36 hours in Warsaw (part 1): what we did

Posted by on 13 Nov, 2015 in Blog, Poland, Slider | 6 comments

Like most of my weekends recently, the last one passed by in a blur – but for all the right reasons.

 

On a bit of a whim (and a Ryanair flash sale) I spent just under 36 hours in Warsaw.

 

I’d heard mixed things about the city but there are some flights too cheap to ignore. But of course, 36 hours isn’t a lot of time – particularly in a city as large as the Polish capital. So did I get to see everything? Not by a long shot.

Therefore, I am going to explain my weekend in Warsaw in two parts: what we did and what we didn’t do. Let us begin…

Weekend in Warsaw: old town

 

Warsaw Uprising Museum

 

Weekend in Warsaw: Uprising Museum

On the first day, we headed to the Warsaw Uprising Museum, which came highly recommended. Despite being a little bit out of the way, the museum isn’t too difficult to find and is a quick bus ride from the Old Town. The variety and content of the museum was excellent – it was interactive, multisensory and very detailed, with both factual documents and personal accounts. If you’re looking for something to do during your weekend in Warsaw: head here.

Things to do in Warsaw: Uprising Museum

However, there were three downsides:

  1. Firstly, despite arriving 90 minutes before closing, the museum was rammed and there were at least three guided tours.
  2. We were also denied an audioguide as this is obviously designed to take longer than 90 minutes.
  3. The layout of the exhibits could be a little bit clearer: as we walked around, the timeline of the Uprising appeared to jump around. At the very end, we realised guests are meant to do the ground floor, then take the lift to the top floor, and then work their way back down. Whoops.

Even so, the Warsaw Uprising was a key moment in the war and crystalising moment in the Polish national identity. The museum is a real must.

 

Warsaw nightlife

 

Pyk i Luk - Warsaw nightlife

During our only evening in Warsaw, we did what all self-respecting young travellers do: we sampled the local nightlife. We sampled a LOT of the local nightlife. If you’re wondering where to go out in Warsaw, try these areas:

Pawilony – a cluster of small bars centred around a street and inner courtyard just off Nowy Swiat. Try the miniscule Pyk i łyk for shots.

Ulica Mazowiecska – a short walk away is a street full of clubs and young revellers. A bustling area, with big queues for the most popular places.

Ulica Poznanska – our hostel, Chillout Hostel, was found on this street and there are a handful of popular bars and restaurants which were packed with a cool-looking crowd on a Saturday night.

 

We ate well

 

Waffles

Polish cuisine has to be one of my favourites and I’ll happily admit it was the thing I was most excited about when visiting. Of course, first up we had some smashing Pierogi at a posh restaurant in the old town, before getting some less-than-traditional Belgian waffles.

Tel-Aviv Cafe, Warsaw

For places to eat in Warsaw, I would wholeheartedly recommend Poznanska. There, we dined in style at Dwie Trzecie (in Polish) – specialising in Mediterranean fusion – where we had Gambas starters and pheasant for our mains (treat yoself!). The next morning, we popped next door to ultra-cool hipster café Tel-Aviv (in Polish) for one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had: shakshuka with breads, hummus, dips, cheese and vegetables. Perfect for a hangover.

 

The Jewish Walking Tour

 

Jewish walking tour - Warsaw

The absolute highlight of our fleeting visit was this walking tour, from FreeWalkingTour.com. Starting off in the Old Town, our tour excellent guide Pse gave us a brief but detailed run down of Jewish history in Warsaw, starting with the banishment of the Jews from inside the walls of the Old Town. From there, we wandered towards to former Jewish neighbourhood, which then became the site of the Jewish ghetto.

Jewish Ghetto walking tour - Warsaw

If you have any interest at all in Jewish history in Warsaw, definitely do this tour. The site of the former ghetto is now unrecognisable, with all traces of the previous Jewish heritage gone – and yet Pse managed to show us small areas where culture or tradition has been preserved or revived. He was also happy to answer any and all questions and the two and a half hours really did fly by. I honestly can’t recommend it enough.

 

Weekend in Warsaw: old town

But…

But as I said, 36 hours in a thriving metropolitan city is not a great deal of time and while we had enough time to fall in love with the city, there’s just as many things we didn’t do that I would recommend.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

6 Comments

  1. Looks like you got to do quite a lot in such a short time!
    I am aching for a weekend getaway…

    • We did, but there’s still so much left I want to see in Warsaw!
      This was my first weekend away in ages and I really needed it – felt so refreshed afterwards!

  2. I loved this entry! I can’t wait to visit Warsaw again!

    • Thanks Sabina! Stay tuned for part two…! 😉

  3. Looks like you did pretty well for 48 hours! Still not visited Poland but seems to be a really good mix of things to do in Warsaw (and the food looks way better than I’d imagined!)

    • Poland food is really good – perfect for the cold weather. I’d really recommend Poland. Still a little bit off the radar, but good tourism infrastructure and plenty to see and do. One for 2016 maybe?

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