Warsaw Tours, Vacation, Travel Packages & Experiences
Warsaw is the capital of Poland and with around 1.7 million inhabitants, its largest city. It is located on the Vistula River. Historically, the right bank was the first one to become populated during the 9th or 10th century. However, the present city's central district, called Srodmiescie lies on the left bank. The Old Town is fully contained within the borders of the city centre. Most of the major sightseeing attractions when on a Poland vacation are located in the Centrum area which encompasses seven districts. However, the most important district for sightseeing is Srodmiescie. Atmospheric alleys, squares, and cozy cafés create a unique sense of history. In the summer, the Old and New Town Squares become stages for musical and theatrical performances and open-air galleries.
Warsaw's Old Town has been placed on the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites as "an outstanding example on Poland tours of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th Centuries. The heart of the area is the Old Town Market Place, rich in restaurants, cafés and shops. Surrounding streets feature medieval architecture such as the city walls, the Barbican and St. John's Cathedral. In 1944, the Old Town was completely destroyed. All its buildings were reconstructed after World War II and their appearance is a perfect match to the Square's original look in the 17th and 18th Centuries.
Some of the major highlights while on a Poland vacation include the following. Completed in 1955 as a ‘gift from the Soviet people’, the Palace of Culture and Science building is the embodiment of Socialist Realist architecture. It is still the tallest building in Poland and fulfils the role of a cultural centre accommodating theatres, museums, a cinema and a concert hall. The highest viewing platform in Warsaw, on the 30th floor, offers an excellent panoramic view of the city.
Warsaw's Castle Square is a historic square in front of the Royal Castle, the former official residence of Polish monarchs. It is a popular meeting place for visitors and locals. The Square features the landmark Sigismund's Column to the south-west, and is surrounded by historic townhouses.
St John’s Cathedral was erected in its present form in the 14th century. By the end of the 16th Century, it was the most important church of the Republic of Poland. In the 17th century, the Gothic church was rebuilt in the Baroque style and at that time, it was one of the richest Polish churches, with its interior filled with works of art, thanks to the patronage of kings and nobles. The basilica has witnessed many historic events such as coronations. In recent years, the church has become an important International Centre to promote sacred music and in the summer, organ concerts are held in the cathedral to be enjoyed on Poland tours.
Built in the 15th century, the Royal Castle served as the residence of Mazovian Princes. Once the capital was moved to Warsaw from Krakow, the castle served as seat of the king and the government. The castle has been renovated repeatedly and destroyed completely during World War II. It was rebuilt between 1971 and 1988 using castle remains and rubble. Today, the segment with the clock tower opens the way to the Old Town. In 1980, the Royal Castle, together with the Old Town was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Sigismund's Tower is located in the centre of the main façade, flanked on both sides by the castle. This huge clock tower of 60 metres/195 feet in height designed in the sixteenth century, has always been a symbol of the Polish capital and source of inspiration for the architects of other buildings in Warsaw. Nowadays, the Castle serves as the Museum
The Warsaw Historical Museum was established in 1936 as the Museum of Old Warsaw. The museum, along with its collection, was destroyed during the Warsaw Uprising during World War II. After the war, the museum was reopened under its current name The various collections in the fields of archaeology, painting, graphics, iconography, sculpture, decorative arts, numismatics and architectural drawings, now exceed 250,000 objects.
The Monument to the Warsaw Uprising commemorates the thousands of heroes of the 1944 Uprising who gave their lives for their homeland having fought against the occupiers for 63 days under woefully uneven odds. It is a two-part monument. The Warsaw Uprising is an exceptional chapter in the city’s history, one that is both heroic and tragic and something special on a Poland vacation.
The Pawiak Prison Museum was built in the 1830s to serve as a Czarist prison. During the Nazi occupation, it became the largest political prison in Poland and saw over 100,000 inmates pass through its gates. Dynamited during the German retreat, Pawiak has been restored as a memorial to all those who suffered inside and now houses haunting photo displays, prisoner belongings and reconstructed cells.
The Birthplace of Marie Curie, a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity is worth a visit She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the only woman to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences.
The Frederic Chopin Museum opened to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the composer's birth. Originally a two-roomed museum with dank gloomy basements in the city's 17th Century Ostrogski Castle, it has been transformed into a five-storey exhibition which makes good use of modern technology to tell the story of one of the greatest pianists in history. In the cavernous brick vaults of the basement you can select an etude, place the score on a glass panel above the keys of a 19th-century piano that belonged to Franz Liszt and listen as a pianist's hands play the piece on a wall projection. Among the 7,000 items in the museum's collection are a lock of Chopin's hair and a gold pocket watch.
Zelazowa Wola is Chopin’s birthplace. He was born on the estate belonging to Count Skarbek in Zelazowa Wola where his father was a tutor and his mother was a relative of the Count. The Chopins actually lived in an annex right next to the main house. In 2010, Zelazowa Wola got a new look: two modern pavilions were built, and the process of revitalizing the park began.
One place to visit on a Poland vacation is Lazienki Park,the largest park in Warsaw, occupying 76 hectares of the city centre. The park was designed in the 17th Century in the baroque style. It took the name Lazienki ("Baths") from a bathing pavilion that was located there. Its principal buildings stand beside or near the Lazienki Lake and Lazienki River. Most of the buildings in the park suffered severe fire damage during and after the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. The structures nevertheless were relatively well-preserved compared to those in the Old Town. Reconstruction of the park and palaces was completed within a few years after World War II.
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