From the touristy, historic Old Town and the lively central Śródmieście, to the residential areas of Mokotów and Żoliborz, full of cool cafés and restaurants, we take a look at Warsaw’s most important districts and get an overview of what the city has to offer.
Occupying a large part of central Warsaw, Śródmieście is the city’s most vibrant district. It covers everything from the picturesque Old Town in the north (Warsaw’s main tourist destination, located close to beautiful landmarks such as Castle Square, Krakowskie Przedmieście Street, the Presidential Palace and St. Anne’s Church), to the riverside Powiśle district (home to the must-see Copernicus Science Centre museum) and South Śródmieście in the south – a lively area, loved by locals, full of cool shops, bars and restaurants (Mokotowska Street is great for shopping, Poznańska has plenty of food options and the hipster Plac Zbawiciela is the perfect place to have drinks).
Mokotów is a huge district south of the city centre, very well connected to the rest of Warsaw (by tube, buses and trams). Its home to most of Warsaw’s foreign embassies, elegant private villas, the Warsaw School of Economics, the impressive Neoclassical Królikarnia Palace (which also houses a sculpture museum) and a variety of restaurants and cafés (for traditional Polish food head to restaurant Różana and grab a coffee at the cult Relaks café).
Occupying only 8.5 sq km north of the city centre and west from the Vistula River, Żoliborz (from the french “joli bord” or beautiful bank/embankment’). It’s definitely one of the most peaceful places to live in the city. It’s also known for its great architecture. If you are in the area make sure you take a stroll around its most charming streets. Highlights of the area include the Warsaw Citadel, lovely restaurants and cafés. Check out Fawory, Dom, Porananas and the weekend Breakfast Market (‘Targ Śniadaniowy’).
The residential borough of Ursynów is known for its affordable housing options and close proximity to green spaces. Its southern outskirts border the Kabaty forest, which is a perfect place for half day cycling and Nordic walking trips.
Wilanów is an extremely popular residential area (especially among families), which features a mix of exclusive villas and modern apartment blocks. It’s also home to the historic Wilanów Palace (also called ‘the Polish Versailles’), a must-see to add to your Warsaw sightseeing list.
Praga is one of the oldest parts of Warsaw and you’ll see many buildings which survived the Second World War almost intact. Once neglected, today the area is considered as the city’s up and coming district and is home to alternative cafés and bars (Ząbkowska Street) and many new developments, such as the Koneser vodka factory, which is currently being converted into a trendy retail/office/residential complex.
Located on the east side of the Vistula River, highlights of Praga-Południe include the hip Soho Factory complex (home to Warsaw’s creative businesses, the Neon Museum and the fantastic Polish restaurant Warszawa Wschodnia) and the Saska Kepa neighbourhood, often compared to NYC’s Williamsburg. Quiet, green and predominantly residential, it also boasts some great modernist architecture, green parks and an abundance of local cafés and restaurants (such as F30, La Cocotte Saska Kepa, Kuchnia Funkcjonalna and Think Love Juices).