The secret's out that Warsaw is one of the most dynamic capital cities in all of Europe and it’s chock full of surprises. One of its best kept secrets is where half the city disappears to in the summer. No we’re not talking about the exodus of the vacationing masses nor the many families that head out of town to their summer cottages in the suburbs. From mid May to early October, when the sun is shining and the weather is sweet Varsovians can be found beating the heat down by the river.
The Vistula or Wisła is Poland’s largest river and also one of the most unpredictable as well. The section that flows through Warsaw has carved a wide path through the capitol and left the modern metropolis with two ‘wildly’ different river banks. Over the last tumultuous century various Mayors have done their part to try and tame the left (West) bank with various land and boardwalk development projects, but the right (East) bank has been largely left alone to let mother nature take its course. The result is two totally different river banks each of which has a lot to offer locals and tourists alike in terms of rest, relaxation, exercise and entertainment.
Let us take a walk through some of the highlights of the left bank first heading North to South. At the foot of the Royal Castle just North of the Śląsko-Dąbrowksi Bridge in the gardens just opposite the river bank you can catch a stunning Multimedia Fountain show every Friday and Saturday at 21:00 (21:30 from September). This is a great place to start or end an evening stroll along the river. Head South along the boardwalk and you’ll run right into Copernicus Science Center. While this groundbreaking and magnificent museum is worth spending a whole day exploring on it’s own, they also organize an outdoor Summer film series (Fridays at 21:00) as well as outdoor workshops and games for kids. This is also the main gateway to the river as the newly opened Metro stop next to the museum allows Varsovians to take the Metro right to the very edge of the river bank.