If you’re in Warsaw on a budget, you’ll be just fine. It’s not a crazy expensive city so you can eat quite well and see lots of awesome stuff without breaking the bank. But just in case you wanted a little inspiration to help you get the most from the city, here are ten great things to do in Warsaw on a budget...
Bułkę przez Bibułkę is one of those places that makes you instantly feel welcome and at home, and on top of that it makes a mean breakfast/brunch. It’s cosy and friendly like all cafes and bakeries should be, and you can get a beautifully made, very delicious and totally instagrammable breakfast and a really good coffee for around €5-8. They make superb cake here too, so feel free to return later in the day for some of their gorgeous, rich desserts. Or if you want, go absolutely nuts and have cake for breakfast. We won’t judge you. We might even join you.
This is where 18 Polish Zloty, which is just over €4, will give you an incredible insight into Warsaw’s incredibly brave but ultimately futile uprising against its Nazi occupiers in 1944. The museum is very interactive and absolutely packed with information about Warsaw at the time, and stories of the courageous people who chose to fight, and led a resistance against their oppressors. The uprising was a huge (but relatively little known) part of the city’s history, and something you just shouldn’t miss if you go to Warsaw.
Lazienki Park covers 76 beautiful, peaceful, green hectares of Warsaw’s city centre, and it’s an exceptionally lovely place to spend an after in Warsaw on a budget. There are peacocks and palaces, castles and coach houses, and in the summer there are even open-air Chopin concerts on Sundays. The place is full of families, couples, joggers, sunbathers, and people just generally relaxing. It’s not often that a park is a city’s number 1 attraction on tripadvisor, so don’t miss it. And of course, its’ totally, utterly free to enter.
It’s likely that we don’t actually need to remind you to go here; it’s probably Poland’s most famous street. But just in case it wasn’t on your radar for some reason… go here. The street is a couple of miles long, and it’s absolutely packed with beautiful and/or important buildings, like the Presidential Palace and the Holy Cross Church, where the heart of Warsaw’s most famous resident, Chopin, is entombed. You don’t have to spend anything to enjoy it – but feel free to grab a drink in one of the street’s cafés or bars – this is just a fantastic place to do some people-watching and get a feel for the city.
Scare yourself silly at Warsaw’s ‘Interactive Fear Museum’. Why? I’m not really sure actually. Why do we all love to frighten the wits out of ourselves? Whatever the reason, you can do it here for €6. We can’t tell you too much about what happens in Warsaw’s most terrifying attraction, but suffice to say that the short time you spend in the house is enough to turn your hair white, and this is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry. Top tips: if you’re in a group of two, ask to join another small group (safety in numbers and all that), and if you don’t like the idea of being touched, maybe this isn’t for you. These ghosts get grabby…
If you take the tram from the city centre and out across the river to Warsaw’s newly cool Praga neighbourhood, you can visit neon nirvana. In the Cold War era, neon signs were considered a mark of prosperity and success, and were everywhere in the city. Post-communism, they were discarded and forgotten about, but photographer Ilona Karwińska and graphic designer David Hill have painstakingly collected, restored and preserved the Polish neon and display them all, along with lots of other neon-related artefacts and information. You won’t need long to see the museum, and you’ll be glad you did. It’s pretty cool (as so many labours of love tend to be), and it’ll set you back 10 zloty. That’s €2.36. It’s basically free.
Oh my word. Mr Pancake, as the name suggests, serves up pancakes – but these aren’t any old pancakes with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of sugar. These are the most colourful, elaborate, cholesterol-spiking stacks of sweet, sweet heaven you could ever imagine. If you’ve ever seen the MTV show ‘Pimp My Ride’, this is just like that, except with pancakes instead of cars. You get your stack of pancakes and then choose the toppings – M&Ms, Oreo, chocolate or toffee sauce, gummi bears, mountains of Chantilly cream… It’s about a kilometre away from the University on Krakowskie Przedmieście and you would be certifiably insane not to go there. A stack of pancakes and a drink will set you back about €5-6.
The Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews documents the history of Jewish people in the country right back as far as medieval times. Admission is only 25 zloty (around €6), and for that you can really get lost for hours in the rich, fascinating and often quite difficult history of Polish Jews right back as far as the middle ages. The museum only opened in 2013; it’s pretty much brand new and that means it’s brilliantly interactive, well-designed and modern, with loads of multimedial exhibits. Give yourself a good few hours here, you’ll get thoroughly engrossed in the exhibits and it’ll give you an insight into a really important part of the city and country’s history.
When in Poland, eat pierogi. That’s just a non-negotiable rule, like eating pizza in Italy or burgers in New York. Pierogi are basically Polish ravioli – delicious little stuffed dumplings, boiled or fried and served with butter – and they’re everywhere to be found in the capital. But for a proper feed of them that will cost you less than a tenner, head to Zapiecek. You will be able to try a couple of different types of Pierogi washed down with some Polish beer for €8-10. Oh, and each dish consists of 9 dumplings, so arrive hungry and don’t order too much! Try the blueberry ones, they’re sublime.
It’s the tallest building in Poland, and it was presented to the country by none other than Mr Joseph Stalin himself as “gift from the Soviet people to the Polish nation”. Initially called “The Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science” (very poetic, no?), the Stalin part was removed after Stalinism was removed. It’s not the most popular building in Warsaw, and despite it having nearly three and a half thousand rooms there’s not much to do here – but it’s a great place to get incredible views of the city. You can get a lift to the 30th floor for around €5, where you’ll be treated to an incredible 360 birds-eye view over Warsaw. The building looks pretty cool lit up at night too, so bring a camera.
If that wasn't enough for you, you can discover more great things to do in Warsaw on a budget on Try Somewhere New.
Flights to Warsaw
- Dee Murray