12 tips on things to do in Warsaw as a tourist (Attractions & Points of Interest)

The Chopin Museum

The Chopin Museum (Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina) is a very nice and interesting museum to visit. Warsaw was the hometown of the great and renowned composer Frederic Chopin, and it was here that he lived and worked. At the museum, you’ll learn a lot about Frederic Chopin as a person, but you’ll especially learn about his work and the music he created. Among other things, you can see Chopin's last piano, valuable manuscripts and personal letters. There are also plenty of "listening stations" where you can relax for a while and enjoy the great composer's superb music. It’s worth knowing that the museum is interactive and even older children can appreciate what’s on display. Whether you're a fan of classical music or you just have a bit of an interest in European history, the museum is well worth a visit.

The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace in Warsaw is a very beautiful building both inside and outside, and should definitely be visited during your Warsaw stay. Since the castle was almost completely razed to the ground during World War II, it is not the original building that stands in Warsaw today. Instead, the castle was rebuilt using other demolition waste that the Germans left behind and has become at least as beautiful as it was before the war. Previously, the castle was home to Poland's kings and it’s therefore full of interesting objects, such as paintings, carpets, coins and medals, and luxurious furnishings from the time when Poland was a monarchy. Among other things, you can view the floor the king himself lived in, which is a very impressive part of the castle. The different objects are partly in the castle’s different rooms, but many of them are exhibited in many galleries. It is excellent to go here on your own, but as with many other attractions, the experience is ten times better if you have a guide who can tell you all about what you’re seeing. Hiring a guide at the castle is not very expensive and it is highly recommended. It’s also worth knowing that it’s completely free to enter the palace on Sunday.

The Old Town

The Old Town in Warsaw, with its cobbled streets and old houses, is a charming place to wander around in. Just like the castle, this part of town was very recently rebuilt after it had been completely destroyed during World War II. Thankfully, they’ve done a very good job and have really managed to recreate Warsaw in the way that it once was. Perhaps the most charming part of the old town is the main square, Rynek Starego Miasta. The square is the natural centre of the city with several activities and a lively atmosphere. Here you will find everything from talented street artists to galleries and beautiful churches and buildings. It is also full of nice restaurants and bars that you can settle in for a relaxing break and recharge for the next adventure in Warsaw.

Lazienki Park

Lazienki Park is like a little oasis in Warsaw, with a very central location. In this beautiful park you can walk around or just sit down among all the greenery and take it easy for a while. It has a rich flora and fauna ranging from inquisitive birds and squirrels to beautiful trees and flowers. It also has Lazienki Palace, a large amphitheatre and a statue of Frederic Chopin, as well as a number of other buildings. With all the buildings and monuments, it is not hard to feel the historic atmosphere when you walk around the park. If you take your time and read on for all the park's attractions, there are really a lot of interesting things to learn. For those who want to eat or drink, there is a cafeteria in the middle of the park. Prices are not too high and the pleasant surroundings of the park are a great place to settle in for another little relaxation before once again setting out on the intense streets of Warsaw.

The Copernicus Science Centre

Visiting the Copernicus Science Centre can become one of Warsaw’s best experiences. Whether you are old or young, a science geek or not, it’s highly likely that you’ll be able to enjoy yourself here. The Copernicus Science Centre is a fully interactive science centre, which means that you get to learn how scientific and technical things work by touching, watching and listening. There is so much to see and with constantly changing exhibitions and themes, one can easily spend several hours at the science centre. In addition to interactive activities and exhibitions, there is also a planetarium. If you want to see a film at the planetarium, it’s best to book tickets online before you visit to be sure that you’ll get seats.

The National Museum

The National Museum (Muzeum Narodowe) is the largest museum in Warsaw. The museum features a large collection of Polish art with paintings and sculptures from the 1500s onwards. There is also a large collection of antique art and art from artists with roots all over the world. Among other things, there are paintings by Adolf Hitler. In addition to physical objects, it is also possible to observe all the art students sitting painting in the different malls, which gives a special and pleasant atmosphere to the museum. If you’re looking for more information about the art on display, there is also the option to rent an audio guide. This is recommended as the "regular" information at the museum is pretty sketchy. At the National Museum there's also a souvenir shop and a restaurant. The museum is open every day of the week except on Mondays. On Tuesdays there is free entry to the permanent exhibitions.

Warsaw Ghetto

Warsaw Ghetto was home to nearly 500,000 Jews during World War II. Here the Jews lived in appalling conditions before being systematically transported to various death camps around Europe. Conditions were so bad that some 100,000 of them died of hunger or disease before they had even left the ghetto. If you’re in Warsaw, you should not miss the opportunity to visit the ghetto to look for the remnants that are left and try to get a better understanding of what it was like to live in these horrific blocks. Visitors can see the remains of the ghetto walls, its synagogue, the Jewish cemetery and other historic and cultural sites. For those who want in-depth information about the various parts of the ghetto and to hear heartbreaking stories of the different fates of the Jews, there is the opportunity to take a guided tour. When taking a guided tour, it usually also includes a visit to the Jewish Historical Institute, where among other things you can see various exhibitions and films about the ghetto.

The Opera House

The Opera House (Teatr Wielki) is a large and impressive building which is situated in the middle of Warsaw. The Opera House is known for having very good acoustics and also for being very beautiful on the outside as well as inside. The Opera House was opened back in 1833 and the first set was the Barber of Seville (Rossini). After the Second World War, the Opera House was left in ruins, but was rebuilt in 1965. It was the world's largest theatre building. Today, the Opera House has constantly changing performances with everything from classical pieces to modern compositions. In addition to opera, there are also different theatrical productions in the building. The world-renowned Polish ballet can also be seen here. There is also a theatre museum which is the first and only of its kind in Poland. At the museum, there are 200,000 different objects all associated with opera and theatre. Among other things, there is a large collection of beautiful costumes and photographs. If you want to attend an opera or theatre performance in Warsaw, it is better to pre-book tickets online. It may be possible to get tickets at short notice, but to be sure of getting a place, it is best to be there on time. Tickets are not particularly expensive, especially not if you’re content to sit back from the scene—then it can cost as little as $60 for a seat.

St. Anne's Church

St. Anne's Church (Kosciol Świętej Anny) is one of the many beautiful churches of Poland. The church is built in the Baroque style and the architecture is very beautiful. Decorations and details are incredibly well-made both outside and inside. Twice a day baroque music is played on the organ (it takes about half an hour). Among the Poles, it’s very popular to get married in the church, which is usually done on Saturdays. If you want to see a Polish wedding ceremony, you should definitely come here on a Saturday, but if you want to be able to see as much as possible of the Church, it is better to come here another day. Something that can be a very special and enjoyable experience is to visit the church during a trade show, where the atmosphere is something extraordinary.

The Powazki Cemetery

The Powazki Cemetery (Cmentarz Powązkowski) is the oldest and largest cemetery in Warsaw. It is very well located with many large trees and greenery. Many of the graves are beautifully adorned with statues and various decorations. During religious festivals, and especially on All Saints Day, the cemetery is filled with lights and flowers and thousands of people flock here to visit their loved ones’ graves. Even during ordinary days, there are a lot of candles and flowers and plenty to go around. Adjacent to the cemetery is the Jewish Cemetery (Cmentarz żydowski) that definitely should not be missed. The Jewish Cemetery is very different from the Powazki Cemetery as the Jewish cemetery in principle consists entirely of tombstones that have fallen over and that nobody takes care of. This cemetery looks like an eerie reminder that most of Warsaw's Jews were exterminated during World War II.

The Palace of Culture

The Palace of Culture (Palac Kultury i Nauki) was a gift from Stalin to the Polish people and was built in the early 1950s. Many Poles still hate this building for what it stood for. However, there is a lot to do here for those who choose to visit the building. Among other things, you can pay a small sum of money to ride up in the lift to the thirtieth floor, from where you get a great view. On a clear and sunny day, you can see almost all of Warsaw. Inside the building there are several museums, cinemas and theatres, as well as some restaurants and bars. In the palace halls there are ongoing regular exhibitions and the hustle and bustle of the building is constant.

Photo Plastic Icon

A popular place that was ranked highly by former Warsaw visitors is Photo Plastic Icon. At Photo Plastic Icon Warsaw you can see stereoscopic images of the city's history. With the three-dimensional effect, you can see unique images of everything from how the city looked before, during and after World War II to how Warsaw changed during the Soviet period. The pictures are very old and it gives you a special feeling to know that several generations have lived in these environments and shared the same views in their lifetime. Thanks to its unique technology, you’ll experience more than just standing in the middle of the picture. In addition to the three-dimensional effect, you’ll get to hear music and sounds in the background of each picture frame. Photography Plastic Icon is not that big and a visit will therefore take less than an hour. Getting to see these old and very special images is a different experience and something not to be missed during your stay in Warsaw.