Sleeping in Airports

Warsaw Chopin Airport Layover Sightseeing

This article includes links to our travel partners at Tripadvisor, where you can read traveller reviews, book tours and plan your visit to Warsaw.

warsaw airport layover sightseeing
(photo credit: Agnieszka Gaul / Shutterstock)

Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW) is located about 10 kilometres from the city center of Warsaw, the capital of Poland. Being one of Central Europe’s largest airports, it welcomes many flights. Yet, it is well-organized enough to let you consider a short trip to the city during your layover, especially if you’re flying from within the UE, as security controls are simplified. If you have a layover of 6 hours or more, take a taxi, the metro or the train to get to the city center in 20 minutes. There, you can walk in the historic town and admire the Royal Castle. History buffs will appreciate visiting the Warsaw Uprising Museum, while those who want to see as much as possible in a short time might want to take advantage of Hop On Hop Off bus tours.

Airport Overview

Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW) has a single passenger terminal, Terminal A, which is divided into two parts (previously Terminals 1 and 2). If you have a layover of less than 6 hours, it may be wiser to stay at the airport to avoid spending most of your time in the security checks. Unfortunately, the airport has few options to entertain layover travellers besides the usual duty-free shopping and restaurants. If you want to relax, you can use one of the lounges or sit in the Observation Deck to watch the planes take off. Check out our Warsaw Chopin Airport Guide for more information on the airport.

Warsaw Sightseeing Attractions

Below are a few of the top things to do in Warsaw:

Historical Old Town

Warsaw Old Town
(photo credit: Mark and Anna Photography / Shutterstock)

During your layover in Warsaw, don’t miss visiting the historic Old Town. Located around Market Place and Castle Square, where King Sigismund III’s column sits, Warsaw’s Old Town dates back to the 13th century. Most of the original town was wiped out during the war, but what remains is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The best way to explore the Old Town is on foot, walking in its paved alleys, admiring the Renaissance and Baroque merchant houses, Gothic cathedral and 15th-century town hall.

  • Time Required: You can wander around in the Old Town for 2 to 3 hours. Many guided walking tours are also available, usually lasting 2 hours.
  • How to Get There: The best ways to get to the Old Town are by bus (line 175, Pl Piłsudskiego bus stop) and by taxi, in about 30 minutes.
  • Plan your visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about visiting Old Town, book a tour or read traveller reviews.

Royal Castle

royal castle
(photo credit: Marcin Krzyzak / Shutterstock)

Located in the Old Town, at its southern entrance, the Royal Castle is another interesting sightseeing option for a layover in Warsaw. It’s one of Warsaw’s oldest buildings, with 14th-century towers and walls. Once the seat of Poland’s monarchy, the Germans destroyed the castle during the war and later rebuilt it before eventually turning it into a museum in the 1980s. The interior is splendid with the royal apartments, and you can also appreciate a beautiful collection of paintings from Rembrandt, van Dyck and other famous artists.

  • Time Required: Consider 2 to 3 hours to visit the Royal Castle of Warsaw.
  • How to Get There: As it’s located in the Old Town, you can get to the Royal Castle in about 30 minutes by taxi or bus (line 175, Pl Piłsudskiego bus stop).

Warsaw Uprising Museum

The Warsaw Uprising Museum is the best place for history lovers to spend a few hours in Warsaw. Germany long occupied Poland’s capital during the Second World War, but the city eventually rebelled in 1944, and people fought for 63 days before the Soviets reached them. The museum is meant to pay tribute to the people who gave their lives for the independence of Poland.

  • Time Required: Visitors usually visit the Warsaw Uprising Museum for two hours. There is an entrance fee of 20 PLN.
  • How to Get There: Located closer to the airport than the Old Town, you can get to the Warsaw Uprising Museum in just 15 minutes by taxi. By public transportation, it takes about 30 minutes as you first need to go with line 175 to Pl. Zawisky and then with the line 22 to Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego.
  • Plan your visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about visiting the Warsaw Uprising Museum, book a tour or read traveller reviews.

Hop On Hop Off Bus Tours

palace of culture and science
(photo credit: Pani Garmyder / Shutterstock)

Hop On Hop Off bus tours are an excellent option for layover visitors who want to make the most of their time in Warsaw. Many companies offer tours showing you most of Warsaw’s highlights, usually including the Ministry of Treasury, the Old Town, the Warsaw Uprising Museum, the National Museum, the Palace of Culture and Science, and the Lazienki Royal Park.

  • Time Required: Tickets are usually for at least 24 hours, meaning you can visit the various places on the line at your own pace. Consider at least 6 hours to enjoy as much sightseeing as possible.
  • Plan your visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about bus tours, book a tour or read traveller reviews.

Airport Transportation

Warsaw Chopin Airport provides easy access to the city center, about 30 minutes from the airport. Layover travellers can choose between taxis, buses, and trains to go out and into the airport.

Public transit options include:

  • Bus: Several public bus lines serve Warsaw Chopin Airport (lines 175, 188, 148, 331). The bus terminal is located in front of the south pier, outside of the Arrival Hall, and tickets can be purchased at the Passenger Information Point in the Arrival Hall. Line 188 is the most convenient way to reach the city center (stop at Metro Politechnika bus station) and will get you there in about 30 minutes. For fare and schedules: ZTM Warszawa website.
  • Train: You can also get to Warsaw’s city center by train in 20 minutes with line S2. The train station is located under Terminal A. For fare and schedule: ZTM Warszawa website.

Private transit options include:

  • Taxi: You can reach the city center in about 20 minutes (depending on the traffic) for about 11€. Official taxis have different colours, but all carry the classic taxi sign on their roof and are waiting outside the Arrival Hall on the first level. Ridesharing apps like Uber, Taxi Polska, and iTaxi are also available from the airport.
  • Car Rentals: Several car rental companies have a desk at Warsaw Airport. They are located in the public area of the Arrival Hall.

Before You Go: Layover Tips

Now that you are motivated and excited about your mini layover vacation, check a few final logistical concerns off your list before you fully commit.

  • Do you need to organize a visa to leave the airport? Requirements change frequently and for each nationality, so be sure to seek out current details on the availability, cost, and procedures of obtaining a transit visa.
  • When is your next flight’s check-in time? Double-check with your airline exactly when you need to be at the airport – and plan your layover accordingly.
  • What are security wait times like at the airport? Some airports are notorious for extended security wait times, so research in advance and factor that into your overall time budget.
  • What’s happening with your luggage? When you check in to your first flight, be sure to confirm whether your luggage will be checked through or needs to be picked up between your connecting flights.

Other Useful Resources

Finally, here are a few handy resources to help you plan your layover even more thoroughly: