Warsaw in winter can be magical. There is snow, lots of lights, and the feeling that Santa could be riding his reindeer down the next corner. People begin preparing for Christmas festivities and the smell of baking and cooking fills the air, moved on by the sound of carolers singing Christmas hymns.
There are lots of fun ways to spend your winter in Warsaw. Check out this list for 15 fun things to do if you are spending time in Warsaw in winter.
Tips for Winter in Warsaw
Here are a few tips to help you plan your winter trip to Warsaw.
Warsaw Winter Temperatures
The weather for a Warsaw winter varies between 25°F and 33°F on average. That means you have a good chance of seeing snow on your visit there. Warsaw in January is the coldest, with temperatures dipping down into the low 20s.
What to Wear in Warsaw in Winter
You’ll want to bundle up during your Warsaw winter activities, so here are a few suggestions to bring with you for your trip.
Best Things to Do in Warsaw in Winter
Make sure to check out some of these activities during your trip!
1. Make Pierogi From Scratch
Nobody can truly say that they have been to Poland unless they tasted the world-famous Polish dumplings while they were there. Your claim to Polish fame is even more significant when you learn to make these Polish dumplings and their vegan alternatives by hand, from scratch. This is one of the cool things to do in Warsaw you’ll want to try during your trip.
Also known as Pierogi, Polish dumplings were originally made to accompany drinks at a party. They are considered the ultimate party snack by most Polish people. In a Pierogi cooking class, your host will teach you all about the history of this great snack, while explaining the exact process of making it.
At the end of the class, the pierogi made would be the main feature as you and the rest of your group would typically sit to have a delightful lunch or dinner. However, if you attend this cooking class in December, the pierogi cooking class is followed by a proper three-course Polish dinner, with drinks provided. You can’t visit Poland without having traditional Polish food.
2. Visit Some of Warsaw’s Museums
Warsaw is known for having several diverse and remarkable museums. Exploring the city and checking out its museums is a great way to spend a winter day. Some of the museums you might be interested in are below:
The POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews is one of the most notable museums in all of Poland. Dedicated to the history of Jews of Polish descent, the museum offers modern and interactive displays that produce an extraordinary experience for any visitor.
You will learn all about the Jews of Poland, from the manner of their initial settlement in Poland to the events of the Holocaust, and into the current time and how Jews are faring in Poland. The museum was granted the award of the European Museum of the Year in 2016.
The Neon Museum is a space created to exhibit the neon signs that Poland has used to light up its cities in days past. Visitors to the museum can check out the light displays along with information boards that explain the evolution of neon lights from a regular tool for lighting up spaces into tools for art and political commentary in Poland.
Located in the Praga District, regular admission tickets to the Neon Museum Warsaw cost (3€). The museum is open six days a week and is closed only on Wednesday. The museum is a great option for what to do in Warsaw in January.
3. Go Vodka Tasting
On a cold day or night in Warsaw in Winter, a great way to keep your body warm is to drink multiple shots of some warm, Polish vodka. Learn about the Polish love for vodka in an amazing vodka tasting tour. This is an activity you’ll want to do anywhere you’re in Poland, from staying in Warsaw to visiting Krakow.
In one evening, you will head down to one of the many vodka shot bars where locals come together to knock back shots. When looking for what to do in Warsaw in winter, this is one that will keep you warm.
While there, you will be given a chance to taste different types of Polish vodka shot-by-shot, along with a platter of delicious Polish snacks that go well with alcohol, such as pierogi.
As you drink, your tour guide and vodka expert will regal you with tales of ancient Polish life. You will taste up to seven different shots, and he will tell you all about the makers and their history in Poland. You will end your tour happily drunk and fully connected to the spirit of Polish vodka.
If you want to try some Polish food after all that vodka tasting, check out this half-day Polish food walking tour.
4. Take a Tour of Warsaw on a Fire Truck from Communist Times
Winter in Warsaw can get so cold that going out on the streets becomes an extreme sport. If you still want to look around the city in winter you can go on a guided driven tour, inside a restored fire truck that comes from Poland’s communist times.
Enjoy this alternative way to explore the history and hidden beauty of Warsaw. Over the course of four hours, zoom around Warsaw with a small group as you explore the city; taking in its amazing architecture, ancient culture, and history.
Check out some of the sites in Warsaw that were affected by World War 2 including neighborhoods that survived the war. Learn all about life in Warsaw and also check out an up-and-coming district in the city.
As you drive along the streets of Warsaw in December, you will listen to some of the most famous songs that were listened to before World War 2. Members of the group will be picked up and dropped back off at their hotel. This is one of the most educational Warsaw winter activities.
5. Check Out The Warsaw Light Festival
If you have visited the Neon Museum, then you know that the Polish really enjoy lighting up spaces. One way to brighten up your stay at Warsaw in Winter is to check out the amazing Warsaw Light Festival which typically runs from the beginning of December till January.
It features over 1300 light installations and displays that cover more than 20 km. This yearly display of lights is typically the biggest in Poland and definitely ranks among the largest displays in Europe. They are environmentally conscious people, so all the lights used in the festival are LED, eco-friendly lights.
6. Drink Some of the Best Hot Chocolate in Poland
Only a few things can improve the cold that comes with Warsaw in winter like a cup of hot chocolate. Polish chocolate is famed for being one of the best around the world and cafes that sell these drinks are some of the tastiest places to visit in Warsaw in winter.
The chocolate maker E. Wedel is said to make the most heavenly tasting chocolate in Poland. E. Wedel is the oldest chocolate making company in Poland and its history is firmly intertwined with the country’s own.
Although they are no longer owned by citizens of Poland, E. Wedel is still known as the Polish national chocolate brand as has stores and cafes located all across Poland. A takeaway cup of hot chocolate at E.Wedel costs 3.5€/cup. However, you can also buy other chocolate products such as Ptasie Mleczko, E. Wedel’s signature chocolate product.
7. Take a Trip Through Warsaw Old Town
Warsaw in December looks like a snow-coated town from a fairy tale, most especially Warsaw Old Town. This ancient center of the city was leveled as a result of the Warsaw uprising.
However, it was entirely restored by the people when the war ended. Since that time, many tourists have come to visit Old Town. The most famous of all these attractions is the Old Town Market Place. Many consider this the centerpiece of Warsaw Old Town.
The Market Square of the old town is typically crowded during the year but is blissfully empty during winter. This makes it easy to get seats at cafes or find space on some of the city’s ice-skating rinks.
For a unique tour, check out this electric scooter tour through Old Town.
8. Go Jump on the Trampolines at Hangar 646
Having a fun winter in Warsaw requires looking for ways to make your body warm. When looking for what to do in Warsaw in winter, head over to the trampoline park at Hangar 646. This is an excellent place for children and adults to jump around.
The humongous hangar turned trampoline hall is large, containing trampolines ranging in different sizes from big to small. People with a bit more bravery in them can jump from a high platform onto a bed of pillows.
You can also rent a specialized bike for some bike trampoline jumping. Space also contains a gym with a fitness pole as well as basketball rims.
9. Visit The Palace of Culture and Science
The Palace of Culture and Science is one of the most iconic and controversial landmarks in Warsaw. The Soviet Union built this between 1952 and 1955 as a gift to the people of Poland.
Known since that time as Stalin’s Gift, this building is a remarkable work of architecture. At 237m, it stands head and shoulders above all other buildings in Warsaw and is the tallest building in Poland.
Even with the mixed feelings it brings, the Palace is now a hub for the people of Warsaw, hosting multiple cinemas, museums, conference halls, and more. However, the best way to truly experience Stalin’s Gift is to take the elevator up to the 30th floor, where the most breathtaking views of Warsaw await from the building’s viewing terrace. You’ll love doing this during your visit to Warsaw in January.
10. Visit the Warsaw Wilanow Palace
A fun thing to do in Warsaw in December is to head down to the Warsaw Royal Palace Wilanów. Often referred to with pride as the Polish Versailles, the Palace was built in the 17th century as the home of King John III. Sobieski.
Between October and March, the best time to go there is in the evenings, where you can wander through a magically lit and contrived garden. Lights are blended with garden artistry and snowflakes to bring a magical garden to life.
You will meet with human-sized ladybirds, and flowers that might try to sniff you. Other typical garden creatures will be out on display like giant snails, wasps, earthworms, and butterflies. Entry to the Palace costs about 2.5€.
11. Find Freddy Chopin
Frédéric Chopin is one of the most famous artists in Warsaw’s history. This Polish composer and piano player created so much marvelous music, that he has come to symbolize the essence of the Romantic era.
To keep his memory alive, the city of Warsaw has scattered a lot of memorabilia dedicated to Chopin all around the city. This includes artwork of his to statues and even museums around the city.
A fun thing to do is to take a walk through Warsaw in winter and spend the day locating every memorial dedicated to this amazing composer. There are some musical benches in different spots around Warsaw, with the most famous being the piano zebra crossing located on Emilii Plater Street.
Take a break from walking and go into the Chopin Museum, where his personal effects and best works are on display.
You can also listen to a Chopin concert to hear his music come to life.
12. Climb to the Top of the Bell Tower of St. Anne’s Church
Walking around Warsaw is easy and rewarding, with all of the beautiful sights that surround you. However, if you really want to see the city most spectacularly, you have to be able to look at it from above.
One of the best ways to do that is to climb to the top of the bell tower in St. Anne’s Church. From there, you have a view of gorgeous buildings as they line the Krakowskie Przedmiescie boulevard, contrasting with the skyline.
You will also get the most jaw-dropping views of Warsaw Old Town. If you look well, you will be able to see the beautiful Castle Square and the Royal Castle, which is now a museum. Getting to the top of the bell tower will cost a 1.5€ entrance fee and a 145-step climb.
13. Attend the Warsaw Christmas Markets
Warsaw in winter usually means there will be Christmas markets where you can go to load up on all things Christmas-y. All through the festive period, little pop-up markets varying in size and items sale spring up around the city, offering various things to eat and drink, activities to engage in, and stalls to explore.
You will be able to pick up all sorts of festive items like decorations, Christmas snacks, and mulled wine, as well as handmade gifts for family and friends. Warsaw’s largest Christmas market opens up in front of the Palace of Culture and Science every year.
Some of the mini-markets may open for a few days or even a week. However, the Christmas market opposite the Palace of Culture and Science opens for all of December. These markets are some of the best places to visit in Warsaw in winter.
14. Learn the Legend of Syrenka
One of the most important symbols of Warsaw is Syrenka, also known as “the mermaid.” You can find her everywhere in the city.
From facades to doors and door handles, to the signs on stores and to the designs of fountains. You can find her image printed on tee shirts, or incorporated into the logos of some companies.
The mermaid shares a long history and several legends with Warsaw. Some people claim that she discovered the city of Warsaw as she swam from the Baltic Sea, going through the Vistula river and reaching the spot that is now known as Old Town.
While many were mesmerized by her beauty, one merchant attempted to lock her up and put her on display for profit. She was freed by the son of a fisherman.
In return, she promised to assist and protect the fisherman’s son and his city. For this reason, the Syrenka is typically drawn with a sword and shield in hand. You’ll want to visit this for pictures during a Warsaw winter.
15. Visit the Copernicus Science Center
The Copernicus Center is the largest science center in Poland and one of the largest ultramodern science centers in all of Europe. This is located within a close range of the Vistula River and the Warsaw University Library.
Its purpose is to help the citizens of Warsaw and Poland at large become more familiar with science and technology and to spark the love for science in the younger generation.
The Center is definitely wired to welcome the young. At the doors, visitors are met Robothespian – a humanoid robot that interacts with people in a fun way.
Going past him and into the Science Center, a whole world of amazing and fun scientific concepts opens up. Over two floors, there are a lot of displays in different areas that are suitable for kids, teenagers, and adults alike.
Beyond displays, there is an “Experiment Zone, where visitors learn about the scientific workings of the universe through interaction. You will totally emerge as you press buttons to see how they work, answer quizzes, fly on a magic carpet, and maybe even pilot a spaceship.
The Center is open Monday to Friday (9 a.m. – 6 p.m.) and Saturday – Sunday (10 a.m. – 7 p.m.). Entry is free with a Warsaw Pass.
The city is fun and magical during winter in Warsaw. You can visit the Christmas markets, enjoy drinks and food, and take a tour of the city on a heated bus. If you are planning a Christmas trip to Warsaw, try out some of the fun things on this list and have a great Christmas.
Where to Stay in Warsaw in Winter
Here are a few suggestions of places to stay for your Warsaw winter trip.
- Sofitel Warsaw Victoria – This beautiful hotel is in the heart of Warsaw so you’ll be close to plenty of Warsaw winter activities. (rates start at $89 per night)
- Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw – This stunning hotel was a former 18th-century palace, so now you have the chance to stay in it too. (rates start at $74 per night)
Whether you visit Warsaw in December or later in the year, there are plenty of things to do in Warsaw in winter!