Are you planning a trip to the Polish capital and wondering about the best views in Warsaw? We’ve got you covered!
While traveling through European cities, you will find yourselves looking for spots with great views of breathtaking panoramas. But trying to find the ideal spot to take that perfect picture, relax with a drink, or just admire the creations of people’s past might get stressful sometimes, especially if you only have a limited number of days in any particular city. But that’s what we’re here for!
Warsaw is a complicated city that offers a very diverse set of cityscapes. You have the old-but-new Old Town with its medieval architecture bringing you back to bygone days. Right next to it stand tall downtown skyscrapers giving the city a very modern feel. But sprinkled among them are also remnants of the not-so-distant past. This mix of styles is why we tried to choose those Warsaw viewpoints that show the diversity of the city’s architecture and allow you to experience splendid views in different ways. So without further ado, here are the best views in Warsaw!
VIEW 1: The Bell Tower of St Anne’s Church
The belfry of the Church of St. Anne is a typical observation platform and the only one on our list of the best views in Warsaw where you have to earn your views by walking up about 150 steps. But they’re very well worth it. The 360-degree vista opens up at the top with the Royal Castle on one side, and the Royal Route on the other.
Dating back to the 15th century, St. Anne’s church is one of the oldest churches in Warsaw. The free-standing brick belfry was erected on the north side of the church in the years 1578-84, and the tower’s current look, alongside a three-arcaded wall connecting it to the facade of the church, is from the early 19th century. As the tower stands alone, it can be visited at any time, regardless of any masses or events happening in the church. However, if you get a chance to look inside the church, we highly recommend doing so because of its beautiful baroque interior. The church is free to visit.
One of the best places to visit in Warsaw, the viewing platform of St. Anne’s Bell Tower gives you a unique view of the old-but-new Old Town with Warsaw’s downtown skyscrapers in the distance. Warsaw is an intriguing city where old and new constantly clash and combine.
During the Second World War, Warsaw was almost destroyed. The Church of St. Anne was one of the few lucky structures to survive World War II with relatively few scratches – and a damaged roof. Ironically, it almost came to a tragic end just a few years later in 1949, due to mishandling of the construction of a nearby W-Z Route tunnel and failure to secure the slope. A team of about 400 specialists was assembled to deal with the problem, and their tireless efforts paid off. The building still stands today with just a few cracks to remember this incident by. The tunnel still exists, too. You will most likely use it when visiting the tower as trams and cars pass through it under Castle Square.
Visiting the observation deck of St. Anne’s Church’s Bell Tower is one of the best things to do in Warsaw as it’s the perfect place for a quiet meditation on the history of architecture and how our environments reflect our history and identity. It is also a great place to take stunning photos for your social media, so we recommend doing both.
St. Anne’s Bell Tower
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 10 AM – 9 PM, Weekends 11 AM – 10 PM
Entrance fee: 10 zl/7 zl (reduced)
Address: Ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 68, 00-322 Warszawa
Nearby public transport: Tram/Bus Stare Miasto stop (2 min.)
Good to know: About 150 steps to the top
Booking ahead: Not necessary
Views to remember: Old Town, Royal Castle, Royal Route, skyscrapers in the distance
Ideal time for photos: Evening golden hour
VIEW 2: XXX Floor of The Palace of Culture & Science
The controversial Palace of Culture and Science is probably the most iconic and well-known structure in Warsaw today, while not necessarily one-of-a-kind. One of the most famous Warsaw attractions, the Palace of Culture and Science resembles the Seven Sisters Stalin skyscrapers in Moscow and other similar structures across our destinations in Europe, namely Hotel International in Prague and the Latvian Academy of Sciences in Riga. The Palace of Culture and Science is informally referred to as the Eighth Sister of the Moscow Seven Sisters Skyscrapers. Its architect Lev Rudnev followed the Seven Sisters architectural style but also incorporated Polish architectural details into the project.
The Palace is also nicknamed Peking, the former name of Beijing. That is because the abbreviation of its Polish name (Pałac Kultury i Nauki) is PKiN, which sounds similar to the name Peking. This fun fact is useful to know if you decide to learn more about the building and auto-translate original Polish articles. The sudden appearance of the name Beijing shouldn’t surprise you now.
Originally named after Joseph Stalin, the structure was a “gift” from the Soviet Union to the people of Poland. However, about a year after the tower’s construction, which took place between 1952 and 1955, the dictator’s name was removed from several places and the building’s dedication to Stalin was revoked as part of the country’s destalinization efforts. Still, the context of its construction and the reasons for it are subject to heated debates to this day, with some seeing the building as a symbol of Poland’s “enslavement” by the Soviet Union and calling for its demolition. That is despite the fact that the Palace has been officially considered a monument since 2007.
At about 777 ft tall (613 ft without the top spire), the Palace of Culture and Science was, until very recently, the tallest building in Poland and the third biggest clock tower in the world. Its clock was added on New Year’s Eve in 2000 and is aptly called Millenium Clock. The building currently serves as an exhibition center and an office complex. It’s home to four theaters, a multiplex cinema, two museums, bookshops, restaurants, a large swimming pool, a congress hall, and even an accredited university.
The viewing terrace on its 30th floor sits at about 374 ft above ground, making it one of the highest publicly accessible viewing platforms in Warsaw. Luckily, it is equipped with an elevator, so the ascent will not take you longer than 20 seconds. Visiting gives you the unique opportunity to see not just one of the best views in Warsaw but also the interior of this iconic building. The 30th floor is divided into three parts – the viewing terrace, the inner gallery, and the Gothic Hall, located in the very center. It also includes a café to provide refreshments while you enjoy the views, and there are comfy lounge chairs scattered around the terrace.
One of the skyscrapers you can see from the platform is the current tallest building in Poland, the Varso Tower at 1017 ft, 262 ft of which is its spire. Looking west, it should be on your left. This building was still under construction at the time of writing, but it’s planned to have two viewing terraces of its own. We will try to keep you updated with how the views compare to our favorites once it’s open, sometime around the end of 2022.
Some might argue that the Palace of Culture and Science offers the best views of Warsaw’s skyline because they’re the only ones without the Palace in them, but we’ll leave that judgment to you.
XXX Floor of The Palace of Culture & Science
Opening hours: Daily 9 AM – 8 PM
Entrance fee: 25 zl/20 zl (reduced)
Address: Plac Defilad 1, 00-901 Warszawa
Nearby public transport: Warszawa Śródmieście, Centrum, and Świętokrzyska stops
Good to know: There’s a café (open daily 10 AM – 7 PM), and lounge chairs. The correct entrance is from Marszałkowska Street on the east side of the building.
Booking ahead: Recommended, through this link.
Views to remember: Skyscrapers, 360° views of downtown Warsaw
Ideal time for photos: Evening golden & blue hours
VIEW 3: The Panorama Sky Bar in The Marriott Hotel
Situated on the 40th floor of the Marriott Hotel, the Panorama Sky Bar is one of the highest-located bars in Poland at about 459 ft and one of the best cocktail bars in Warsaw. With windows on two sides, the views you’re most likely to enjoy are to the northeast of the hotel and they include the busy Aleje Jerozolimskie Avenue and, of course, the Palace of Culture and Science.
Our previous entry thrived on the omission of the Palace from its view, this one is kind of all about it. The experience of sipping a delicious cocktail while darkness falls and the blue hour light makes the city below flicker is truly magical. Originally opened together with the hotel in 1989 and redesigned in 2009, the bar finally reopened in 2016 after another refurbishment with a modernized interior design.
The building in which this bar is situated is not just the Marriott Hotel, though. Known as The Centrum LIM, it was a joint project between Polish Airlines (LOT), an Austrian construction company (ILBAU GmbH), and the hotel chain Marriott International. The hotel occupies floors 20 and above, while floors 5 to 19 serve as offices. You can notice the distinction on the outside of the building with the Marriott sign on top and the LOT logo in the middle of the building. The bottom floors house a shopping center.
Panorama Sky Bar (Marriott Hotel)
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 6 PM – 1 AM, Friday and Saturday 6 PM – 2 AM
Entrance fee: The price of a drink, at least
Address: Aleje Jerozolimskie 65/79, Masovian District, 00-697
Nearby public transport: Main Train Station – Warszawa Centralna, Dworzec Centralny
Good to know: This is a lounge bar, so smart dress code might be expected.
Booking ahead: Reservation recommended, through this link.
Views to remember: The Palace of Culture and Science
Ideal time for photos: Blue hour and nighttime photos
See The Best Views in Warsaw With Us
Overall, all of these views can be enjoyed on the same day, but we recommend splitting them in two. On one day, enjoy the view of the Old Town & explore the nearby areas. On a different day, enjoy the golden hour & sunset from the Palace of Culture and Science, and then make your way for some blue hour cocktails across the street in the Marriott. Yet, there’s so much more in Poland to enjoy than these 3 best views in Warsaw and here at JayWay Travel we are more than glad to help you plan the Polish adventure of your dreams!
Born in Czechia and currently living in Berlin, Petra has been JayWay’s videographer and photographer since 2017. You can see the fruits of her labors on our Youtube and Instagram profiles. On our blog she turns video scripts into deeper pieces of written content. Her fascination with how our environments shape our history and identity is reflected in her written work.