Must see attractions in Warsaw

  • Top ChoiceSights in Warsaw

    Wilanów Palace

    Warsaw’s top palace, 10km south of the city centre, was commissioned by King Jan III Sobieski in 1677. It has changed hands several times over the centuries, with each new owner adding a bit of baroque here and a touch of neoclassical there. Restoration of the palace's 2nd floor is underway until 2020, but in the meantime you can tour the magnificent ground-floor rooms packed with artistic baubles and treasures. Last entry to the palace is an hour before closing.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Powiśle & Northern Śródmieście

    Palace of Culture & Science

    For over 60 years this socialist realist palace has dominated central Warsaw. A ‘gift of friendship’ from the Soviet Union, it was completed in 1955 and is, at 237m high, the tallest building in Poland – a title it will keep until the nearby 53-storey, 320m Varso Tower tops out in 2020. Among the many attractions at PKiN (as its full Polish name is abbreviated), the one not to be missed is the 30th-floor (115m) observation terrace.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Old Town & New Town

    Royal Castle

    This remarkable copy of the original castle blown up by the Germans in WWII is filled with authentic period furniture and original works of art. Highlights are the Great Apartments (rooms 1 to 9) including the magnificent Great Assembly Hall and the lavishly decorated Throne Room; King’s Apartments (rooms 11 to 20) including the Canaletto Room, hung with 22 paintings by Bernardo Bellotto (1721–80), known in Poland as Canaletto; and the Lanckoroński Collection with two portraits by Rembrandt.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Muranów, Mirów & Powązki

    Warsaw Rising Museum

    This exceptional museum, housed in a former tram power station and its surrounding grounds, traces the history of the city's heroic but doomed uprising against the German occupation in 1944 via five levels of interactive displays, photographs, film archives and personal accounts. It's an immersive, overwhelming experience that takes the better part of a day to see, if you're to do everything here justice.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Muranów, Mirów & Powązki

    POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

    Housed in one of Warsaw's best examples of contemporary architecture, this award-winning museum documents 1000 years of Jewish history in Poland. The multimedia permanent exhibition includes accounts of the earliest Jewish traders in the region through waves of mass migration, progress and pogroms, all the way to WWII, the destruction of Europe's largest Jewish community and the present-day situation.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Powiśle & Northern Śródmieście

    Copernicus Science Centre

    The fully interactive, push-the-buttons-and-see-what-happens Copernicus Science Centre pulls off that tricky feat of being both hugely fun and educational. With over a million visitors a year it is also incredibly popular: advance booking of tickets is highly recommended or you may find yourself waiting all day for a slot to enter. Check the website for exact opening times as they vary throughout the year.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Łazienki Park & Southern Śródmieście

    Łazienki Park

    Pronounced wah- zhen -kee, this beautiful park includes manicured gardens, an ornamental lake, wooded glades and strutting peacocks. Once a hunting ground, Łazienki was acquired by King Stanisław August Poniatowski in 1764 and transformed over the centuries to include a couple of palaces, an amphitheatre, museums and various follies.

  • Sights in Old Town & New Town

    Old Town Square

    For those with an eye for historic buildings this is Warsaw's loveliest square, not to mention its oldest having been established at the turn of the 13th century. It’s enclosed by around 40 tall houses exhibiting a fine blend of Renaissance, baroque, Gothic and neoclassical elements; aside from the facades at Nos 34 and 36, all were rebuilt after being reduced to rubble by the Germans at the close of WWII.

  • Sights in Warsaw

    Wilanów Park

    This splendid 45-hectare park adjoins Wilanów Palace and contains a variety of landscaping. The central part comprises a manicured, two-level baroque Italian garden, which extends from the palace down to the lake; the south is Anglo-Chinese in design; the northern section is an English landscape park. There's also a Renaissance-inspired rose garden. Last entry is 30 minutes before closing time.

  • Sights in Muranów, Mirów & Powązki

    Jewish Cemetery

    Founded in 1806, Warsaw's main Jewish Cemetery covering 33.4 hectares contains more than 150,000 tombstones, the largest and most beautiful collection of its kind in Europe. Incredibly it suffered little during WWII. A notice near the entrance lists the graves of many eminent Polish Jews, including Ludwik Zamenhof, creator of the international artificial language Esperanto. Men should cover their heads with a hat or a cap while in the cemetery.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Powiśle & Northern Śródmieście

    Fryderyk Chopin Museum

    This multimedia museum within the baroque Ostrogski Palace showcases the work of Poland’s most famous composer. You’re encouraged to take your time through four floors of displays, including stopping by the listening booths in the basement where you can browse Chopin’s oeuvre to your heart’s content. Limited visitation is allowed each hour; book your visit in advance online, by phone or at the booking office at ul Tamka 43.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Praga & Eastern Warsaw

    Neon Museum

    Situated within the Soho Factory complex of old industrial buildings housing designers and artists, this museum is devoted to the preservation of the iconic neon signs of the pre-WWII and communist era. Inside the museum, around 100 large, fully lit pieces are on display. More salvaged signs are dotted around the complex and are illuminated after dark.

  • Sights in Praga & Eastern Warsaw

    Żabińskis' Villa

    The incredible true life story of how zoo director Jan Żabiński and his wife Antonia helped save over 70 Jews during WWII has become famous through the book and movie The Zookeeper's Wife. The elegant modernist villa, where the Żabińskis lived and risked their lives by hiding Jews, is open for a guided tour, which is well worth doing.

  • Sights in Łazienki Park & Southern Śródmieście

    Palace on the Isle

    Łazienki Park's centrepiece is a delightful neoclassical palace, the former residence of King Stanisław August Poniatowski, which stands on an island in an ornamental lake. Some 140 paintings and works of art from the king's collection are on display here. Architectural highlights include an ornate ballroom and the 17th-century marble reliefs depicting scenes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses that grace the original bathhouse ( łazienki in Polish, hence the name), which was the foundation of the palace.

  • Sights in Praga & Eastern Warsaw

    Warsaw Zoological Gardens

    Established in 1928, this well-managed zoo is home to some 3000 animals representing 500 species from across the world, including bears, wolves, hippopotamuses and two male gorillas. There are even sharks and other sea creatures in what is Poland's largest aquarium. The elephant house, where there's also a cafe, is particularly impressive and the leafy grounds make for pleasant wandering throughout the year.

  • Sights in Powiśle & Northern Śródmieście

    Jewish Historical Institute

    Just behind a blue skyscraper (which stands on the location of the Great Synagogue destroyed by the Germans), JHI houses a library and exhibitions related to Jewish culture. The building, which opened in 1928, was the place where those involved in compiling the Ringelblum Archive conducted their activities – the exhibition on this precious collection of direct testimonies about the extermination of Polish Jewry is imaginatively conceived and very moving.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Old Town & New Town

    Museum of Warsaw

    Occupying 11 tenement houses on the north side of the Old Town Sq, this superb museum tells Warsaw's dramatic history in innovative ways. Start with the Warsaw Datainfographics in the cellar then work your way, in no particular order, through the core exhibition 'Things of Warsaw', which categorises some 7352 objects into 21 themed rooms ranging from photographs and postcards to clothing and patriotic items.

  • Sights in Old Town & New Town

    Monument to the Warsaw Rising

    One of Warsaw’s most important landmarks, this dynamic bronze tableau depicts Armia Krajowa (AK; Home Army) fighters emerging ghostlike from the shattered brickwork of their ruined city, while others descend through a manhole into the network of sewers. The monument was unveiled on 1 August 1989, the 45th anniversary of the doomed revolt against German military occupation in 1944.

  • Sights in Warsaw

    Poster Museum

    Polish poster art is outstanding and this museum's collection numbers over 36,000, with an additional 26,000 artistic, advertising and propaganda prints from around the world. Only a fraction of these are shown at any one time, but exhibitions change regularly. There's also a great selection of posters, postcards and books to buy.

  • Sights in Powiśle & Northern Śródmieście

    Heavens of Copernicus Planetarium

    You may well find yourself wanting to make multiple visits to this far from average planetarium. A packed repertoire of films is projected across a 16m-wide spherical screen with headphones providing commentary in a variety of languages. Some screenings are in 3D, for which there's a slightly higher ticket price, as is the case for other events including regular laser shows and the classical music, jazz and kid's music shows.