Looking to plan a fun weekend in Warsaw City Break itinerary?
Our Weekend in Warsaw Getaway Guide features all of the top attractions to experience in 2 or 3 days when vacationing in the Polish capital.
There’s so much to do on a Warsaw City Break you can pick and chose from our favourite experiences to create your own bespoke itinerary based on your unique interests.
Our ideal Warsaw weekend getaway features a centrally located hotel so you can visit all of the top sites on foot or by using the convenient and affordable transit system.
Whether you’re a culture vulture looking to explore art galleries and museums or a foodie keen to visit local craft breweries and indulge in a Polish Pierogi Pilgrimage, there are plenty of fun things to do on a 3 day Warsaw City Break!
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What To Do On A Warsaw City Break
Warsaw is the capital and largest city in Poland.
The metropolis is located on the Vistula River, in east-central Poland, roughly 260 kilometres from the Baltic Sea and 300 kilometres from the Carpathian Mountains.
Warsaw’s greater metropolitan area has over 3 million residents, making it the 6th most populous city in the European Union.
A few years ago I visited Poland for the first time and fell in love with Krakow. As a professional food and travel journalist I was thrilled to sample the Must-Try Tastes of Poland like homemade pierogies, Mizeria Creamy Cucumber Salad, Sour Rye Zurek Soup, and Polish Dill Pickle Soup
If you have the time we’d recommend planning a long weekend in Warsaw, so you have 3 full days to explore the city’s awesome attractions and mouth-watering restaurants.
On day one of your Warsaw City Break itinerary you may want to get the lay of the land by organizing a tour of the city to learn about its history and visit a few top attractions with a knowledgeable guide. Check out these fun Warsaw Tours.
2 or 3 Day Warsaw City Break Itinerary
Warsaw is a modern city that features a skyline teaming with contemporary skyscrapers, trendy shops, state of the art museums and gorgeous restaurants.
While most of the city was left in ruins after the devastation of World War II, Warsaw’s most iconic buildings like churches and palaces have been painstakingly reconstructed to their former beauty.
The most interesting historical features of Warsaw are located along the Royal Route, a series of roads linking the Old Town and Royal Castle with the Water Palace and Wilanow, which stand just outside of the city.
When planning a Warsaw City Break the first thing you need to do is book a centrally located hotel. We suggest using Google Maps so you can plan each day of your itinerary knowing how far each attractions is on foot or via the city’s transit system.
I spent 3 nights staying at the Ibis Warszawa Stare Miasto, which is conveniently located a short walk from Warsaw’s Old Town and POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
Ibis is a French brand of economy hotels owned by Accor, part of the Fairmont family. Created in 1974, Ibis became Accor’s economy mega brand in 2011 with the launch of Ibis Styles and Ibis Budget. The slogan is “well-being at the best price.” As of 2023, there are over 1,300 Ibis hotels in over 65 countries.
Ibis Warszawa Stare Miasto first opened its doors in 2003. The 333 room hotel is very popular due to its excellent location, a short stroll from the city’s Old Town. I stayed in a bright suite, which featured a comfy Queen bed, coffee and tea nook, and rain shower.
Each morning the Ibis Kitchen Restaurant, offers guests a buffet breakfast featuring standard continental fare like porridge, croissants, pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausages. If you’re keen to sample Polish ingredients you can enjoy a selection of locally made cheeses, charcuterie, pickles and salads, with my personal favourite being creamy corn, ham and gherkin.
Walk the Royal Route
The Royal Route in Warsaw is a former communication route that led southward from the city’s Old Town. It now comprises a series of connecting streets that feature a number of historic landmarks
We suggest walking the Royal Route on your first day in Warsaw as it’s the city’s most famous pedestrian street and features postcard-perfect royal residences, pretty parks and ancient churches.
Stroll down Krakowskie Przedmieście, one of the most prestigious and attractive streets in the city. The wide boulevard starts at the Royal Castle in the Old Town and along its length you will see numerous glass-covered placards with reproductions of Canaletto’s paintings of 18th century Warsaw. The street is closed to drivers in the summer, becoming a popular and welcoming place to skip and stroll.
Part of the Royal Route encompasses Nowy Swiat. This historic thoroughfare is a big draw because of its friendly shops and hub of bars, cafés and restaurants. It’s a great place to get lost if you’re feeling peckish.
St Anne’s Church
St. Anne’s Church, a 15th-century building that has come through the centuries despite wars and fires. It is one of Poland’s most notable churches with a Neoclassical facade and ranks among Warsaw’s oldest buildings.
Over time, it has seen many reconstructions, resulting in its present-day appearance, unchanged since 1788. Currently it is the main church parish of the academic community in Warsaw.
The interior of the church is high-baroque style with several chapels. The church makes an overwhelming impression on every visitor with its surprisingly rich interior filled with hand-painted frescoes.
Warsaw’s Presidential Palace was originally constructed in 1643 as an aristocratic mansion. Since 1994, the magnificent building has served as the official residence of the Polish president. The current neoclassical palace was completed in 1818.
Throughout its history, the palace was a venue for important historical events in Polish, European, and world history. In 1791, the facility hosted authors and advocates of the Constitution of May 3, 1791, the first modern European constitution. The brilliant seven-year-old Frédéric Chopin played his first public concert here.
In 1818, the palace began its ongoing career as a governmental structure when it became the seat of the Viceroy of Congress Poland.
As you might imagine, the palace is not open to the public. In front of the palace you can take photos of the monument to Jozef Poniatowski, nephew of the last King of Poland Stanislaw August Poniatowski.
The Royal Castle
The Royal Castle in Warsaw is a state museum and national historical monument, which formerly served as the official royal residence of several Polish monarchs.
The personal offices of the king and the administrative offices of the royal court were located in the Castle from the 16th century until the final partition of Poland in 1795.
Situated within Castle Square, at the entrance to the Warsaw Old Town, the Royal Castle holds a significant collection of Polish and European art and is the 15th most visited art museum in the world with over 1.1 million visitors in 2021.
Old Town Market Square
The Old Town Market Square is the centre and oldest part of the Old Town of Warsaw. Surrounded by colourful town houses, it’s one of the most beautiful architectural features of Warsaw.
Immediately after the Warsaw Uprising, it was systematically blown up by the German Army. After World War II, the Old Town Market Square was restored to its prewar appearance.
It originated in the late 13th century, at the same time that the city was founded. It was here the representatives of guilds and merchants met in the town hall and fairs and the occasional execution were held. The houses around it represented the Gothic style until the great fire of 1607, after which they were rebuilt in late-Renaissance style and eventually in late-Baroque style in 1701.
The squares most famous resident (and most photographed personality) is The Warsaw Mermaid, a bronze sculpture by Konstanty Hegel, which has stood as the symbol of Warsaw since 1855.
From the spring to autumn it is filled with cafe tables and becomes an open-air gallery of contemporary art.
Cathedral of Saint John
St John’s Archcathedral is a Roman Catholic church located within Warsaw’s Old Town. The last king of Poland was interred in this church nearly 200 years after his death.
The Brick Gothic structure stands on Świętojańska Street, adjacent to the Jesuit Church. It has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Originally built in the 14th century in Masovian Gothic style, the cathedral served as a coronation and burial site for numerous Dukes of Masovia.
The Cathedral of Saint John is one of the oldest in the Polish capital. It was almost completely destroyed during World War II. The cathedral was rebuilt after the war. The exterior reconstruction is based on the 14th-century church’s presumed appearance.
The interior reconstruction design considerably differed from the pre-war cathedral, taking it back in time to its raw Gothic look, because very little of the cathedral’s original furnishings has been preserved.
The Jesuit Church, also known as Church of the Gracious Mother of God, is an ornate church within Warsaw’s scenic Old Town.
The church stands on Świętojańska Street, adjacent to St John’s Cathedral, and is one of the most notable mannerist-style churches in Warsaw.
The Jesuit Church was founded by King Sigismund III Vasa and Podkomorzy Andrzej Bobola in 1609, for the Jesuits. The main building was constructed between 1609 and 1626 in the Polish Mannerist style.
The facade is Mannerist, although the interior is completely modern, because very few of the original furnishings of the church were preserved after World War II. Inside, there are preserved fragments of tomb monuments and a painting of Our Lady of Grace brought to Poland in 1651 by bishop Juan de Torres as a gift from Pope Innocent X is also displayed, along with a preserved wooden crucifix from 1383, a baroque sculpture of Our Lady of Grace, from the beginning of the 18th century, and a stone sculpture of a laying bear from the half of 18th century.
St Martin’s Church
St. Martin’s Church is another must-see attraction Warsaw’s Old Town.
It was established in 1353 together with the adjacent Augustinians cloister. The church itself, which was a stone, gothic building, was erected at the turn of 14th and 15th century. The temple had three altars: the main altar of St. Martin and side altars of the Holy Ghost and of St. Dorothy.
The facade is baroque, although the interior is completely modern. The profuse early baroque furnishings, created in the 1630s by Jan Henel together with the rococo decorations done in the 1750s, were destroyed by German bombing during the Warsaw Uprising.
Inside the church, at the end of the right nave, there is a chapel of Our Lady of Consolation with a copy of a painting from the 15th century, and at the end of the left one – there is the chapel of Jesus Christ. Next to the sanctuary there is a chapel of St. Francis with the most valuable element of the church’s furnishing – a polychromed figure of the Virgin Mary with the Child.
Warsaw is one of the few European capitals where a large portion of the old city wall survives.
The Warsaw Barbican is one of few remaining relics of the complex network of historic fortifications that once encircled Warsaw.
Construction of the wall began in the first half of the 14th-century and continued in phases up to the mid 16th-century. A double circumvallation, reinforced with fortresses and towers, encircled the town.
The National Museum
The National Museum in Warsaw was originally the Museum of Fine Arts, acquiring its present status in 1916.
Despite wartime losses, today it has a large collection of works of art covering all periods from antiquity to modern times.
It comprises a rich collection of ancient art (Egyptian, Greek, Roman), counting over 11,000 pieces, an extensive gallery of Polish painting since the 16th century and a collection of foreign painting (Italian, French, Flemish, Dutch, German and Russian) including some paintings from Adolf Hitler’s private collection, ceded to the museum by Americans in post-war Germany.
The museum boasts the Faras Gallery with Europe’s largest collection of Nubian Christian art and the Gallery of Medieval Art with artefacts from all regions historically associated with Poland.
Warsaw University Library Garden
The Warsaw University Library Roof Garden was designed by the landscape architect Irena Bajerska and opened in 2002. The area is 1 hectare and it has beautiful views of the River Vistula and the city of Warsaw.
The library building has green walls and large walls featuring mathematical formulas, musical scores and famous quotations in various alphabets. It is an excellent example of how publicly accessible greenspace can be made at roof level.
POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews is a museum on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto. The Hebrew word Polin in the museum’s English name means either “Poland” or “rest here” and relates to a legend about the arrival of the first Jews to Poland.
The museum opened in April 2013 and features a multimedia exhibition about the Jewish community that flourished in Poland for a thousand years up to the Holocaust.
The permanent exhibit consists of 8 galleries that document and celebrate the ancient history of the Jewish community in Poland, once the largest Jewish community in the world, that was almost entirely destroyed during the Holocaust.
The exhibition includes a multimedia narrative with interactive installations, paintings and oral histories, among other features created by more than 120 scholars and curators.
After visiting the somber and essential museum be sure to visit the nearby Monument to the Ghetto Heroes.
Warsaw Uprising Museum
The Warsaw Rising Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.
The historic museum in Warsaw officially opened on July 31, 2004, marking the 60th anniversary of the uprising.
There are exhibits over several floors, containing photographs, audio and video, interactive displays, artifacts, written accounts, and other testimonies of how life was during the German occupation of Warsaw, the uprising, and its aftermath. There are displays dedicated to each district of Warsaw.
Zachęta National Gallery of Art
The Zachęta National Gallery of Art is a contemporary art museum in downtown Warsaw.
The Gallery’s chief purpose is to present and support Polish contemporary art and artists. With numerous temporary exhibitions of well-known foreign artists, the gallery has also established itself internationally.
The permanent collection comprises 3600 objects of which over 700 are paintings and around 100 are sculptures and installations. In addition, the gallery owns an extensive collection of over 2600 works on paper such as graphic works, drawings and photographs.
Polish Vodka Museum
During the interwar years, recipes of famous Polish vodkas such as Wyborowa and Luksusowa were created in the factory.
Visitors learn about the 500-year history of the most famous Polish alcohol, the evolution of its production technology, traditions and customs associated with it. Walk through the five interactive galleries and learn where the first distilleries were created in Poland, how much a glass of vodka was worth, how the liquor was consumed in Polish homes, and where such vodka-related customs came from.
You can compose your own recipe for a tincture and learn about the distillation equipment of Jan Pistorius. His invention revolutionized distillation in the 19th-century, enabling 85% pure alcohol to be obtained in a one-off process.
The highlight of every visit is a tasting at the Vodka Academy, where under the supervision of a specialist you can compare the flavours of vodkas from rye, wheat and potatoes. There is also a restaurant with tables set above the historic furnaces of the former factory, a bar serving drinks based on Polish vodka and a 24-hour bistro.
Without a doubt, a visit to the vodka museum is a must for craft cocktail fans spending a weekend in Warsaw.
Neon Museum in Warsaw is a colourful institution that documents and protects Polish and Eastern Bloc light advertisements created after World War II. It is the first in Poland and one of the few museums of neon signs in the world.
The history of the museum began in 2005 when Ilona Karwińska saved the Berlin neon sign from Marszałkowska Street in Warsaw. The collection of the museum features over 100 neon lights found all over Poland. Most of the eye-popping signs date to the 1960s and 1970s.
Palace of Culture and Science
The Palace of Culture and Science is an iconic high-rise building in central Warsaw. With a total height of 237 metres it is the second tallest building in both Warsaw and Poland.
Constructed in 1955, it houses various public and cultural institutions such as cinemas, theatres, libraries, sports clubs, and university faculties.
Motivated by Polish historical architecture and American art deco high-rise buildings, the PKiN was designed by Soviet-Russian architect Lev Rudnev in “Seven Sisters” style. The Palace was the tallest clock tower in the world until the installation of a clock mechanism on the NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building in Tokyo, Japan.
The terrace on the 30th floor, at 114 metres is a must-see tourist attraction with a beautiful panoramic view of the city.
One of my favourite culinary surprises during my trip to Warsaw was learning about the local love for Pijana Wisnia.
On a weekend in Warsaw you’ll find locals and tourists lining up for these petite bars that serve traditional Ukrainian cherry liqueur. There are Pijana Wisnia shops throughout the city, many of which have spacious patios so they’re the perfect place to enjoy a pre-dinner boozy beverage.
You can spot the bars easily as the company mascot is a voluptuous woman clutching two juicy cherries in front of her bosom.
The sweet cherry liqueur is served out of fancy crystal chalices and served either hot or cold with a marinated cherry plopped into the glass.
Lazienki Park or Royal Baths Park is the largest park in Warsaw, occupying 76 hectares of the city centre.
The park-and-palace complex lies in Warsaw’s central district on Ujazdów Avenue, which is part of the Royal Route linking the Royal Castle with Wilanów Palace to the south.
Originally designed in the 17th century as a baths park for nobleman Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski, in the 18th century Lazienki was transformed by Poland’s last monarch, Stanislaus II Augustus, into a setting for palaces, villas, classicist follies, and monuments.
Today Lazienki Park is visited by tourists looking to enjoy a stroll in a beautiful green space. It serves as a venue for live music and is home to peacocks and plenty of curious squirrels.
Wilanów Palace is a former royal palace, which was built between 1677–1696 for King of Poland John III Sobieski according to a design by architect Augustyn Wincenty Locci.
Wilanów Palace survived Poland’s partitions and both World Wars, and so serves as one of the most remarkable examples of Baroque architecture in the country.
As one of Poland’s most important monuments, the palace’s museum, established in 1805, is a repository of the country’s royal and artistic heritage and receives over 3 million visitors annually.
The palace and park in Wilanów host cultural events and concerts, including Summer Royal Concerts in the Rose Garden and the International Summer Early Music Academy.
Where To Eat On A Warsaw City Break
If you’re a foodie looking to explore authentic Polish cuisine there are plenty of options for a fine feast when visiting on a Warsaw City Break.
Hoża 19, 48-22-625-1695
Bar Bambino is one of Warsaw’s most popular Milk Bars, a unique restaurant concept that is a must-try for first time visitors to Poland.
A “bar mleczny” is essentially a Polish cafeteria, which during the Communist era provided government-subsidized traditional Polish cuisine at low cost. The name comes from cheese cutlets, which were often sold when meat was rare.
When you visit a Milk Bar in Poland you’ll find a large menu on the wall near the entrance. You’ll find everything from authentic soups to variety of pierogi, dumplings, cabbage rolls, cutlets and smoked fish.
You pay for your order at the cashier and then take your receipt to a little window where hard working Polish cooks serve up hot homemade recipes canteen-style.
In the image above that I photographed at Bar Bambino I paid less than $10 for a local berry beverage, cabbage rolls, potato dumplings, pierogi and cucumber sour cream salad.
If you’re a craft beer lover visiting Warsaw make sure to plan a lunch or dinner at Browary Warszawskie.
Once one of the largest and most famous brewing complexes in Central Europe, this 4.5 hectare area in the heart of the Wola district has been revitalised into a modern urban space at the centre of the city’s cultural life.
Beautifully mixing bold new architecture with restored historical buildings, post-industrial design with green public spaces and commercial areas with residential ones, the new ‘Warsaw Breweries’ is a flagship for urban renewal.
Five breezy public squares offer plenty of space to relax over a cold pint. Browary Warszawskie has also established itself as a premier gastronomy destination, with dozens of new restaurants, cafes, bakeries and delicatessens dotted throughout the labyrinthine complex.
I enjoyed dinner at Browar Warszawski, which brews 19 different craft beers. The brewery restaurant’s comprehensive menu features everything from salads to burgers and juicy steaks.
I enjoyed an authentic Polish feast featuring a house made wheat beer, duck stuffed pierogi with cherry jam and crispy pork hock with herby roast potatoes and spicy mustard.
Puławska 104/106, 48-22-646-42-08
Stary Dom is a restaurant dates back to the 1950s, when it was a favourite meeting place for jockeys and horse racing enthusiasts from Służewiec race track.
The eye-catching interior of the restaurant resembles the atmosphere of old Warsaw and is seasonally dressed to reflect the seasons. During the Easter holidays the chandeliers are dressed up with Spring flowers while in December festive Christmas garlands and merry tree delight those with a keen eye for interior design.
In 2016, the restaurant received the Slow Food Poland recommendation, appreciating Chef Łukasz Federowicz’s diligence in the selection of regional products and care for local suppliers.
If you’re dining with a crowd be sure to order the bread basket, which comes with thick slices of sourdough, crunchy pickles, cold butter and a massive bowl of pork lard dotted with crunchy bacon bits.
Plac Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego 9, 48-573-000-526
If you’re spending a weekend in Warsaw during a special celebration like a birthday or anniversary we suggest booking a table at the elegant dining room inside U Wieniawy.
It’s the only restaurant in Poland that draws its inspiration from the hospitality, climate and restaurant interiors of pre-war Warsaw. The upscale interior features white table cloth wrapped tables, fresh flower bouquets and the twinkle of overhead chandeliers.
Poland’s most interesting and eccentric figure of the 1920s and 1930s, General Wieniawa, is the restaurants inspiration. Described as officers’ cuisine à la Polonaise, the menu constantly evolves with the seasons to showcase the very best Polish ingredients.
You’ll find plump pierogi of course but unique Polish dishes worth trying include pork knuckles in jelly, table side beef tartare, and roast duck with strawberry sauce, roasted apples and dumplings.
Looking to taste traditional Polish donuts called paczki?
You can find these donuts in bakeries and coffee shops throughout the city but we suggest visiting one of the upscale outposts of Lukullus.
Skip inside the popular Polish pastry shop chain and you’ll find croissants, cakes, tarts and signature rose and plum stuffed paczki.
It’s the perfect spot to stop for a quick breakfast as the espresso beverages here are top drawer!
Pyzy Flaki Goraci translates to “Dumplings Trip Hot!”
The wildly popular restaurant has two locations in Warsaw: downtown and in the Praga District.
I arrived at 5pm and found a long line of locals with their kids and cute dogs waiting to order from the short but sweet menu.
The cheap and cheerful restaurant specializes in serving Pyzy, a round potato dumpling served with a selection of toppings like spicy pork, turkey and forest mushrooms, or liver with apples. Another speciality is Warsaw-style tripe, served with meatballs and grated cheese.
Hala Koszyki is a historic market and food hall in central Warsaw.
Initially opened in 1909, it has been since redeveloped into a mixed-use retail and commercial facility with offices, bookstores, elegant bars and gourmet restaurants. The heritage shopping arcade was designed in an Art Nouveau style.
Foodies and fashionistas can find happiness at Hala Koszyki by feasting on dim sum, French boulangerie, fancy burgers, freshly shucked oyster bar and sushi joint before shopping at Aclari Diamonds, Bloom Flowers and Swiat Ksiazki Bookstore.
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