We invite you today for a short trip to the gardens at the Royal Palace in Wilanow, where magical and beautiful light installations, shows with music and three-dimensional shows on the palace facade await you. See if it’s worth coming to the capital for an evening stroll….
This outdoor exhibition has been following us ever since we stumbled upon the Facebook event somewhere in mid-December. However, something kept getting in the way of us going to Warsaw for the evening. When the first snow finally fell, it got brighter and the winter atmosphere fully set in, we decided that there was no whipping. We are going no matter what! An additional motivation was the mappings that take place on weekends on the palace itself. We love the Lodz Light Move Festival, so we couldn’t let it go.
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How to get there and how much does it cost to get in?
Getting to the Palace is easy, but parking is not necessarily so. Especially on weekends. So if you have the opportunity it is better to use public transportation (get to the Wilanów stop), because from the stop it is already close to the entrance itself. We traveled by car from Lodz, while doing some errands in Warsaw, and unfortunately had to stick out our own in traffic jams at the entrance and while hunting for a parking space. We drove to the paid parking lot at the Stanislaw Kostka Potocki, which just that day turned out to be free. There was a high turnover of cars, so fortunately we were able to find a free seat fairly quickly.
The Garden of Light is open from 4pm to 9pm, with the first mapping starting at 5:30pm. We had originally planned to be there around 4pm, tour the gardens and finally go to the visualizations on the building, but in practice we barely made it in time for the 5:30pm show (the next, other shows are at 6:30pm and 7:30pm).
Tickets cost PLN 20 normal and PLN 10 reduced on weekends (Fri-Sun) and PLN 10 normal and PLN 5 reduced from Monday to Thursday. They can be purchased at ticket offices, ticket machines and online. We ran into big queues at both the ticket offices and ticket machines, so we bought tickets online quickly via cell phone without any problems (no need to print them out).
Beautifully lit Royal Gardens
But before we get to the paid section itself, where tickets are checked, the first music and light installation in the form of a tunnel has already been prepared between the ticket offices and the main entrance gate. It is here that many people already stop enthralled and enchanted by the flashing lights, and it is even more beautiful further on!
After passing through the gate to the Royal Palace, we immediately found ourselves facing the façade of the palace on which the mappings take place. If we are to be completely honest, you are able to see quite a lot even outside the fence of the palace, that is, without paying an entrance fee, which quite a few people practiced.
We saw almost all of the mapping at 5:30 pm and a piece of it at 6:30 pm. It consists of two parts – a presentation of works in the museum and an animation – a fairy tale that is different every hour. We have to admit that the whole show is polished and beautifully prepared, but two aspects disappointed us: first, we constantly had the irresistible impression that something had shifted, as the mapping was entering the right wing of the castle, rather than reaching the left part. Although the animations blended in perfectly with the building’s facade, for a long part we wondered what purpose the move was supposed to serve. And secondly, in the case of animation with a fairy tale, you would have to be very close to the palace itself to notice all its elements and focus throughout to “catch” the whole story. I guess we just prefer to admire the mappings as a whole, the effects used, the visuals rather than focusing on a specific story :)
After the mapping, we headed with the entire crowd to the most important part, the illuminated gardens. Despite some -6 degrees Celsius on the thermometers, visitors turned out in force, and there were many families with children, who were especially delighted with the various installations made of lights.
In the gardens we can see elements that are permanently illuminated (e.g., trees, shrubs, gazebos), but the most impressive is the show with music on the lower terrace, which takes place probably every 15 minutes. Anyway, see for yourself:
The show is best viewed from the upper terrace, because then you can fully admire the changing colors and the perfect dance of light to the rhythm of well-known classical pieces.
Summary – is it worth it?
The whole place is magical and looks beautiful in its winter setting. If we lived in Warsaw we would probably come here several times, but is it worth it to drive here from the end of Poland?
Since we are honest to the point of pain in this post, we have to write this: for the Gardens themselves, it is not worth it, because after all, we expected them to cover a larger area. However, let’s not forget that there are many other illuminations in the capital that are worth seeing, and you can also enjoy them in January (leaving aside, of course, many, many other interesting places, starting with a visit to the Royal Palace Museum in Wilanów itself!). So it’s worth planning a whole day or even a weekend in Warsaw and seeing the Royal Gardens in Wilanów as well.
Remember, the Royal Garden of Light is open until February 24!