A weekend trip to Warsaw gives you just enough time to see some of its most important and interesting places – explore the Royal Castle, take a stroll through the Old Town, and learn about Warsaw’s dark history at the Pawiak Prison Museum.
1. Royal Castle
The Royal Castle (also known as Zamek Królewski w Warszawie) formerly served as the official residence of the Polish monarchs – and if you didn’t know that before going in, you will definitely guess it while roaming through its grand halls.
Extravagant decorations line the walls, huge portraits are hung up in the rooms, and statues stand in the corners. Royal colours of bright red and gold intertwine throughout the castle walls, paintings grace the ceilings, and a great assembly hall entices you in. Every room has a uniqueness to it, but they all have one thing in common: their grandness and extravagance.
The castle also includes a small museum containing paintings given to the castle by Karolina Lanckorońska. These works of art include some from King Stanisław August’s gallery and two of Rembrandt’s. For a full view of the collection, click here.
A short video presentations is also available to view regarding the castle’s history.
Located in the Castle Square in Warsaw’s Old Town, it will be in close proximity to other sites you might want to visit during your stay.
Regular: 30 pln
Reduced: 20 pln
Children aged up to 16: 1 pln
Group tickets are also available
*admission free of charge on Wednesdays
Monday: varies (from May 1st – August 31st is open from 10:00am – 6:00pm, but is closed from September 1st – April 30th)
Tuesday – Thursday: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Friday: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am – 6:00pm
*note: the last entry is one hour before closing.
2. Old Town
Being the oldest part of Warsaw, it is also, in my opinion, the most beautiful.
Just like other old quarters located in many countries scattered throughout Europe, Warsaw’s Old Town is rich in shops and cafés, has a vibrant atmosphere, and displays exquisite architecture.
Given that I went during the winter time, it was also adorned with Christmas decorations, which made it feel as though I had been dropped straight into a Christmas movie.
3. Pawiak Prison Museum
The history of Pawiak Prison is heart-wrenching – and it is an important part of Poland’s history to understand and remember.
During World War II, many atrocities happened, of which people are still healing from today. The deeds and actions which took place in Pawiak Prison were no exception.
During the dark years of 1939 to 1944, this prison became part of the Nazi concentration death camp system within Warsaw. It is noted that approximately 300,000 individuals passed through this prison, 37,000 of which were executed and 60,000 of which were sent to German death and concentration camps.
The museum brings to light the cruelty that happened in this prison, but does so in a way that respects the victims.
At the entrance of the prison, now museum, stands the Monument Tree of Pawiak, a monument of an elm tree which witnessed the sad history of Pawiak and its victims.
Some items exhibited within the museum include objects recovered from the rubble of the prison that were used by prisoners and notes and entries written by victims of the holocaust.
To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.Elie Wiesel
Regular: 10 pln
Discount: 5 pln
*free entrance on Thursdays
Wednesday to Sunday: 10:00am – 5:00pm
*note: the last entry is thirty minutes before closing.
Have you ever been to Poland? What other places would you recommend for a short visit?
If you haven’t yet caught up on my Poland adventures, click here!