Hidden Europe: unique experiences in Europe's cities
8920 · By Katie Shaw
Europe’s cities are treasure troves of culture, teeming with iconic, must-see sights to enthral even the most seasoned of tourists.Read more
The capital of Poland since 1569, Warsaw is sometimes referred to as the "phoenix city" because it has survived through many turbulent wars and movements. It suffered particularly badly in the Second World War, yet the city has come a long way since its near-complete destruction in the 1940s. A painstaking restoration programme in the years that followed helped the city to thrive, and the beautiful Old Town is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
This vibrant, busy city has slowly been emerging not only as Poland's major urban and commercial centre, but also as a major tourist attraction for all of Europe. And while shiny skyscrapers, new restaurants and funky clubs shoot like mushrooms from the soil, Warsaw's many historic buildings serve as a reminder of this city's glorious history - with much of its carefully-preserved architecture and its beautiful, open squares a delight to wander around.
With its cobbled streets and colourful houses, the Old Town marks the focal point of Warsaw. At the centre of this UNESCO-protected site lies the town square, Rynek Starego Miasta, which boasts a lively and charming atmosphere. The Old Town is also home to a number of beautiful churches and monuments, excellent coffee shops and restaurants. The grand St. John's Cathedral is perhaps the architectural highlight here.
Formerly home to Poland's kings, the Royal Castle, or Zamek Królewski, is an impressive landmark, situated only a short walk from the Old Town. Discover the King's lavish apartment or pay a visit to the galleries exhibiting an impressive display of paintings, coins and medals.
One of the most beautiful green spots of Warsaw. Take a stroll around its dazzling lakes or visit the stunning Neoclassical Palace on the Water (Palac Lazienkowski). The park is also home to the Chopin Monument, celebrating the famous Polish composer, and a range of smaller castles.
The Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina provides visitors with a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse at the life and works of one of Europe's most famous composers. Among the displays are some of Chopin's letters and sheet music, as well as his last piano.