Usually, one of the first things the newly arrived do is seek out the expat bars in Warsaw. It's a good way to make friends, learn the ropes from those who have lived and worked in the city for a while, enjoy some food from home and socialise.
The hospitality industry in Warsaw is very competitive. Rates are not cheap, especially around the city’s hotspots, so it’s not unusual to see bars open with a flourish of advertising activity one month – to then close down just a few months later.
If you talk to any of the British, Irish or American expats who have lived in Warsaw for a while, they will tell you outrageous yarns of legendary expat bars of the past such as Bar Below, Bradley’s Bar and Tortilla Factory. Those that are even older will reminisce about the hotel bars, which in fact were once the only safe place for expats to get a drink 30 years ago.
But that’s all irrelevant, then was then and now is now!
Nowadays, there really isn’t very much on offer in regard to a true, traditional expat bar with the one exception of Legends Bar at Emilii Plater 25, just a short stumble from the Marriot Hotel.
If an expat bar is where expats go to drink on a regular basis, then Legends ticks the box. The owners are Beata who is Polish and Graham who is from Liverpool, he’s an Evertonian who likes his football – reason number two why it’s an expat bar – you can watch the footie there.
Reason number 3 would be that they serve British grub such as steak and kidney pie with mashed potatoes and onion gravy, they also do a full English breakfast, fish & chips and other pub favourites.
Legends is a favourite with expats and locals alike, it’s not very big and can get crowded if there’s a good match on the telly or on quiz night, which happens on a Friday once every month.
There are usually a few British draught beers on offer in bottles in addition to draft Guinness and local lagers. The only drinks they don’t serve are cocktails, if you want Sex on the Beach – there’s plenty of cocktail bars a short walk away.
If you're in Warsaw and fancy a pint and a bite to eat, then Legends is highly recommended.
Historic Centre of Warsaw – updated 10 January 2023.
The Historic Centre of Warsaw is the oldest part of the city. The heart of the area is the Old Town Market Place, which is very popular with tourists and contains many restaurants, cafés, bars and shops. Surrounding streets feature medieval architecture such as the city walls, St. John’s Cathedral and the Barbican which links the Old Town with Warsaw New Town.
World War II
In excess of 85% of the historic centre of Warsaw was deliberately destroyed during World War II by Nazi Germany. A meticulous restoration of the Old Town took place after the war and this included its important religious buildings, the Royal Castle, Old Town Market, townhouses, and the circuit of the city walls. It is an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century.
Where possible, original bricks and decorative elements found in the rubble were reused during the reconstruction, which was not entirely accurate to pre-war Warsaw but more of a mix between pre-war Warsaw and an earlier period. The objective was to reconstruct but at the same time, try to improve on the original.
Old Town Market Place
The 13th century Old Town Market Place was the true heart of the Old Town and until the end of the 18th century it was the heart of all of Warsaw. Prior to the great fire of 1607, the buildings around the square were Gothic in style, after the fire, they were rebuilt in late-Renaissance style.
When approaching the Old Town from the centre of Warsaw, your first view of the reconstructed Old Town is Castle Square, dominated by Zygmunt’s Column, which towers above the beautiful Old Town houses.
Royal Castle Warsaw is an exceptional copy of the original red-brick castle, which was destroyed by the Germans in WWII. The very first version of the castle was actually a wooden stronghold dating back to the 14th century built for the dukes of Mazovia and since then it has been the residence of Polish kings in addition to being the home of the president and also the seat of parliament.
Here are some common questions and answers that you might find helpful:
Q: Where is the Historic Centre of Warsaw located? A: The Historic Centre is located in the heart of the city of Warsaw, Poland. It is situated between the Vistula River and the Old Town.
Q: When was the Historic Centre of Warsaw designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site? A: The Historic Centre of Warsaw was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.
Q: What is the history of the Historic Centre of Warsaw? A: The Historic Centre has a long and complex history. The Old Town, which is a part of the Historic Centre, is one of the most well-preserved examples of medieval architecture in Europe. The Old Town was almost entirely destroyed during World War II but was rebuilt in the 1950s and 1960s to resemble its pre-war appearance. The Royal Castle, which sits on the Castle Square, is one of the most important buildings in the Historic Centre of Warsaw, and it served as the residence of Polish kings. The Old Town Market Place, surrounded by burgher houses, merchants’ tenements and the city walls is a heart of the Old Town.
Q: What can I see on a visit to the Historic Centre of Warsaw? A: Visitors can explore the charming streets and squares of the Old Town, admire the many beautiful buildings and churches, and visit museums and galleries. Some of the must-see sites include the Royal Castle, the Old Town Market Place, St. John’s Cathedral, the Barbican, the Royal Route and the Warsaw Rising Museum. Visitors can also take a stroll along the Royal Route, which is a historical and architectural route that connects the Royal Castle with the Wilanowski Palace.
Q: Is the Historic Centre of Warsaw open to visitors? A: The Historic Centre is open to visitors year-round, but please check the official website for current opening hours and any potential restrictions.
Q: How long does a visit to the Historic Centre of Warsaw last? A: A visit can last anywhere from a few hours to several days, depending on how much you want to see and do.
Q: Are there any special requirements to visit the Historic Centre of Warsaw? A: There are no special requirements to visit the Historic Centre, but visitors should be aware that many of the buildings and museums have limited accessibility for people with disabilities.
Q: Are there any other things to do in the area? A: Warsaw is a vibrant and culturally rich city with many things to see and do beyond the Historic Centre. Some popular attractions include the Lazienki Park, the Chopin Museum, the Warsaw Uprising Museum, the National Museum, and the Wilanowski Palace. The city also has a vibrant nightlife and delicious cuisine, with many great restaurants and bars to choose from.
Masovia (Mazowieckie) is located in mid-north-eastern Poland and has the city of Warsaw as its unofficial capital. It has an area of around 35,000 square kilometres and a population of just over 5 million. The region is known for its rich history, culture, and natural beauty.
Masovia has a rich history and culture. The region was an important center of the Piast dynasty in the Middle Ages, and it played a significant role in the formation of the Polish state. The region also has a diverse landscape, with forests, rivers, lakes, and marshlands.
The economy of Masovia is diverse and well-developed, with a strong industrial base, agriculture, and services sector. The region is also a major transportation hub, with Warsaw being an important railway and road junction.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Masovia is the capital city of Warsaw. The city has been rebuilt after World War II and offers visitors a glimpse into Poland's past and present. One of the must-see sights in Warsaw is the Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Old Town is home to the Royal Castle, St. John's Cathedral, and the Market Square. Other popular attractions in Warsaw include the Warsaw Uprising Museum, the Palace of Culture and Science, and the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
Another city in Masovia that is worth visiting is Płock. The city is located on the Vistula River and is known for its beautiful architecture, including the Gothic Cathedral of St. John the Apostle and the medieval castle. Płock is also home to the Museum of Mazovia, which houses a collection of art and artifacts from the region.
Other towns and cities in Masovia that are worth visiting include Ciechanów, Ostrołęka, and Radom. Ciechanów is known for its medieval castle and the Gothic church of St. Cross. Ostrołęka is known for its beautiful Old Town and the Gothic church of St. Nicholas. Radom is known for its beautiful Old Town, the Gothic church of St. Wenceslaus, and the Museum of Radom.
The Lazienki Palace, also known as the Palace on the Water, is a beautiful palace and park complex located in Warsaw, Poland. It is considered to be one of the most important cultural and historical sites in the city.
Stanislaw August Poniatowski
The palace was built in the 18th century for Stanislaw August Poniatowski, the last king of Poland, as a summer residence. The palace is an example of the “Polish-Baroque” style of architecture, which combines elements of Baroque, Rococo, and Classic styles.
The palace’s interiors are particularly impressive and boast a number of ornate rooms, including the Grand Hall, which features frescoes and stucco decoration, and the White Hall, which is known for its beautiful parquet floor. The palace also has a beautiful chapel, with a Rococo-style altar and frescoes.
The palace is set in a beautiful park, which is also worth visiting. The park features a number of other buildings and monuments, including the Myślewicki Palace, the Belweder Palace, and the famous “Statue of the Little Insurgent.”
During a walk around the 76 hectares park, you’ll see the Art Nouveau Chopin monument, a classicist amphitheatre, summer houses, pavilions, cafes & restaurants, lakes, the English garden, an Old Orangery, palaces and much more. There’s so much to see that it is possible to spend the full day in the park.
The palace is built on an artificial island that divides the lake into two parts, a smaller northern lake and a bigger southern lake; it is connected by two colonnaded bridges to the rest of the park. The location of the palace has provided the building with its unofficial name, The Palace on the Lake.
The Lazienki Palace is a popular tourist destination, and is open to visitors year-round. Visitors can take guided tours of the palace to learn more about its history and see its many rooms and features.
Inside the palace, you’ll find sumptuous interiors, some 140 paintings and works of art from the king’s collection and an ornate ballroom.
The palace was very nearly destroyed by the retreating Germans during the final stages of WWII, they went as far as to drill holes in the structure in preparation for demolition; however, the plan was never carried out.
Best times to visit
One of the best times to visit the palace and park is from spring to late autumn when the gardens are at their best. In addition to the flora and fauna, you’ll also see peacocks, squirrels, swans and ducks.
Summer visitors should not miss out on one of the famous Chopin concerts, which take place from May to September every Sunday at 12 noon and 4pm at the Chopin monument.
The Royal Castle in Warsaw is a beautiful palace located in the heart of the city. It has a rich history and is considered to be one of the most important cultural and historical sites in Poland.
The castle was originally built in the 14th century as a residence for the Dukes of Mazovia. It was later expanded and renovated over the centuries, and became the residence of the Polish kings in the 16th century. The castle was the seat of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s government and the residence of the Polish monarchs for several centuries.
World War II
The castle was heavily damaged during World War II, and the palace was rebuilt in the 1970s and 1980s to its former glory using old plans, drawings, paintings and photographs. Today, the castle serves as a museum and cultural center.
The very first version of the castle was actually a wooden stronghold dating back to the 14th century built for the dukes of Mazovia and since then it has been the residence of Polish kings in addition to being the home of the president and also the seat of parliament.
Back in the 17th century Royal Castle Warsaw was one of the most splendid royal palaces in Europe and today; it is filled with authentic furniture from that period and many original works of art.
Reconstruction of the castle did not start until 1971 and took 13 years to complete at immense cost with the majority of the funds having been donated from exiled Poles. During the reconstruction, bricks and rubble from the original structure were used.
The castle’s interiors are particularly impressive, with ornate rooms, including the Great Apartment, which features frescoes and stucco decoration, and the Royal Chapel, which is home to a beautiful Baroque altar and frescoes. The castle also has a number of art galleries and exhibition halls.
The Royal Castle is a popular tourist destination and is open to visitors year-round. Visitors can take guided tours of the castle to learn more about its history and see its many rooms and features. The Castle Square, where the Royal Castle is located, is also a vibrant part of Warsaw’s Old Town, and it’s a great place to start exploring the city.
The highlights of the tour are the Great Apartments, which includes the Great Assembly Hall and lavishly decorated Throne Room and the King’s Apartments.
Within the King’s Apartments is the Canaletto Room where you will find 22 paintings by Bernardo Bellotto, an Italian urban landscape painter who was known in Poland as Canaletto. This room also houses the Lanckoroński Collection, which includes two portraits painted by Rembrandt.
The King’s Apartments are adorned with many paintings depicting famous Polish events which hang alongside maps depicting a golden time when Poland stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.
During the tour, you will also visit the chapel with an urn containing the heart of Tadeusz Kościuszko, a Polish hero.
As is the case with many castles in Poland, there is a ghost story. In this case we have a White Lady who appears from time to time in some of the castle halls. Legend states that her appearance is linked to imminent danger.
The French Baroque Royal Gardens are delightful and can be found at the rear of the castle near the river.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Royal Castle is one of the most important symbols of Poland and Warsaw and it played a significant role in the country’s history, both in its past and its modern history, it is definitely a must-see location when in Warsaw.