Getting to Know Warsaw’s “Filoksenia”

Royal Castle Square, Warsaw. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Shalom Alechem

Welcome to Warsaw, Poland — where history and modern times collide in a beautiful display of buildings, museums and art! Warsaw is one of the top ten fastest-growing European cities, and is known for its spin on Greek “filoksenia”, or hospitality, which has made it a major international tourist destination.

With so much to offer, it is a must-see on your next European vacation. Let’s look at the reasons why you should consider a visit to the ancient Polish capital city.

What should you do in Warsaw?

In a word — everything! Warsaw has many newly constructed squares, parks and monuments to visit while there. You can’t help but take note of the city’s unique mixture of architectural styles, where modern and contemporary styles and communist-style Brutalist buildings mix to tell a story about the turbulent history of the city and country.

But there’s plenty of green space in the city as well, including beautiful public parks you can stroll or relax in while you spend an afternoon chilling by the winding Vistula River.

Downtown Warsaw. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, DocenttX

No one should miss Warsaw’s breathtakingly lovely historical Old Town and royal castle. Standing in Warsaw’s historical Old Town today, you can’t help but feel the enormous pride and the creative energy of the Polish people; without them, as well as their willpower to fight and defend their land, there would be no Poland today.

The city as it stands today is the result of a major restoration project started in 1945, following the almost complete devastation that resulted from the Nazi bombings that left Warsaw in ruins.

The medieval, narrow streets, multihued buildings, and ancient churches of the Old Town district have all been painstakingly restored to their original forms. This oldest part of the city has led to Warsaw earning the name the “Paris of the North.”

Warsaw’s Old Town Market. Photo Credit: Wikimedia commons, Adrian Grycuk

When you arrive in the Old Town Square, the oldest square in the city, you’ll be transported back into history by its charm. Dating back to the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the square was the place to be for festivities, assemblies and markets.

This is where you will meet the Warsaw Mermaid, the emblem and guardian of the city, as she stands proudly in the middle of the square.

While in this capital city of old Europe, you must pay a visit to the Royal Castle, where the Constitution of May 3 was passed – marking the first constitution to be passed in Europe and only the second in the world.

Once the home of the Polish ruling dynasty, the castle is steeped in rich history. It boasts lavish royal apartments and priceless paintings by Rembrandt and Bernardo Bellotto.

When it comes to relaxing at a park and soaking in the rich history of Warsaw, the Royal Łazienki Museum and Park, is another must. What’s better than getting the chance to visit an authentic palace and view stunning art at the same time?

Łazienki Park, Warsaw.Photo Credit: Wikimedia commons, Gnesener1900

Taking a stroll in Warsaw means you’d better get your camera ready to take some selfies! The perfect way to spend the day is taking the “Royal Route” which connects three former residences of Polish rulers: the Royal Castle, Royal Łazienki Palace and Wilanów Palace.

Along the way you will see other noteworthy sites such as the Presidential Palace and the campus of Warsaw University, as well as many churches and colorful, ornate townhouses.

Understanding the rich history of Warsaw

In order to be able to travel in Poland and truly appreciate where you are, you must first take a moment and think of all that this city has survived in ancient as well as recent history.

Warsaw’s historical Old Town is of immense cultural and historical significance to the people of Poland. Up until World War II, this city was considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world.  A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980 after its total reconstruction, it sustained devastating bombing during World War II before the Nazis occupied the city.

The history of Warsaw’s once large Jewish population is made clear in several historical areas and monuments. The city was once home to the Warsaw Ghetto, the largest of all Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Europe during the war, and the scene of a massive uprising in 1943.

Jewish Ghetto Uprising Monument, Warsaw

A stark reminder of the Holocaust and testimony to the Polish people who perished at the hands of the Nazis is the “Ghetto Heroes Monument” which commemorates the uprising. It is located in an area which was formerly part of the ghetto. Be sure to drop by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews to learn more about the Jewish people who called Warsaw home for generations.

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Warsaw is a city which embraces its history, and they have absolutely not forgotten Frédéric François Chopin, the famous Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era.

The Chopin Boutique B&B is the perfect place to stay on your trip to Poland. With a fantastic reputation — voted the number 1 choice on TripAdvisor for the past 7 years — this B&B approaches hospitality in a very Greek way.

The owner even named the Chopin Boutique B&B’s restaurant “Filoksenia”!

Chopin Boutique B&B, Photo courtesy Chopin Boutique B&B

This B&B taps into the warmth and creativity of Poland’s capital city. It’s an amazing chance to experience what it’s like to be invited into a Polish family home, where you are treated to homemade honey, coffee, cheese, and more — all made by the owner and served at their long wooden dining table!

Chopin Boutique B&B dining area. Photo courtesy Chopin Boutique B&B

In addition, local performing and visual artists are able to showcase their talents at this quaint and well-maintained, friendly B&B. Which only seems fitting, given its name!

There are a variety of room choices from which to select. The decor of the Chopin Boutique B&B is classic and elegant and the accommodations are very spacious.

Chopin Boutique B&B room. Photo courtesy Chopin Boutique B&B

One of the best reasons to stay here is that so many places are within walking distance from the B&B, such as the Chopin Museum, Opera House, Orchestra Hall, Chopin Society, the National Museum, and more.

There are also many historic churches you can visit nearby, such as the Warsaw Cathedral, Holy Cross, and Three Crosses. Another major advantage is that the Chopin B&B is located close to the lovely Łazienki Royal Park, as well as a number of restaurants, cafes, clubs, and pubs.

More information about the Chopin Boutique B&B can be found here.