by Mary Lussiana, The Telegraph, October 30, 2018
The Poles call this time of year “Golden Autumn” as the leaves turn orange against blue skies, showing Warsaw at its best. This year it will also be enlivened by celebrations for the centenary of Polish independence on Nov 11.
Built in 1901 by Paderewski, who became prime minister of independent Poland in 1919, the Hotel Bristol (1) brims with old-world glamour (doubles from 760 PLN (£156) including breakfast). For something more affordable and still central, try the stylish Hotel Indigo (2), where contemporary interiors have been skilfully inserted into a historic building (doubles from 414 PLN (£85), excluding breakfast).
Start at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (3), whose eternal flame is guarded by soldiers and where visiting statesmen pay their respects. Then walk past Norman Foster’s Metropolitan building (4), on past the neoclassical National Opera House (5) and into the Old Town. The rust red Royal Castle (6) is at the entrance to the cobbled streets which lead to the Market Square (7). These colourful gilded houses destroyed in the Second World War, then rebuilt, make this Warsaw’s prettiest square. Head out down Ulica Freta, where, at no. 16, Marie Curie was born. It is now home to the Maria Sklodowska-Curie Museum (8), 11 PLN (£2.25) entry.
Memories of Chopin are everywhere in Warsaw, from his heart, buried in the Church of the Holy Cross, to his music in the capital’s concert halls. To learn more, visit the Fryderyk Chopin Museum (9) at Ostrogski Palace, 22 PLN (£4.50) entry.
The t (10), a present from the Soviet Union and a reminder of Communist days, has introduced an app which allows visitors to see Warsaw through the centuries. 20 PLN (£4) entry to the viewing platform.
The Polish Vodka Museum (13) housed in a historic distillation plant is new this year. 40 PLN (£8) entry.
Rozbrat 20 (14) delivers Polish food with a serious flourish (pierogi, buckwheat, wild mushrooms). Set lunch for 72 PLN (£15).
Off the map
Poland has a rich history of posters and Muzeum Plakatu is the world’s oldest poster museum, entrance 11 PLN (£2.25).