If you've ever been to Warsaw in the past, especially during the summer, hopefully you have fond memories of your time in the city - the weather certainly would've been a major plus, right? We at In Your Pocket love Warsaw any given time of year, from autumn, winter to spring, each of the seasons littered with touching Polish traditions and picturesque moments, but despite all the niceties, summer always comes out tops in our view. As nice as winter can be, it can also be bleak, and the 180° flip in people's moods is fantastic to witness. The people of Warsaw gleefully stow away their winter clothing and (sometimes prematurely!) out come the plimsolls, shorts and funky t-shirts. The city's parks, riverside beaches, bars, cafes and play areas burst to life, with the feel good factor turned up to the max as people cycle, skate, walk or simply lounge around, soaking up the rays and the atmosphere!
If you're new to the city, and you're enticed by what you've read so far, we'd love to see the expressions on your faces as you experience the aforementioned and more for the first time! Well, even if we can't be with you on that journey, the very least we can do is let you all know the best things to see and do in Warsaw's outdoors. Regardless if you have only a few hours, one day, a weekend or one week in the city, you can still experience a lot with our handy tips.
First thing's first, Warsaw is a great city to walk around, and you can use our guide maps to give yourself walking tours of the city, a walk through the ages, from the charm of theRoyal Route going from Wilanów Palace leading all the way to the Old Town, right up to the brutality of Warsaw's communist years to the Bohemian, but increasingly gentrified Praga district, depending on your tastes, you can be easily entertained and informed with our guide. The Royal Route especially becomes packed with tourists as it conveniently leads along ul. Nowy Świat to Krakowskie Przedmieście, and finally, to old Ziggy's column in front of the Royal Castle. At the weekends in summer, the roads are closed off to traffic, with the whole route turning into a family friendly zone with various events taking place, street performers plying their trade and people just milling about in ice-cream induced brain freezes. If you wish to have something a little bit more tailored, then a walking tour of various parts of Warsaw, with some amazing guides from Free Walkative! Tours can be a perfect alternative, giving out that insightful local knowledge in fine vocal form!
This is all nice in itself, but if the sun is out and you're looking for something a little quieter from the bustle of the tourist trail, then some park scenery will be right up your street; Łazienki Park is ideal everyone, from couples to families, but so too are many other parks, like Skaryszewski Park in the Praga district (among others), but none more popular than Pole Mokotowskie (Mokotów Fields) in Warsaw's southern half, where locals tend to hang out on the grass or in the many bars there – that is, if they're not down by the river!. And on that note, in the last few years, Warsaw's left bank riverside has been revitalised in the form of the Vistulan Boulevards, resulting in a mix of spruced up promenades, ideal for cyclists, skaters, walkers, and lazy loungers. But even along the sanitised stretch of the boulevards, there are barges-turned-food-and-drink-venues dotted around for you to enjoy. Wander further and the southern older half of the boulevards still remains fairly raw, with many gathering on the riverside steps in the evenings to enjoy the sunsets, the company of friends, and... to enjoy drinking your own shop bought alcohol here, without the risk of a fine from the locan Varsovian 5-0! All this is legal on the left bank of the boulevards due to a 2018 update in Polish law in regards to drinking in public – but be careful, this doesn't apply to every stretch of the riverside, so drinking on the wilder side of the right bank in areas not designated as a place for selling alcohol (along with the amenities that go with it, such as toilets – crucial if you have a weak bladder, huh?) can set you back with a hefty fine!
Thanks to this ruling, and its subsequent adoption by the city authorities, the right bank of the river is the much wilder, rugged side, with areas which are mainly intended for recreational use, such as public beaches (found in various districts of the city along the river), paths for walking and cycling, which is great for the more active types amongst you, as the contrast between the two riversides can't be more stark – the views of the Old Town from Rusałka [Praga district public] beach, for example, can be quite breathtaking, especially during the sunset. If you're here as the night begins, it's worth turning around and enjoying the nightlife of one of Warsaw's most active beach venues – La Playa. This place can get wild at the weekends, so party animals will be satisfied with the beach party vibe, available to all urban dwellers looking for something a little different. If that sounds a bit too much, no problem, it functions as a perfectly pleasant place to hang around during the warm summer days, where you can lounge around or even play some volleyball.
If you happen to enjoy long-distance walks, strolls, cycles (whether for leisure, or to really crunch up the km count), then Warsaw's many walking and cycling paths will be a delight to you all. Whether you tie up your boots and set off or choose to hire a local Veturilo city bike (it's so easy to sign up to, providing over 5,000 bikes), you can zig-zag your away across all Warsaw's bridges, be on wild paths on the right-bank and back on the concrete boulevards on the left-bank within mere minutes. You have so much to choose from. We've written extensively about the city's bike routes in the past and it's certainly very much a favourite with the IYP team! Head far north or south (within city limits if have a city bike, of course) and you'll see some fairly wild terrain and wildlife to match!).
If you decide to head north with your bike, or hell, even if you wish to travel there using public transport, the north-eastern Białołęka district has something special for adrenaline seekers! '2 Wieże' (translated as Two Towers), is just that, once an industrial area, these remnants stand tall, which you can now climb, or alternatively, jump off, should you see fit to do so! It's all heart pumping stuff, with quite a range of jump packages to choose from – from smaller heights right up to the top!
If bringing on a heart attack is less your thing then there's still plenty to enjoy around city, and although we've mentioned the various walking tours in our guides, it's worth noting for culture vultures that the street art scene in Warsaw is pretty mighty. Our guide maps mark (with a spray can symbol) as many murals and street art installations around the city as we can find! The city's Pragadistrict is a bit of a Mecca for this stuff, so check out some outdoor art if you're in the area! Luckily for you, the Street Art Festival is also coming up, so you may even get a chance to see some street performances!
We've listed some of our favourite things to do in Warsaw when the weather is fine, ranging from perfectly normal, rational activities, to the more ballsy adrenaline pumping craziness of adrenaline sports, and we hope you try out some of our recommendations and enjoy them. Our guide is full of stuff for you to check out, and don't worry, if you're reading this and the weather doesn't quite allow a stroll in the park, then we've got you covered for plenty of indoor attractions too. Get on out there, regardless!