The best Instagram spots in Warsaw
I’ve been traveling for a while now and my favourite thing to do in a new city is take pictures. Before I go to a new place I research Instagram to give me photo inspiration but I find it hard to get information on a list of the best instagram spots in a city. Often times when we do a city break, we only have a short amount of time, like 48-72 hours. It is a good idea to make the most of this time by researching where you want to take your photographs before you go, so that you can enjoy the rest of your time exploring on your trip. In each city that I visit I want to spend some time on my blog doing that research for you and bringing you the best Instagram spots in that city. Here are the best Instagram spots in Warsaw.
Let me start by saying that when we arrived in Warsaw it was the beginning of February. So it was the best surprise, and I’m not going to lie, a little weird, to see it still decorated for Christmas. But all of the fairy lights and snow just added to the whole magical charm of this city.
Warsaw city itself is so diverse. From the cute and fairytale old town square, New York vibes at the Palace of Science and Culture to the gritty side of Praga with all of its wonderful street art. One thing is for sure, while it might not be as popular as Amsterdam or Paris, Warsaw has so much to offer for travelers seeking a totally different perspective of Europe. It is also one of the most colourful cities I’ve been to which makes it the best spot to take those Instagram worthy photos.
What makes Warsaw so special?
If I had to describe myself as a city it would be Warsaw, because Warsaw is a survivor. During World War II, in retaliation for the Warsaw Uprising, Hitler ordered for Warsaw to be destroyed. Most of the buildings in the old town were bombed and all that was left was rubble.
But Warsaw said screw that and rebuilt it’s old town in an exact replica of how it used to be. Some may see that as unauthentic but there is a resilience and determination in this city that I see in my own battle against Lyme disease. We may not be the exact same as before, and we both carry our battle scars but we are both determined not to let it take who we are.
So lets get down to the fun bit and the best Instagram spots in Warsaw.
The Palace of Science and Culture
This gorgeous high-rise building in Warsaw, Poland will give you real New York vibes. It is the tallest building in, not only Warsaw, but all of Poland and acts as the perfect compass point when exploring the city. It was a gift from the Soviet Union to the people of Poland and it was once known as The Joseph Stalin Palace of Science and Culture.
The building currently serves as an exhibition center and office complex and the gorgeous American Art Deco vibes makes it the perfect Instagram spot, both during the day and all lit up at night.
Photo tip: The Palace of Science and Culture is perfectically symmetrical with a clock face on each side, so it can be photographed from any angle. My tip is to pick the side where the sunlight shines on it to create depth for your photos. The building is extremely tall so position yourself far enough away from it so that you can capture the entire structure in one frame.
Old Town Market Square
I literally squealed with delight when I turned the corner into Warsaw’s old town square and realised that we were actually staying there! As I mentioned before the Christmas decorations had not yet come down and the square was adjorned with the most beautiful fairy lights. There was even an ice rink in the centre of the square built around the square’s fountain. The mermaid figure on the fountain holds a special meaning for Warsaw.
The square will be lovely at any time of year but Warsaw at Christmas is really magical. This iconic landmark is certainly the heart of the city and has the prettiest, most colourful, buildings that I have seen. All of these charming buildings are post-war replicas of the original buildings. The square was first bombed by the Luftwaffe and then completely destroyed by the Germans at the end of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. All of the buildings were rebuilt in the original style. Every corner of this square is a photographer’s dream and you will no doubt get many Instagram worthy photographs here.
Photo tip: It will come as no surprise for me to suggest getting here early to photograph before the city wakes up. It will give you the perfect opportunity to capture a photograph of yourself without others in it. The prettiest times of the year to capture the old town square are at Christmas or during the Jazz at the Old Town event during the summer.
Pretty side streets and alleyways
Each corner of the old market square leads to some of the prettiest side streets and hidden alleyways. The streets are lined with cobble stones and are just so picturesque. Take your camera and go for a stroll through this labyrinth of winding streets. Full of Olde World charm, the cobbled stone streets and ornate tenement facades will keep your camera very happy.
Photo tip: These pretty streets and alleyways are best photographed at dusk. Lighting can get tricky shooting inside an alley so consider depth of field. Most important, take your camera everywhere. Street photography is spontaneous and waits for no one so it is best to have your camera within reach at all times.
Following an extensive redesign, Warsaw’s historic indoor market, Hala Koszyki, has once again opened its doors. Since its redesign in 2016, it has become one of Warsaw’s top culinary addresses among both locals and tourists. This is the perfect excuse to stop by one of its 18 restaurants for lunch and capture your perfect instagram photograph after.
Photo tip: To fully capture the glory of this space, head straight to the first floor terrace. Here you can admire and photograph the beautiful wrought iron roof structure set against a gorgeous red brick interior.
A little outside the city center you will find one of the most beautiful parks in Warsaw, Łazienki Park. You would be forgiven for thinking that you were in Bath in the UK here. In fact it was originally designed as a baths park and is also known as “Royal Baths Park”.
You could spend several hours strolling around this park with the cutest peacocks and squirrels to keep you company. There are so many beautiful palaces and villas to explore in this park. The most stunning is the Palace on the Isle, a beautiful 17th century, baroque style palace. The palace is also extremely photogenic with the exotic location of being on an island surrounded by a lake and green space. Another place of interest to capture beautiful photographs for your Instagram is the Chinese garden, but believe me there is no shortage of photo opportunities in this beautiful park.
Photo tip: The best photo spot of the Palace on the Isle is from the bridge to the south of the Palace. To get there, walk along the western side of the river down towards the bridge. From there you will get the perfect symmetrical reflection of the Palace on the lake.
Dominated by a towering column, Kolumna Zygmunt, and the beautiful facade of the Royal Castle, this grand square is a photographer’s dream.
Castle Square, also known as Plac Zamkowy, is one of the most historic squares in Warsaw. This cobbled square has been the site of numerous demonstrations, speeches and even executions throughout the city’s turbulent history. It is also the perfect place to people watch, so grab a table outside one of the square’s beautiful restaurants and enjoy some lunch while planning your photographs.
My favourite spots for Instagram photos here in the square are from the staircase down to the tram stop and from up above in St Anne’s Observation Deck. It is worth bearing in mind that if you have any disability the climb up to the observation deck will be a struggle. With the damage caused to my muscles from Lyme disease I struggled to climb to the top and had to take many breaks along the way but I am glad I achieved it because the view was spectacular.
Photo tip: The Old Town looks even more impressive from above. The best time to go up is 2-3 hours before sunset. The square will be full of colour. If you wait until sunset, most of the square will be in the shade.
Street Art in Praga
I used to be of the opinion that street art, or graffiti as it was better known, ruined a city and made it look dirty. That was until I travelled more and saw the real artistic talents and creative flare behind some of this street art. Now, when I travel, finding unusual street art to photograph has become something that Mister Lavin and I really enjoy doing.
If you are looking for cool street art in Warsaw you need to head to the slightly gritter side of the city, Praga. At the end of the communism era in Poland, many remarkable artists of Warsaw decided to move to the Praga area, which was crowded by factory buildings and completely different from the other areas of Warsaw. The result is the coolest street art that I have ever seen.
One of my favourite pieces is Playground at Stalowa 51. The work of Ernest Zacharevic it is supposed to draw attention to Warsaw’s lack of urban planning and distinct lack of play areas for the children of the area. Unfortunately there was some construction work taking place in front of this mural when we arrived so it was hard to get up close to take a photograph.
There are many more pieces worth photographing depending on how edgy you like your Instagram feed. Worth considering are Warsaw Fight Club (Srodkowa 17), Eastern Warsaw (Strzelecka 26) and the Floating Castle at 12 Miska. Keep your eyes peeled though because there is new street art popping up all over this area.
Search for this cool restaurant covered completely in aluminium tin foil! Vienna based artist Piotr Janowski spent a total of nine days creating his latest work alongside volunteers from a local youth group. It is meant to represent Praga’s bright future whilst also highlighting the number of historic buildings left to ruin in the city.
To read more about this fascinating area of Warsaw check out my blog Alternative Warsaw. A walking guide of Praga, Warsaw.
Photo tip: Before you head out to shoot street art, make sure you do proper research into the area. Some street art may not be in the safest area. We never felt unsafe in Praga but we were certainly more wary and my advice would be to go during daylight hours. It is also advisable to buddy up and not explore these areas by yourself.
I absolutely loved exploring this city and hunting down all the best Instagram spots in Warsaw, especially the ones off the beaten path. If you have any tips to add to this blog I would really appreciate if you could let me know in the comments. I will do my best to keep it updated for you. I would also love if you tag me @all_about_rosalilla on Instagram if you use any of my tips to take your photos.
We were lucky to stay right in the heart of the old town square in an apartment that we booked with P&O Apartments group through booking.com
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If you loved this, you may also like my blog on the best Instagram spots in New York
Until next time you crazy kids!