Anyone who still thinks that Warsaw is a city of concrete and cement has clearly never been to the city’s lung, the incomparable Łazienki Park. Quite simply, this glorious, 17th century park, spread over 74 hectares, is one of the jewels in Poland’s crown, which might explain why half of Warsaw chooses to spend its summer Sundays here. Fear not though, for so big is Łazienki that it never gives the impression of being crowded, and even on the busiest of days you will always be able to find a quiet, shady corner somewhere.
If you enter the park via any of the entrances on Al. Ujazdowskie, chances are you will end up, willingly or not, via some surprisingly hilly paths set with tall trees, at the vast artificial lake in the park’s centre, straddled by the magnificent Palace on the Island. In doing so however, you risk missing out on a few treasures, so try to circumnavigate the park instead.
Make your first port of call the Chopin Monument, a Secessionist monument sculpted in 1908 and set at the side of a small pond. Chopin is depicted right here in Łazienki, sheltering from the sun under the branches of a tree. Almost hidden in the trees a few metres from Chopin is the astonishing Temple of the Sibyl (currently closed to the public) an 1820s replica Greek Temple, built entirely in wood. Look out too for a gaggle of other little buildings around here, such as the Hermitage, the Egyptian Temple and the Water Tower. Alas, none are presently open to the public.