Warsaw is by far one of the most colorful city in Eastern Europe I have ever been to. Although, not quite as popular as cities like Amsterdam or Paris, Warsaw has so much to offer for travelers who are seeking a different perspective of Europe.
With its troubled past being lodged in between powerful neighbors, Warsaw had gone through the worst of the worst, being completely destroyed at the end of World War 2 and subjugated throughout the Cold War. After its independence in 1990, Warsaw has since gained its own momentum and rebuilt a stunning city with plenty for us travelers to explore.
As a photographer, I often find myself wanting to go to the most photogenic places in a city and since I had the opportunity to explore Warsaw in person, I have decided to round up all the best photo spots I found during my trip there so you can use as a starting point for your own trip to this wonderful city. Without further ado, here are the 8 best photo spots in Warsaw, Poland.
Warsaw Best Photo Spots Map
When to Go
The best time to visit Warsaw is during the shoulder seasons from late April - June or late August to September where the weather is relatively comfortable, the city is not too overcrowded and the price is not expensive like during the peak season of June - August.
How to Get There
If you are flying into Warsaw, you will likely be arriving at the Frédéric Chopin Airport which is the main airport that handles both the domestic and international flights. For which flight you can take to get to Poland, you can browse through discount deals on Wego.co.ae.
How to Get Around
Getting around in Poland can be done easily with buses and trams. You can easily find which bus or tram you can take to go somewhere from the Jakdojade website or download their apps here (Android | iOS). All you have to do is select Warsaw as the city, locate yourself with a GPS, punch in a destination and the app will automatically recommend a bus/tram number to take, what time you should be at the bus stop and when you will arrive.
Where to Stay
Warsaw - Dream Hostel Warsaw - 14.78 USD/Night (Excellent location right by the Old Town Square with excellent free breakfast and well-equipped facilities)
If you are looking for a private room, there is a number of hotel deals available on Wego that you can choose from.
This place is cheaper than most countries but not dirt cheap. Expect to pay around 30 - 50 USD per day per person including accommodation and food.
Keep in mind that this is just a suggested daily budget based on my style of traveling, which is leaning more toward the budget side of things. If you want to stick to this budget, expect to sleep in dorms, eat out only a few times, and be comfortable using the cheapest and most convenient way of transportation, which often times involves walking.
8 Best Photo Spots in Warsaw
1. Old Town Market Square
The first place you are likely to visit in Warsaw is the Old Town Square, one of the most popular landmarks of the city and for good reasons. It has the highest concentration of colorful old gothic style architecture surrounding a square that occasionally held festivals and markets for the locals. This is by far the best place to get a photo of both the iconic colorful buildings and of the people while they hang out around the square.
Photos Tips: Try and align your visit during the occasion events that happen in the Old Town Market Square may it be, the Christmas Market during winter or the Jazz at the Old Town event in the summer. These are the time that attracts the most people from around the world and are the best for taking photos of happy people enjoying the events in the most iconic landmark of Warsaw. You can look up for an event calendar here.
2. St. Anne's Church Observation Deck
The Old Town sure is a beautiful place to visit but it looks even more impressive from above. Not too far from Warsaw royal castle and the Sigismund's Column, there is a church with an observation deck you can climb to get the best view of the Old Town.
The St. Anne's Church observation deck is located south-east from the Sigismund's Column and for around 4 USD (10 złoty), you can get access to the top and have a stunning view of the Old Town from above with the Sigismund's Column in the foreground, and all the beautiful gothic architecture in the background.
Photos Tips: The best time to go up the tower is 2 - 3 hours before sunset since the square is surrounded by buildings and if you go right before the sunset, most of the square will be under shade and it may create too much contrast in your photo. Also, the square is full of colors and with enough light, you will be able to appreciate the sight more.
3. Gdanski Bridge
If you are looking for a place to get a beautiful panoramic photo that encapsulates the essence of Warsaw, the Gdanski bridge is the place to be. This double-decker steel bridge across the Vistula river has a view of Warsaw unlike any viewpoint in the city. It gives you a perspective of the city in its truest essence, with the Old Town, the New Town and all the skyscrapers in the business center all in one frame.
Photos Tips: The best time to go to Gdanski Bridge is after dark when the sunset and the artificial light takes over. The stunning skyline of Warsaw will lit up like a Christmas tree and the beautiful Vistula river creates a beautiful reflection of the night lights that dance away in front of you. It is possibly the best viewpoint in the city for photos of Warsaw skyline.
4. The New Town
The New Town, a neighborhood built in the 15th century, is another cool area that is worth your visit. The neighborhood is in between the Multimedia Fountain Park and the Old Town so it is a perfect stop for when you are heading back from the Gdanski bridge. There are some notable architecture like the beautiful Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St. Kazimierz Church that are begging for you to explore. It is also less crowded and you get a little more homely feel atmosphere than the touristy Old Town.
Photos Tips: One of the most beautiful buildings in the New Town is located at the intersection between the Mostowa street and Brzozowa street. I am not sure what the building is for, but with a combination of its beautiful blue tiles decor that are not so common to see in Warsaw, the green rolling hills, and the Gothic style Church of the Holy Spirit in the background, it makes quite a sight to behold.
5. Warsaw University Library Rooftop Garden
Left: Photos by Bartosz MORĄG, Right: Photos by Mareckr Marek Rykiel
The Warsaw University Library roof garden is a large green space located on top of a library that offers a stunning view of the city and the Vistula river. A truly hidden gem, the garden is filled with green vegetations, running streams, fish ponds, stone sculptures and pathways that cover the entire hectare of the rooftop. This place also offers a unique view of the modern life of the people living here. To be able to be among students hanging out, having a picnic, and reading books under the sun is quite refreshing compared to all the other tourist attractions that focus on the past.
Photos Tips: With such an intricate design, you can take a photo from whichever angle and it will still come out beautiful but for the really best photo spot, I would recommend focusing on the upper level of the garden with all the arches and supports for the climbing plants. Those can give you a beautifully symmetrical and orderly perspective of a chaotic plant world.
6. Palace of Culture and Science
Photos by Pudelek
Palace of Culture and Science is the tallest building in Warsaw that was built in the 50s by the Soviet Union. It resembles the American art deco high-rise buildings such as the Empire State Building and many buildings in Moscow that was built during the Soviet era. This structure is massive in size, symmetrical in dimension, and unique in its style so much so that it was on the cover of the first Vogue magazine in Poland, which was then "memify" to death by the Internet. The building is near the main train station, so you are unlikely to miss it.
Photos Tips: The building is symmetrical in all sides so you can pick whichever side you want but I would recommend being on the side where the sunlight shines on so it can create depth for your photos. The building is massive so be sure to walk far enough so that you can capture the entire structure in one frame. Also, Use its symmetrical dimension to your advantage and perfectly align yourself with either the center of the building or the corners to create a stunning symmetrical shot for your Instagram. If you are there when it is snowy, you can recreate your own Vogue cover photo with the same low angle shot they did for the shoot.
7. Palace on the Isle
Photos by Mariokol
A little outside of the city center, there is a royal summer palace located in the middle of an artificial island in one of the largest park in the city, the Łazienki Park. With its baroque style architecture that dated all the way back to the 17th century, and all the parks and palaces surrounding it, you can spend several hours just walking around, exploring and appreciating all the statues and decors that are scattered all over the park.
The palace is also extremely photogenic with the exotic location of being on an island surrounded by green space, and the occasional appearances of the peacocks, you might forget that you are still in a city.
Photos Tips: The best photo spot of the palace is from the bridge south of the palace. Walk along the western side of the river down to the bridge, and from there you will be able to see the palace in its full glory surrounded by vegetation with beautiful symmetrical reflection on the river.
8. Wilanow Palace
Wilanow Palace is one of the most important landmarks of Warsaw and one of the long-lasting remnant of the pre-occupied Poland period that has stood the test of time since the 17th century. Located in the Wilanow district in the outer rim of Warsaw, the palace is considered to be the "Polish Versailles". It survived both the World War destructions and serves as a reminder of the culture of Poland before dark times of the 18th and 19th century.
With its beautiful yellow exterior, the architecture that represents the height of the Polish Baroque style and the summer gardens with rich vegetation and sinuous paths, there are countless photo spots waiting for you to discover here.
Photos Tips: Come during the summer where the colors of the gardens are in full-swing and arrive as early as you can to beat the crowd. The palace is great for panorama shots from both sides but the best, I found is when you use one of the many statues behind the palace as your foreground and the palace as your background to get a different perspective of the place rather than to shoot straight up at the architecture alone.
This post is created in collaboration with Wego.co.ae.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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