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Warsaw’s Old Town: I took a free walking tour and visited all the sights!

You can read this article also in : 日本語 (Japanese)

Hello! My name is Harie and I am an expat wife in Warsaw.

I have been in Warsaw for half a year now.
I suddenly realized something.

I haven’t been to any of Warsaw’s high street attractions at all!”

Tourist attractions in the area where you live are surprisingly hard to visit.

So, I participated in something called a free walking tour.

the highlights of Warsaw’s Old Town, and
2-hour walking tour with a guide who will explain
It is.

Great way to get to know Old Warsaw quickly!

In this article.
We have compiled a list of places we toured and tip prices that you may be interested in.

What is the “Warsaw Old Town” Free Walking Tour?

During the tour. They are walking in a gaggle.

I participated in the free walking tour organized by Orange Umbrella.

Free walking tours are, as the name suggests, guided tours that take you around tourist attractions on foot.
The tour is a guided tour of sightseeing spots on foot.

This style is popular in Europe, and similar tours are held in various regions.

Orange Umbrella offers a
Themed walking tours are hosted daily
Orange Umbrella
I’m surprised they are doing it in the middle of winter when it’s extremely cold…

Orange Umbrella Tour Theme
  • Old Town Tour (held daily)
    → This is the one I joined this time
  • Warsaw City Tour (daily)
  • Tour of “World War II” (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun)
  • Jewish” tour (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays)
  • Tour of Praga District (Friday, Saturday)
  • Wajenki Park Tour (Sun)

Warsaw’s Old Town: Free Walking Tours and Impressions

So let’s get to it!
Here is an overview of the places we visited on our tour.

Meeting: Royal Square (Monument of Sigismund III)

On the day of the tour, a guide with an orange umbrella will be waiting for you at the bottom of the tower.

Meet at 10:30!

But I was five minutes late…
I was sweating because I ran so hastily;

We were briefed near the meeting place for about 15 minutes before the start, so it was okay if we were late.

attention (heed)
During peak season, even if you have a reservation, if you do not arrive 10 minutes before the meeting time, it will be treated as a cancellation and you may not be able to participate.
Please be especially careful during the summer holidays when it’s vacation time and the place is crowded!

Warsaw Royal Palace

Photo taken from behind the Royal Palace Square

Our guide explained many things to us on the square in front of the Warsaw Royal Palace.

This is the Warsaw Royal Palace. What do you think? It’s not so plain for a royal palace, is it?
I’m suddenly self-deprecating (laughs).

The royal palace was destroyed to pieces by the Nazis during World War II.

According to the guide, the Royal Palace was an early target because it was a symbol of Poland.

He showed us pictures before, during and after the war to help us visualize what he was talking about.
After the war, it was really a burnt-out area…

After the war ended, it could not be rebuilt because the communist regime would not give permission, leaving only a pile of rubble.

In 1971, the decision was finally made to rebuild the building, and to the surprise of many, the rebuilding costs were covered by citizens’ donations.

It was finally opened to the public in 1984, some 40 years after the war ended.

That’s a long time…
Just listening to the history of the royal palace gave me a sense of Poland’s history, which has been tossed around by the times.

Restored using original parts from before the war destroyed it, so the color is different in places.

Through the guide’s enthusiastic explanation
I was somewhat touched by the Polish people’s desire for recovery and their pride in having successfully restored the city.

Monument to Sigmund III Sigismund’s Column

Standing on top is Sigmund III.

This monument is always visible when going to the old town.

The monument that stands today is the third generation that has been rebuilt.

With this monument in front of you, go to the right and you will see the first and second pillars.

1st generation
second generation

The second generation was destroyed by the Nazis during the war and is heavily cracked.

I had only thought of it as “big,” but after listening to your explanation, my perspective changed.

Poland’s current capital is Warsaw, but it was once located in Krakow in southern Poland.

The king at the time of the transfer of the capital from Krakow to Warsaw was Sigmund III.

St. John’s Cathedral

Beautiful stained glass windows

From the Royal Square, move to
St. John’s Cathedral
to the

This is the oldest church in Warsaw, but it too was destroyed during World War II and the current building was rebuilt.

The atmosphere inside is so majestic, it feels like a church (of course it does).

It is said to be a place where important national events are held, and the national flag is fluttering.
The walls are decorated with sculptures of great Polish figures of the past.


This figure is one of the largest sculptures in the church.
He is said to be a very important figure in Polish history.

My concentration was lost in this area, and I let the guide’s explanation pass me by from right to left~.
We don’t know who he is after all (laughs).

I can’t concentrate on listening to English all the time ^^;

After touring the interior of St. John’s Cathedral, we moved to the back of the building.

The Wishing Bell

The area around the bell is always crowded with tour groups.

It is said that if you go around the bell while touching it, your wish will come true.
The kind that is common in tourist destinations.

The narrowest entrance in Warsaw Najwęższa w Warszawie

Oh, my gosh!

A squat house that has somehow become a tourist attraction.
It looks like the taxes were calculated based on the size of the frontage, which is why it turned out to be so tax-efficient.

When we went around to the back of this house, the house itself was normally spacious.

Gnojna Góra (Gnojna Observation Hill)

A hill overlooking the Visva River. Very pleasant on a clear day.

After advancing behind the modest house, we found
Observation Hill, a sacred place for lovers
There was a

Write each other’s names, pledge eternal love, and lock the door.
Again, the kind that is common in tourist destinations (laughs).

Just this place.
It used to be a garbage dump, and at that time, the place smelled terrible.

According to the guide

I can’t believe they would pledge their love to each other in a place like that!

Old Town Market Square

An open cafe will be available in the summer!

Next, we will move on to
Old Town Market Square, the most popular tourist attraction in Warsaw
The next stop is the “Old Town Market Square” in Warsaw.

This place, now filled with many tourists, was like a deserted shopping street before the war.

After being destroyed in the war, the citizens of Warsaw restored it to its original state, down to the cracks in the walls, using the original bricks, and it was registered as a World Heritage site, making it the most popular tourist attraction in Warsaw.

It is somewhat ironic, but I just admire the power of the citizens of Warsaw.

A fighting mermaid who protects Warsaw from danger. In her hands she holds a sword and a spear.

The symbolic presence of this square, the
Mermaid Statue
The Mermaid statue is a symbol of this plaza.

Mermaids, the symbol of Warsaw, can be seen everywhere.

When the famous Picasso visited Warsaw after the war, he was so struck by the city’s reconstruction that he painted a mermaid on the wall of his apartment in Warsaw.

Here is a picture of that time.

(Courtesy of TripAdvisor)

Art is exploding …

Barbican Warsaw Barbican

Barbakan, which served as a fortress.

The Barbacan is a round building located between the brick walls surrounding the old town.

At this point, I lost my concentration again and could hardly listen to the explanation…
I mean, I didn’t ask (laughs).

Marie Curie Museum

We will not go inside the museum, but listen to the guide’s explanation outside.

We walked through Barbacan to the front of the Museum of Madame Curie.

Madame Curie was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize.
And twice.

Apparently, this guide was very fond of Madame Curie and explained her passionately.

At the time, Poland did not have a conducive environment for women to study, so she went to France.

But!Her love for Poland did not stop after she left for France.

She discovered “polonium”.
This one is named after Poland!

The tour turns around here and returns to the Royal Palace Square where the meeting place was.

Statue of the Little Insurgent

Very sad expression on his face.

On the way back to the square, we came across a monument to the Warsaw Uprising.

The child at the monument is holding a gun.
According to the guide, children under the age of 18 were not allowed to participate in combat at that time.

(Apparently there were children who participated in the uprising as messengers, etc.)

It is said that the monument was built to remember the fact that many children were killed in the fighting and many more were wounded in mind and body.

What is the Warsaw Uprising?

Warsaw was ruled and persecuted by the Nazis during World War II.

The Polish National Army and the citizens of Warsaw stood up and fought for their freedom from the Nazis.

The number of Poles killed in the Polish Uprising is estimated to be between 180,000 and 250,000.

End of tour

We returned to the Royal Palace Square.

At the end of the tour, we were given an original map of Warsaw and disbanded.
The map includes recommended restaurants and cafes.

Click here for tour meeting & disbanding points ↓↓↓

This is what I like about the Warsaw Old Town Free Walking Tour!

Free means free?”

In conclusion.
It is implicitly agreed to give a tip at the end of the tour.

The guide did not ask for a tip, so you can participate for free, but be prepared to get a lot of white eye (laugh).

I wasn’t sure how much to give this time either…
I sneaked a look at other people giving them, and it seems that each person averages 20~30 zloty.

How long does the tour take?”

Approximately 2 to 2.5 hours
It is.

Before participating in the event, I was worried that it would be hard to walk for two hours.
We stopped and listened to explanations for a long time, and the walking distance was not so long that it was not too tiring.

Some people participated while pushing strollers and others were elderly.

If you get tired or bored, you can leave in the middle of the tour.
Even in the session I attended, two groups were left out in the middle of the day.

Don’t forget to tip them when you leave!

How many people are on the tour?” Do I need to make a reservation?”

Up to 25 people
This is a tour for

I attended on a weekday, so there were about 10 participants.

It is safe to make reservations, as they are often fully booked during high season holidays.

Reservations can be easily made through the official website.

Official HP

I’m not confident in my English, is that okay?”

All explanations by the guide are in English.

If you don’t speak English at all, it will be boring. I do not recommend it.

If you can speak some everyday conversation, you’ll probably enjoy it!

But I’m not sure I can understand the history…
It’s okay!
He speaks in easy-to-understand English, so I think I can understand about half of what he says.

I only understood 60-70% of it, but I enjoyed it enough.

It would be better to participate with a feeling of “I hope I can understand about half of it.
I get tired when I try to listen to English desperately trying to understand everything ^^;

Unless you ask questions yourself, you are basically just listening.

Sometimes the guide will give you a quiz, but all you have to do is wait quietly for the other participants to answer (laugh).
Don’t worry, you won’t be hit suddenly!

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