During the August bank holiday earlier this year we headed to Warsaw in Poland for a long weekend of exploration and discovery. Poland is a country that I have always wanted to visit and when I managed to nab us flights and a hotel for less than £200 all in it seemed the perfect little getaway.
Usually we head off on a mini break armed with a detailed itinerary and reams of recommendations, however, this time we agreed to take more of a lax approach as this is supposed to be well needed break after all. We arrived early afternoon on the Saturday and headed straight for LoftHotel Sen Pszczoly to check in and drop off our bags. We then headed off straight to the Old Town Square which is the oldest part of the city and has now been placed on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. After the Warsaw Uprising the Old Town itself was completely destroyed and so what you see today is a complete reproduction using as many of the original bricks as possible. Although what you see today isn’t original the Gothic cobblestone streets and baroque palaces certainly reflect past times. For panoramic views of the square head up the bell tower of St Anne’s Church for a mere 6 PLN (£1.50) and climb the 150 steps to the top. Totally worth the breathtaking views which encompass all over the city.
Next up we headed to the botanical roof gardens on top of the Warsaw University library. A gorgeous park with a vast collection of trees and plants I would live to visit again in Autumn when all the colours start to change. We spent the afternoon wandering around this picturesque setting soaking up the phenomenal scenery and enjoying the sunshine. We ended our first day in the viewing platform of the Palace of Culture and Science which was the tallest building in Warsaw, commissioned by Stalin as a gentle reminder of the Soviet rule over the country.
On Sunday we headed to the Warsaw Uprising Museum to learn more about the heroic struggle and resistance during the Second World War. Although admission is free on a Sunday be aware that their are massive queues both to get into the museum and around the exhibitions. Unfortunately we couldn’t take in as much as we wanted as it was just too busy so I would recommend visiting on a different day, especially when the entrance fee is less than a fiver. After a hearty lunch of traditional perogi and goulash, we headed off to spend the afternoon exploring the beautiful Lazienki Park which is the largest park in the city. Almost a quarter of the city is made up photogenic parks and landscapes and I would highly recommend spending an afternoon getting lost in the many gardens and exploring the Palace on the Island. We finished off our second day with the most divine mexican food at La Sirena which happened to only be a stone’s throw away from our hotel.
On our final day in the city we headed to Mannequin to sample what was described as the best crepes in the city and let me tell you they did not disappoint. We then headed back to Lazienki Park to spend a lazy morning exploring this vast and unexpected hidden gem. The highlight has got to be the Chinese garden which is simply breathtaking. The weekend absolutely flew by and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed our time there and fell in love with this city in such a short space of time. I just hope next time I am in this incredible city it is for a little while longer.
Have you visited Poland before, if so what were your highlights?