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One of the highlights of visiting Warsaw, the capital of Poland, is strolling around the streets of the historic Old Town.
These ancient colourful buildings that surround Plac Zamkowy are absolutely incredible and one of the top photography spots in the city.
However, if you wanted to take that iconic photo of Warsaw Old Town from above. You need to find a suitable terrace!
One of the best viewing platforms to visit is the Bell Tower of St Anne’s Church in Warsaw. This ancient steeple provides a spectacular panorama.
Here’s a complete guide for visiting The St Anne’s Church observation deck with opening times, prices and photography tips!
The history of St Anne’s Church in Warsaw
St Anne’s Church or Kosciol Swietej Anny is often overlooked by tourists visiting Warsaw. Mainly due to the fact that the colourful Castle Square distracts people first!
However, missing this amazing building is a huge mistake as it is one of the most notable churches in the city as it marks the start of the ‘Royal Way’.
You’ll instantly be wowed by it’s impressive neo-classical facade that was installed in 1788. But, you may be surprised to know that this church is one of Warsaw’s oldest buildings dating back to the 15th century!
It was founded by Duchess of Masovia Anna Fiodorowna 1454 and started with a cloister for the Franciscan friars.
Over the next few centuries, the church served many uses including the place where homages took place to Polish Monarchs. It was also reconstructed several times due to sieges made on the city by Swedish and German troops.
In 1788, King Stanisław August Poniatowski ordered a final reconstruction of St Anne’s Church. This included the amazing facade we see today designed by royal architect Piotr Aigner.
Although the roof did see some damages made during World War II and the Warsaw Rising. The interiors have remained relatively unscathed and have been fantastically preserved.
The Bell Tower of St Anne’s Church
It is rather strange to see that the Bellfry of St Anne’s Church is almost completely separate from the church itself. Its only connection is the church courtyard underneath.
The free standing bell tower, or Taras Widokowy, originates from 1582. This was when a slender tower was added to the complex.
Eventually, the bell tower became separated from the church and was absorbed into the city ramparts, becoming a part of the city fortifications.
As the name would suggest, this tower used to sound the bells across the city for mass. But, now it’s a popular viewing terrace where you can get incredible views of Castle Square!
How to visit the St Anne’s Church Observation Deck
This ancient bell tower can be found from Plac Zamkowy or the Warsaw Royal Castle Square.
Although St Anne’s Church in Warsaw is closed a lot of the time for mass, fortunately, the Bell Tower is completely separate from the chapel itself.
This is good news as St Anne’s Church observation deck is open all day and there are no restrictions on your time of visit.
The address is Krakowskie Przedmieście 68.
The best way to access the observation deck would be to walk here on foot from the Royal Castle area in Warsaw.
If you’re approaching the bell tower by metro than take the M1 Ratusz Arsenał stop. Or, if you’re travelling by bus you can take the 116, 128 or 178 service and stop at Plac Zamkowy.
Opening times and prices
The St Anne’s Church observation deck is open at different times throughout the year;
May – October: 10am – 9pm on weekdays and 11am – 10pm on weekends
October – May: 10am – 6pm on weekdays and 11am – 6pm on weekends
Ticket prices are 6 PLN (£1.20/$1.60) per adult and 5 PLN (£1/$1.30) for students, seniors and children under 4. Under 4’s go free.
You can only pay with cash and the ticket counter can be found on the ground floor of the Bell Tower.
What to expect on your visit
One of the challenges in visiting the St Anne’s Church observation deck is the 148 steps that it will take you to reach the top.
These are quite steep and there is no accessibility lift to take you up there. So, I would make sure you’re prepared for the walk before you climb.
The sore legs and being out of breath are a small price to pay for the spectacular views. The journey is so worth it!
When you reach the top of the bell tower, you can see a gorgeous view of the colourful buildings in the Old Town.
Make sure you take your camera. You can get some incredible photos from up here!
As you’re elevated on the open tower, you will find that it gets quite windy and cold. So, I would wear warm clothing.
If you’re feeling peckish or fancied buying some souvenirs, there is a small gift shop in the church courtyard below.
- Visiting the viewing platform is great at any time of the day as the view is breathtaking (literally). But, the best time would be to visit around sunset when the lighting is softest.
- Saying this, the Bell Tower could be closed during adverse weather. So, prepare for that. It wouldn’t be much fun in the rain or snow anyway!
- The small platform can get quite busy, especially in the summer. However, there is lots of room to get your shots.
- There is more to photograph from here than ‘just’ the iconic view of Plac Zamkowy! It’s a 360-degree deck, so you’ll find lots of great birds-eye views to capture.
Can you go inside St Anne’s Church in Warsaw?
YES! I would highly recommend that you pay a stop to look inside the church after your visit to St Anne’s Bell Tower.
As one of the most ornate churches in Warsaw, you’ll find that this chapel has a grand vaulted ceiling, portraits of St Anne and an intricate rococo high altar!
The church is closed during mass but is open for tourists wanting to visit at other times.
The opening times for St Anne’s Church are Monday – Saturday from 9 am – 3 pm and on Sundays from 10 am- 7 pm. It is completely free to enter but donations are appreciated.
The best time to visit would be at around noon or 2 pm when the church holds a free 30-minute concert playing the historic organ. The acoustics in here are outstanding.
Looking for more things to do in Warsaw?
I’ll be the first to admit that I was completely wrong about Warsaw before my visit. I really didn’t expect much from it but I was pleasantly surprised!
After your visit to St Anne’s Church, I would highly recommend exploring the streets of the Old Town, including the Royal Castle and the wealth of historic buildings here.
If you’re looking to learn more about the history of the city, I would suggest heading to the Warsaw Rising Museum which provides a fantastic insight.
For more viewpoints, I would definitely take a journey up to the 30th floor of the Palace of Culture and Science. Click here for the top photography spots!
Warsaw seems to be full of palaces but my favourite was the lemon painted Wilanów Palace. This is the historic home of King Jan III. The rooms and grounds are stunning.
For foodie stops, you must try a Polish Milk Bar like Bambino. Or, you could have a swanky afternoon tea at Hotel Bristol!
Where to stay in Warsaw
On my visit, we stayed in the fantastic Hotel Rialto in Warsaw which has now changed to the Nobu Hotel. This boutique hotel is a 5* property but has reasonable prices.
The whole hotel is decorated like Art Deco in retro-deco decor and the staff service could not be beaten.
Our room was on the top floor which had a great view of the city and we loved the peace and quiet!
It’s right next to the Chopin Museum and only a five-minute walk from the iconic Palace of Culture and Science. I would highly recommend it.