There are many cities worth visiting in winter in Europe, Warsaw is one of them. This ultimate guide to Warsaw in winter will give you an idea of how it could be fun visiting this city!
Poland can be really cold in winter, and we were at least prepared for it. While there, the sun was shining, giving us some warmer days. However, when the daylights we’re going down, at night the city was very cold. If you are looking to spend a few days in winter in Warsaw it is good to read our guide, discovering some of the best attractions of the Capital. The city of Chopin will welcome you with some incrediafble events. On Christmas, you should not miss the Christmas market in the main square of Warsaw, or drinking a hot chocolate in a cosy cafè.
Wintertime in Warsaw can be very romantic, placing this European Capital in the list of places to visit once in your life. Unless, the city is so cheap, from the accommodation to the everyday expenditure. We will go through all this aspect while in these posts, highlight all the best of a winter itinerary in Warsaw.
- Visit a museum in Warsaw
- Roam around the city walls and old town
- Get to the top of the Palace of Culture and Science
- Take advantage of winter sales at Złote Tarasy
- Go on a Tour of Warsaw on board of a vintage Car
- Enjoy an outdoor concert at Royal Łazienki Park
- Sip a hot chocolate
- Wander around Praga District
- Learn Jewish history and WWII
- Stroll around Warsaw new town
- Eat like a local in a tavern
- See the city from the bell tower of St. Anne’s Church
- Enjoy the enchanting Palace on the isle at Łazienki Royal Residence
- Go ice skating in warsaw
- Warm you up with a couple of Vodka shots
- Christmas Markets at Castle Square
- Warsaw | 3-Hour City Adventure Game
- Craft Beer Tour hopping from a brewery to another
- When to visit Warsaw
- What to do in Warsaw in December
- Where to stay in Warsaw
Warsaw Travel Tips
This paragraph will summarise some of the best travel tips for a winter retreat in Warsaw. Like every country, it is good to know which language is spoken in, the currency, traditions, and public transport general rules. It’s also good to get some good information regarding the access to the country, about that, is better for you to check on the Official website of the local tourism board.
LANGUAGE SPOKEN | The official language is Polish, but English is spoken well and wisely especially among the city centre and touristic places.
CURRENCY | The local currency in Poland is the Złoty. However, the Euro is accepted from time to time, especially around the main tourist’s attractions. You can find the złoty referred to as PLN at local exchanges. Check the actual exchange rate.
SAFETY | If someone has pointed to Poland as unsafe, don’t let yourself discourage you. From our point of view, Warsaw is safe. We haven’t been in any bad situations and felt fine all time.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT | Surprisingly the public transport system in Warsaw was excellent. Very modern and reliable service at a cheap price. A well-connected system of Tram, Bus and Metro can take you everywhere in the city. The 24-hours ticket to take all sort of public transport within the city is costing about 15PLN (3.30€ | 4$ | 3£). However, you can opt for a short, one-time ticket for less than a coffee price. The 20-minute ticket is costing 3.4PLN. You can check all about Public Transport in Warsaw on the official website.
What is winter in Warsaw like
Unexpectedly beautiful winter landscape. Warsaw was like that at our eyes. Often outside of the tourist’s maps among more advertised European locations. Warsaw has the soul of Christmas, taking your hand around the alleyways of the old town, hopping from a stand to stand filled with festive spirit.
Weatherwise, Warsaw in winter is cold, snowy, let’s better say freezing. However, the cold gives just more emphasis on the atmosphere. In our guide to winter in Warsaw, we have included the perfect park walking, which can become magical with the January Snow. Despite being so cold outdoors, inside the building deals well with the outside weather, making the atmosphere more intimate. Understand the local’s way to deal with wintertime while drinking a shot or two of Vodka in a proper Polish style.
To be honest an escape to Warsaw when cold can be an incredible adventure, or just a short weekend trip, with great memories back home.
18 Things to do in winter in Warsaw
Warsaw in Winter what to do
Visit a museum in Warsaw
We say that you must see at least a museum in Warsaw, those are completely underrated and worth. Some of the most remarkable experiences in the Warsaw Museum come from less advertised one. We bet that you didn’t know that Warsaw has a Vodka Museum, totally dedicated to the favourite Polish drink and their national tradition, from the production to the consumers.
If you are a history lover, it’s better to consider getting to the Polin Museum. The Museum of the History of Polish Jews is an institution in Warsaw, winner of the European Museum of the Year in 2016. Follow our list also for the science museum dedicated to Copernicus.
TICKETS | Chopin Museum Concert Pass
The Polish Vodka Museum
Yes, it’s true. The Polish Vodka Museum will tell you everything about the national drink. This museum will give insights and practice about vodka. The interactive museum is often underrated but can give you an approach to the local traditions.
Located in the Praga district (where else otherwise?), nowadays the Polish Vodka Museum is becoming a popular spot among tourists, curious about it. The tour will take you in an interactive guided circuit through the history and ways to produce Vodka. At the end of the tour, you will taste the popular drink. Book your ticket in advance.
Copernicus Science Museum Warsaw
Following the learning swing, you should go to the Copernicus Science Museum of Warsaw. Located on the river bank, it’s a good walk from the city centre, however, you can reach the Museum of Science by Metro with line 2 in the direction of Prague.
Like the Museum above, this as well is interactive, and guess what even more informative. It contains 450 interactive exhibits, some of them stable. Even if you don’t have time to visit the Centre, it is good to explore the surrounding area, completely renowned and worth visiting even in winter. Suggested place to see inside the exhibition area is the Planetarium.
Last but not least. The Polin Museum is where the history of the Polish Jews is secured and shown to the World. This impressive museum will take your mind away. The experience is really big and not for all. The museum is located in the heart of the former Jewish Ghetto, in a symbolic position for everyone, not only Jews. However the Polin Museum is not telling visitors just the story about the WWII and Holocaust, the museum is focusing on the Jews life, from the first settlement in Poland and their traditions. The Museum is a celebration to life over death, preferring to tell a visitor how they are part of the local life.
But is impossible to think about this Museum without thinking about the horrible war and the holocaust. The exterior of the building itself, it’s sober and austere. The Polin Museum is the core of the Jewish former Ghetto, which you can visit just going around. From the walls to ruins you can breathe history and proudness.
OPENING TIMES | Thursday and Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM, Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM – Closed on Monday-Tuesday and Wednesday
TICKETS | History of Polish Jews Tour
Roam around the city walls and old town
What we have enjoyed the most of our trip to Warsaw in winter, was that all the old town is completely walkable. The red bricks roads were incredible to walk along, and the city walls are just perfect walkable. Those are the reminiscence of the defensive walls of the city from the outsiders.
This part of Warsaw is very suggestive, and it’s also trendy among tourists. However, we don’t like these kinds of places, because they become crowded and overpriced. We enjoyed our little walk along the city walls.
The area is bounded by the Gdańsk Boulevards, toward the banks of the Vistula River in a ring which includes the Old Town Market Place, the Royal Palace, The Sigmund Column and Barbican. All you should visit in Warsaw in winter is here. The Old town is also the place where to find cosy cafè, nice restaurants and local shops. You can cross the old town to arrive in Warsaw New Town, passing from medieval architecture to a more modern view of the Polish Capital.
Get to the top of the Palace of Culture and Science
This iconic palace is considered the future and the past of Warsaw at the same time. The Palace of Culture and Science of Warsaw is an iconic landmark of the city. This was once a symbol of the friendly line between Poland and the Soviet Union and was the present of Stalin to the people of Poland.
However for these reasons the stunning Palace is hated by many Polish, reminiscence of the Communist Past and the poverty of that time. However, the 237m, is today standing still as the most significant monument of Poland. The local authorities have decided to give to this place a function in the local life, upgrading the culture and heritage. The Palace of Culture and Science is today a cultural hub, hosting a theatre, cinema, a conference hall, a Museum and observatory deck. This is the tallest building of the city, made of 30 floors and served by a super-fast elevator that will take you up in less than 2 minutes. Visiting Warsaw in winter you can’t miss the view from the top of this palace.
LOCATION |Defilad 1, 00-901 Warszawa, Poland
OPENING TIMES | Every day from 10 AM to 8 PM – Friday until 10 PM
TICKETS | 20PLN | £4 | $5.5 | €4.5 – Special opening Friday and Saturday at night for 22PLN. Check it out!
TICKETS | Palace of Culture & Science guided tour
Take advantage of winter sales at Złote Tarasy
It’s not a trip if Alessia doesn’t get around shopping centres and markets. Warsaw has got the incentive to be very cheap, even shopping-wise. The Złote Tarasy is the second largest shopping centre of the city, in a cloister of International brands all around. You can spot this big shopping centre once you arrive at the airport to the city centre. The Złote Tarasy is right in front of the Palace of Culture and Science. Winter Sales in Warsaw start at the beginning of January and last for about 6 weeks.
Inside the Złote Tarasy, you will find over 200 shops, a Multiplex Cinema, a Fitness Studio and many other attractions. Just outside of the shopping Centre there is the only Hard Rock Cafè in the city.
Go on a Tour of Warsaw on board of a vintage Car
If the surrounding building makes you feel “cool, wish to drive an old car around those streets” you are sorted. Taking a tour of Warsaw in an old vintage car of the Communist Era is a great story to tell back home.
There are many tours available, which all can get you around the streets with a local guide showing the surroundings and telling you a bit of history. Place this activity at the beginning of your trip or at the end, but feel the breeze of a manual, rusty transmission. The tour can give you the chance to drive a car, or also get a driver if you don’t feel
If a retro car is not enough, you can level up your winter in Warsaw, going on a singular sightseeing tour on board of a proper Polish vintage bus, the Jelcz 043. This is also the cheapest solution to share. Check this and book your tour.
Check the best tour of Warsaw in a vintage car:
- Warsaw private vintage car Jewish Tour
- Self-drive tour vintage car
- Private tour retro fiat
- Tour in the original Socialist car
- Warsaw self-driving must-see tour
Enjoy an outdoor concert at Royal Łazienki Park
Frédéric Chopin is one of the most illustrious characters born and lived a few kilometres away from Warsaw. While strolling around the Capital, you will understand how locals value this musician. The well-known composer is celebrated around the city in many ways. Among the many statues in Warsaw, the most astonishing is at the Łazienki Royal Park. In this huge and stunning park, there is a section completely devoted to the pianist which made Poland known all over the world. The Memorial to Chopin hosts a concert every Sunday from May to July, free to access with limited seating. However, a few winter concerts are hosted by local pianists.
Speaking about Chopin why not go around the city and watch out for the benches dedicated to the pianist. There are many which will sound the composer’s main tracks. You should also consider visiting Emilii Plater Street, another spot dedicated to Chopin with a piano drawn as zebra crossing.
Sip a hot chocolate
It’s cold, right? What is better than a hot chocolate in a cosy cafè? Warsaw has plenty of gorgeous spots where you sip a hot chocolate. Think about the picture-perfect cafè with outside snowing. Cool, isn’t it?
There are many places where you can taste a good cup of hot chocolate, with some biscuits on the side. What we have learned in our trip to Poland, is that they know how to make chocolate and sweets very well. The Wedel Stores are everywhere and you can’t miss to see them across the city centre. Despite the high cost of their cup, the taste is very good, and while cold outside it will warm you up. The standard hot chocolate at Wedel is about 16PLN | €3.5 | £3.2 | $4.3.
For a cheap hot chocolate, you look out for Shabby Coffee, Wine and Books, cosy and right for who want an intimate atmosphere. Chocolate Manufactory instead is where you will learn the process to make tasty chocolate. Originally from Lodz, the Chocolate Manufactory has recently opened a laboratory in Warsaw too.
Wander around Praga District
The iconic district of Praga might be a hidden gem in Warsaw. Lately, in the last few years, it has become popular as the place where to experience the real Warsaw feeling. Until 1791, Praga District was just a separate city, located on the east bank of the Vistula River. But it’s during the Communist Period that Prague became the alternative side of Warsaw. Many young artists, singers, writers find this part of the city the perfect place to express themself.
Today Praga District is the other face of Warsaw Old town, leaving all the charm to that part of the city, and expressing the alternative culture in a hub open to everyone. For many, this is the real district to explore in Warsaw to meet locals. The former industrial area is today an incredible reticulate of streets filled with restaurants, bars and shops. This is also the cheapest area of Warsaw, mostly because it is not overcrowded by tourists.
TOURS | Praga district walking tour
Learn Jewish history and WWII
Discover Jewish heritage in Warsaw and how it is rich and diverse, perfectly mixed with the past of the city. Learn how Jewish have made it to Poland and get into the urban texture of the cities. Through an incredible memories trip, you will discover all the Jewish history in Poland, from the beginning, until the tragic turning point fo WWII and Nazi Occupation. The Jewish community was enclosed in a not larger space, near the Old Town, it was the Ghetto, and you should find the time to get across those streets.
Stroll around Warsaw new town
This is just the extension of the old town. Warsaw New Town can be dated back to the 15th Century and it’s border it’s on Barbican. The new town was almost destroyed by the Germans Occupation after the Warsaw Uprising. The New Town was so rebuilt from the ashes, with just a few standing buildings still standing from the past also in the old town.
You can easily go through the Warsaw ages passing by a unique street through the Old and New Town. Starting your tour in Market Square, you can arrive at the Warsaw Barbican, the gate of the old town. It starts on Freta Street. This is a long cobblestone road, taking you to the Ne Town.
You can’t miss this spot of Warsaw, Freta Street has got many taverns, restaurants and pubs, many of them very cheap and good. Before the end of Freta Street, you will see New Market Town with the picture-perfect St. Casimir’s Church. Another way to see the New Town Style is to walk along the Barbican Walls, from a statue to a statue. Along the Old Town wall, just facing the New Town there are the statues of Great Characters of the Polish History.
Eat like a local in a tavern
Sometimes it’s not the fancy place that gives you the right atmosphere. When you are a broke backpacker, saving up all you can to afford to travel more and more, you will just have a decent dish in a warm place. However, Warsaw was a good mix of good prices and tasting local food.
Food is the first vehicle to understand locals, so we are always looking for places like little restaurants and taverns, away from hot tourist spots. Just away from Barbican in Freta Street, you can find many good places to eat. All those places are so tasty and the bill will be just fine. Check also in the Praga District for some local restaurants. If you are looking for more cosy venues, regular restaurants and more, check for Droga Powiatowa Street.
See the city from the bell tower of St. Anne’s Church
The view of a city from the top is always the best. In Warsaw, there are a few great buildings with access to the rooftop or a Terrazza. Over than the popular Palace of Culture and Science, also the bell tower of St. Anne’s Church offers an incredible landscape.
From the top of this beautiful bell tower, you can spot the Castle Square and the Royal Castle. However, if you are travelling in wintertime in Warsaw check the weather condition before heading there. The city, especially early in the morning can appear foggy. Therefore the landscape view is incredibly scenic and it’s one of the best in Warsaw. Due the city is almost totally flat, you will have the whole house below your feet, within the distance of the skyline of the more modern buildings of Warsaw.
Enjoy the enchanting Palace on the isle at Łazienki Royal Residence
Łazienki Royal Residence is one of the more enchanting places and parks we have seen so far. The location is unique, it offers long walks along the park with amazing opportunities for nature lovers. The Łazienki Park also hosts the open-air concert hall tribute to Chopin, this just to give you an idea on how big it is.
The beautiful baroque structure was used as a bathing house by the Polish Monarchs, while during WWII the building was nearly demolished. The German troops devastated the intern and drilled holes for a quick crush. The Building has been restored to the enchanting beauty of better times, and today hosts more than 1,2 million visitors every year.
Go ice skating in warsaw
We love to go to Ice skating, and Warsaw was incredible. Maybe the cold weather, the atmosphere or just that we wanted it to be a switch off for our brain. During the Christmas Period, the Old Town Market Square becomes Winter Wonderland, with activities and attractions.
The Square hosts a big Ice Rink, with opportunities to learn even for children. We believe that this is not an activity to plan, but just to go on the flow. If you are around Warsaw at Christmas, consider going Ice Skating.
Warm you up with a couple of Vodka shots
Let’s talk about the national favourite activity, drink. Just joking, but it’s something to try, especially in winter in Poland.
The locals know very well how to drink vodka, and it’s a delicious product which makes them proud. Vodka is not just a way to live the adventure like a local but also a way to keep you warm while exploring Warsaw in winter.
There are many ways to drink vodka, as a mixture of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, but the Poles know just one way to do that, Vodka on the rocks. It’s like the way that we drink limoncello in Southern Italy, they do it with Vodka, a shot and go.
Christmas Markets at Castle Square
If you are considering spending the winter in Warsaw, you should go for Christmas. The atmosphere is unique, with glamorous lights all over. There are so many incredible Christmas Markets around Europe, and Warsaw has got a beautiful one too. All around Warsaw Old Town you will see stands with Christmas decoration, products and lights. This part of the city becomes a fairytale town, all adorned, Christmas songs at every corner. Happened that Poland is very Christian and feels this time of the year a lot.
The Christmas Market of Castle Square is very unique and it’s the meeting point of locals for the festive season. Spend a couple of hours sipping hot chocolate and wander around the beautiful stands. This is the perfect place to get your souvenirs from Poland. If it’s not enough, taste the local food at the kiosk or go to the main attraction, the ice rink.
Warsaw | 3-Hour City Adventure Game
Going away for a trip should be fun, but what to bring up with your friends for an adventure? Warsaw city centre is the location of great stories, tricky alleys and mysteries. Enjoy a 3 hours city adventure game across the Polish capital. Cold can be beaten with adrenaline and brain cracking games, like this.
You can discover many things while playing and exploring Warsaw. Check the best adventure for you.
Craft Beer Tour hopping from a brewery to another
If you follow our blog you know how we love craft beer and get lost around the local breweries. Warsaw was a good surprise. Despite what we were looking for, great Vodka, we discovered that the recent growing Beer industry has something to say about.
While cold outside, why not get into the local way to drink and make beer with a Tour of craft beer breweries around the city?
Discover the taste of the Beer in Poland with this amazing tour.
- Craft beer tour with a local beer lover
- Warsaw Pub crawl with free drinks
- Private Polish beer tasting tous
Are you a beer lover? You might want to check our Beer Tour in Brussels!
Warsaw Travel Guide
When to visit Warsaw
The best time to visit the Polish Capital is in Spring, like many countries in Europe. This is valid especially if you don’t tolerate cold weather. Winter in Poland is very harsh. However, consider also visiting Warsaw in fall, from September to mid-October the weather is good and not very cold. Summer in Warsaw can be wet, so it’s not as you might expect. If you have a limited day of Holidays a year, the best time to visit Warsaw might be Autumn or Winter, because of the atmosphere.
What to do in Warsaw in December
Going through our blog post you can understand how many things there are to do in Warsaw in December. The festive atmosphere of the city will bring you joy and good mood. The below is a list of some activities to do in December in Warsaw:
- Enjoy the Christmas Light Festival
- Go Ice Skating
- The culture at the Polin Museum
- Birds Eye View from the Palace of Culture and Science
- Explore the Warsaw Christmas Markets
Where to stay in Warsaw
As we have mentioned Warsaw is very cheap and affordable, so why don’t get extra for a few bucks more.
Below are a couple of suggestions from us to spend a couple of nights in Warsaw like a star.
What to pack for Warsaw in winter?
Winter in Warsaw can be really tough, make sure you are covered enough to face any weather conditions. However, winter in Poland also means shopping sales. So, don’t be worried if you still have space left in your luggage that needs to be filled.
Warsaw in January is the coldest one, also you have to look out if visiting Warsaw in February. We suggest the below be in your luggage:
- A warm winter coat
- Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof shoes
- Warm socks
- Glamorous gloves and scarf
- Don’t forget a hat
For women, we can also suggest getting thermal legging, for men a thermal shirt, the one usually for running. Don’t be scared to put on an extra layer while going explore Warsaw, you can always take it off.
How many days in Warsaw
We believe that 2 days in Warsaw could be enough to get the vibes of the city. However, if you want to enjoy more of the places in our guide, you should consider spending at least 3 days. In two days in Warsaw, you might just see the surface of how beautiful winter in Poland is. Planning ahead a few days more will leave you time to get lost in Warsaw and explore the surrounding area, why not take some day trips from Warsaw. See below our suggestions.
How to get to Warsaw
Warsaw has got two main airports, a close one to the city and the cheapest one, served by low-cost flights companies. Despite what you think Warsaw is not only very affordable but also crazy easy to reach. Although many cities have got an airport far-away from the centre, or super expensive, Warsaw is the opposite. Chopin Airport is just 10Km away from the city centre. The location is reachable within 30 minutes across multiple options, bus, train and taxi. The airport is connected well with the city, with a good timetable even early in the morning and late at night.
For a cosy Chopin airport Transfer, you might want to book this Communist-Era Van
The low-cost company Ryanair instead is landing at the Modlin airport, which is 40Km north from Warsaw. However, even this airport is well connected to the centre. There is a direct transfer by bus from the airport to the Palace of Culture and Science. Booking your ticket in advance will help you to lower the costs, with tickets from 5€ one-way. Check the ticket!
Warsaw is not only a good destination to fly to, but also a hub for further transfers. The Polish Capital is well connected by daily flights to Germany, Italy, France, UK.
If you are looking for a taxi transfer, you can get the best rate here.
Q&A Warsaw in winter
What is there to do in Warsaw in winter?
Drink a hot chocolate
Step in one of the beautiful museums of Warsaw
Warm-up with a couple of Polish Vodka Shots
Follow the Chopin Route
Get to the top of the Palace of Culture and Science
Enjoy the festive atmosphere of Warsaw Old town
Does it snow in Warsaw in December?
Yes, it’s possible. The temperature massively drops at night with high expectation of snow. The temperatures often go below -6°C (21.2°F)
How cold does it get in Poland in winter?
Very Cold, and there is no much difference between the north and south of the country. The average temperature verges on 0°C (around 32°F), going all down -6°C (about 21°F). Generally speaking, January is the coldest month in Poland, and it gives you a high chance of snow.
Does it snow in Warsaw in January?
Yes. The landscape in Warsaw in January it’s completely different, insanely beautiful. The snow covering every side of the city will give you the picture-perfect.
Is it cheap in Warsaw?
Warsaw has been one of the cheapest destinations we have visited in Europe. The quality of life is very high compared to the small budget you need to enjoy a nice holiday time in Warsaw.
Is Warsaw worth visiting?
Yes. There is no excuse to don’t visit Warsaw. Whatever you are looking for a short weekend or long stay, Warsaw is the right destination for you. Warsaw is very safe, and we highly recommend it as a future destination for you.