With three days in Warsaw, not only can tour the city’s highlights and enjoy a wealth of food, beer, and vodka, you’ll also have enough time to spend a day at a nearby World War II site. Here’s how to make the most of three days in the Polish capital.
Day 1: Historic Warsaw
Warsaw’s history dates back more than 1,400 years, so start your explorations in the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Soak up signature sights such as Old Town Market Square, Warsaw Royal Castle, the Warsaw Barbican, and St. John’s Cathedral on a walking tour. Next, discover the tragic fate of Polish Jewry as you explore the site where the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto once stood, including the prewar Nożyk Synagogue. After visiting the Jewish Cemetery, explore the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, then pay tribute at the Monument of the Ghetto Heroes. Come evening, immerse yourself in the music of Poland’s national composer, Frédéric Chopin, at a piano concert, or discover delights from farmhouse cheese to traditional sausage and contemporary craft brews on a food tour.
Day 2: Communist or Contemporary City
From the landmark Palace of Culture and Science to Stalinist-era housing blocks, Warsaw is home to some of the world’s best-preserved Communist architecture. Explore signature sights in a retro vehicle and learn how brutalist buildings are being repurposed for the modern world, stopping at a retro milk bar along the way. Alternatively, for a more contemporary take on the city, wander the up-and-coming Praga district, with its vibrant street art, bohemian galleries, and quirky museums. In the afternoon, learn to make Polish classics such as pierogi (dumplings) and buckwheat pancakes at a hands-on cooking class, then wash them down with a selection of vodkas. Wrap up the night with a pub crawl that showcases the city’s lively nightlife.
Day 3: World War II Sites
On your final day in Warsaw, visit the Nazi German concentration camp Treblinka, today a moving memorial strewn with jagged rocks. Alternatively, make the long journey to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, where well-preserved barracks house a powerful tribute to the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust; a handful of tours incorporate visits to historic Krakow. At the Wolf’s Lair, Adolf Hitler’s World War II headquarters, eerie bunkers overgrown by nature house a small museum and a memorial to the 1944 attempted assassination of Hitler. Return to Warsaw in time for a farewell feast of modern Polish cuisine followed by cocktails in a sky-high bar with views across the Vistula.