All about Warsaw
You don’t always have to count on the mainstream media to learn that one of your favorite destinations is “cool,” but when they rank it as the “Coolest Capitals in Europe” things change. Because you know that, with superlatives, the crowds flood in. Prices rise. Quaint parks get busy. Your secret spots are not-so-secret anymore. And, Warsaw is now “Poland’s capital of cool.”
According to The Independent, one of the several publications that now describe Warsaw as a “cool” spot, the Polish capital is “abuzz with creativity,” boasting hummus bars, design shops, hipster squares, playful cafes, and the list goes on. Verve Magazine describes Warsaw as the rebuilt capital of Poland, famous for its pulsating nightlife – a city reborn, rebuilt with “eerie accuracy.” We live metaphors and superlatives. We love Warsaw.
The Courier describes this Mamaison address as an exciting city break destination, “packed with museums, bars, nightlife and a whole lot of history.” These are three of the main players praising Warsaw and setting it up as the coolest destinations in Europe in 2017. This means that tourist numbers will soar this year and that prices for accommodation are also going up. But Mamaison still keeps balance with Mamaison Hotel Le Regina and Mamaison Residence Diana – you can still book with us at exceptional prices – provided that you book directly on our sites.
Warsaw deserves the monicker of “capital of cool.” Where else would you find “Bach in the Subways” concerts, Chopin tours, and traces of John Paul II? The city offers something for all ages if entertainment is your concern, as well as lively activities in nature, and a wealth of things to see and do for art lovers. If culture is your thing, also check out our five must-see museums in Warsaw that are usually not recommended by mainstream publications and travel guides. Bookmark our official blog for more insiders’ tips worth knowing before mainstream media finds out about them!
Warsaw has a fair number of outstanding museums covering a wide variety of fields and attracting culture lovers, history buffs, and art enthusiasts of all ages.
La Rotisserie, the playground of acclaimed Chef Paweł Oszczyk, deserves a spot among the first tier of gourmet restaurants in Warsaw, especially after the recent renovations in September, that converted this culinary temple into an elegant foodie haven.
Warsaw is different things to different people, and the art lover has a wealth of things to discover beyond the Museum of Modern Art, which is run by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Warsaw City Council. Granted, the museum’s rich collection of visual arts, industrial and graphic design, and architecture is inspiring, and a stop at their EMESEN cafe after seeing the exhibition can be as rewarding as taking in the art, but it is not enough for the art traveler. So the walk continues.
Galeria Sztuki Katarzyny at Świętokrzyska 32, owned by the former director of the Gallery of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers, Katarzyna Napiórkowska, is not far from the Museum of Modern Art. This is a contemporary art gallery, which shows painting, graphics, drawing, and sculpture.
If you walk in the opposite direction from the Museum of Modern Art you find Galeria Stereo at Miedziana 11. This gallery is highly recommended for its carefully curated exhibitions of Polish art, but they also have a well-developed international program.
Galeria Stereo: Kilian Rüthemann “Tools” exhibition in 2014
Another gallery not far from the Museum of Modern Art is Kuratorium at Sienna 43A. It promotes young Polish art, organizing exhibitions of paintings and continually expanding its permanent collection of the works.You will see works by Paweł Słota, Juliusz Kosin, Ewelina Sośniak, Tomek Mistak, Piotr Saul, and many others.
Another fascinating destination for art lovers is Le Guern (Widok 8), an interesting gallery that focuses on the most significant figures of the contemporary art scene, both Polish and international. The gallery space is open to different artistic attitudes and forms of creative activity including photography, painting, sculpture, drawings, installations, film, video art, and so on.
From here, walk to Pies Czy Suka, a design store and cocktail bar at Szpitalna 8a, which also has a passion for contemporary art, organizing all kinds of exhibitions.
Or try THE PICTURES Art Bar Cafe at Chmielna 26 for cocktails and a sensual decor that combines balck and white photography with comfort.
Besides these random stops, Warsaw has many other galleries clustering around the center. It is easy to discover them in a simple walk. There are also many design stores, which sell authentic pieces at fair prices. If you are an art lover in Warsaw you will always find something to do.
Fryderyk Chopin Statue in Warsaw © Artur Bogacki - Fotolia.com
Each European capital exudes a special charm, and each is individual in its own right. According to UK’s Post Office Travel Money Cost of Culture report however, Warsaw is Europe’s cheapest city for culture, with prices under a third of those in Vienna, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and other cultural capitals. A Financial Times report:
The cost of visiting a range of top attractions including art galleries, museums, heritage sites and tickets to the National Opera and National Ballet cost 40 per cent less than 2015.
If art is what you seek, Warsaw is a paradise: it offers fascinating art spaces, featuring both contemporary and classic works, true temples of beauty, where you can enrich your soul, while getting closer to the spirit of this outstanding destination. Some of the locals recommend destinations such as Kuratorium Gallery, Keret House, Leica Gallery, Bęc Zmiana, the Poster Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art, but you can also visit Galeria Test, Galeria Sztuki Katarzyny Napiórkowskiej, and the Zachęta National Gallery of Art. Some offer free entrance, and others charge a symbolic fee to allow you to see their treasures.
Or walk in the footsteps of Frédéric François Chopin, whose musical genius drew inspiration for many of his early works from Warsaw herself. Most of the attractions on this path are free to visit: the official route suggested by the City of Warsaw offers several multimedia benches, which have an interactive sound system that will play Chopin’s music. There are 15 spots where you can rest on one of Chopin’s Benches, all connected with landmarks that played an important role in the life of the composer.
Or visit the SOHO Factory for art, culture, and entertainment. They have such an outstanding seasonal programme. You can participate in gardening sessions, or visit an exhibition, come in for a concert, be active in a workshop, and much more. This is a vibrant space, with plenty to do and see, designed for all ages. Even foodie dining is possible here.
History buffs will enjoy the History Meeting House – Dom Spotkań z Historią. The institution has a strong focus on Central and Eastern Europe in the twentieth century, attracting intellectuals from all fields.
The Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle is one of Warsaw’s cultural treasures. Their schedule includes contemporary music, experimental films and video art screenings, creative workshops, and a wide array of cultural activities for young and old. Schedules change often so visit their website before you plan your visit.
Finally, just walk down the streets of Warsaw, and pay attention. There’s enough to catch the eye: street art, statues, monuments, and monumental architecture. Even local bars adorn their walls with contemporary art that will surprise and incite you.
For affordable accommodation in luxury and style, check the special offers at Mamaison Residence Diana Warsaw.
Warsaw may not be known like a shopper’s paradise, but it is a great place for fashionistas, as it has many boutiques selling hand-made merchandise, authentic, and reasonably priced. From jewelry to custom-made hats, you will find Warsaw fascinating if you like to shop.
W.KRUK [Pl. Konstytucji 6 | +48 661 980 571] is the oldest jewelry brand in the country. The company was founded by Leon Skrzetuski in 1840. W.KRUK jewelry is distributed in more than 80 showrooms throughout the country. The shop in Warsaw offers gold and silver jewelry, diamonds, precious stones and original collections inspired by the latest trends in fashion.
Tradition is continued by Ania Kruk [ul. Mokotowska 46], with her designer jewelry line, available in 10 boutiques across the country and online. Her designs are unique, combining different materials such as resin, ceramics, beads, cords and crystals.
For designer hats, visit the Warsaw workshop of Marta Ruta [ul. Solec 97], a well-known designer. Her shop offers ready-made pieces, some unique, but can also be visited for bespoke hats, made according to your specifications. Many singers, actresses, fashion models, and VIPs count on Marta Ruta for an elegant hat.
You’ll find even more hats at HatHat [7/11 Dąbrowskiego Street], where you can buy summer hats, winter hats, as well as spring and fall hats, made with outstanding materials, in Poland.
Loft 37 [Mokotowska 52A] is a designer shoe brand, which also offers designer bags and accessories. The shoes are customized for fashionistas who aim to externalize their style, character, passion for fashion and originality. Here you can personalize your shoes based on color, style, and material.
But when it comes to shoes, Rylko [ul. Złota 59] is definitely more famous. The company was founded by Stanisław Ryłko in 1964. It offers footwear for all ages, and shoe-care products and accessories.
For Polish fashion, look no further than Nowy Świat Concept Store [ul. Nowy Świat 48], where you can find apparel and accessories by designers such as BaBroszka, Barbara Wysocka, Dogui, MAKO, Moelle, Rita Krzysiek, REDI Fashion, SOTHO, and Uncommon.
For leather accessories, Cholewiński [Wołoska 12] is a great choice. They have briefcases, handbags, belts, wallets, cases, key rings, pouches and other items made with natural materials using Polish and Italian leather.
Warsaw’s Night “of” the Museums on May 14th and 15th is a cultural event even more sensational than the Ben Stiller motion picture about fantasy museum subjects coming to life. No, dinosaurs will not rumble in the streets, but special activities will thrill visitors nevertheless.
The organizers promise concerts, special meals, workshops, and a lot more for this, the 12th rendition of the popular events. Art galleries, community centers, libraries, churches, pubs can cafes will all join in presenting the best Warsaw has to offer with events tailored to suit this amazing city’s locals and its guests.
From the event’s humble beginnings early on, the current iteration will welcome some 16,000 plus guests, and more than a quarter of a million visitors to some 250 plus participating establishments around the city: galleries, 52 museums, theaters and government buildings have signed up, and will open through the night to welcome all the guests of the free festival.
This is the largest event of its kind in the country, a celebration of art and culture, the experience of a lifetime. Many tourists plan their trips around this, for the chance to see as much as possible from Warsaw’s best. The program will include many activities for children too, including educational workshops, art workshops, fairy-tales readings, field games, face painting, competitions and much, much more.
There will also be an unusual City Game called “Do not sleep, explore, play,” on Saturday night, so download their free HUNTLY app to join the fun. At the end of the game you have the chance to win attractive gifts for you and for your friends and family.
The complete list of the venues participating at the Night of the Museums this year is available in English here. There is no important cultural institution that will keep its doors closed on this occasion. Each venue has prepared unique entertainment for guests, ranging from temporary exhibitions, to film screenings, and cocktail parties. Public transportation will be free.
While many people will enjoy learning about Warsaw’s architectural and cultural gems, there are also tourists who enjoy knowing about the less usual attractions, the unexpected… So are Warsaw’s whiskey bars, some of which are housed inside outstanding historic buildings.
Begin your whiskey tour with Centrum Zarządzania Światem, a cozy space inside the historic Domen Pod Sowami. It is a spacious, industrial loft, with witty decor, and illuminated with replicas of lanterns from Prague Park, and replica railings from the Targowej street. Enjoy a glass of Jameson, or any other whiskey from their impressive whiskey selection, while seating on a soft, comfortable couch, or browse through the bookshelves of the secret passage to “Another Dimension.” Check the schedule to learn about their evening entertainment, which may range from rock concerts, to jazz, blues, and hip-hop performances. Other events may include poetry readings, cabaret shows, stand-up comedy, photo exhibitions, fashion shows, and workshops.
Cafe Kulturalna is one of the most popular clubs in the city. It is housed in the communist-era Palace of Culture and Science, and attracts people from all walks of live, from those frequenting artistic circles, to activists, and singers, but it also appeals to those who just want to relax, have a cup of coffee, or eat well in the city center. The Palace of Culture and Science itself is a notable high-rise building, which also houses a multiplex cinema with eight screens, the Museum of Evolution and the Museum of Technology, four theaters (Studio, Dramatyczny, Lalka and 6. piętro), an auditorium for live concerts and shows, a large swimming pool, and much more.
Another popular meeting point in the heart of the city is Resort, a lovely cafe with a cozy terrace, just opposite of the Great Theatre building in plac Teatralny. Step inside to admire its original bar, built entirely of books, or sip your favorite whiskey outside, watching the passersby in their daily routines.
Zamieszanie is a cocktail bar and social club, with modern and minimal decor, and unpretentious atmosphere. They are particularly interesting for their bottled cocktails.
Finally, Znajomi Znajomych is more than a bar: this is a place to enjoy excellent European cuisine, but also a rich calendar of events, featuring movie screenings, workshops, concerts and club events. Their whiskey list is exceptional, but they serve many other drinks and cocktails.
There’s a “Christmas Market Fever” all over Europe these days, and Warsaw doesn’t escape the bug. This city manages to fascinate every Christmas, with new, designer decorations adorning its main markets, streets bathed in light, and a coat of snow… the guaranteed “white Christmas” experience. Plus… the architecture in the old town, much rebuilt as a tribute to the city’s past and traditions, creates the perfect setting for a romantic Christmas. And Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw is fit for royalty, but with affordable luxury accommodation, and gourmet cuisine, guaranteed to make out of your Warsaw Christmas experience the memory of a lifetime.
The Christmas markets of Warsaw kick off this weekend, on November 27, and are planned to last till December 23, 2015. The main market, at Plac Wilsona, is the most popular, as well as the most interesting of all. It’s highly touristy, so expect everything that comes with the “territory.” But unlike other traditional Christmas markets around Europe, this is an international event, with 24 exhibitors from Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany and so on. There will be, of course, enough exhibitors from Poland to satisfy your needs for local arts and crafts. The usual holiday treats, including aromatic mulled wine, are a given.
Another popular Christmas market takes place at Barbakan. It’s the perfect destination to shop for indigenous arts, crafts and handicrafts. More than an opportunity to buy Christmas gifts and decorations, this is also the place to see craftsmen showcasing their skills, traditional entertainment, and you can even meet the Vikings! Pastries, hot dishes, cold cuts with Polish traditional mulled wine are the promised treats. The program is designed to make happy visitors of all ages.
The Christmas Market in Ursynów is another favorite of the locals. It sells a range of regional products, artistic objects, authentic souvenirs, and Christmas decorations, as well as Christmas foods. There’s no market without mulled wine, so don’t worry about it. This market has many activities designed exclusively for children, but there’s a lot for adults too.
Still not convinced? Don’t take our world for it. Just check out the Top five European Christmas Markets recommendations by The Sun, to see Warsaw ranking among the best in Europe!
Visitors to Warsaw in Autumn are treated to any number of festive events. Right now Poland’s capital reverberates with the sounds of the nation’s most famous composer and virtuoso pianist, Frédéric François Chopin. Through October 23rd, visitors to the city can enjoy the latest edition of the 17th International Chopin Piano Competition at the Chamber Hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic.
Organized by the Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina, the piano competition is one of the most famous musical events of this kind in the world. Launched in 1927, the event is one of the oldest such competitions as well. Held only once every five years, this is one of the very few monographic competitions dedicated to a single composer. Originally organized to perpetuate the music of Chopin, the event is also an effort to sustain Chopin’s style. For a time, this competition was the only such event allowing pianists from around the world to compete for recognition.
Recalling the first event from the Winter of 1927, 26 young pianists participated, with the winner being a Russian pianist named Lev Oborin. Since then, the event has grown to its stature as an internationally-prized competition, which has witnessed greats such as; Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Krystian Zimmerman, and, more recently, Yundi Li. This year’s competition features competitors like Seong-Jin Cho, from South Korea, and Dmitry Shiskin, from Russia.
Interested visitors may purchase tickets to the Warsaw event at the Chamber Hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic, or online. Those unable to attend may watch via live stream the Grand Finales on Full Sessions of the 17th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition YouTube channel.
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