Home to a bustling art and foodie scene, there’s plenty to fall in love with in this city full of contrasts.
Legend says that a mermaid once made her way into Warsaw Old Town, where she freed fish from nets. When the fishermen found her, her song was so beautiful that they decided to leave her be. So, she stayed in the village, where her beautiful siren’s song filled the night sky. Statues of the legendary mermaid, armed with a sword and shield, are dotted around this beguiling city.
Warsaw is a city of juxtapositions, where fanciful baroque buildings sit amongst austere, brutalist architecture. It is a city that is both old and new, determined to preserve its history yet also to redefine itself. Like the fishermen fell for the mermaid’s song, we’re sure you’ll fall into Warsaw’s spell too.
WHAT TO PACK
Nobu Hotel Warsaw
The Nobu Hotel Warsaw is split into two parts, with one side offering minimalist Nobu-esque accommodations, and the other art deco rooms in a 20th-century historical building. While the hotel has two distinct spirits, it all comes together thanks to the staff’s excellent service and hospitality. Nobu touches can be felt everywhere, from the choice of artwork to the curated pop-up spaces in the lobby. Part of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, there’s plenty to love here, especially for Nobu fans looking for a calming haven amidst the hustle and bustle of Warsaw.
Hotel Bristol, A Luxury Collection Hotel
Hotel Bristol is a Warsaw institution. Located in the Royal Route, which is next to the Presidential Palace – and a hop, skip and jump away from famed tourist attractions like the Royal Castle, National Theatre and Opera House – this hotel is a mirror that reflects the rich history of the vibrant city. From enchanting Art Nouveau interiors, to the delightful Café Bristol and Marconi restaurant, Warsaw’s magical spirit is well and truly alive here.
Puro Warszawa Centrum
This dapper 148-room hotel oozes style. Surrounded by quirky cafés, eccentric independent shops, and with a breath-taking leaf-covered rooftop, you’d be hard pushed to find a cooler hotel in Warsaw. We like the mid-century modern furnishings, marble details, and punchy pop-art that lines the walls, but we love that at £95 during the low season, this hotel offers plenty of value for money too.
EAT + DRINK
In the evenings, the Nobu restaurant transforms into a watering hole for Warsaw’s well-heeled cultural jet set. Fabulous cocktails are served in the bar, while fresh sushi is prepared on the sushi counter. A DJ plays some sweet tunes, giving Nobu that very LA party atmosphere. Don’t let all the fanfare distract from the food though, which is worth the hype. We recommend trying the five-course Omakase menu, with fan favourites such as the Miso Black Cod and Beef Teppanyaki.
It seems Warsaw isn’t immune to the market hall fever that has swept Europe. Located in a renovated market hall, Hala Koszyki brings together all the coolest players in the city’s vibrant underground foodie scene. It’s also home to some eccentric book stores, buzzy bars, and regularly hosts live gigs on weekends. It is the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of Polish vodka on a Friday night.
Undoubtedly one of Warsaw’s most beautiful restaurants, Opasly Tom offers contemporary Polish cuisine amidst a fabulous modern setting. Slow food has been a popular trend in Warsaw since the 1980s and here, pastel fixtures meet grooved blue surfaces in this slow-food inspired restaurant. We like that the restaurant is vegan-friendly too.
This unpretentious bistro in Warsaw is a celebration of regional Polish cooking. Expect a relaxed atmosphere, the best seasonal produce, and a thoroughly modern re-imagining of traditional Polish dishes. Bez Gwiazdek changes its menu monthly to focus on different regions of Poland. With the goal of showing that there’s more to Polish cuisine than bigos, dumplings and pork chops – Bez Gwiazdek pushes the creative boundaries of Polish cooking and we’re here for it.
Museum on the Vistula
Art lovers will easily get lost amongst the pieces at the Museum on the Vistula, a small yet charming museum on the river. The museum’s colourful façade was designed by Polish artist Sławomir Pawszak in 2016. There’s plenty to feast your eyes on here, and once you’re done exploring the artwork, you can feast your taste buds too – at the delightful Paloma on the Vistula bistro, where local artist Alicja Bielawska created a stunning, site-specific installation called, Dreamed at Night by the Light of Day.
Multimedia Fountain Park
Located at the foot of the Old Town, Multimedia Fountain Park draws both the tourist and local crowds from May through until the end of September. Here, people gather at the weekends to watch a spectacular light and water show that brings Warsaw’s different legends to life.
The Royal Route
If you only have a few hours to condense all of Warsaw’s amazing sites into one, then check out the Royal Route, home to many of Warsaw’s historical sites. This includes the Royal Castle which boasts plenty of impressive art exhibitions from the likes of Rembrandt, Canaletto, and Matejko. It is also home to the Krasinski Palace, a beautiful baroque building in Warsaw, and the Museum of King Jan III in Wilanów, which is known as the ‘Polish Versailles’.
One of the most beautiful streets in Warsaw, Mokotowska Street is one of the few streets that survived the war, preserving its baroque character. The pastel-coloured buildings are home to a flurry of local designers, luxury brands, and cute cafés. You can easily spend hours here, though your wallet may not thank you for it.