things to do in warsaw poland where to stay in warsaw Old Town Square

14 Amazing Things to Do in Warsaw Like a Local

Warsaw has held my heart ever since my first solo trip in 2015. Over four visits, I’ve seen it change and grow, from the beautifully restored Old Town to the vibrant energy of Praga. The city’s mix of museums, parks, delicious food, and evolving neighborhoods keeps me coming back, feeding my deep affection for Warsaw’s dynamic spirit.
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Warsaw will always have a special place in my heart. When I moved to Madrid for a summer in 2015 I spent some time traveling before heading back to New York, and Warsaw was the last place I visited before heading home. 

Warsaw was also the first solo trip I ever took! I actually have a note in my notes app from the day I spent exploring on my own:

I’ve held onto that feeling since 2015, and it’s definitely what’s inspired so much of my love of travel.

But enough sap! Let’s get to the good stuff:

Since 2015 I’ve been back to Warsaw three additional times, in the winter and the summer, and it’s been wild to see the city change and shift over the last nearly 10 years. The best way I can quickly sum Warsaw up is that it feels a bit like Berlin before western tourists realized it was a cool and affordable place to travel.

things to do in warsaw poland Old Town Square Barbican Barbakan
little me on my first solo trip to Warsaw in 2015, shortly after writing in my notes app

The Warsaw I explored this past summer was almost unrecognizable compared to the one I visited as a young college student in 2015, and I’m so excited to share that Warsaw with you all! Keep scrolling to read about all the best things to do in Warsaw Poland.

This map was made with Wanderlog, a road trip planner app on iOS and Android

Delve into Poland

The Best Things to Do in Warsaw

One of my favorite things about Poland in general is that it feels like there’s never ending things to see and do, and the sheer amount of things to do in Warsaw Poland really showcases that!

Considering how much is going on in this city, it’s kind of crazy to me that Warsaw is a more off the beaten track destination than so many other European cities. Get ready to be blown away by all the things to do in Warsaw, and bookmark this page so you can reference it later!

1. Explore Old Town Warsaw

things to do in warsaw poland Old Town Square

Old Town Warsaw Poland is without a doubt one of the main things to see in Warsaw, and for many (myself included) the quintessential picture of Warsaw. The old town feels as picture perfect as it looks, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980! There’s honestly a ton to see in Old Town because so many of the points of interest are concentrated within this area. I’ve tried to keep it brief so as to not overwhelm!

The whole area has actually been rebuilt since WWII, as the conflict completely flattened Warsaw in the 1940s (if you want to see pre-war buildings, you’ll have to go east to the Praga neighborhood, but more on that later). 

However, the rebuilt Old Town has been so meticulously done that you absolutely cannot tell that the buildings are “new.” 

things to do in warsaw poland old town christmas market

The Old Town essentially starts at Sigismund’s Column, where you can get the main view of the colorful buildings in the plaza. If you keep walking into the old town you’ll enjoy the cobblestone streets, little shops and cafes and more old and quaint buildings. This is also where you’ll find the Warsaw Christmas Market if you visit during the holidays, and it’s so cute!

For any lovers of glitz and glamor you should be sure to go inside the Royal Palace. It’s stunning inside and will be sure to delight anyone who loves to take a look at how the other half lived.

Another main part of the Old Town to make sure you visit are the Old Town Market Square, which has the famous Mermaid statue and used to be (as the name suggests) an important market square. Today, it’s mostly just a square with cafes and restaurants. 

The Old Town is also where you’ll find the aforementioned Barbakan, which is a remaining part of the old walls that used to surround the city, but now serve as the barrier between Old Town and New Town.

Personally, I haven’t found many notable restaurants in the Old Town, but I do think it’s nice to sit for a coffee and people watch amongst the pretty buildings.

P.S. When you book using my links, you help support Rachel IRL at no extra cost to you. It’s a win-win!

2. Visit One of Warsaw’s Many Museums

things to do in warsaw poland neon museum

There’s an unbelievable number of museums in Warsaw Poland, so of course one of the best things to do in Warsaw would be to visit a handful of the ones that interest you the most. If you want my full, detailed review of all my recommended museums in Warsaw, check out my complete guide to museums in Warsaw Poland, but for now, here are my quick picks:

  • Neon Museum: The Neon Museum is located in the trendy, hipster Praga area of Warsaw, situated within the Soho Factory development. The Museum has a collection of over 60 Cold War-era neon signs, both inside and outside. There’s definitely a “photo-opp” element to this museum. However, when I visited it didn’t feel overly touristy or “just for Instagram.” That said, I went in the dead of winter, so there’s definitely a chance it may feel a bit commercial in the high season.
  • Warsaw Rising Museum: The Warsaw Rising Museum is one of the best museums I’ve been to, period, and definitely my top recommendation for museums to visit in Warsaw. The museum showcases the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, when 150,000 civilians died. It’s incredibly immersive and engaging and tells the story of some of the most important Warsaw history. Don’t miss this one.
  • POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews: The POLIN museum is located within the former Jewish Ghetto, and works to honor the rich history and heritage of Poland’s Jewish community. Given the history of the Holocaust in Poland, this museum is an incredibly important addition to the city.
things to do in warsaw poland warsaw rising museum flags
  • National Museum: The National Museum is one of Poland’s oldest museums, and has a collection of over 830,000 works, dating from antiquity to the present. This is the place to be if you want to explore Polish art as well as see some pieces from the masters like Botticelli and Rembrandt.
things to do in warsaw poland - life under communism museum
  • Museum of Life Under Communism: As a quick disclaimer, I visited this museum when it was smaller and still located in Praga, so I can’t speak to the new space, though I think it’s similar. This museum showcases the good, the bad, and the strange realities of living under communism. I really enjoyed getting to see all the artifacts and imagine a world totally different to our own!
  • Chopin Museum: The Chopin Museum is, you guessed it, all about the Polish composer Fryderyk Chopin. You’ll get a deep dive into his life and his work.

3. Stroll Through Warsaw’s Parks 

things to do in Warsaw poland - go to Łazienki park
things to do in Warsaw poland - go to Łazienki park

When traveling it’s pretty easy to become tired of walking around all day to see as much of the city as you can. When exhaustion strikes, my two favorite things to do in Warsaw are: sit at a cafe (keep scrolling for all my top cafe and food picks!), or sit at a park/garden. The nice thing about the latter is that the parks and gardens are also some of the best things to see in Warsaw, so it’s a bit of a win-win!

My favorite park in Warsaw is Łazienki Królewskie. I’ve taken a walk through this stunning space in the dead of winter when it was blanketed in snow, and in the heart of summer when I was sweating my ass off, and it’s a perfect way to spend the day either way!

4. Eat at a Milk Bar

things to do in warsaw poland eat pierogis at a milk bar

When I talk to most people about Poland, they’re usually shocked to hear that the food is a major draw in my opinion! Polish food is good, and incredibly underrated. So of course eating is one of my favorite things to do in Warsaw.

The main thing that will come to mind for Polish food is usually pierogi, and with good reason, because they’re unbelievably good. If you’re unfamiliar, pierogi are basically Poland’s version of a dumpling. I typically like the Ruskie ones the best, which contain a potato filling, with fried onions on top, and sour cream on the side to dip. 

The best place to try a pierogi (and plenty of other Polish foods) is at a bar mleczny, or Polish Milk Bar. A “Milk Bar” is a cafeteria style restaurant usually popular for daytime meals. They became such a staple of the Polish food scene in the Communist era, when they offered government-subsidized food at a low cost.

things to do in warsaw eat at a milk bar
a traditional, no fuss milk bar in Old Town

Now, many of them have been updated, and in many cases made a bit more trendy for tourists and locals alike, but they’re still a must visit during your time in Warsaw. Even just ordering can be a bit of an adventure, as there’s often a line, everything is in Polish, and it’s very utilitarian and fast paced, but don’t stress, it’s all part of the experience. Just have Google Translate ready, or know the Polish words for the foods you want ahead of time!

Prasowy is probably my favorite just because I like the aesthetic and location, plus the food is amazing, and I’ve just been so many times at this point! In the food section below you’ll find my other Milk Bar picks as well.

If you want the rest of my best picks for where to eat in Warsaw, keep scrolling to see my extensive guide to the best foods in Warsaw.

5. Sample the National Alcohol at a Warsaw Vodka Museum

warsaw museums polish vodka museum

Vodka is such a big deal in Poland that there are actually two vodka museums in Warsaw.

My advice? Skip the Warsaw Vodka Museum located in the Old Town, which is really more an exhibition of vodka memorabilia—plus a tasting room—than anything else.

Instead, I highly recommend checking out the Polish Vodka Museum located within the hip Koneser Center (a redeveloped factory complex) in the even hipper Praga. Here, you’ll get a chance to learn all about how vodka is made and exactly why it’s so important in Polish culture inside an actual vodka distillery dating all the way back to the 19th century.

This museum is the perfect centrepiece to a lovely day spent in Praga, and I highly recommend a visit! Book your tickets in advance—they’re for timed entry, and they do sell out at busy times!

6. Explore Alternative Praga

things to do in warsaw visit praga hipster off the beaten path

Speaking of Praga, I know this guide to all things Warsaw is already a bit of a behemoth, so if you want the full scoop on everything to do in Warsaw’s coolest off-the-beaten-track neighborhood, check out my full guide to the alternative east side of Warsaw. Here I’ll just stick to the highlights!

When I first visited Warsaw in 2015, Praga was a massive no-go. I took an “alternative” free Warsaw walking tour which explored the area, but it definitely felt a little like we weren’t welcome, and our guide warned us that she wouldn’t recommend us going back alone, and especially not at night.

I can’t really blame the residents of Praga for being slightly unfriendly, as it’s been the site of massive gentrification since then. If you’re a frequent reader of the blog you’ll know I try to be sensitive about gentrification, and recommendations that might hasten that process, but ultimately, after being in Praga in 2023 I think it’s pretty far gone, and in many ways the process has already happened.

That said, my personal view is that one of the most ethical and sensitive ways to visit a gentrifying / gentrified area like Praga is on a guided tour with a local—who can take you to genuinely locally owned spots, as well as teach you about the history and even current issues from an insider’s perspective. This one hosted by one of my favorite platforms, WithLocals, will do just that!

praga warsaw street art things to do in warsaw poland

No matter how you visit, my main top picks for Praga are the Soho Factory, Saska Kępa, and Ząbkowska street. There are loads to eat and drink in Praga, and a lot of really cool history, culture and street art. I definitely recommend checking it out.

7. Take a Tour with a Warsaw Local

While I do love wandering around without a plan in any city, starting your trip to Warsaw with a tour can definitely help set the stage for a more contextualized and better oriented experience. It’ll help you navigate the city, get a feel for what’s ahead, and might even give you that extra boost of confidence for venturing out on your own later on.

If you’re looking to get a quick yet diverse peek into Warsaw’s neighborhoods, you’re going to want to opt for touring on wheels. Warsaw is huge!

8. Sunbathe (or Swim!) on a Vistula Beach

things to do in warsaw vistula river beach

The Vistula River is impossible to miss when you’re in Warsaw, because it splits the city right in two! Not to mention, unlike some European city rivers, the Vistula feels quite large and daunting in my opinion. But enough about that, this is mainly to cover all the ways you can enjoy the Vistula as one of the best things to do in Warsaw in the summer.

The summer is the ideal time to soak up all that there is to get out of the Vistula River because as soon as the temperature gets high enough, the banks of the river are bursting with excitement. 

Not only can you find tons of outdoor beer gardens and terraces on the west side, but on the east side it’s a yearly tradition for people to set up camp on the sandy shores and enjoy a beach day. You’ll even find pop up beach bars! Talk about fun and unique things to do in Warsaw!

If you’re more for relaxing and leisure, I’d recommend doing a river boat tour of the Vistula. You’ll get the same excellent city views views and relaxing breeze off the water, without any sand in your shoes!

9. Engage with History in the Old Jewish Quarter

things to do in warsaw jewish ghetto

Unlike some other European cities—Krakow for example—the old Jewish Quarter (and eventual ghetto) has been mostly turned into residential areas, and some memorials and museums. You’ll know when you’re entering and exiting the former ghetto due to the memorialized border that’s been permanently placed in the ground (pictured). 

Notably, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews is now located in this part of Old Warsaw.

I also recommend taking a Warsaw walking tour of the Jewish Ghetto area because you’ll get a lot more information and value out of exploring this part of the city with a guide than if you just do it alone, in my opinion. After all, being mostly residential these days, a lot of the history is hidden in plain sight, and takes a bit of explanation to fully appreciate.

10. Explore the City’s Different Neighborhoods

things to do in warsaw poland explore new neighborhoods

One of my favorite things to do in Warsaw, or any new city really, is to explore all the different neighborhoods to see what each little pocket of the city has to offer. I know I already mentioned Praga, but Warsaw has plenty of other areas too and exploring them in full will mean you’ll never be at a loss for what to do in Warsaw!

If you want an in depth look at all the best neighborhoods to explore in Warsaw (and the best ones to stay in), you should check out my full Warsaw neighborhood guide.

For now though, jot down (or save in your Google Maps – one of my favorite travel resources!) Praga, Old Town, Centrum/Śródmieście Południowe, Saska Kepa, and Old Mokotow. A bonus to this activity is that the best way to reach some of the further neighborhoods is by taking the tram, some of which feel like you’ve stepped back in time!

11. Catch a Show at the Grand Theatre

things to do in warsaw poland national opera grand theatre

Something unique that I sometimes like to do while traveling (if the options appeal to me) is to catch a show or a concert (the last time I was in Warsaw was to see Harry Styles!). You can always check out what events are coming through the city, but one option that will always be available for things to do in Warsaw is the Grand Theatre. 

The original building from the early 1800s was nearly completely destroyed during WWII, and was thankfully reconstructed and reopened in 1965. Productions include Opera and Ballet. The Ballet is obviously an easy option for those concerned about language barriers, but most, if not all, of the Opera’s at the Grand Theatre offer English subtitles anyway, so you should be fine!

where to stay in praga warsaw poland neon museum warsaw museums

10 of the Best Warsaw Museums to Visit

Warsaw's museum scene is seriously awesome. From the heart-touching stories at the Warsaw Rising Museum to the incredible celebration of Polish-Jewish life at POLIN, each museum is like a…

Can’t Miss Things to See in Warsaw

I always like to have a “things to see” section of these posts after the “things to do” section, because let’s be real, not everything is something you spend more than 10 minutes looking at!

I always get irritated when I’m looking for things to do in a city and people suggest a full list of things you just take photo of and move on—but that’s a rant for another day. Here are all the things to see in Warsaw Poland:

12. Piano Benches 

things to see in warsaw poland chopin piano bench-VSCO

One of the quirky and fun things to see in Warsaw is the presence of the Chopin Piano Benches. There are 15 of these musical benches around the city to pay tribute to the famous composer, Frédéric Chopin.

The benches are sleek and black and hard to miss, and each one has a button that you can push to hear 30 seconds of a Chopin piece. 

The easiest one to get to is probably at Krasińskich Square, because you can stroll over to it after walking through the Old Town and out the Barbikan wall. You can look up the locations for all of them, but I personally think it’s more fun to see how many you can find by happenstance.

13. Street Art

things to do in warsaw street art tour

There’s a lot of cool and notable street art in Warsaw, and whether you intentionally try to or not, you’ll probably end up seeing a lot of it regardless! However, if you want to really check out some cool stuff, I recommend heading over to Praga. 

In Praga it feels like you can’t walk more than two blocks without seeing more street art! You can find a lot of options for a street art Warsaw walking tour, which is a great option if you want to learn more about the pieces, but if you just want to enjoy the view, I encourage you to just start wandering and keep an eye out!

14. The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw

things to do in warsaw poland palace of culture and science stalins penis 1-VSCO

Every city seems to have a building that the locals almost universally hate, and it’s the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw. It’s so hated that it’s said many people consider the observation deck to be the best view of Warsaw, solely because it’s the only place in Warsaw where you won’t have to look at the Palace of Culture and Science!

Not only that, but it’s also not uncommon to hear it referred to as “Stalin’s Penis,” since he gifted the building to Warsaw in the 1950s. Is that enough lore to convince you that this is one of the more interesting things to see in Warsaw?

I don’t really get all the hate personally, but as a city dweller myself I would never take away the satisfaction of hating a particular building! 

All hate and jokes aside, the Palace of Culture Warsaw actually does offer a great view of the city, so if you want to see the city from above, buy a ticket and check it out! The rest of the building also has a lot of events and spaces to check out, like bookstores and a cinema and even a pool. I’ve never bothered to check out the rest of the space, but the view from the outside and the top are definitely worth a visit.

things to do in wroclaw

14 Unique Things to Do in Wroclaw, Poland

Discover the vibrant allure of Wroclaw, uncovering its eclectic blend of youthful energy and historical charm. From the quaint Old Town to the neon-lit side galleries, I’m sharing my favorite…

Where to Eat in Warsaw to Fall in Love with Polish Food

There are so many great restaurants and places to eat in Warsaw, Poland that it felt impossible to narrow them down, but I think I did okay! (Okay so it’s not exactly narrow, sue me!)

Below you’ll find some of my favorite places. I’ve been to most of them, some of them I’m desperate to go to, and all of them I stand behind! I gave a little description of why I chose this place, and I’ve linked them all to Google Maps (one of my ride or die travel resources).

restaurants warsaw poland cafes coffee-VSCO
an afternoon treat at Coffeedesk Kawiarnia – Wilcza

For morning pick me ups or afternoon slumps

Coffeedesk Kawiarnia – Wilcza – Cute and trendy coffee shop in Centrum, more pastries/desserts than food.

Cała w Mące – perfect and incredible pastries near Old Town.

Tonka – coffee and pastries near the POLIN museum.

Forum – Coffee shop and cafe. I prefer the food to the coffee to be honest, but it’s good in a pinch!

Po Drodze – Modern and sleek cafe with yummy pastries and good coffee. Near Łazienki park.

For breakfast and lunch 

Prasowy – One of my favorite milk bars in Warsaw, I try to go here every time I visit.

Bambino – Yummy and classic milk bar near Centrum.

Rusałka – Good milk bar in Praga.

Relaks – One of my favorite cafes in Warsaw! Incredible pastries.

Bar Mleczny Lindleya 14 – Milk bar near Centrum.

restaurants warsaw poland where to eat praga

For lunch and dinner 

Warszawa Wschodnia – One of my favorite spots in Praga, elevated, cool and amazing dishes. I’ve gone several times. (It used to be open 24/7, and we first visited at like, 3am, but it seems that that gimmick is over).

Nocny Rynek – “Night market”, can be a bit crowded but a nice casual street food place.

Efes Kebab – Takeaway stand in south Praga, follow the line. Arguably Warsaw’s best Kebab.

Nicoletta – Open all day. Pizzas, drinks and other dishes in a very cool art deco space with a giant and stunning garden in south Praga.

Skamiejka – Perfect little Russian spot that feels like a living room in Praga. Really kind staff too.

restaurants warsaw poland where to eat praga fancy pierogis

Alewino – Wine bar with seasonal menu. Warm space and nice staff.

Pyzy Flaki Gorące – Casual and lowkey Polish restaurant for tourists & locals in Praga. 

Bibenda – Crazy popular and trendy space with a creative menu. Worth trying to get in.

Restauracja Źródło – Wine bar with a great menu in Praga.

W Oparach Absurdu – Eclectic and vintage inspired restaurant and bar in Praga.

Stary Dom – Traditional Polish food in a traditional wood paneled setting, bit out of the way!

Bez Gwiazdek –  One of my favorites. Inventive spins on traditional Polish recipes, set menu, warm atmosphere. Near the University.

Zapiecek – The first dinner I had in Warsaw in 2015! Cozy and hearty and delicious Polish food.

Café Mozaika – Trendy Mediterranean and Balkan food in a trendy setting in Old Mokotow.

where to eat and drink in warsaw poland

For everything else

Veles Bar – Very cool speakeasy! great drinks, sleek interior near Centrum.

MOD donuts – Trendy donuts in south Praga. Full disclosure: Daniel liked them more than I did. They also have a restaurant location but we didn’t try it.

Lody Sosenka – Ice cream shop with inventive flavors (I love the mango lassi) and multiple locations.

El Koktel – Classy and popular cocktail bar. Downtown.

Bar Wieczorny – Casual craft cocktail bar with incredible backyard. Best in summer!

Paloma Inn – Incredible retro aesthetic, great fries and fun food, stellar drinks, fun atmosphere.

PiwPaw – “beer heaven” massive famous beer hall.

Where to Stay in Warsaw

At the end of the day, Warsaw is a huge capital city with so many unique pockets to explore during your visit. There’s no single area that is the “best” place to stay, but my post on 8 of the best neighborhoods in Warsaw is a great place to start your search for where to stay in Warsaw.

I also have a roundup organized by budget of my favorite hotels and apartments in Warsaw, but if you’re in a hurry or want a quick teaser, here are the best of the best:

PURO Warszawa Centrum

PURO Warszawa Centrum

$$$ | 4 Star | Śródmieście Północne | Hip Sophistication

It’s a difficult choice, but if my hand was forced I think I’d go with PURO Warsaw as my very top pick among the amazing five star hotels in Warsaw. Every space at this hotel is impeccably design with intentionality and a little bit of whimsy. Stay here to live your very best life, and don’t forget to check out the rooftop bar/restaurant while you’re at it…

Photo: Booking.com

Hotel Warszawa

Hotel Warszawa

$$$ | 5 Star | Śródmieście Północne | Moody Minimalism

With its trendy wood panelled bedrooms and impressive marble bathrooms, you wouldn’t expect Hotel Warszawa to be one of the most important heritage buildings in the Warsaw skyline. And yet… it’s actually a stunning example of interwar brutalism. Some rooms even retain a bit of the original concrete, along with expert design choices that make it feel downright cozy. I’m in—meet you at the spa!

Photo: Booking.com

Hotel Verte Warsaw Old Town

Hotel Verte

$$$ | 5 Star | Old Town | Cozy Chic

Want to stay in a literal palace, right in the heard of Old Town, for less than $200/night?! Hotel Verte is about the only place I can imagine that would fit the bill! Plus, this place is the perfect mix of on-trend decor and old-time luxury. Honestly, if this place is available and you’re looking for something central—book it right now!

Photo: Booking.com

Sava Boutique Hotel Powisle

Sava Boutique Hotel

$$ | 4 Star | Powiśle | Affordably Luxe

Aside from being tastefully decorated and lit with ample natural light, one of the biggest draws of Sava Boutique Hotel is its prime location in Powiśle (one of the coolest local neighborhoods in Warsaw), next to the Vistula River, and steps from a convenient metro station. Despite being relatively new, this place has glowing reviews rolling right in, so snag a room before it’s booked up for your dates!

Photo: Booking.com

Moxy Warsaw Praga

Moxy Warsaw Praga

$ | 3 Star | Praga Połnoc | Trendy Digs & Location

Steps away from the Polish Vodka Museum and my favorite pierogi in the whole city (Skamiejka), Moxy Warsaw is about the coolest Warsaw hotel you could hope to stay at under $100/night. Sure, the decor might lean a bit too trendy, but the pluses far outweighs the minuses on this one for me!

Photo: Booking.com


FAQs About Visiting Warsaw, Poland

things to do in warsaw poland - intersection communist style

Is 3 days enough for Warsaw?

Yes, I think 3 days is enough for Warsaw. It’s that sweet spot where you’ll probably wish you had a bit more time, but you also feel like you got to do nearly everything on your list.

There’s actually a decent amount of things to do in Warsaw, so there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll be able to easily fill three days. If anything, you may end up a bit ragged and weary after trying to fit everything into only 3 days!

I’ve always gone through Warsaw for 2-4 days, and I think it’s the sweet spot. Just make sure you take stock of the things that were on this list that you’re interested in, and make sure that 3 or so days will be sufficient.

is warsaw or krakow better? thing to do in warsaw poland

Is Warsaw or Kraków better?

It’s honestly really hard to say, one way or another, if Warsaw or Krakow is better. Warsaw is a bit more conservative feeling, perhaps a bit more capitalist—which is to be expected, given that it’s the capital of the country. 

Warsaw has a much bigger downtown, and it’s a bit more polished overall (aside from the alternative Praga neighborhood). At times, it feels a lot like Berlin. There’s a ton of history and great food and it feels like a normal city break. Not to mention, there are so many things to do in Warsaw.

On the other hand, Krakow feels a bit more rough around the edges, but not in a bad way. It’s definitely a smaller city, and it feels a lot older than Warsaw.

Unlike the capital, it wasn’t fully destroyed during WWII, so most of the buildings are original. Krakow feels a lot younger, more bohemian, and better for nightlife. 

If possible, I think it’s best to visit both Krakow and Warsaw on your trip to Poland.

The vibes are so different, it’s nice to be able to compare them yourself!

is warsaw or krakow better? thing to do in warsaw poland

What to avoid in Warsaw?

This question comes up a lot when I talk to people about traveling to Warsaw. I think that there was a time (like when I visited in 2015) where this was a warranted question. Most of Praga was considered a bit sketchy at that time, and I remember my walking tour guide taking us to part of it and feeling a bit unsafe. 

where to avoid in warsaw - praga

She confirmed that we should probably not come back on our own, and definitely not come back at night. That being said, that was almost 10 years ago, and it couldn’t be more different today.

I’ve been to Praga every time I’ve been to Warsaw, and the last time I was there we actually stayed in Praga. So I can say, unequivocally, Praga is completely safe and doesn’t need to be avoided, even at night! I’ve felt totally safe walking around in Warsaw at night, even in Praga.

In fact, this photo was taken in Praga in 2015, on the very tour where I felt a but unsafe. Fast forward to this past summer and I actually stayed only a few blocks away, and explored this area solo and without any issues.

Just maintain some common sense like you should in any part of any city, and you’ll be a-okay!

warsaw poland in the winter

What is the best month to visit Warsaw?

There’s no bad time to visit Warsaw, but spring and autumn are the best times to visit Warsaw. Summer and winter are pretty extreme on either end of the temperature spectrum, so may be uncomfortable for some people. 

That being said, I’ve visited Warsaw in the height of summer and the dead of winter, and while it’s certainly super hot and freezing cold at these times, neither is unmanageable! There may be slightly less things to do in Warsaw in the winter, but even then you get the magic of the snow, and the super cute Warsaw Christmas Market.

Is Warsaw as cheap as Krakow?

No, Warsaw is slightly more expensive than Krakow.

That being said, from the perspective of someone who lives in London, and calls San Francisco home…the price difference is negligible.

Poland is such a relatively affordable European destination to be honest.

I don’t think it’s worth worrying too much about which city will be cheaper. More often than not you’ll be floored by the affordable prices in Warsaw.

is warsaw as cheap as krakow?

Do you need cash in Warsaw?

No, you don’t particularly need cash in Warsaw. The last time I was in the city I was actually shocked by the prevalence of contactless payment. I don’t think we took out cash even once while we were there. That being said, when visiting smaller or more local businesses, there’s always a chance you may find somewhere that’s cash only.

The card vs cash situation in Warsaw felt much closer to, for example, London, where I haven’t touched cash in years, compared to, for example, Berlin, where you still need cash quite a lot. Also, if you do find yourself in need of cash, it’s not too difficult to find an ATM in Warsaw.

do you need cash in warsaw?

Can you do a day trip from Warsaw to Auschwitz?

Technically, yes, you can do a day trip from Warsaw to Auschwitz, just be prepared for it to be an incredibly heavy and long day.

The journey will take you about 4 hours, give or take, to get from Warsaw to Auschwitz, and the tour itself is somewhere around 2.5-3 hours. So all told, without any delays, that’s about 12 hours to dedicated to a Warsaw to Auschwitz tour. Obviously, the tour is quite heavy, and so you should expect to feel emotionally drained by the end. 

can you go to auschwitz from warsaw on a day trip?

It’s much easier to visit Auschwitz from Krakow, which is how I did it. However, if you’re only going to be in Warsaw during your time in Poland, you can definitely commit to making it happen. I’d recommend doing it through a Warsaw to Auschwitz tour service though, so you don’t encounter any mishaps on the journey.

things to do in Warsaw poland feminism
things to do in Warsaw poland ride the tram

P.S. When you book using my links, you help support Rachel IRL at no extra cost to you. It’s a win-win!

Ready for the best things to do in Warsaw?

I hope this post has made you super inspired and excited to visit Warsaw, Poland!! 

If you have any questions, comments, or think I might have missed something, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email! 

And if you’re still planning, be sure to check out all my other posts about Warsaw so you can have the best trip ever.

You can also always find me on Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, and my newsletter.

Happy traveling!

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10 of the Best Warsaw Museums to Visit

Warsaw's museum scene is seriously awesome. From the heart-touching stories at the Warsaw Rising Museum to the incredible celebration of Polish-Jewish life at POLIN, each museum is like a piece of the city's vibrant history puzzle. There's something for everyone – art lovers, history buffs, or those just looking for a good time. Get ready for an adventure packed with cool exhibitions and interactive displays that'll make your Warsaw trip totally unforgettable!

Comments2

  1. I’m so glad you loved Warsaw. My family is from the city. My mom and I had never been but after my grandmother passed away I promised my mom we would go back to the family homeland. We ended up taking a trip there a few months ago and absolutely fell in love. It was such a beautiful way to pay tribute to my grandmother who left Poland as a child.

    1. This is so beautiful, I’m so glad you were able to have that experience. Those are the most special kinds of trips 🙂

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