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The Essential Guide to Warsaw

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Warsaw is a phoenix of a city, having come back stronger than ever after being almost completely destroyed during World War II. To learn more about the city’s fascinating history, check out the Warsaw Rising Museum, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, and, before you even hit the Old Town, the Royal Route to Castle Square. Make time to walk in the rooftop garden at the University of Warsaw Library, and see the legendary mermaid statue in the Powiśle district. Visitors will also want to pay tribute to Poland’s most famous composer, Frédéric Chopin, with a pilgrimage to his statue in lovely Łazienki Park.
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01-999 Warsaw, Poland
An elegant park commissioned in the late 18th century by King Stanisław August Poniatowski, Łazienki is one of the most charming areas of Warsaw. The focal point of the park is the magnificent Palace on the Island (also called the Palace on the...
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Generała George’a Smitha Pattona, 00-401 Warszawa, Poland
There’s a legend about the origin of Warsaw in which a peasant named Wars is directed to the site by a mermaid named Sawa—hence the Polish name of the city, Warszawa. Today, Sawa serves as the official emblem of Warsaw, and statues of...
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Anielewicza 6, 00-157 Warszawa, Poland
While POLIN is Warsaw’s youngest museum, it’s an important one—and very much worth including in your itinerary. In the museum’s English name, the Hebrew word polin roughly translates to “land where thou shalt...
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Krakowskie Przedmieście 57/14, 00-322 Warszawa, Poland
Technically, the Royal Route runs outward from Warsaw’s Old Town, but when walking it, you should start on elegant Nowy Świat Street and travel along Krakowskie Przedmieście toward Castle Square. By reversing the direction, you’ll be...
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Grzybowska 79, 00-844 Warszawa, Poland
Through photographs, films, sound recordings, and interactive displays, this museum tells the story of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, during which the Polish underground resistance fought to liberate Warsaw from German occupation. The heroic yet...
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Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28, 00-927 Warszawa, Poland
The University of Warsaw Library is rarely listed in guidebooks, but it’s one of the city’s most beautiful places. Designed by Polish architects Marek Budzyński and Zbigniew Badowski and completed in 1999, it holds nearly 3 million...
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Żurawia 22, 00-515 Warszawa, Poland
A Michelin Bib Gourmand winner, Daniel Pawelak’s Butchery & Wine is one of Warsaw’s best restaurants, especially from a carnivore’s perspective. The philosophy here is “honest cooking,” which translates to fresh...
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Koszykowa 63, 00-667 Warszawa, Poland
Completed in 1909 in the art nouveau style, this former covered market underwent a meticulous renovation in 2016 and is once again serving Varsovians and visitors alike. Today, Hala Koszyki is home to nearly 20 restaurants and bars (some larger,...
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Wilcza 46, 00-679 Warszawa, Poland
According to many a food critic, Nolita is the best restaurant in Warsaw. About so much more than simply feeding the hungry, the stylish spot features a pure, elegant interior. Equally restrained is the menu, with its sophisticated ingredients and...
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Agrykola 1, 00-460 Warszawa, Poland
You could not find a more romantic setting for lunch or dinner than Restauracja Belvedere, located in the New Orangery at Łazienki Park. During the day, sunlight filters through tree branches, and in the evening, candles flicker under high...
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Lwowska 17/7, 00-660 Warszawa, Poland
Featured in Wallpaper and several other design publications, Autor Rooms is a five-star stay—but in a less formal, more individual way than a typical hotel. The intimate property owes its decor to a group of Polish designers who filled...
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Bracka 20, 00-028 Warszawa, Poland
Located at the center of it all, Miedzy Nami, which translates to “Between Us,” is a gastropub-meets-café-meets-gallery with somewhat of a cult following. It’s famous for its homemade food, house-mixed music, and...
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Smolna 14, 00-375 Warszawa, Poland
Chopin Boutique Bed & Breakfast makes guests feel at home with a range of personal details, from daily breakfasts at a large communal table to owner Jarek himself, who entertains with interesting stories and friendly, earnest advice. Jarek...
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al. Jerozolimskie 45, 00-692 Warszawa, Poland
When the Polonia Palace Hotel opened in 1913, it was among the best addresses in Warsaw. It fell into disrepair following World War II but, after an extensive, two-year restoration, reopened in 2005 in all its former glory. Today, the rooms (which...
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Krakowskie Przedmieście 13, 00-071 Warszawa, Poland
Built in 1857 to house what was then one of the most luxurious hotels in the Russian Empire, this neo-Renaissance palace has seen a lot of action—including its near total destruction in World War II. Following a lengthy renovation and...