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Wilanowie Palace Gardens highlights

October 29th, 2007

warsaw wilanowie palace_8I find the Wilanów park unique because it has so much variety in what is really a compact area. There are no sprawling fields like you’ll find in such enormous parks as Capodimante in Naples or Munich’s Englischergarten. There are no children’s playgrounds, yet the paths and sculptures and flowers and streams will grab kids’ interest for hours. The park designers have used the space to create different natural atmospheres given the landscape and closeness to the palace. A two-minute’s walk will bring you from a shaded spot beside a stream to the sunlit flower garden next to the palace walls. From one direction or another, you can find yourself in a totally new setting just be turning a corner or taking a doorway through a hedge. This is magnificent. You can’t ask more from a single park.

 

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The dozens of sculptures, decorative structures—Chinese Pagoda, Gothic House, Roman Bridge—and a scattering of sarcophagi and obelisks are all ripe for the photographer’s lens. The plantings, ponds, flowers and Orangery draw the botany buffs. History enthusiasts will find the palace & residence tour rich in its story behind both Wilanów and Polish history (audio guides available).

warsaw wilanowie palace_15Wilanów is definitely a chill-out spot. You won’t find (nor is it allowed) sports play or sunbathing, yet the park is made for recreation of a different sort. The royal palace and its gardens deserve the respect with which they carry. The atmosphere is quiet, reflective even. After a few days tramping around Warsaw’s concrete jungle in search of great beer, food, art & history museums, and of course it’s Communist past, you’ll want to take a half day at least to see how the royals lived in their heyday.

Food & Drinks in Wilanów Gardens
Wilanów has an outdoor, canopied restaurant with views of the palace’s front lawn and the north gardens. The food is freshly prepared and excellent. On my most recent visit, I had the traditional Polish beet soup (served cold) and pierogi. Both were delicious and priced right, given you are in a captive environment. Opposite the restaurant is an open-air bar with tables, just as a place to wet your whistle along the way. You can also get salty snacks and ice cream.

warsaw wilanowie palace_9Outside the Palace
You won’t find much outside Wilanów’s grounds. It sits well south of Warsaw city center, but still within the city limits. A handful of cafés sit between the palace and the parking lot. Basically, the area is residential or commercial, but not touristy. Wilanów is a destination in itself, but worth the 15-minute bus trip. For a list of Warsaw sites, jump to its city page.
Directions to Wilanów Palace
Any number of 13 bus routes will take you to Wilanów. If you’re staying near Old Town (up the street from Sheraton Square, where many 3-star hotels are found), catch the No. 180 bus on the west side of Aleje Jjazdowskie street on Sheraton Square. By taxi, the same route will cost around 25 zloty. Entrance to the Wilanów Palace and Park/Orangery is 25 zloty (@$8; 7€ ). The Park is free on Thursdays. The palace & park open daily at 9 a.m.

(return to the Wilanowie Palace Gardens main page)

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