Features

From history to nature, what to see in Warsaw

Visitors walk on the roof of the modern Warsaw University Library in Dobra street. (Associated Press)
Visitors walk on the roof of the modern Warsaw University Library in Dobra street. (Associated Press)

Five free ideas to tour Poland capital

From memorials of its dramatic history to enchanting parks and Vistula River banks, Warsaw offers a great deal for free to visitors who add Poland’s capital to their must-see list.

Dating back to the 12th century, Warsaw was ravaged by German Nazis during World War II and was rebuilt under communist rule in the so-called Socialist Realism style. Communism was ousted in 1989, and this city of some 2 million residents is rapidly changing in an effort to catch up with other capitals in the European Union, which Poland joined in 2004.

The Royal Route runs some 7 miles from Warsaw’s Old Town, south, to the Baroque royal mansion of Wilanow. You can take a 1.2-mile stroll from Charles de Gaulle roundabout – with its landmark plastic palm tree and former communist party headquarters ironically turned into financial offices – to the Old Town, which dates to the 13th century but was totally rebuilt from war damage.

Going down the Nowy Swiat (New World) and Krakowskie Przedmiescie streets, you will pass fashionable shops, cafes, monuments to Polish astronomer Nicolas Copernicus and romanticism-era poet Adam Mickiewicz, and the Presidential Palace. You can check out the Warsaw University yard and some Baroque churches. The Old Town will greet you with a monument to King Sigismund III Vasa in the form of a 17th century column, and with the Royal Castle, totally rebuilt in the 1970s. Enjoy the tiny cobblestone streets and the Market Square, and stroll beyond the medieval walls, into the New Town that dates back to the 15th century.

Part of the Royal Route, the 17th century Royal Baths park is one of the most picturesque parks in Europe. There is a charge for visitors to the ornate Palace on the Isle, but you can just stroll for free in the surrounding park and gardens, around the pond, and watch ducks, peacocks and squirrels. Free piano concerts of Frederic Chopin music are held near the Polish composer’s monument on Sundays, May through September. Open air performances are to resume in the ancient-style Amphitheater in 2014.

Opened in 2004, the multimedia Warsaw Rising Museum presents films, pictures and dramatic accounts of resistance fighters from the doomed 1944 struggle against occupying Nazi German forces. The museum has a replica of an RAF Liberator bomber downed by the Germans after it dropped supplies to the fighters. Some 200,000 fighters and residents were killed, and the city was razed. The revolt took place the year after the 1943 uprising by a handful of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. The museum is free on Sundays starting Sept. 1 and in August free on Mondays.

MULTIMEDIA FOUNTAIN PARK AND UNIVERSITY LIBRARY ROOF

A new fountain with some 360 water jets in Rybaki street near the Old Town is a popular venue, especially on Friday and Saturday evenings when laser light and music shows are on, May through September. It’s also a favorite playground for children on warm days. Some 1.2 miles away, also on the Vistula bank, there is a park and a garden on the roof of the modern Warsaw University Library in Dobra street, offering a nice view over the river.

VISTULA RIVER BEACHES

A rare occurrence in Europe’s big cities, Warsaw has natural river banks and three beaches, on the right side of the Vistula: near the Zoo, near the Poniatowskiego Bridge – with a free ferry across the river – and near the Lazienkowski Bridge. They are all connected by a path among trees, used by cyclists, joggers and strollers.



Click here to comment on this story »



Blogs


Complete interview with Gabe Marks

Our most recent story about prolific Washington State wide receiver Gabe Marks tells the story of a particularly insightful interview we had last spring. That story, "Gabe Marks is a ...


Weekend Wild Card — 7.23-24. 16

I'm facing another weekend of fence-building with my neighbor. Once we get the back fence built, I have one last honey-do item on the agenda and then it's kick back ...


You have 50 choices

S-R intern Tyson Bird brought cookies to work on his last day with us. It has been a pleasure to have him here. I first printed a column submission from ...



Saving for the future

sponsored According to two 2015 surveys, 62 percent of Americans do not have enough savings to handle an unexpected emergency, much less any long-term plans.



Sections


Profile

Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
Customer service:
(800) 338-8801
Newsroom:
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Back to Spokesman Mobile