Gardens, parks and Frederick Chopin: a day in the countryside

Planning a day trip in the countryside? Then, perhaps, you could consider a visit to the palaces and manor houses of the western Mazovia. Just one hour of drive from Warsaw you will find gardens, parks and Frederick Chopin. What is more, our itinerary will give you a unique yet nostalgic insight into traditional country living of Polish nobility; from a modest manor house in Żelazowa Wola to a proper Baroque palace in Nieborów.

The music and garden aficionados would enjoy a visit to Żelazowa Wola, the birthplace of Frederic Chopin. There is a museum with some memorabilia and an amazing park originally designed before WWII and meticulously restored to its former glory for the Frederick Chopin birthday anniversary in 2010. You can walk between the yellow Frederic Chopin roses (you can see on the photograph or cross a bridge called: Mazurka. The park is also full of music coming from speakers skilfully hidden in the greenery. Additionally, until the end of October, every Thursday and Friday at 12:15 and 2:15 pm ,there are 15 minutes mini piano concerts performed by young pianists prize winners of music competitions. The price is included in the price of the entrance ticket, so you can plan your visit accordingly. Moreover, there is a temporary exhibition on the history of gardens and you will be able to see it until the end of may 2018.

The Nieborów palace and Arkadia park will appeal to people interested in elegant country living and ambitious landscape creations of the aristocracy. The majestic stair case of the palace is worth seeing as it is fully decorated with blue and white tiles from Holland. It is said that every tile shows a different scene! While Arkadia, since its beginnings in the 18th century, has been considered one of finest sentimental and English-styled parks in Poland.

A short stay in Łowicz is an opportunity to explore the folklore traditions of Mazovia. For example colourful paper cutouts used for house decorating and distinctive patterns of the traditional costumes. The local museum and souvenir shops are the best opportunity to get a proper view on the subject!

A full day trip usually includes lunch. We can recommend Oberża pod Złotym Prosiakiem near Nieborów for people looking for a traditional inn. Every Chopin aficionado will appreciate the interiors of Przepis na kompot in Żelazowa Wola.

Our service:

We provide guiding services in all the above mentioned places. Tickets to the Lowicz Museum, Zelazowa Wola and Nieborow/Arkadia complex can be bought directly in the ticket offices of the museums or we can assist you with the booking.

The full tour itinerary can be organised in the spring-summer season due to the Nieborów and Arkadia museums opening period (from the 1st of April until the end of October). Shops in Łowicz are closed on Sunday. On request we can provide transport services and book lunch in a local inn.

 

Praga: eastern bazaar, bears at the tram stop and more…

The eastern bazaar is called in Polish Bazar Różyckiego and it is the oldest in Warsaw; bears are for real as they live in a zoological garden enclosure. What more can you find in Praga?

Praga in Warsaw, the eastern part of the city, is a district where you can explore multicultural traditions. Jews, Roman Catholics and  Orthodox Christians have lived together for many centuries and that is why churches and synagogues were built in a very close proximity. Secondly, it was almost not destroyed during WWII and you can still recognise some views from the 100 years old postcards and photos. Even a short walk offers a complete change of urbanscape for people who are familiar with the Warsaw’s city centre with its reconstructions and communist architecture.

Truth be told, some of the houses are in need of a complete makeover and some must be properly restored. Unsurprisingly, the most neglected streets were used as WWII film sets – the most famous case being the Pianist on Władysław Szpilman’s war experiences. The eastern district seemed to be a perfect film substitute for the Warsaw ghetto scenery.

A walk in Praga may be full of surprises. You can meet  – bronze musicians in the middle of the street. They used to be a local entertainment as they wandered around the city with their music. There is more: an original bunker from the times of WWII and “pyzy”: an emblematic street food from Bazar Różyckiego. The home made dumplings filled with meat and served with a lot of gravy were sold from glass jars. Today, you can have meat or vegetarian option in one of the bars around the bazaar.

Our service:

Our 3 hours walk will take you to the centre of the district in the vicinity of the Różycki Bazaar and the Zoo. There is a possibility to combine this itinerary with visiting the Praga Museum (a local historical museum of the district and the Jewish prayer house from the 1800’s) and the Żabińskis villa with the hideouts built to save Jews from the Ghetto; for more information go to the post on the Jewish heritage in Praga.

There is an entrance fee to Praga Museum – the Jewish prayer house entrance is included in the Praga Museum ticket.

There is an entrance fee to the Zoo and . The visit may be arranged in the mornings and early afternoons only and it will take approximately 1 hour.

Spring in Warsaw: flowers and their secrets 

There are more than 67 city parks and gardens in Warsaw. However, they are not the only place to look for signs of spring. There are spring flowers and vegetables on the markets while the city gardeners are busy with new plants on the streets. And some of the flower beds have a special meaning!

Magnolias are the first ones: in the yard of the University of Warsaw or at the old entrance to the Wilanów Palace. You can find them blossoming in March and April. In May, all the horse-chestnut trees are in bloom! They are not edible, but fun in autumn when you can make a toy figurine out of their nut-like seeds and a few matches. In spring the trees are a nice view for adults and visitors, but an omen of uncertain future for high school students – the final exams are scheduled for the first weeks of May.

During a city walk, you can find Irena Sendler red tulips named after a nurse and a social worker, who saved 2500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto. That variety was created by Jan Ligthart, a bulbgrower from Breezand in the Netherlands. He has been growing and creating new flower bulbs all his life since he was 13 years old. There are other Jan Ligthart tulips bearing Polish names, such as violet the Chopin’s Prelude, which can be found in the Royal Łazienki.

In April, you are going to see a lot of yellow daffodils. They are very popular spring flowers, but some of them are planted in memory of the Warsaw ghetto fighters and their commander – Marek Edelman. He used to leave a bunch of the spring flowers on the Rapaport Memorial to the Heroes of the Ghetto every April, on the anniversary of the outbreak of the 1943 Ghetto Rising.

Last but not least, there are some more flowers named after Frederic Chopin. There are at least two kinds of tulips: the violet one created by Jan Ligthart and the another lemon-yellow, lily-shaped variety called simply the Chopin tulip. What is more, there is a rose named after the pianist as well. The nicest flower bed with the Chopin roses is located at the back entrance to the composer’s birth place in Żelazowa Wola. The rose was created in 1980 by an important Polish breeder Stanisław Żyła and it is quite a tall bush. Actually, the mature Chopin rose is taller than the composer himself, as he was 170 cm while the flower can grow up to 2 meters. It starts blossoming in June.

Our service:

The city’s parks and gardens like the Royal Łazienki, squares with the Warsaw Ghetto monuments or Frederic Chopin and his Warsaw – these are some of our city walks itineraries where you can find spring flowers. Go to Warsaw section for more sightseeing ideas.

Winter activities

Every December the historic city centre (the Old Town and Krakowskie Przedmiescie St.) turns into a Christmas amusement park, full of light decorations and seasonal markets. The festive atmosphere lasts until the end of January.

The winter lights display switched on in December 2016 covered approximately 20 km of streets and cost 6. 5 million PLN (divide by 4 to get the amount in EURO or USD). What is more, every year there are ice rinks built in different parts of the city. Traditionally there is one prepared in the middle of the Old Town Market Sq. The 2016/2017 winter season it is open every day, from 10.30 -to 21.30 and you can enjoy the winter recreation until February 28, 2017.

The winter city activities provide us all with a unique opportunity to see Warsaw in a festive mood. But let’s not forget that the area of the ice rink is, what we may call, the new Old Town of Warsaw. During the WWII, more than 85% of the city historic centre was destroyed, but a reconstruction campaign started by the Polish citizens resulted in a comprehensive rebuilding of the historic centre after 1945. So, when you get tired of romantic walks and chilly weather – visit one of the Old Town museums; to warm up and to learn more on the district’s past. My favourites are: the Royal Castle and the Warsaw Museum, both of them with a very informative documentary films on the history of the city.

For more city walks in winter and in summer click our Warsaw section.