Hidden Gems in Warsaw

  • Pani Hania’s Garden

This locale is in Warsaw’s region of Saska Kępa, which since olden times has been considered a Mecca for creatives. An interesting feature of Saska Kępa are the many streets with ’geographical ‘names. Here you can walk along the noisy Francuska Street (French Street), where many new restaurants and cafes have sprung up in recent years, and learn the Polish names for cities and countries while walking along Litewska (Lithuanian), Łotewska (Latvian), Brukselska (Brussels), Brazylijska (Brazilian) or Paryska (Parisian) Street. We highly recommend finding Zakopiańska street (from the Tatra resort town of Zakopane) and spending some time in Pani Hania’s garden. A city legend states that the garden’s caretaker grew tired of her solitary life. The woman decided to actively pursue her hobby and go into business. Pani Hania loves to cook and grow flowers in pots, so she transformed her garden into an open-air café and flower shop. Kwiatkarnia, as this place is called, is a gorgeous place to hang out in during the summer, sitting beneath Pani Hania’s cherry trees and eating tasty food. The establishment used to close when it rained, but a year ago a small awning was set up, under which you can sit out the rain. Every day the owner cooks one kind of soup and one main dish.

  • The Koszykowa Street Library

Definitely stop by this quiet oasis in the center of Warsaw. The library on Koszykowa Street is one of the largest and oldest in Poland. It was established in 1907 and underwent major renovations a few years ago. Today there are around 1.5 million books in its collection. Entrance to the public library on Koszykowa is free and a permanent library card and connection to free internet is available to anyone who applies for it. The glass ceiling, tables with lamps, tendrils of green ivy, comfortable couches to lie on – drop by here to read, think about the meaning of life or just check your email.

  • Świętokrzyski Bridge

City explorers, we invite you to stroll over to Świętokrzyski Bridge (Most Świętokrzyski). If you happen to be on Nowy Świat, one of Warsaw’s main streets, turn onto Tamka Street. It will lead you straight down to the Powiśle district and to the newest bridge in Warsaw – Świętokrzyski. In the evening and at night, this structure is beautifully illuminated and there is a walkway for pedestrians and bicyclists. While on the bridge, you can take stunning photos of the Old Town or the National Stadium on the right bank of the Wisła river. The Copernicus Science Centre is walking distance from here. At the Centre, every adult will feel like a kid again, experimenting and discovering the amazing properties of science. See how a tornado forms, be transported to a distant galaxy or admire the starry sky in the planetarium. Return from childhood to adult life with the help of the many cafes, clubs and restaurants that have popped up all over Powiśle. In the summer, it is also worth a stroll down the river bank, where great spots all along the river bank let you enjoy a cold beer in deck chairs.

  • Skaryszewski Park

A picnic blanket, sunglasses, a tasty kanapka (a sandwich in Polish), water and a good book. If you decide to spend a few hours of summer in the amazing Skaryszewski Park, this is all you need to be happy. There are no crowds of tourists here, unlike at Łazienki Park in the city centre. This place is for natives. In 2009, ‘Skaryszak,’ as Warsovians call it, was named the most beautiful park in Poland. In that same year, it received third place in a contest for the best park in Europe. ‘Skaryszewski Park awaited this decision for 104 years’ – one of the jury members jokingly said.

Here you can lie on the grass, ride your bicycle, go jogging, do yoga, play sports with friends, sit on a bench, take beautiful pictures, drink coffee at one of the many cafes. You can also study Polish art in the park. On the grounds of the park, which made the list of natural monuments of Poland forty years ago, you can find many sculptures and even some of the ‘courtyard shrines.’

Skaryszak covers an area of 58 hectares – there is more than enough space for everyone! One of the favourite activities of the Varsovians who come here is feeding the birds and squirrels. The pigeons and titmice are so used to people that they may even sit in the palm of your hand if you have a treat for them. Ducks roam the shores of the Skaryszak lake. Bring goodies! The squirrels not only hover in the distance, they are known to climb up your leg if you happen to have coveted walnut! Poles call out for the ginger animals by repeating the name Basia many times. Practice quickly pronouncing ‘Basia-Basia-Basia-Basia’ at home and come to Warsaw with walnuts to feel like a native in Skaryszak.

  • Mirella von Chrupek’s display

At one time, a shoemaker showed off his shoes in this display case on Marszałkowska Street. It stood empty for a long time. In 2015, it was rented by artist and photographer Mirella Von Chrupek. The artist made her own mini-gallery from this small window box. Toy animals, birds, dolls, sequins, flowers – Von Chrupek creates a micro world resembling a fairy tale in the heart of Warsaw. The fruits of the artist’s work look so innocent that the unsophisticated spectator might think that the exposition in the display case is the handiwork of some child.  Mirella von Chrupek said one interview:

I wanted to create something that would lift the moods of the residents of Warsaw in winter or when it is raining. Now, when I get warm reviews from people of different ages, when I see that many people are taking photos near the display, I know that I have succeeded.

The exposition in the display case changes every two or three months. Keep an eye out when strolling around Plac Zbawiciela (Saviour Square) – it’s easy to miss!

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