Warsaw Parks. A digitized concrete jungle? If anyone can say that about the capital of Poland, they probably haven’t had a chance to walk around Warsaw’s most beautiful parks on their days off.
How many parks are there in Warsaw? 10? 15? Maybe 20? If you were thinking something similar, let me disabuse you of that notion. In its current administrative structure, Warsaw manages 79 parks with a total area of 762 ha. These places comprise the history of the capital. Baroque gardens (such as the Saxon Garden – Ogród Saski), landscape parks from the 19th century (Sielecki Park – Park Sielecki, Praski Park – Park Praski), city parks from the 20th century (Skaryszewski Park – Park Skaryszewski), but also modern parks (Deresza Park – Park Deresza). They express the different visions of landscape architects, important for the national culture and gardening tradition of Warsaw, but above all representing a space for relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Elderberries blooming in May, rays of summer sunlight brightening trees and flowers, colorful carpets of autumn leaves, water frozen like a mirror – you don’t have to go far out of town to enjoy the beauty of it all. It doesn’t matter if you prefer walking alone or looking for a place to meet friends. If you are not sensitive to fresh air, you will not regret a visit to the park.
It is difficult to choose the most beautiful corner from so much greenery. Please take the following parks as a suggestion of where to head after work or on the weekend (but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit the others!).
Warsaw Parks: Royal Baths
The Royal Baths Park (Łazienki Królewskie) is located right in the center of Warsaw, south of the Old Town. It is a place where you can relax, admire nature or attend a history lesson. There are such gems of European classicist architecture as the Palace on the Island (Pałac na Wyspie), the Old Orangery (Stara Oranżeria), the Hunting Palace (Pałac Myśliwiecki), the White House (Biały Domek) or the Pochorążówka (note: translate former school for officers).
The baths were once the summer residence of the last Polish king, Stanislaw Augustus. The aforementioned Palace on the Island is a reminder of his presence. In addition to buildings, pavilions and free-standing statues (the most famous of which is the Fryderyk Chopin monument), there are four gardens: Royal (Ogród Królewski), Romantic (Ogród Romantyczny), Modernist (Ogród Modernistyczny) and Chinese (Ogród Chinskiego).
Various cultural events are held at the baths: the most popular are the Chopin concerts. Admission to the piano recitals is free. They are organized every year, always on a Sunday, from mid-May to the end of September. The concerts enjoy enduring popularity – artists and the public alike gather at the Chopin Memorial regardless of the weather.
Warsaw Parks: Saxon Garden
The Saxon Garden (Ogród Saski) is a French-style garden. Located in the northern part of the city center, between Piłsudski Square, Plac Żelaznej Bramy (Iron Gate Square) and Królewska Street). The first park in Warsaw that opened to the public. The inhabitants of the capital have been walking here since 1727. However, the park was not open to everyone in the 18th century. Access to the park depended on social status. Today, we are lucky that nobody checks how we are dressed when we enter the garden. The Saxon Garden is five times smaller than the Royal Baths (it covers around 15 hectares) – the perfect place for a short stroll. The most characteristic feature of the Saxon Garden is the Marconi Fountain, located in its eastern part.
Pole Mokotowskie Park (Pole Mokotowskie)
Mokotów Field is a complex of parks located in three districts – Mokotów, Ochota and Śródmieście. It is often called Warsaw’s Central Park because it is full of life almost all year round. Who may we encounter here? Young football players, groups of dancers, tai-chi enthusiasts, members of knight fraternities who practice fencing…very often picnics and festivals are held here. At the same time, it is an ideal place for jogging, walking with your dog (there is even a Monument to the Happy Dog – Pomnik Szczęśliwego Psa), playing with children or cycling (a cycling path runs through the entire park). Mokotów Field is also one of the four parks where you can also barbecue.
Warsaw Parks: Skaryszewski Park
Skarzyszewski Park was created at the beginning of the 20th century according to the design of Franciszek Szanior, the gardener of the city of Warsaw. It is located in the Saska Kępa district, in the Praga-Południe area. This is a landscape park with a richly developed sports infrastructure. On its grounds we can find a sports field with a running track, tennis courts, a marina, a swimming pool with a trampoline (there are 6 manmade lakes and Lake Kamionkowskie), playgrounds and outdoor gyms. Two cross-country skiing events are held here every winter: Bieg Wedla and Praska Dycha.