The city of Warsaw, home to 2 million residents, certainly knows how to make the most of its grey urban fabric and brightens up life with green areas, culture and an exciting culinary scene. Author Gero Günther and photographer Peter Neusser visited Warsaw for SWISS Magazine.

Illustrations: Raffinerie AG

  • 1. Grzybowski Square This three-sided 'square', surrounded by a church, a synagogue and the Jewish Theatre, is hidden between a mass of skyscrapers, which is perhaps what makes the rampant garden – with its plants, fountains and wooden seats – all the more inviting. It's a true little oasis to wind down and chill out – the perfect place for a picnic or playing games.
  • 2. L’enfant terrible Three Gault Millau toques. The logo: A young boy with a catapult in his hand and a saucepan on his head. The soundtrack: Nick Cave and Radiohead. One thing's for sure, Michał Brys´ loves having a ball. This chef serves his game with chocolate, cherry tincture, morello cherries and cherry ice cream, complete with rosemary and chilli.
  • 3. Alewino This cosy venue is tucked away in a back yard. The basket of bread is the first wow factor, not to mention the vegetables! Everything is delicious and freshly prepared. Warsaw's culinary scene has switched from vodka to wine at record speed. Why not indulge in the Sommelier's best Polish and Hungarian wines?
  • 4. Dyletanci You're in for a treat! Dyletanci brings wine, avant-garde, punk and a whole heap of passion under the one roof. Maciej Sondÿ uncorks bottles that usually only make their way into the hands of true connoisseurs. The wines from his own vineyards are also limited edition, premium bottles. If you're looking for off-the-shelf wines, you've come to the wrong place.
  1. 5. Soho Factory

    The site of a former ammunition and motorbike factory is now home to offices, galleries, the very interesting Neon Museum and the Warszawa Wschodnia restaurant – run by celebrity chef, Mateusz Gessler, and open right around the clock. A loft provides the perfect setting for this gourmet temple, complete with its simmering stockpots and sizzling pans..

  2. 6. Museum of the History of Polish Jews

    This museum, which has recently been nominated European Museum of the Year, traces 1000 years of Jewish and Polish history. The impressive building is so tightly packed with the permanent exhibition that it's easy to become dizzy with all the sounds, images, animation and

  • 7. Czułos´c´ Gallery
    Photography is the focus of this underground gallery. As part of a grass roots initiative, Czułos´c´ stages exhibitions and concerts by international artists. Today is certainly a dramatic time for artists and exhibitors. "The current government has no more money left for contemporary art," explains gallery founder, Janek

    8. Hotel Bellotto
    Before a 5-star hotel opened its regal doors here in spring, the wings of the grand Primate's Palace used to accommodate offices. This friendly hotel only has 20 rooms and suites, but all are spacious and furnished with great attention to detail. Don't get too wound up about the casino in the middle of the hotel though!

9. Poniatowski Bridge
Over the past few years, Warsaw has increasingly shifted towards the Vistula river and its high banks. Cycle trails, footpaths and jogging routes stretch for kilometres through Auenwald, on the river's right banks. There are also wide sandy beaches near to the Poniatowski Bridge, perfect for children to dig around in.

10. Joanna Klimas
Joanna Klimas is actually a qualified psychotherapist. However, during the 90s, this creative talent became one of the most important fashion designers in the country. Her new atelier and boutique sells elegant, subtle women's fashion. "It's nothing to boast about," she says with a smile. "There are other places selling these things."

11. Kieliszki na Próznej
A cloud of 1116 wine glasses floats above the bar in this new venue and hundreds of birds and beetles are swarming around in a tangle of flowers and mushrooms in one of Mariusz Tarkawian's paintings on the wall. The hearty Polish cuisine is served with a twist here, pepped up with seasonal ingredients.

More tips for Warsaw

12. Café Stor
“We want our café to cater for everyone," says Michał Janica, photographer, designer and co-owner of the Stor. He describes his clientele as "theatrical producers, kids, sportsmen and old ladies". The pretty café serves hand-brewed coffee, redcurrant cake and sugar-free rose lemonade.