Who says urban escapes have to be a concrete adventure? The highly creative team behind Autor Rooms in Warsaw have created a hyperlocal and an extensive list of what you can do in the city if you’re of the green bent of mind.
1 — Wild party by the river
We tend to think that no other metropolis in Europe has such a wild riverbank as we have in Warsaw. The right bank of Vistula is our pride. Among the trees, with a view of the city or the Old Town, you can walk, run, bike, and in winter try cross-country skiing. You can cycle on a unique footbridge suspended under the Lazienkowski Bridge or use the Zeran pedestrian and bike bridge. You can sunbathe and picnic on the exceptional beaches next to the Poniatowski Bridge, or near Saska Kepa and ZOO. Unfortunately, we do not recommend swimming in the Vistula. There’s even a river-themed kid’s playground by the Poniatowski Bridge. Let’s use nature: listen to birds, admire sunsets, and starry skies.
2 — Summer houses in the city center
A bit of the countryside in the heart of the city: the wooden Finnish houses in Jazdów were built in 1945 and in the Przyjazn neighborhood in Jelonki in the early 1950s to house the construction workers for the Palace of Culture and the reconstruction of Warsaw. The houses were part of the war reparations that Finland was required to pay to the USSR after World War II. These temporary structures have lasted until today. A few of the houses have been left by their inhabitants to the city to be used by NGOs for gardening workshops, garage sales, concerts, and more.
3 — Mateusz Potempski
An architect and social activist, Potempski is the co-founder of the open co-working space Otwarta Pracownia (Jazdów Street 3/6). He is also a sailing enthusiast. “In the very beginning, when I wrote the Otwarta Pracownia project plan, I tried to combine the experience of being a student at the faculty of architecture with that of being a yachtsman. When you charter a yacht, it is like a car or bike from a rental company—there is no relationship, you rent it, you give it back. But if you need to renovate a yacht, you do things that are yours only, you meet people with whom you renovate it, and sailing on such a yacht is a whole different thing. In my head, Otwarta Pracownia was to be such a combination – a space for self-expression and work but not in a commercial way, not as a service, but as a place that we create together, as a cooperative.”
4 — Sentimental Culture Park
The Cultural Park in Powsin and the neighboring Botanical Garden of the Polish Academy of Sciences are some of the most beautiful places in the city and an ideal micro excursion. The Cultural Park is a relic of the communist times built in the 1940s and resembles a holiday resort or sanatorium. There are still holiday houses, which you can rent. There is a swimming pool, open-air concert venue, cafe, football pitches, places for barbecue, sports equipment rental (summer and winter), outdoor tables for chess, and cult trash bins in a shape of toadstools. To get to the Botanical Garden, walk up to 10 minutes through the forest (entrance by the open-air concert venue).
5 — Where the Swider falls into the Vistula
Beautiful and vast beaches, clean water, woods—we went where the Swider river falls into the Vistula river. It is one of these magical places, easily reached by bus. You can canoe or walk in the water because the deepest area is only waist high. There is also a route through the woods, along the river with small beaches on the way. The bigger ones are located near the Swider train station. We recommend two trips. On Saturday, take a train to the Falenica market – one of the best ones in town, and then go to Swider to relax by the river. The Swiderskie Islands is a nature reserve and bird paradise. There are vast beaches where you can see skyscrapers and the Palace of Culture and Science looming in the distance. You can get there from the Wiatraczna roundabout by the 702 bus.
6 — Land of Plantosaurs
Kamila Ciszek cannot imagine life without plants. And not so long ago, she thought she didn’t have a green thumb. She used to work in PR and was rarely at home. First, there were tillandsias. Thanks to the plantosaurs she created out of them, she became popular. Soon colorful dinosaur tillandsias became ubiquitous in Warsaw. Ciszek found a small place in Mokotów and left her regular job. So did her husband with whom she works at Planarium. There are also wonderful dogs—Willy and Aura from a shelter. At their shop, apart from plants and flower bouquets, you can find woven baskets and plant pots. Maybe it is a trend; just like with healthy food. However, may it never perish.
7 — Lesson of urban gardening
Allotments are getting increasingly trendy all over the world but in Warsaw, one can find them in the very center of the city. We are more aware of what we eat, we’re giving up meat in favor of vegetables, and nothing tastes better than your own tomato or zucchini. Check out how it is done in Warsaw. Try visiting the fascinating allotments instead of going to a park. Every allotment is different because of personal preferences. However, almost all of them are full of flowers, fruit trees, vegetables, and also represent a DIY spirit. Here one can sense the abundance of the changing seasons.
All images excerpted from Warszawa Warsaw 2, an online and print publication by Autor Rooms, the first hospitality concept in Poland built entirely from local products in collaboration with local designers and producers.