Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to this one day in Warsaw itinerary. As we learned in our last One Day in Warsaw Itinerary, Polish history can get very serious. But Warsaw also has a fun and frivolous side!
On this One Day in Warsaw Itinerary, we’re going to dive headfirst into the more glamorous part of Warsaw with a trip to the gorgeous Royal Castle. Then we’ll take a walk on Warsaw’s wilder side with a trip to the bohemian Praga neighborhood. Finally, we’ll learn why Warsaw has become one of the most popular vegan dining destinations in Europe. Even non-vegans like yours truly are sure to enjoy!
Want to cut right to the chase, Internet Stranger? The best activity in Warsaw is this excellent castle tour with tons of five-star reviews!
Or if you want to explore all tours in Warsaw, check this search engine right here to find the best deals!
One day in Warsaw itinerary
Where to Stay
Warsaw is a fairly spread-out city with many different neighborhoods. It can take longer to get from place to place than in smaller Eastern European cities like Tallinn or Krakow. So I suggest picking a hotel with a central location for your one day in Warsaw itinerary. That way you can take advantage of Warsaw’s excellent subway system for getting aroun.
That’s why I recommend staying at the Hotel Metropol. It’s got a great location right in the central part of Warsaw, it’s got a free breakfast included, the price is very reasonable, and it’s right next to the metro station. What more could you want?
If you want a great deal on this hotel, click here.
If you’d rather explore great deals on tons of other hotels in Warsaw, click here!
This search engine will help you find the perfect place to stay during your one day in Warsaw itinerary. With hundreds of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something for your schedule and budget.
One Day in Warsaw Itinerary
Morning: Royal Castle
Like many things in Poland’s capital, the Royal Castle is a reconstruction. The original Royal Castle dates back to the 14th century. Then, under KING STANISLAW AUGUST, the Royal Castle was renovated and beautified to show that Poland was a power that could stand with the other great European countries. (STANISLAW AUGUST gets all caps for reasons that will become clear shortly.)
The Royal Castle stood as one of Poland’s great landmarks…until the Nazis. (The phrase “until the Nazis” is often needed when discussing Polish history.) The Nazis blew up the Royal Castle, but the Poles decided to rebuild it in the 1970s. And here it stands today, a monument to the fact that Warsaw is still standing and the Nazis aren’t.
You can book an excellent guided tour to the Royal Castle by going here.
24 hour tip
Large bags aren’t allowed in the Royal Castle. If you’re like me and get nervous about checking valuables, bring a clutch inside your larger bag. You can put your credit cards, hotel key, and cell phone in it, no problem.
You can find all the relevant information about the Royal Castle’s hours and admission fee on their website. It will help you prepare for your visit on your one day in Warsaw itinerary.
I recommend getting your own guided tour to help you understand what you are seeing as you peruse the Royal Castle. It will fill you up with way more than…
three fun facts: royal castle edition
1) so who is this stanislaw august guy?
STANISLAW AUGUST is a really big deal in the Royal Castle. If you take the guided tour, get used to hearing his name a whole bunch. STANISLAW AUGUST was the King of Poland in the mid to late 18th century. For my fellow Americans, that means he was King while our Revolution was going on. For my non fellow Americans, it probably means something else.
STANISLAW AUGUST was also Grand Duke of Lithuania because at the time Poland and Lithuania were united in a Commonwealth. I guess because STANISLAW AUGUST wasn’t just a duke, he was a GRAND DUKE, he felt like he needed to have the world’s fanciest palace. So he upgraded the Royal Castle as much as he possibly could.
He added fancy ceiling paintings.
We have lots of statues of Greek gods like Apollo and Minerva to show STANISLAW AUGUST cared about learning. These are the classy kind of Greek god, and you can tell because of the strategically placed modesty leaf.
There were elaborate clocks all over the Royal Castle, and there was even a clockmaker on retainer. Do you have your own clockmaker on retainer? Probably not because you are not STANISLAW AUGUST.
Finally, STANISLAW AUGUST added portraits and statues of Polish nobles and heroes. Poland was ready for anything!
2) so this story has a happy ending?
Well, this is Polish history we’re talking about, so the odds are against that. STANISLAW AUGUST might have been good at a lot of things like hosting great parties and redecorating palaces, but what he wasn’t good at was maintaining Polish sovereignty.
He had a romantic relationship with Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. He seems to have thought that this would give him an upper hand over her. STANISLAW AUGUST was sorely mistaken on this front.
Under STANISLAW AUGUST, Poland-Lithuania got weaker and developed more and more problems which are way too complicated to get into on this blog, especially as I was not a Polish History major. But it all ended with Poland being partitioned among three nations: Prussia, Russia, and Austria.
I want to know why no one has made a period drama in English about the relationship between STANISLAW AUGUST and Catherine the Great. Get on it, Netflix! It would have a lot of great clothes, face slapping, and maniacal laughter.
3) is there anything else to see at the royal castle?
Absolutely! The Royal Castle isn’t just a reconstructed dream of a disastrous monarch! It’s also a museum. The ground level is full of stunning works of art. But my favorite is this Rembrandt above, called “The Girl in a Picture Frame”.
STANISLAW AUGUST bought her for his collection, and I guess if you’re going to ignore the fact that your country is on the road to partition, buying Rembrandts is a good distraction.
My photo really doesn’t do this painting justice. When you see her up close, it actually looks like she is leaning out of the picture frame. I’ve always admired the realism of Rembrandt’s paintings, but I never knew he could master trompe l’oeil like this. She truly deserves her title, “The Mona Lisa of Warsaw”.
One Day in Warsaw Itinerary
Afternoon: Praga Tour
Now that we’ve seen Warsaw’s fancy side, it’s time on our one day in Warsaw itinerary to step away from STANISLAW AUGUST and see a very different, more modern side of Warsaw by visiting the Praga Neighborhood. I strongly recommend seeing this neighborhood with a local guide. Not everyone in Praga speaks English, so you’ll get much more out of this fascinating and unique place with a tour.
You can book this tour easily for yourself by clicking here.
Praga is Warsaw’s bohemian neighborhood. In many ways it is more modern than the old town. However, there are also some historic buildings in this neighborhood because it was not bombed as much by the Nazis. But whether you like old buildings or new, you’ll surely enjoy the…
approximately top 5: praga, etc.
1) praga street art
At last, it’s time on our One Day in Warsaw Itinerary to explore the Praga neighborhood. And what is any up-and-coming hipster nabe without some fine street art! You can see everything here from giant, melting black birds to graffiti saying, “I Miss You Jew!” (This sign was outside a former Jewish bakery.)
But Poland has a very complex history with antisemitism, so as a Jewish person, I wasn’t sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing that people were writing “I Miss You Jew!” on buildings.
Some of the street art is more political. I was told by a local that people in Warsaw have a reputation of making fun of Polish people from small villages, especially those who come to the big city to find jobs. So this sign says, “From the point of view of the Milky Way, we are all villagers”.
In my hometown of New York City, we also make fun of villagers who come looking for work, but only if they are from New Jersey. But I don’t think the phrase, “From the point of view of the Milky Way we are all from New Jersey” makes as much sense.
2) old buildings of praga
I promised you some old buildings, didn’t I, Internet Stranger? Well, here you go! These buildings weren’t bombed by the Nazis, so they aren’t reconstructions. You can still go inside and hang out in the lovely courtyards.
Just be mindful when you are walking into the courtyards. Unlike say, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Praga still has some edgy realness. In our case, that meant I had to slowly back out of one courtyard when it was obvious a drug deal was taking place.
On a more wholesome note, people of different faiths used to live together in Praga. (Until the Nazis…) You could see Catholic shrines to the Virgin Mary in the same courtyard with mezuzahs on the door of Jewish homes. (A mezuzah is a little box with a parchment inside that has lines from the Torah written on it.)
But people would sometimes touch the symbols of the other faiths for good luck. I think this is a tradition that should catch on in all cities!
You might have noticed that we haven’t eaten lunch yet, Internet Stranger! But that will soon get fixed. Let’s stop for lunch in a restaurant where the owners didn’t speak much English. We began with a shot of refreshing, strawberry-infused vodka.
The lady of the house told my Polish companion I was a good girl because I could drink my vodka in one shot. I think the phrase “good girl” must mean something slightly different in Praga because when I do shots back home in New York, that’s not what they call me.
Now we need something to soak up all that vodka, so enter the pyzy. These were giant potato dumplings topped with bacon. What Polish peasant food lacks in glamour, it makes up for in deliciousness.
Maybe if STANISLAW AUGUST had eaten more pyzy and spent less time romancing Russian empresses and overseeing fancy clockmaking, he would have been able to prevent the partition of Poland.
Also, you can tell that Praga is a hipster neighborhood because the pyzy are served in a Mason jar.
It’s not a proper hipster neighborhood unless there are stores where you can buy art directly from the artists. So we stopped at a little cafe/photography studio/art store called Klitka. I collect earrings in every city I visit, so I purchased some small, handmade Polish birds. Like me, they are good girls because they can drink their vodka in one shot.
The photographer who was in charge of the store was working on a project called “I Want to Be From Praga”. This meant she would take customers’ pictures while they were holding a sign that said “I Want to be From Praga”. There’s no charge to have your photo taken, but you pay a small fee if you want to have a nice copy of one of the pictures. You can see how my photo came out here!
I like how it looks like there’s a wind machine going behind me. It makes me feel like Tawny Kitaen in a Whitesnake video.
If you don’t want to buy anything, there’s no pressure. You can just admire the art while snacking on a pastry from a nearby store. Nothing goes better after eating a bunch of potato dumplings than a ball of fried dough. That’s just science.
5) neon museum
After the tour, take advance of being nearby to check out the Neon Museum. I was so excited because neon signs are one of my favorite things in this world. When I was a little girl, I used to beg my mother for a neon martini glass sign for the wall of my room, but she told me that “was ridiculous”.
Now I take my revenge by seeking out the neon signs of the world. I had already visited the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, but I had no idea there was a similar museum in Warsaw.
One reason the Neon Museum in Warsaw is special is that the signs date back to the Cold War. Since Poland was a communist country at the time, advertising was considered to be capitalist, and so it was discouraged. But the Polish people were not as ardently communist as some others in Eastern Europe, so they figured out ways around this.
For example, we have the Puss in Boots above advertising footwear. As long as he isn’t actually using the name of the store in his sign, it’s okay!
You can even show your Polish pride in neon! (The mermaid is one of the symbols of the city of Warsaw.)
24 Hour Tip
Those are all the secrets of Praga that I can share with you for now.
Check rates and availability of this tour by going here!
One Day in Warsaw Itinerary
Evening: Dinner at Momencik
One of the fun facts about Warsaw is that it has tons of vegan restaurants. I’ve heard that only Berlin has more in Europe. I’m not 100 percent sure that’s true, as those kinds of statistics are changing all the time. But I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to make a recommendation for my vegan readers out there. I’m not a vegan, or even a vegetarian, but I love good food whether or not it has meat in it.
I was lucky because my hotel was right near Momencik, which is one of the best reviewed vegan restaurants in Warsaw. Ordinarily a vegan Mexican restaurant in Warsaw would sound like a No Thank You to me.
But my jackfruit burrito with pineapple was delicious! It was light and authentically spicy. In fact, it was so good, that I did that thing where I started eating it before I took my picture. But food photos with only one bite taken out of the food are kind of cute. So let’s just say I meant to do that.
One day in Warsaw itinerary
- A cell charger so that you’ll be able to keep taking photos of your one day in Warsaw itinerary
- The best international travel adapter because if you’re American like I am, or British like I am not, you’ll need one to be able to plug in electronics in Europe
- My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you exactly how solo travel can take your life from BLAH to amazing!
- These great TSA approved clear toiletries bags, so I can always keep spare toothpaste and travel sized toiletries in any carry-on
- The most reliable travel umbrella that is small enough to fit in my purse, but strong enough to stand up to powerful winds during our one day in Warsaw itinerary.
- My favorite guide to Poland, which includes Warsaw
One Day in Warsaw Itinerary
How to Get There
By Plane: If you are coming to your one day in Warsaw itinerary from most other countries in the world it’s best to take a plane. I came to Warsaw from neighboring Lithuania, and it was still easiest for me to get to Warsaw by plane. Most of my readers come from the United States or the UK, so you’ll definitely need a flight!
Warsaw has a convenient airport, and you can even take a bus from the airport to get to the center of town. I also recommend using a search engine like Expedia to search for the best prices on flights.
By Car: I do not recommend having a car in Warsaw. The streets are so cute and walkable and it’s much healthier to explore on your feet. Also, Warsaw has very good public transportation that I used to get around town. Leave the car at home!
Train or Bus: You can easily take the bus to your one day in Warsaw itinerary if you are coming from elsewhere in Poland. I used the bus myself to get to my next destination, which was Krakow. I recommend Flixbus, which is what I used.
There are also trains that go to and from Warsaw, though I’ve never used them and found the bus easier to use. But you can check out the Polish trains here.
That’s a Perfect One Day in Warsaw Itinerary!
What would you do on a One Day in Warsaw Itinerary? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Warsaw right now? Does STANISLAW AUGUST deserve to be in all caps or not? And do you think the Polish government will try to make me testify against those drug dealers if they read this blog post? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have a One Day in Warsaw Itinerary. If you have time for another One Day in Warsaw Itinerary, try this one!
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