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European City Breaks: Warsaw Cycle Route

Poland's capital is a jewel in the crown of Eastern Europe. With incredible culture and a unique blend of architecture, Warsaw is a city steeped in history that will charm you and leave you counting the days until your next visit. 

Our designer Sam and his wife Alex often spend time in her native Warsaw and they have put together this week's route.


 


  Quick Facts

Highlights

 Old Town, Neon Museum, Palace of Culture and Science

Length

27km 

Terrain

Flat tarmac roads and cycle paths. Some busy roads. 

Difficulty

When

May-October: the winter weather can be brutally cold!

How to get there

Regular, and cheap, flights to Warsaw Chopin

Which bike

Veturilo, Warsaw's city bikes, aren't the best bikes but they are cheap and can be picked up and dropped off at stations all over the city

Why

A city like no other. A unique flavour of central Europe. Great culture and even better food!


 

The Cycle Route 

Start in Warsaw's Old Town with a wander around the UNESCO World Heritage site. This beautiful central area was entirely rebuilt, for free, by Warsaw residents after it was destroyed by Hitler during the Second World War as an exact replica of the city that they had taken away from them. If you're a fan of his music, you may also like to pay a visit to Frederick Chopin's heart, which lies in the Holy Cross Church in the city. 

From there, head towards the banks of the Vistula river and across to the Neon Museum. The Neon Museum holds the world's largest collection of Cold War era neon signs in the world. If you've ever been to London's 'God's Own Junkyard' and had a blast, you will love this place. If you haven't, you'll probably love it too! It offers a very interesting, and colourful, angle on what was otherwise a reasonably bleak period of recent Polish history. 

Praga (east of the river) is also a hub of creativity for the city and makes the perfect place to have a little pitstop or to try some of the brilliant craft beer that is brewed in warehouses across the area. 

Hop back on a bike and head back across the river past the Museum of Modern Art

Now for the biggest chunk of pedalling - a trip out to the suburban area of Wilanow. There you can take your pick between two places of interest. For those that want to plunge straight into what Sam calls 'design nerd territory', there is the Poster Museum. With over 55,000 posters it is perhaps the largest collection of posters in the world and is housed in the what was formerly the Wilanow Palace's riding area. 

If history is more your thing, go for a spin around the Museum of King Jan III's Palace, which is also located in Wilanow, and showcases Poland's royal and artistic heritage. The 1805 building has stood largely undamaged throughout two centuries of conflict and has most of its original collection (once stolen by Nazi Germany) in situ. 

After all that, Goracy Pies, Burger and Wine makes a great lunch stop for something casual but substantial to get you back into the centre of town.

From Wilanow, head back northwards via Lazienki Park, to see one of Warsaw's most beautiful outdoor public spaces. Coincidentally, and as a random bit of trivia for you, Lazienki actually means 'toilet'. Lazienki doesn't allow any cycling so you'll need to drop your bikes of at a station outside and pick up on the otherside. 

Having been rebuilt several times, Warsaw's architecture is as varied as its history so keep your eyes peeled as you cycle for interesting snapshots of different periods of time, political ideologies and municipal construction budgets. 

And finally, pedal up to the Palace of Culture and Science. The huge stalinist structure was influenced by historical Polish design and American art deco and was completed in 1955 as the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science. It now acts as an exhibition centre and houses two museums, a cinema, four theatres, an auditorium, an exhibition hall and a swimming pool, among other things. You may not have time to take advantage of all that it has to offer but, if you do one thing, head up to the observation deck for some fantastic views of the city. 

There are plenty of food options around here but Sam and Alex have three recommendations depending on what you fancy. If you're after some traditional Eastern European cooking with slightly kitsch decor and feel, head to  Oberża Pod Czerwonym Wieprzem. For something 'slightly more avant garde', go in the direction of Bibenda. And, if you want to go really off piste with some delicious vegan sushi, Youmiko is the place for you. 


A very cultural day of cycling! This tour takes in a huge number of museums so we would recommend picking one or two to go inside and saving some time to soak up the feel of the different areas that you explore. 



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