One Day in Warsaw Itinerary: Top Things To Do

Warsaw is a dynamic city, with plenty to experience. From food to art to architecture, there is something for everyone in Warsaw. While I spent two full days in Warsaw, a portion of that time was spent at the Warsaw Christmas Market. Yet, I still had plenty of time to check out other top spots in the city. One day in Warsaw is the perfect amount of time to visit the top attractions in Warsaw. These are not to be missed spots in this capital city, whether you are spending 24 hours in Warsaw or 5 days.

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How Many Days to Spend in Warsaw

Before delving into the 1 day in Warsaw itinerary, you may be wondering how many days to spend in Warsaw? Warsaw in a day allows you to scratch the surface of the city, meaning one day is enough time if you are looking for a basic overview of the city. This will allow you enough time to explore the Old Town and to see some of the other major sites throughout the city. I actually spent a total of two and a half days in the city. Yet a good amount of that time was spent exploring the Christmas Markets and the checking out nearby Wilanów Palace. While one day in Warsaw is enough time to scratch the surface of this city, I would suggest spending longer to delve deeper into the city, to visit unique museums and restaurants and to explore further afield with distinct distracts and palaces. Yet, this Warsaw itinerary is the perfect place to start when planning your trip to Warsaw.

Warsaw Old Town

One Day in Warsaw Itinerary

Palace of Culture and Science

The best place to start your day in Warsaw is at the Palace of Culture and Science. This stunning neoclassical building is the tallest building in all of Poland and is an iconic structure in Warsaw.  The Palace of Culture and Science was gifted to Warsaw by Stalin, so the Polish opinion on this building is quite divided. The building’s questionable history aside, the Palace of Culture and Science is a building with tons to do. If your time is limited, be sure to at least walk around the building. However, if you have some extra time, head up to the observation deck on the 30th floor. The observation deck offers a great view of the city. 

Palace of Culture and Science

Łazienki Park

Time and weather permitting, take a stroll through the beautiful Łazienki Park. As I visited in the winter, daylight hours were short, leaving me less time to explore the city than if you visited from the Spring to Fall. However, if I had more hours of daylight, I would have added a visit to Łazienki Park in my itinerary. The 76-acre park has various things to keep you busy including swans, a lake and even a palace. 

Łazienki Park

Royal Route

The Royal Route, Krakowskie Przedmieście is the street leading to the Royal Castle of Warsaw. This is considered to be the most beautiful street in Warsaw and is lined with former palaces. Today this street is lined with various hotels, restaurants, and shops. The Royal Route is rather long, stretching from the Royal Castle to Wilanów Palace. I walked part of the Royal Route, but I took the bus along the entire street to get to Wilanów Palace. I would not suggest walking the entirety of this street, as some parts are nothing to write home about. Rather, I would either start your walk from Łazienki Park or the Nicolas Copernicus Monument toward the Royal Castle of Warsaw.

Royal Route Warsaw

Old Town

The Old Town of Warsaw is absolutely charming and I would suggest spending a good portion of your day in Warsaw exploring this area. While the old town isn’t very large, it is the most picturesque part of the city. I spent a fair amount of time taking in the colorful corners of this area. On the contrary to what the name indicates, the Old Town of Warsaw is not actually that old.  The Old Town was built during the 12th to 13th century and is surrounded by 14th-century fortification walls, however, most of it was destroyed during World War II. It has since been rebuilt and is now considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Simply wandering around, you should see most of the top spots in Warsaw Old Town, but be sure not to miss these key spots.

Warsaw Old Town - One Day in Warsaw

Castle Square

Castle Square is situated next to the Royal Castle of Warsaw. Not only is it a necessity to pass through this square to get to the Royal Castle, but the Castle Square is also well worth a visit in itself. The Royal Castle dominates one side of the square, while the others are lined with colorful buildings that are now restaurants and shops.

Castle Square Warsaw - Warsaw Itinerary One Day in Warsaw Itinerary

Royal Castle

The Royal Castle of Warsaw is well worth a visit on your one day in Warsaw. There are around twenty rooms that are open to the public to visit including state and private rooms once inhabited by kings and their court. The interior of the Royal Castle of Warsaw is spectacular, each room is more opulent than the last. Tip: If you are visiting Warsaw in Winter, head to the Royal Castle after sunset. The Royal Castle is open until 6 pm and is free on Wednesdays. Make sure to check out the official website for more information and closures. Royal Castle of Warsaw Interior Royal Castle of Warsaw Interior

 

Barbican and City Walls

The Barbican and city walls were the entrance and defensive walls of Warsaw. These walls were the medieval defense for the city. Along with most of the Old Town, the Barbican and city walls were destroyed and rebuilt after WWII.

Babican Warsaw Old Town Old City Walls Warsaw Anna Hammerschmidt at the Barbican City Walls Warsaw

St. John’s Archcathedral

The unique Gothic facade of St. John’s Archcathedral makes this one of the most distinct buildings in Warsaw’s Old Town. I found the exterior to be more impressive than the interior. Yet, the entrance was free, so be sure to stop inside to see for yourself.

 

Old Town Market Square

The Old Market Square was considered the most important spots in Warsaw until the 18th century and is the oldest part of the Old Town, the buildings dating back to the 1600s. The buildings surrounding the square are beautiful old townhouses with subtle yet intricate details. Today, this is a popular meeting place. The old townhouses now house the Museum of Warsaw, restaurants, and shops.

Warsaw Market Square

In the center of the square is Warsaw’s Mermaid, a mermaid statue that is considered the city’s protector. 

Warsaw Market Square Mermaid Statue

Take in the views from St. Anne’s Cathedral

St. Anne’s Cathedral overlooks the Royal Square. After checking out the stunning interior of St. Anne’s Cathedral, take the 147-step climb to the viewing tower. If you’re lucky, you may be able to time your visit during sunset. The best way to end your one day in Warsaw itinerary is with sunset views from St. Anne’s Cathedral. Yet, the view from this viewing tower is spectacular no matter the time of the day.

St Anne's Cathedral Warsaw

Eat at a Traditional Polish Restaurants in Warsaw  

The perfect way to end your one day in Warsaw itinerary is with a traditional Polish meal in the Old Town. There are plenty of places to eat in Old Town. If you’re spending more time in Warsaw, be sure to check out the full list of restaurant recommendations

Gościniec

I opted for Gościniec, a casual spot in the Old Town. The food was very affordable and I was able to enjoy a hearty meal of pierogi and sour rye soup. I found the food to be delicious, some of my favorite I ate during my entire trip to Poland. Not only was the food at Gościniec delicious, but there were also large windows looking out to the Old Town, which were perfect for people watching. If you’re visiting in the winter, be sure to get a cup of their mulled wine to enjoy while waiting for your food.

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pierogi Gościniec interior

Bazyliszek Restauracja

Bazyliszek Restauracja is located in the Old Town Square, making it a great spot to eat, especially in the warmer months when you can sit outside. This restaurant serves traditional Polish food and the reviews are fantastic. 

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Where to Stay in Warsaw

In order to make the most out of your one day in Warsaw, you will want to spend the night. There are various areas to stay in the city, depending on the type of hotel you are looking for and where you would like to stay. 

Hilton Warsaw Hotel and Convention Centre

I stayed at the Hilton Warsaw Hotel and Convention Centre during my time in Warsaw and loved it. If you tend to gravitate toward international branded hotels, there are not many near the Old Town. However, Warsaw has great public transportation. There is a tram located nearby the hotel that will take you directly to the Old Town. This hotel was one of my favorite Hilton properties I have ever stayed at. The service was impeccable and as a Hilton Honors member, I felt like I was treated so well. I would definitely recommend booking this hotel. 

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Hilton Warsaw Hotel and Convention Centre

Hotel Bristol, a Luxury Collection Hotel

If my budget was higher, I would have booked a stay at the Hotel Bristol. This luxury hotel is located on Warsaw’s Royal Route and is a quick walk to the Old Town. If you are looking to experience a luxury hotel on your trip, Warsaw is the place to do it. The Hotel Bristol is priced rather competitively for a 5-star hotel. 

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Hotel Bristol, a Luxury Collection Hotel - Warsaw

Ibis Budget Warszawa Centrum

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, the Ibis Budget Warszawa Centrum is the top-rated budget hotel on Trip Advisor. This hotel is located nearby Łazienki Park and close to public transportation. 

Ibis Budget Warszawa Centrum