Walking Tour of Warsaw’s Old Town & Royal Castle

My favorite part of Warsaw when I visited during my Baltic Explorer tour is the Old Town: It has been beautifully restored from the impressive Royal Castle to the little cobblestoned alleys of the old quarter and the remainder of the fortifications and walls! Add lots of cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating and you have a great summer day ahead of you! WAR Map Old TownYou can take a look at my map to get an idea of the distances and main sights here! If you have a half-day, you can start your tour at the Nowy Swiat Metro station and head North on the pedestrian street Nowy Swiat: It’s a popular street for people to stroll, have a coffee or meal at the many outdoor cafes or just people watch. It is a lively street and you’ll see street performers along the way. I was lucky to visit during the Chopin festival and listened to an amazing, young pianist playing some of the Polish Composer’s work. As you walk along, you will see the Holy Cross church on the left and the University and the Presidential Palace on the right!
WAR Presidential PalaceSoon after, you will reach the Castle Square, the entrance to the Old Toiwn. In the center of the square is the Sigismund Column and on the right the Royal Castle. It was the seat of the Polish monarchs, completely destroyed during World War II and painstakingly rebuilt after the war.
WAR OldTown PalaceSquareToday, it contains a museum with a number of different exhibits. If you’d like to see how the Polish monarchs lived, you can visit the Royal Apartments and wander through a number of restored rooms, including the throne room! You’ll have a chance to see art, furniture and carpets used during the time to decorate the palace. It’s a popular tour and there were long lines to enter during my visit! Other permanent exhibits showcase carpets, coins, paintings and sculptures.
WAR RoyalCastle ThroneRoomThere is also an exhibition (free) about the reconstruction of the castle after the war, which was finished in the 80s! During my visit, there was a Cold War exhibit in the courtyard – it was well done and very interesting. You can find details about the exhibits (including videos), opening hours and ticket prices here! Once you have finished the tour of the historical castle and museum, head into the Old Town. On your way, you will pass the Royal Cathedral and reach the Old Town Market Square, today filled with restaurants, shops and stalls, all crowded with tourists! The Warsaw Museum is on the square, if you have energy left for another museum (unfortunately it was closed during my trip). If you’d like a little more peace & quiet instead, head to the riverside for great views over the parks and Vistula river! At the exit of the Old Town to the North, you will have a chance to check out the remains of the walls and fortifications around the old town. They are pretty impressive and make for a good photo opportunity.
WAR OldTown Fortifications 1Once you exit via the gate, you will reach the New Town – it dates from the 15th century, which would make it an “old town” in many other places! You can stroll along Freta street to the New Town Market Square – there are a lot fewer tourists here and plenty of cafes and restaurants to rest your feet!
WAR NewTownMarketSquareIf you are in need of souvenirs, you won’t have trouble finding some in the many stores of the Old Town or New Town. Between the beautiful alleys and houses, the Royal Castle and churches, the restaurants and shops, there should be something for everybody to enjoy in Warsaw’s Old Town – it’s worth the visit!

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