for pubs like this one.