Poland’s largest city is a work of striking contrasts; huge stretches of perfectly cultivated parks are spliced with an ultra-modern business district while traditional, craft-inspired trinkets are offered on the same street as international luxury fashion. The city’s streets are constantly changing, with new builds on every corner and a roster of enticing restaurants and bars bolstering Warsaw’s cosmopolitan credentials.
Despite the industrial feel of the city centre, visitors are never far from green spaces. Warsaw is filled with pretty parks that are sure to suit any taste, from the extensive Park Łazienkowski to the northern Ogród Saski park with its impressive fountain.
Both parks are found within walking distance of the city’s famous Old Town. The winding Nowy Świat thoroughfare plays host to the majority of the city’s luxury shopping and leads to the heart of the historical district with its intriguing rebuilt façades. The area was reconstructed in the 1950s and restored to its former glory, with classical architecture and richly painted buildings providing a spectacular cityscape. For a dash of modernity, head downtown towards to Bracka and Plac Trzech Krzyży, where the titans of international fashion are based and the gleaming Vitkac shopping centre is home to a range of cutting-edge concept stores and art-inspired eateries and bars.
The location of Restauracja Staromiejska is one of the best in the city, situated as it is on Warsaw’s Old Town square. Set directly opposite the Royal Castle and surrounded by quaint cobbled streets, it’s the perfect place to plan your day’s sightseeing over a cup of coffee. The breakfast menu is richly varied, with dishes ranging from scrambled eggs with smoked salmon to baked goat’s cheese on toast and white Polish sausages fried with onions.
Restauracja Staromiejska, Plac Zamkowy 15-19, 00-001 Warsaw, +48 (0)22 831 0259, restauracjastaromiejska.pl
This emporium of high style is a two-storey enclave of fashion. The labels on offer are luxurious and classic: Valentino, Moncler, Ralph Lauren, Salvatore Ferragamo and Christian Louboutin. The latter has a section devoted to his high-heeled genius, while the pieces from Valentino are decidedly feminine and elegant. The store was the first to bring such internationally renowned labels to the city and is something of a pioneer.
Moliera 2, Ulica Jana Moliera 2, 00-076 Warsaw, +48 (0)22 827 7099, moliera2.com
The candy store on tree-lined Nowy Świat is a veritable playground for the sweet-toothed, with hard rock sweets and lollipops in a variety of delectable colours certain to entice. There are more than 40 flavours to choose from but if your favourite isn’t among the selection the store will be happy to create a bespoke lollipop tailored to your taste.
Manufaktura Cukierków, Ulica Nowy Świat 21, 00-029 Warsaw, +48 (0)69 288 8751, manufaktura-cukierkow.pl
Zepter is a temple to everything cookery related, but there’s nothing humdrum about it; the pieces are gleamingly modern and this store on one of Warsaw’s busiest streets could double as an art gallery. Zepter also sells a range of timepieces and jewellery, but it’s in the kitchen department that it truly comes into its own, with stainless steel glassware, designer cutlery and some of the chicest utensils money can buy.
Zepter, Ulica Nowy Świat 64, 00-357 Warsaw, +48 (0)22 828 4747, zepter.pl
Don’t leave Warsaw without paying a visit to Park Łazienkowski, an oasis of serenity in the city and home to the majestic Pałac Łazienkowski (Łazienki Palace). Built in the 17th century, its neoclassical architecture and opulent décor are sure to impress, with gold gilt and ornate frescoes featured throughout. After an afternoon of culture, treat yourself to a glass of Champagne at the neighbouring Belvedere restaurant and admire the peacocks who have free rein to roam the park.
Pałac Łazienkowski, Park Łazienkowski, Ulica Agrykoli 1, 00-460 Warsaw, +48 (0)22 506 0028, lazienki-krolewskie.pl