Parks dominate Warsaw: with over 20,000 hectares of greenery to explore, the Insider edits down your choice to twelve of the best…
Note the set of rules at the entrance that give permission to fly kites, read books and hug statues. Festooned with sculptures, highlights include a work by Maria Rostowska depicting a dog with spirally eyes. Kids, meanwhile, are actively encouraged to crack the chalk out and draw on the paving.
Here’s what zł. 15 million does: transform a previously overgrown tangle of trees into one of Warsaw’s top parks. Freshly preened, weekends draw groups of friends armed with picnics and their own set of boules. Bottles of wine find their way into the hampers, and while not officially sanctioned, a blind eye is turned.
Bars, jogging trails, bike hire all conspire to make Pole Mokotowskie “the people’s park”. But it ain’t just for humans. This park loves dogs, so much so there’s a monument of a smiling Golden Retriever called Lokat. He’s there to remind people that animals need love! Each September the park also hosts the Dog Chow Disc Cup.
The curving canal-side pathway is popular with roller bladers, cyclists and joggers. When the sensible stuff is done head to the U Araba grill bar to watch sundown over sausages and beer – but be warned, in summer expect a right barbe-queue.
Laid out over war rubble, this former industrial belt was remodeled by landscape artist Alina Scholtze and her team of little helpers: over 15,000 school children volunteered to create this space. Wide pedestrian boulevards and flat massive spaces (and the option of a few uphill ascents) make it a favorite with spandex-covered joggers.
If you enjoy pageantry then the noon changing of the guard at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier is unmissable. At other times, delve deep into the gardens to walk shoulder to shoulder with mythical figures celebrated in stone.
Peppered with Moorish-style towers and neo-Gothic details, it’s said that a Red Army tank now sits at the bottom of one of the lakes at Morskie Oko. Elsewhere, the building at No. 5 is Warsaw’s most haunted: at night a girl shot by a German sniper appears on the balcony pining for her insurgent lover.
The only time the park police won’t shoot on sight for your failure to ‘KEEP OFF THE GRASS’ is Sunday. That’s when hundreds, sometimes thousands, gather around the Chopin monument to sit on deckchairs and listen to piano recitals at noon and 4 p.m. After, head further into the park for close encounters with peacocks and squirrels.
Reduced to its current size after the war, the little green strip between ul. Chopina and Al. Róż is a charming oasis of sunken gardens and winding paths: its name, Little Switzerland, is completely appropriate. Snatch a shaded spot near the fountain and ornamental turtles and away you go with Chapter 1.
Perfectly clipped and landscaped, this 19th century jewel is filled with decorative details and quaint little nooks. Skip across the rock pool before heading to the fancy stone bridge. It’s now tradition for couples to leave engraved lovelocks on the railings. If your single, you will be stopped by lovebirds wanting their pic taken.
“Distinguished by its colors, scents and moods,” this one hectare rooftop garden is breathtaking. It’s got the lot, from ducks and water features to sloping walkways and leafy alcoves. Visit on a balmy evening when scarlet skies settle over the Wisła – it’s about the only time when a selfie-stick is acceptable.
There’s intrigue aplenty at Skaryszewski: a cosmic-looking, rocket-shaped shrine, a commemorative boulder honoring an RAF plane shot down during WWII and a memorial namechecking the six Poles who died on 9/11. Away from what to see there’s also plenty to do: for instance, renting a paddle boat and racing your mates.