Warsaw needs no introduction - the capital of Poland is one of the largest capitals in Europe, especially in the eastern part of the continent. In recent decades, the city has been rehabilitated from the events of the Second World War, which almost destroyed it, and from the subsequent Soviet occupation, and today it is considered a prime tourist destination for visitors from all over the world.
The almost endless abundance of existing attractions in Warsaw is really dazzling - a visit to the many historic buildings, museums, and Jewish heritage sites is an essential part of any trip to this vibrant city. To help organize your trip and give you an idea of the destinations that have to be seen, we’ve compiled the following list of the 12 most recommended sites in the city.
A pleasant walk down the street known as the Krakowskie Przedmiescie is a great way to get to know the fascinating history of the city of Warsaw since it has been here for thousands of years, since the 15th century to be more precise, built to serve as a major trading route. On this long street, which stretches over a mile from the castle square to the magnificent Copernicus on the other side, you can see some of the more iconic buildings of Warsaw, such as the Presidential Palace, the City University Building, St. Anne's Church and the Carmelite Church.
Copernicus, who lived between 1473 and 1543, is one of the most famous scientists and mathematicians who left Poland. He was the first to establish one of the most well-known theories - the one that says that it is the Earth that orbits the sun, and not the opposite. In the fascinating museum named after him, you’ll find an exhibition that resembles an observatory and is devoted entirely to outer space and to the question of how it affects our lives. The museum is family friendly and your kids will be able to discover a wealth of patents, inventions, and exhibits that will teach them a lot about the universe around us.
The Museum of the History of Polish Jews, opened in 2013 in the area where the famous Warsaw ghetto stood, is the best place to learn about the glorious Jewish community and culture that existed in the city for thousands of years and their most respectable heritage. With more than 13,000 square meters and eight sections dedicated to different periods and aspects of the life of Warsaw's Jewish community, you can discover how the Jews came here, what their daily life looked like, how the traditional Jewish way of life was preserved, as well as the painful fate of Warsaw Jewry following the Holocaust.
This impressive and tall building, one of the tallest buildings in Poland, isn’t hard to see from any part of the city - but you should also visit it and catch one of the many exhibits held within its walls. You can also climb to the 30th floor and visit its observation deck and catch a glimpse of the whole city. If you‘re already there, know that the 777 foot (237 meters) tall skyscraper, was built during the 1950s, when Poland was under communist rule and was even named after Joseph Stalin, the ruler of the Soviet Union.
Wilanow Palace is one of the most important and beautiful monuments in Poland, showing us how life in the country before the 18th century was in all its glory. The palace was originally built for the king of Poland, Jan Sobieski, but after his death, it changed hands among several private owners, each of whom changed the appearance of the place and added a personal touch. Since 1805, the palace has served as a fascinating museum, where a variety of works of art are exhibited, and you can also find a full-size sun clock installed on one of its walls, as well as colorful and spacious gardens.
In this fascinating museum, opened in 2004, you can learn about the Warsaw Uprising that broke out on August 1, 1944, and lasted for two whole months, during which Polish citizens rose up against the Nazi occupation. Some 200,000 Polish civilians were killed during the German attempts to suppress the uprising, and the city of Warsaw was almost completely destroyed. The various exhibitions in the museum tell the story of the events of this revolt, and it is recommended to visit the wing dedicated to children who took part in the organization of the brave underground. In addition, there is also an observation tower that will provide you with a glimpse of the magnificent landscape of Warsaw as a whole.
If you think your house is narrow, wait until you see Keret house, the narrowest house in the world, which is only 60 inches (152 centimeters wide). The Polish architect, Jakob Szczesny, who is responsible for the design of this tiny home, drew inspiration from the short stories of Israeli writer Etgar Keret, whose mother is a Holocaust survivor born in Warsaw,therefore, the project is named after him. The house is open for tours (only 4 people at a time), and even if you have a fear of small, crowded spaces – worry not, the house was designed especially to give a cozy and homely feeling despite its minimal size.
Want to go back in time to the Middle Ages, when castles and towering fortresses stood in city gates protecting them from intruders and enemies? Arrive at the Barbican of Warsaw, one of the most interesting sites in the city's old quarter. It is the last remnant of a network of fortresses that surrounded Warsaw in ancient times and was built in 1540 by an Italian architect of the Renaissance. In fact, this impressive structure was used only once to protect the city, sometime in 1656 when the Swedes threatened to conquer Warsaw, but it still stands and, after a little renovation, it serves as a major tourist attraction.
There are quite a few respectable and elegant churches in Warsaw, but this is certainly one of the most beautiful. This impressive Orthodox Church, both outside and inside, was inaugurated in 1869 and was designed in a prominent Russian style because there is an especially large Russian community in this area. From the domes at the top of the spears to the decorated entrance interior space - the Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene is a place worth visiting if only to be impressed by its magnificent design.
The Royal Castle is one of the most prominent attractions in the city's old quarter, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, and it is also very worthwhile to get there. This iconic, impressive and spacious structure, which inspired many other buildings that were founded in the city, was established during the 14th century and served as the residence of the region's rulers. Since then, it has changed hands, was looted and almost completely destroyed, but finally rebuilt and meticulously reconstructed, and today it functions as a particularly successful museum of classical art.
If you want to get a small but impressive taste of this beautiful castle we invite you to take a 360-degree interactive tour around the place by clicking on this link.
One of the central Jewish sites of Warsaw symbolizes the strong spirit and endurance of the Jewish people since it is the only synagogue in the city that survived the events of the Holocaust. It was originally built in 1898 by the wealthy Nozyk Jews who devoted their fortune to the place, and served as a magnet for the large Jewish community of Warsaw. After World War II, the Nazis turned it into a horse stable. It was renovated and restored to its original purpose during the 1970s and is now an interesting site for many, not just Jews, traveling in the city.