Travelling Through Poland During a 5 Night Stay | Warsaw One Day Itinerary
Poland is such a fascinating country, and while the picturesque cities are full of an abundance of activities and adventures, I quickly discovered that my five-night stay was clearly not going to be long enough!
One Super Day in Warsaw
Soon after landing in Warsaw, I felt myself being pulled in numerous directions, as the old town streets reached out to me, so did the woods near the rivers and lakes.
Oh, what is a person to do??
Well, I simply started at the beginning of my list of planned destinations and worked my way through it the best that I could! After all, there are so many things to do in Warsaw, Poland, and in all the other cities, that I knew that my list was longer than the time that I had.
Uber in Warsaw
There are plenty of great reasons to use Uber when you travel, especially when there a lot to see in a short time.
Most Uber drivers speak English however not all drivers. Since the Uber app requires your pick up location and destination, the language barrier isn’t a problem. Uber works well in Warsaw and very cheap compared to other cities.
I used Uber extensively on my short stay in Warsaw without any problems. Without Uber, it would have been impossible to ticked off as many of Warsaw’s best sightseeing sites.
Taxify Rideshare | Bolt App
Another Warsaw Rideshare company in Poland is Taxify which is on par with Uber. You will need to download the (Bolt) Taxify Driver App to access the Taxify service too. App is available Apple iOS and Google Play for Android.
After you sign up to Taxify, look in your inbox for your Taxify discount vouchers.
Which Internet Provider is the Best in Poland?
Data is super cheap in Poland. I bought an Orange Telecom ‘Pay As You Go’ prepaid SIM with 10GB of data from Zabka 24-Hour convenience store near the Old Town for just $2AUD. Zabka 24/7 stores are on nearly every corner.
Warsaw has Free Wi-Fi hotspots in thousands of locations across the city and surrounding areas. These open Wi-Fi hotspots provide visitors with unlimited internet whenever needed.
Warsaw Central City Accommodation
My adventure started in historic Warsaw, which became the capital of Poland in 1596 and also is the biggest city in that country. I checked into the award winning 4-star Hotel Polonia Palace located in the centre of the city and just opposite the Palace of Culture and Science.
Warsaw City Views
The Palace of Culture and Science is the tallest building in Poland and visible from every corner of the city. This modern icon contains over 3,000 rooms plus museums, cinemas, theatres even a swimming pool.
You can see panoramic views of Warsaw, Vistula river and city’s skyscrapers from the observation deck on the 30th floor. Palace of Culture and Science tickets can be purchased on site or via Viator who run daily tours that include the nearby Concert Hall (Sala Koncertowa) and Congress Hall (Sala Kongresowa).
Accommodation in Warsaw
Hotel Polonia Palace offers spacious and stylishly decorated and temperature controlled rooms making for a pleasant stay in both winter and summer. Guests are encouraged to relax and rewind in the Lobby Bar which offers live piano music and a place to indulge in a cocktail or a shot of Polish vodka.
Warsaw Railway Station
Warsawa Centralna Railway Station is only a short 350 metre walk and visitors to Warsaw interested in food, museums and culture must explore Srodmiescie.
Srodmiescie Warsaw’s Liveliest Neighbourhoods
The Srodmiescie neighbourhood is the buzzing heart of this magnificent European city, where friends and café tables spill out on to the street. It’s less than 10 minutes walk away from Hotel Polonia Place and the perfect location for solo travellers looking to meet new friends.
The hotel location made it so easy to wander around and see the sights without the need to travel too far, plus, the rooms were so elegant and relaxing to come home to. I quickly got my fill of all thing’s history related, as I ventured in and out of a few of the local museums.
Old Town Warsaw
The jewel of the city is Warsaw’s old town of colourful houses and narrow cobble streets. These colourful burgher houses were built after Second World War and based in part on the Italian paintings of Canaletto.
Visitors gather at the monument of the ‘Mermaid of Warsaw’ for photos in the centre of the main square.
Nearby is the 14th Century St John’s Archcathedral, the place where royal marriages, funerals and coronations have taken place for centuries. It is also the place where the swearing of the first constitution in Europe took place on 3 May 1791.
Gosciniec Restaurant | Old Town
Make sure you leave enough time to try the Polish dumplings (Polskie Pierogi) from Gosciniec Restaurant on the outskirts of the Old Town (opposite the Monument of the Little Insurgent).
Gospoda Kwiaty Polskie | Warsaw Restaurants
Often I find out about great restaurants and secret gems from Uber drivers. I wouldn’t have found this traditional Polish restaurant in the Old Town or have tried the house specialities without the advice of my Warsaw Uber driver.
My traditional Polish meal at Gospoda Kwiaty Polskie was my favourite in Warsaw.
Warsaw Michelin Star Restaurants
While sightseeing through Warsaw, I literally stumbled upon a Michelin Guide restaurant called Dyletanci on the outer perimeter of Royal Lazienki Park.
The award-winning restaurant on Rozbrat street is home to over 1,300 European wines which are proudly displayed in a small dining room to the side of the entrance.
Warsaw Vistula River Walks
For me promenading along the Vistula boulevards and taking in the view points, mini-beach, water trams, bars and cafes was a Warsaw highlight. With more time, I would have liked to explore better Warsaw’s (Nowe Miasto) new town district which hosts summer festivals and offers visitors a totally different experience.
I did manage to see the 19th century iron well with the coat of arms of New Warsaw which depicts a young woman with a unicorn.
Freyderyk Chopin Monument
The composer, Chopin spent his childhood and youth in Warsaw. The art nouveau monument was erected to commemorate the virtuoso achievements and legacy.
Chopin loved Warsaw and its people. His last wish was to be buried in Warsaw but due to the existing political situation at the time, this was not permitted.
His oldest sister, Ludwika bought his heart to Warsaw, where it was embedded in a pillar in the Church of the Holy Cross in the buzzing university area.
Warsaw A Dark Tourism Destination | Ghetto Tour | Polin History Museum
Most cities have a dark side and visiting some of a city’s dark sites may not be for everyone. Some countries like Poland have become dark tourism destinations.
Today, visitors to Poland who are interested in history want to learn about the suffering during WW2 and get a better understanding of the harsh living conditions experienced at the hands of the Nazis.
Viator Warsaw Tours | Tickets | Activities
Viator offers a good selection of small and group informative tours like the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto and Jewish Heritage in Warsaw tour. Either of these tours will give you a better insight into the history of Polish Jews before and after the war.
Museum of the History of Polish Jews
The best place to find out more about this period is at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. My visit to the museum’s core exhibition was where I learnt more about the 1,000-year history of the past and present Jewish culture.
It’s here that I discovered more about the significance of its brutal past such as the Warsaw ghetto uprising and destruction of the city during the Nazi occupation in WW2. The museums promotes openness, tolerance, and truth about their past to encourage better understanding and mutual respect amongst Poles and Jews.
Warsaw Ghetto Facts
Today, there are approximately 2,000,000 ‘Varsovians’ residents as they are called living in Warsaw. Warsaw (in Polish – ‘Warszawa’) is often referred to as the phoenix city because it was totally destroyed in WW2 by the Nazis and then rebuilt.
Around 25% of Warsaw’s buildings were destroyed during the fighting and 35% of the city was destroyed by German troops following the surrender of Polish forces.
Construction of the Ghetto
In April 1940, the Nazis began construction of the Warsaw ghetto, a residential district to segregate Warsaw’s Jewish community.
By October of the same year, the ghetto was fully established. At the time of the German-occupation of Europe in WW11 (1939), there was approximately 350,000 Jews living in Warsaw. A year later another 90,000 Jews were relocated to the Poland ghetto.
By the 12th October 1940, the entire Jewish community had been moved to the Warsaw ghetto and completely segregated from the rest of Warsaw. Over 400,000 Jews were housed in just 1,500 houses, averaging 7 persons per room.
The 1.5 square miles / 2.4 kilometres perimeter of the ghetto was surrounded by a 3.5 metre / 9.8-foot-high barbed wire brick wall. The armed guards were commanded to shoot anyone caught leaving on sight.
Warsaw Death Camps | Holocaust
Thousands of residents died each month from starvation and disease because the Nazis controlled the amount of food supplies brought into the ghetto.
Although the Nazis continued to force others into the ghetto, disease and starvation kept the population around the same number over the next few years. Between 1940 and 1942 around 83,000 Jewish people died from starvation and disease.
By 1943, the residents of the Warsaw ghetto began fighting back following the deportation and extermination of hundreds of thousands of Jewish and other residents. During the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising (organised by the Polish Resistance Home Army known as ZOB movement), more than 56,000 Jewish residents were either sent to camps or exterminated in the ghetto.
During WW2 the resistance army fought Nazi Germany for their freedom but sadly, the Germans defeated the Polish resistance and destroyed the city. In 1944 and over 63 days, the resistance with help from other allied armies fought the Germans and Soviet Union Red Army in ‘Operation Tempest’, when the Soviet Army approached Warsaw.
The main aim of the Polish resistance fighters was to force the German troops out and regain control of the city and free Warsaw before the Soviets arrived. By mid-September, the Polish forces under Soviet command captured the east bank of the Vistula river without the help of the Soviet army or their military equipment.
The Big Three Meeting
Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt asked Stalin to help the Polish troops, but the Soviets refused. Approximately 16,000 Polish resistance members were killed and over 6,000 were severely injured. In total over 150,000 Polish civilians were executed.
To learn more about this event in history I took a 2 hour small group tour to the dedicated Warsaw Uprising museum with Viator located in a former tram power plant.
Museums of Warsaw
The Dollhouse Museum in Warsaw was interesting, as I didn’t realize that there were that many different types of dollhouses built around the world. I had fun seeing as many as I could before I left to grab something to eat.
Sightseeing is Thirty Work!
As I wandered around the streets in Warsaw, looking for food and drink, I managed to stumble upon Mieszko the Stone Bear. This bear is on the porch of the Church of Our Lady of Grace, and according to the legend, he is a prince waiting for a kiss from his true love.
Polish Vodka Museum in Warsaw
Part of the national heritage is Polish Vodka and it is a crucial element of Polish culture. It has been served and enjoyed at Polish celebrations for many centuries.
The Polish Vodka Museum is full of vodka’s unique history and includes all aspects of vodka production as well as the place where you will find out about the differences between 3 main kinds of Polish Vodka.
World’s Deepest DeepSpot Swimming Pool Near Warsaw
At the Panorama Sky Bar, I was able to taste some delicious vodka, both the Krupnik vodka honey and the Zoladkowa bison grass vodka, which had an apple pie flavoring.
Before heading back to my hotel room for the night, I stopped by the location, for a sneak peek at the world’s deepest swimming pool.
This 148 foot or 45 metre deep pool will open later this year in Msxczonow, and it will be considered the deepest swimming pool in the entire world.
While I would love to go swimming in this pool, I also could imagine walking through the underwater glass tunnel to see all the divers going down to the bottom. Specialised diving gear is essential to access the deepest parts.
Maybe I will try scuba diving here next time I visit Warsaw.
Hidden without signs and concealed behind an inconspicuous door you will find Weles, Warsaw’s best cocktail bar. This mysterious place is named after the Slavic God Weles (Veles), the ruler of the night and guardian of magic, music, and prosperity.
The zinc ceiling that shines from above was imported from the U.S. and the dazzling custom-made crystal chandelier is the jewel in the centre. Cocktails are lovingly created by the best artisan bartenders in Warsaw.
The vibrant atmosphere is enhanced by stylish furnishings and special touches, ready to be discovered and enjoyed by those who seek to enter Weles.
One Day in Warsaw is Not Enough
Warsaw is a truly fascinating city, full of unexpected surprises which will excite and inspire you to discover more about Poland and its checked history.
One day in Warsaw is definitely not enough time to learn about its heroic struggles during WW2 or have you retracing the steps of its Royal past. But, you will see some of the most important sights of Warsaw and get a feel of the atmosphere of the city. Next stop on my Poland adventure is Krakow.
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