Poland

HOW TO SPEND AN EPIC 2 DAYS IN WARSAW

The Ultimate 2-Day Warsaw Itinerary

Girl stands in the middle of the road, Old Town, Warsaw

I’ll be honest; Warsaw was never part of the plan.

It was January. And if you don’t know, Glasgow in January is bleak. I didn’t have any trips planned until March, and life was looking a little sad. 

Turns out I wasn’t the only one feeling the January blues. A kiwi friend (obviously also unused to the lack of Vitamin D) messaged to see if I wanted to go on a trip. Well, duh. After a quick Skyscanner search we had scored £37 Wizz Air Flights, and two weeks later we were in Warsaw.

A weekend in Warsaw turned out to be the perfect cure. 

Though, really, we had picked Warsaw for the cheap flights, Poland’s capital surprised me in the best of ways. From devouring copious amounts of pierogi to visiting the city’s not-so-old Old Town and museums, there’s a lot to do in Warsaw. 

Intrigued? Dive straight into this guide to discover how to spend an epic two days in Warsaw.

View of Old Town Square, Warsaw with Christmas tree, mermaid statue, colourful houses

2 Days in Warsaw Itinerary

If I can give you a tip, friend, it’s to stay in Warsaw’s Old Town. There’s a lot to see and do in this picturesque neighbourhood and it’s conveniently located to Warsaw’s other tourist attractions. Plus, it’ll give you a head start on this 2-day Warsaw itinerary.

DAY ONE

Morning: Explore the Old Town

Start your two days in Warsaw with a wander through the Old Town. I say Old Town, but the medieval-style architecture you see today is actually a reconstruction. Did you know 90% of Warsaw was razed to the ground during World War II?

Today this UNESCO World Heritage Centre is the best place in Warsaw to admire the city’s beautiful houses, palaces and market square. You could easily spend the morning walking Warsaw’s Royal Route, an old communication trail that takes you past some of Warsaw’s most historic landmarks. 

The Royal Route starts at Castle Square, home to the former residence of the Polish monarchs. Over Christmas the market square features a giant Christmas tree, snowflake projections, and, in our case, fire dancers performing to a Polish version of Disney’s Moana

From Castle Square make your way south along the Royal Route. Admire the Presidential Palace, take endless pics of the pastel-hued houses and keep an eye out for park benches playing classical Chopin. For real. 

Colourful buildings in Old Town street, Warsaw
Girl stands in Old Town square with Christmas tree, Warsaw

Morning: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Make your way through the Old Town to one of Warsaw’s most important monuments, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The tomb was the only surviving part of the Saxon Palace that had occupied the space until World War II, before being destroyed by Nazis. 

Today, the tomb is home to the unidentified body of a young soldier and ashes of soldiers from World War II. It stands as a tribute to the countless Polish soldiers who died giving their lives for Poland.

Midday: Palace of Culture and Science

Next up on your 2-day Warsaw itinerary; that pointy building.

One of Warsaw’s most famous landmarks, the pointy building is otherwise known as the Palace of Culture and Science. Built by Russian workers, the Palace was conceived by Stalin as a “gift of the Soviet people for the Poles”. And boy, does the tower look Stalin-esque.

The Palace of Culture and Science is home to a cinema, theatres, museums, restaurants and the main Warsaw Tourist Information Office. On a good day (AKA not in January) the building can be seen from almost every part of the capital. Make your way up to the observation deck on the 30th floor for a panoramic view of the city. Or in our case, a lot of fog.

A bird flies past Palace of Science and Culture, Warsaw
Girl stands in front of a misty tower, Warsaw

Lunch: Hala Gwardii

For something a little more modern (well, for Poland), head to Hala Gwardii for lunch.

This local food court is one of the more offbeat things to do in Warsaw, but that’s all the more reason to visit. After lying empty for years the building has now been returned to its pre-war use and is one of Warsaw’s coolest food markets. But it’s not only a food market. The eclectic space is also home to a working boxing ring, and boxing prints on the wall pay homage to the days when Hala Gwardii was a sports hall.

The food court offers a great range of cuisine. You can opt for Colombian or Thai food, or go for more traditional pierogi or zapiekanka, a (delicious) open Polish sandwich.

Hala Gwardii food court, Warsaw

Afternoon: POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Warsaw has a great collection of museums. We’ll dive into a couple more tomorrow, but this afternoon we’re off to the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

POLIN is a museum covering 1000 years of Jewish life in Poland. Built on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto, the museum invites viewers to dive into a fascinating (and important) part of Polish history that goes beyond World War II. Plan on spending a couple of hours here; this museum is large and there’s a lot to take in. 

Tickets to POLIN are 32 zloty. 

Evening: Concert at Chopin Point

Did you know Warsaw was the birthplace of one of the world’s most famous composers, Frederic Chopin? 

Born in 1810 Chopin spent the first 20 years of his life in Warsaw before moving abroad to Paris. After Chopin’s death his heart was carved from his chest and smuggled back to Warsaw to be buried in the Holy Cross Church. Gross, but kinda cool.

Today, Warsaw offers numerous opportunities to indulge in a little Chopin. For a great evening out head to Chopin Point. The cosy venue’s claim to fame is that the composer played a concert there at age 13, and now every evening classical pianists bring his works to life. Plus, there’s a complimentary glass of mead included.

Tickets to Chopin Point are 50-75 zloty. 

Dinner: Pierogi at Zapiecek

If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, it may just be dumplings. I mean, they pretty much cover all the food groups, right?

If you only try one thing in Warsaw, make sure it’s pierogi, and make sure you try them at Zapiecek. A chain of restaurants complete with traditionally-dressed waitresses and cosy touches, the pierogi you’ll try at Zapiecek are the stuff foodie dreams are made of. Try the spinach and feta pierogi – they are DROOL-WORTHY. 

Zapiecek restaurants can be found all through the city and offer great value meals. We spent less than €10 each, including drinks. 

Zapiecek sign in Old Town, Warsaw

DAY TWO

Morning: The Warsaw Rising Museum

Next up on your 2-day Warsaw itinerary we’re headed to one of the city’s best museums. The Warsaw Rising Museum is dedicated to the Warsaw Uprising and visiting is essential to gain an understanding of modern-day Warsaw.

For a little context, the uprising took place over 63 days in 1944, when Polish resistance fighters fought to liberate Warsaw from German occupation. By the end of the war in 1945 over 90% of Poland’s capital was destroyed, forever changing the course of Poland’s future.

The Warsaw Rising Museum includes some remarkable exhibits, and uses multimedia to bring a personal face to this piece of Polish history. Make sure to watch the 5-minute film City of Ruins for a birds eye view of the flattened city. 

Tickets to the Warsaw Rising Museum are 25 zloty.

Midday: Explore the Street Art in Praga

After a rather sombre (but fascinating) morning, the next stop on our 2-day Warsaw itinerary is a visit to one of Warsaw’s most authentic neighbourhoods. Praga was one of the only districts in Warsaw not destroyed during WWII. 

Take your time wandering the historic streets. Check out the crumbling facades of the old buildings, and keep an eye out for Praga’s quirky street art. These gritty, colourful pieces of graffiti really do add to the offbeat charm of the neighbourhood. 

Colourful street art in Praga District, Warsaw

Afternoon: Polish Vodka Museum

Grab a bite to eat and line that stomach; we’re off to the Polish Vodka Museum!

Vodka is to Poles what whiskey is to Scots. That is to say, they take it very seriously. This fun museum is housed in a former vodka factory and offers a fascinating insight into the vodka manufacturing process. Using multimedia and interactive displays the viewer is given the chance to learn a little more about the Polish national drink. Oh, and you get to try three different types of vodka.

Tours run every 20 minutes and are provided in English. Tickets to the Vodka Museum are 40 zloty. 

Evening: Old Town Ice Rink

Ok, Warsaw probably isn’t your first choice for a winter getaway. With temperatures often in the region of -10°, somewhere like Tenerife may be a little more appealing. But hear me out.

Not only is Warsaw insanely Christmassy (even at the end of January, when we visited), it’s also home to the most charming ice rink in Europe. Seriously, the Old Town Ice Rink is reason alone to visit Warsaw in winter.

Skate around the Warsaw mermaid statue under strings of fairy lights (magical), and stop for a snack at one of the street food stalls. The skating rink is free, and skate hire is only 10 zloty. 

And, er, if you’re not in Warsaw over winter best just to skip this part of your 2-day Warsaw itinerary.

Girl smiles on ice rink with skaters and fairy lights in background

Night: Hot Chocolate at E. Wedel

Your two days in Warsaw are nearly up, but there’s one more thing you have to do before you leave; try a hot chocolate at E. Wedel.

Founded in 1851, E. Wedel is the largest confectionery brand in Poland. There are several chocolate shops around Warsaw city, and honestly, E. Wedel is a sweet tooth’s dream. With an extensive menu offering everything from ice cream and desserts to alcoholic hot chocolates, I could have spent the whole night there. I opted for the tasting trio of hot chocolates. Why get one when you could get three, amiright?

Colourful street art in Praga District, Warsaw

There you have it; the perfect recipe for an epic two days in Warsaw. While Krakow remains Poland’s top tourist destination, Warsaw really is an underrated gem. With endless museums, enchanting architecture and great food, this is one city you should have on your bucket list. 

Stay: We stayed at Oki Doki Old Town Hostel, and it was one of the best hostels I’ve ever stayed in. Ok, that could have been because they upgraded us from a dorm to a twin room with ensuite (for free!), but it was also clean, friendly and well located. The hostel staff also organise daily activities including museum visits and pub crawls. We paid 72.5 zloty for our dorm room (approx. €15.40).

Like this post? Pin it!

How to Spend an Epic 2 Days in Warsaw
How to Spend an Epic 2 Days in Warsaw