Warsaw Itinerary – What are 7 best things to do

WARSAW ITINERARY

SEVEN OF THE BEST PLACES IN WARSAW

A GUIDE TO your PERFECT Warsaw trip

I’ve spent three days in Warsaw recently, and I’ve come back, packed with an appreciation for the destination I didn’t expect.  Here are seven things not to miss in Warsaw and to add to your Warsaw Itinerary.

Before my journey, I hadn’t heard about Poland’s capital before, but cheap flights and an invitation attracted me to book a city break in Warsaw, and I’m so happy I got a chance at that city.

If you’re curious how many days you’re going to need in Warsaw, so I thought three days was the right time. Without feeling hurried, we were able to get to all the best places to do in Warsaw, and this was made simpler by the fact that the city is super easy to get around.

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Lazienki Park

Explore Łazienki Park

It is Poland’s most significant park in Warsaw and covers 76 hectares of the city centre. The park-and-palace complex is situated in the central district of Warsaw (Čródmieście) on Ujazdów Road, which is part of the Royal Route that connects the Royal Castle to the southern Wilanów Palace.

Ujazdów Castle stands north of Łazienki Park, across from Agrykola Street.

Originally built as a bath park for the nobleman Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski in the 17th century, the last king of Poland, Stanisław II Augustus, turned Łazienki into a place for palaces, villas, classicist follies and monuments in the 18th century. It was declared a public park officially in 1918.

Tourists from all over Poland and the world visit Lazienki and serve as a place for music, arts and culture. This fantastic park is also home to many peacocks and squirrels.

This park is a must to add to your Warsaw Itinerary.

Warsaw, Poland

Old Town

The old town of Warsaw is one of the most recent in Europe.  Reduced to rubble by the Nazi occupiers in August 1944 (they took exception to the decision of the citizens of Warsaw to strike back in the same month’s Warsaw Uprising.

Check out the excellent Warsaw Uprising Museum to learn more), the city lay in ruins – but not forever.

Painstakingly restored from memories and photos, many of the more critical structures have been rebuilt almost entirely to their original configuration, and the city maintains a historical feel with its lined streets and beautifully painted houses.  Today it’s one of Warsaw’s most famous places to visit.

Check out the landmark Market Square with Warsaw’s very own Little Mermaid statue – a rather more combative version than her sword-shielded Copenhagen counterpart, she has become the city’s symbol.

Visit the magnificent Gothic St. John’s Archcathedral with its distinctive stepped vaulted roof; a stone commemorating 1000 years of Christianity in Poland is outside the cathedral. Or stroll through the streets and take in the scenery.

The old town may have been rebuilt but as a result, visitors can enjoy the grandeur of the buildings as they would have been when they were new in the Middle Ages.

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Old Town

Admire the Royal Castle

The Royal Castle of Warsaw, at the outskirts of the Old Town, is another structure that was restored after World War II.

Fortunately, however, the city’s people anticipated the arrival of the German forces, and many of the priceless contents were securely hidden away and remain today, including the stunning golden throne and a magnificent room full of Canaletto paintings, which enabled the visit.

But the Castle itself has also been lovingly restored to its former glory; stunning parquet floors carry tourists through the royal rooms, including a ballroom to rival anything at Versailles with its glittering mirrors, golden ornamentation and dazzling ceiling mural, repainted by a contemporary artist as similar to the original as possible.  The palatial apartments giving way on the ground floor

Take a cruise on the Vistula River

For a capital city, the river of Warsaw is remarkably undeveloped. It is a key feature of the city.

While significant, navigation is shallow and challenging, so the only boats accessing these waters are smaller vessels, rendering a river cruise a great way to relax and admire the leafy banks of the river and the skyline of the city beyond.

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Vistula River

Check out the view from the Palace of Culture and Science

The Palace of Culture and Science is easy to see, recognised locally, with a good dose of irony, as Stalin’s Gift.

Designed in the triangular “birthday cake” style so favoured by the Soviet dictator, this 1950s skyscraper was introduced by the man himself to the City of Warsaw, allegedly as a gift, but in fact as an unwelcome reminder of who ruled the world during the Communist period.

You don’t reject presents from Stalin, but the city’s inhabitants took it into their own hands and determined they would make it bigger
and larger if they had to make it, and today’s house standing on this site is double the height of the initial proposal.

The skyscraper, containing theatres, cinemas and many other jewels for the pleasure of the people of Warsaw, is a fine example of communism.

Ride the elevator to the observation room to see for yourself the interior of the Palace; there are impressive views in the distance from the roof to the Old Town and Water, as well as the mini-Manhattan of Warsaw’s new business district as it expands every day. Add this to your Warsaw Itinerary and you won’t regret it.

Sixty years on, the Culture and Technology Palace remains the city’s tallest structure – but not for long.

Learn the tragic history of the Warsaw Ghetto

It’s hard to come to Warsaw to disregard the tragedy of the Second World War. More than 400,000 Jews lived in the city at the time of war and the Nazi settlers were able to take them under their immediate control, establishing the Warsaw Ghetto in late 1940.

The Ghetto, in the city’s Muranów neighbourhood, occupied a wide area but not large enough for the number of residents, who were housed in a space with an average of over nine people.

About 92,000 Jewish inhabitants died of malnutrition and illness in the Ghetto, while more than 300,000 were killed in the death camps by gas or firing squad. Mostly the Treblinka camp, to which about 250,000 inhabitants of the Ghetto were dramatically sent in the summer of 1942.

The remainder of the inhabitants started fighting back in 1943, resulting in the late April Warsaw  Ghetto Revolt, in which the surviving Jewish inhabitants were either killed or sent to concentration camps.

The Polish Jewish History Museum (POLIN) is situated within the  former, unreconstructed ghetto area and today contain more new buildings.
Well worth a visit to the museum; prepare for at least 2 hours.  A memorial to the Polish Jews and the Warsaw Ghetto Rebellion stands outside the museum.

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Sampling some of the Polish cafe’s

Stuff yourself full of traditional pierogi

Last but least is to explore and try all the foods Warsaw has to offer. International foods reign supreme in modern Poland, but there is a taste for real Polish cuisine.

A tradition in Poland is the ubiquitous pierogi, small dumplings traditionally made with local cheeses and potato or meats and sauerkraut.
This food is found in many restaurants, but most prominent in the Old Town, where restaurants such as Gościniec and Zapiecek offer the opportunity to sample this part of Polish life. Worth checking out.

My Warsaw itinerary includes all of Warsaw’s great things to do from where to eat, drink and sleep. Here is a list of places to stay in Warsaw.

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The Five most underrated countries in Europe

The Five most underrated countries in Europe

Bay of Kotor
WHERE TO HEAD TO IN EUROPE NEXT

EXPLORE MY FIVE MOST UNDERRATED COUNTRIES IN EUROPE

5. Albania

Albania lies on the coast of the Balkans. It’s an unknown destination for so many people, but it shouldn’t be. I was there in 2017, and I have to say it was one of the friendliest destinations in Europe.

Albania is a stunning country with a fascinating history and culture dating back many thousands of years. It’s a safe and very affordable place, and with more airlines planning to offer cheap flights, it’s about to become much more accessible.

The country has many castles and unknown archaeological sites, so it’s renowned for the beautiful, deserted beaches, the incredibly cheap costs of travelling there, and the friendly people.

It’s probably easiest to fly into Tirana and be sure not to miss the beaches at Dhermi, Himara, and Ksamili.

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4. Bosina and Hergervoga

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a small country located on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe.

It’s fascinating for its East-meets-West atmosphere, a blended Ottoman Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire histories.

The countryside is home to medieval villages, clear water rivers, and stunning lakes, plus the craggy Dinaric Alps.

Apart from the modest Neum, it sadly lacks beach resorts however it easily compensates with beautiful cascading rafting rivers, waterfalls and incredibly cheap skiing in its most stunning mountainous landscapes.

Places not to miss is the old bridge of Mostar, the vibrant Sarajevo, and the gorgeous northern region.

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3. Montenegro

Montenegro is a Balkan country with wonderfully rugged mountains, beautiful medieval villages and narrow strips of beaches along its clear Adriatic coastline.

When the beaches fill up with the European sun-seekers, nomadic travellers can easily sidestep the masses by getting off the well-beaten track.

Montenegro has stunning places in the rugged mountains of Durmitor and Prokletije, the primaeval forest of Biogradska Gora.

One place not to be missed is the Bay of Kotor which has charming villages around and is surrounded by glorious mountains.

There is so much to do, whether Hiking, horse riding, or kayaking the waters to somewhere obscure and I bet your chances you’ll have it all to yourself.

 

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the-five-most-underrated-countries-in-europe
Bay of Kotor

2. Poland

Poland is a country located in Central Europe. This beautiful country borders the Baltic Sea and seven countries, including Germany.

Poland does, however, host better food and far tastier drinks to its Germanic neighbour.

Visit Poland’s old cultural capital, Krakow, for a trip back into the past.

Among backpackers, Krakow and Warsaw are rivalled because of the beautiful town square, architecture, and Wawel Castle as one of the most beautiful places to visit in the world.

Warsaw is a gem to visit and will leave you wanting to go back and explore more, it has an energetic nightlife, and the people are unbelievably friendly, and someone once said you will fall in love with the country and Poland will steal your heart.

 

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Warsaw City Centre

1. Slovenia

Slovenia is known throughout Europe for its mountains, ski resorts, and lakes and located in Central Europe on the border of Italy.

The Landscape of this country is on another level; You have Triglav National Park, which is turquoise blue water rushing off waterfalls with snow-capped mountains around.

Lake Bled is a glacial lake fed by hot springs. The town of Bled is a beautiful area which contains a church-topped islet and a medieval cliffside castle.

 

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Triglav National Park

The capital Ljubljana is a very green city, friendly for its residents and visitors alike. The town has brightly coloured houses throughout, hipster cafés and unique public spaces to relax.

Whether you’re a fan of culture, history and art or you seek the culinary delights of the town, Ljubljana has something exceptional to offer.

A gem to do is to have a walk along the Ljubljanica River, here you can stop for a coffee or cocktail and one place not to forget is to visit the farmers’ market.

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Lake Bled
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Ljubljana

I hope you enjoyed Underrated countries in Europe!!!

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Cycling Lake Como

Cycling lake como

 

Introduction to Cycling Lake Como

There is something quite special about cycling Lake Como. The breathtaking scenery, the diverse riding for cyclists. The Italian lakes have always been enticing cyclists since the sport was invented.

Lake Como has a main road that circles the Lake; it’s a place where you can cycling pass James Bond Villas, and movie stars retreat. This is not what makes cycling Lake Como so unique, no it is the diverse scenery of forests, mountains, cool climate and the Lake.

The roads around the Lake are generally good and well maintained, making it a popular cycling destination across Europe. For a cyclist, unfortunately, there is no hard shoulder and can be narrow in places.

However, this only adds to the excitement of cycling Lake Como. Once you are off the main road around the Lake, the roads tend to be quieter although quite hilly in places.

Off the main road and up into the hills it is a cooler climate, amongst the forests and into the beautiful little hilltop towns and villages. You can cycle around the entire perimeter of the Lake, a total of 160kms.

It is relatively flat, this allows you to take in the whole diversity of the Lake. There are a few tunnels as you go round, but you can avoid them by going on back roads.

 

Cycling Lake Como

Agriturismo in Val D’Intelvi

Our Route

Our route took us around the west side of the Lake before doing the climb up the hills around Argegno. The road starts climbing gently above the clear Lake with incredible views down the mountain and through the trees. The road was almost car-free, and it allowed easy cycling, while the sweat dripped from my forehead.

Cycling Lake Como allows you the freedom and enjoyment of exploring the charming villages and towns, stopping off for an espresso or a delicious pudding from the local cafe and looking out at the magnificent Lake and mountains around you.

The people though are what make Lake Como, the friendly cafe owners smiling as they pour you that espresso, the best pizzerias, one to check out are https://www.divinotredici.it/ and the Italian lycra wearing cyclists waving as you pass them on the narrow roads.

Aside from the rides, the towns and villages around Lake Como are beautiful. The villages of Bellagio, Varenna and Menaggio, are three of the most popular and all have excellent accommodation and restaurants. There are plenty of other smaller towns to stay in that are just as lovely and slightly less touristy.

 

Cycling Lake Como

Lenno

Conclusion

I recommend cycling lake Como is you get the chance, all the towns and villages along the way have their unique qualities. It keeps you interested, but the one thing you will remember is the sheer beauty of the place. The colourful building, the history and the sensational views.

Want to go on a Cycling adventure like no other?

Check out https://www.zibaadventures.com/ziba-retreats/

Italy Travel Advice

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy

Cycling Lake Como

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Driving to the Alps

driving to the alps

Longecourt-en-Plaine, France

FROM FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE TO SWISS MOUNTAIN LAKES

driving to the alps and what to expect

Driving to the Alps offers excellent benefits for those willing to take on the journey.

You can travel at your own pace, enjoy the freedom of travelling without those pesky restrictive baggage weight allowances and also avoid lengthy and stressful waits at the airport.

Driving to the Alps is also a lovely way to make your skiing or summer trip into a two-part holiday with an overnight stopover near Dijon to break up the long journey. Our Alpine destination is the Swiss mountain town of Verbier, around 11 hours from London.

This trip I have done many times in the past. Going out with skis or back from a season there. I have done it all in one day, and sometimes I break it up with an overnight stay in Dijon. I met Kate, a good friend in London at 7.00am we were taking her car “Percy” she calls it. After packing everything into the car, just!

First, stop Folkestone for the Eurotunnel. You can either take the ferry which is slightly cheaper and goes from Dover but takes quite a bit longer or the Eurotunnel which is very quick and easy. If you have a long trip ahead, I always advise the Eurotunnel.

Getting into Calais is easy, but now you are driving on the wrong side of the road, the currency is Euros not pounds, and you have lost an hour with the clocks going forward.

 

driving to the alps
Our host going to pick the vegetables

Into France

The stretch from Calais to Dijon is around 550 km and just over 5hours driving. What we wanted to do was to stop in Reims for Lunch.

A great spot is Brasserie Le Jardin although a little pricey, we tried to eat at Le Petit Basque however it closes at 2 pm along with most restaurants, so we had to settle for some fast-food chicken and chips, not the best. So make sure you are into Reims around 1 pm to have a good lunch in the champagne region.

Onto Dijon, the motorways in France are excellent and with very little traffic because of the tolls. Tolls are expensive but worth it on a long trip.

There are a load of places to stay around Dijon. We went with Château Longecourt “La Tour” Suite just outside Dijon in Longecourt-en-Plaine with our super host Roland from Airbnb.

The rooms are authentic with period furniture, and a moat surrounds the castle. It is an incredible place, and unlike any other place, I have stayed in before, a feature of the place in the ballroom which looks like something from Buckingham Palace.

Chateau Longecourt

One drawback of Chateau Longecourt is you have to drive out to have dinner there is a place 5km down the road called Cafe de Place, which does good food at an affordable rate.

One thing about staying in Chateau Longecourt is the silence around the place, living in a city for the past three months, falling asleep to the sound of nature outside was a welcome addition.

In the morning was a quick run around the grounds before a simple french breakfast with Roland’s homemade spreads.

Then onto the road and into Switzerland, after Dijon, the landscape becomes more hilly and mountainous and a little more interesting than the flat farmland from before.

Other Choices

I had also been recommended Château de Courban & Spa Nuxe which is 90km north of Dijon and The Rotisserie of Chambertin which is just south of Dijon, so if a castle doesn’t tickle your fancy, then there are other choices.

 

Swiss Alps

Into Switzerland

Then onto the road and into Switzerland, after Dijon, the landscape becomes more hilly and mountainous and a little more interesting than the flat farmland from before.

It’s a stunning drive into Switzerland, and very quickly you are heading down to Lake Geneva and into Lausanne with the epic swiss alps in the background of Lake Geneva.

There are plenty of places to stop for lunch; the city is crawling with upmarket restaurants and back street cafes.

Le Gram

We opted for a new and upcoming one called Le Gram that had recently just opened a few months earlier and had been hearing rave reviews.

It sources everything locally and has a sort of farmers market/summer festival vibe to it. The food and atmosphere were a great and pleasant place to pop in for a quick bite.

With the Alps now only an hour away there are many resorts to pick from. For us, Verbier was less than an hour away, and after a beautiful drive around Lake Geneva and up the steep climb from Le Chable, we had made it.

Driving to the Alps doesn’t have to be a painful journey, in fact, I highly recommend it as an alternative to flying if you are going in a group, maybe just don’t do it alone.

In terms of cost per person with an overnight stay in a castle between two was around £220 including petrol, eating out and accommodation.

 

driving to the alps
Looking down the Valley in Verbier

Verbier Facts:

  • It is 1,500m above sea level
  • The village located in south-western Switzerland in the canton of Valais.
  • The town of Verbier can be accessed by road or by train. From Martigny, a regional train (known as the Saint-Bernard Express) leads to Le Châble. From Le Châble a cable car (or a post bus) goes up to Verbier.
  • Don’t fancy driving to the Alps then the nearest international airport is Geneva Airport.
  • In the summertime, there is 400 km of hiking trails through the mountains. There is 200 km of mountain bike piste. Other activities include climbing, paragliding, swimming, golf, badminton, Ice karting, trips aboard the mountain railways in the area, and an annual music festival.
  • The International classical music festival combines every summer seventeen days of musical performances.

Other Alpine resorts

Calais to Chamonix – 7 hrs 50 mins

Driving Calais to Morzine – 8 hrs

Time from Calais to Alpe d’Huez – 8 hrs 30 mins

Drive Calais to Zermatt – 9 hrs 30 mins

Filling up the car

Petrol is cheaper at hypermarkets which are easily accessible from the autoroute.

Eurotunnel

Eurotunnel website

Hotel we Stayed

Château Longecourt “La Tour” Suite

Restaurant

 

Le Gram

driving to the alps verbier
Sunset in the mountains

For more posts on Europe check Out

https://www.zibaadventures.com/europe/

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