Poland | Day 2: Exploring Warsaw

Our second day in Warsaw was our only full day there, so we wanted to make the most of it by getting out early and getting around as much as physically possible.

The hotel was only a short walk from the Palace of Culture and Science, a really incredible socialist realist building, so we wandered there first to see it from the ground. You can go up it’s tower to get a view of the city but we decided to come back later and do this while the sun was casting some nice late afternoon light.

Palace of Culture and Science

We realised we were starving because breakfast wasn’t included with our room, so we headed to Juice Press People. It’s a cute cafe in the heart of the commercial new town which, unsurprisingly, specialises in juice. We had a great brunch here and it was super cheap and filling.

View from our seats
Brunch goals

We wanted to explore a bit more of the city so we wandered up to Czapski Palace and the Holy Cross Church, before walking through the university campus and across to the Copernicus Science Institute. This was a really nice route to walk through as we got to check out some pretty side streets and came across Krakowskie Przedmiescie, a street that was bustling with people and pretty shops and buildings that we wouldn’t have otherwise discovered.

Czapski Palace
Holy Cross Church
Copernicus Science Institute

By the time we reached the science institute it was 31C and we were sweaty and worn out. Our next stop was going to be across the river to see the Neon Museum, but the 45 minute walk down a busy road didn’t seem tempting. So we decided to hire some bikes.

Warsaw has a city bike system that’s easy to sign up for and you can pick up and drop bikes off at any of their many locations around the city. I couldn’t recommend cycling enough, it turned out to be such an amazing way to see the city. It was fast, the breeze was extremely welcome, and the cycle path infrastructure is great so you rarely have to cycle on the roads.

Our cycle to the Neon Museum lead us through Praga, an area of the city previsouly known as ‘The Bermuda Triangle’ because of it’s high theft rates. Nowadays Praga is very different and much safer, sure it’s still rough around the edges, but it’s also one of the only places in Warsaw where you can see buildings that lasted through the war and are pitted with bullet holes. It was worth seeing if you get the chance.

Next up was the Neon Museum. I won’t say much about it because I think it says what it is on the tin, but it was extremely cool and everyone should go. The pictures speak for themselves.

The Neon Museum

After a short stop for a beer, we hoped back on our bikes and made the quite long cycle back over the river and down to a cafe called El Krepel. This extremely instagram worthy cafe sells cakes to die for, the staff are lovely and we ate absolutely loads. Cannot recommend it enough. The menu was only in Polish, and after we laboured through translating everything on the entire menu on our phones using Google translate, they rather helpfully talked us through the whole menu. If you go, just ask them what the menu says, it’ll be much quicker, trust me.

Pretty flower wall made to be instagrammed
Beautiful decor of the inside of El Krepel
Some kind of OTT dessert thing I ate

Feeling somewhat sick and bloated we then strolled over to Lazienki Park. The park is incredible and it is vast, although forewarning you can’t take bikes in. It contains a beautiful palace on a lake, several galleries and museums, lots of statues, a botanical garden and loads more. We didn’t get a lot of time to explore the park but I wish we’d had more, it was stunning and we could easily have spent a day there.

Palace on the lake

Last on our list was to head back to the Palace of Culture and Science and see the city from the sky. It was a bit of a trek so we decided to pick up some bikes again and cycle up. The view from the top was stunning, and really worth paying the very small fee for (it’s a couple of pounds). You won’t spend long up here but the views are great.

By this point in the day it had gotten quite late and we were feeling extremely tired and sweaty. I want to say we managed to make it to a great restaurant, but honestly we walked back to the hotel, collapsed and ordered from Uber Eats to our hotel room. I have no regrets.

The next morning we would leave for Krakow, so that concluded our time in Warsaw. After our two days of exploring I can safely say it was one of my favourite cities I’ve ever visited. It was vibrant, beautiful, clean, safe, friendly, everything. There was just so much to see there that really we needed more time, probably another couple of days, so we will definitely be going back.

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