Poland's capital is often described as one of Central and Eastern Europe's top destinations...
... but that doesn't it justice. Whether you're visiting for work or a weekend away, Warsaw is one of the continent's most exciting cities. From its blend of architecture that spans centuries to its quietly excellent restaurant scene, Warsaw is one of Europe's most underrated city break destinations and a pleasingly fun and soulful place to do business.
Warsaw’s Royal Castle in the Old Town was the home of aristocracy for centuries, with the origins of the site dating to the 14th century, and it's since undergone several renovations. The castle was destroyed during World War II and then meticulously rebuilt in the 1970s and 80s to mimic its 17th-century heyday. Its interiors include an elegant ballroom and an impressive throne room, complete with high frescoed ceilings, chandeliers and plenty of gold.
Palace of Culture and Science
This isn’t your average-looking palace. Built in the 1950s, it’s an imposing Soviet-style high-rise that was commissioned by Stalin and inspired by New York’s Empire State Building. It’s the bustling heart of the city’s contemporary cultural activities, with attractions inside it varying from a multiplex cinema and theatres to the Museum of Technology and the Museum of Evolution. There’s also a viewing terrace on the 30th floor that gives panoramic views of Warsaw.
For some fresh air and greenery without leaving the city limits, Lazienki Park is ideal. It’s the biggest park in Warsaw and was originally designed during the 17th century. At the centre of Lazienki is the Palace on the Isle, a baroque building that first served as a bathhouse before becoming a royal summer palace. The park is packed with historic buildings, statues and follies, and is used for some of the city’s best arts, music and cultural events.
Warsaw Rising Museum
Warsaw was famously occupied during World War II, and this moving museum (also known as the Warsaw Uprising Museum) was built to memorialise those who fought to free Poland during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Its poignant displays of hundreds of artefacts collected from that period vary from letters and photographs through to weaponry and extensive biographical archives. It’s well worth a visit to learn more about one of Poland’s most sombre periods.
Music fans should visit the Chopin Museum – a venue that’s unsurprisingly dedicated to the life and works of the great composer and Warsaw native. Highly detailed and often high-tech exhibits explore Chopin's childhood, travels and rise to fame.