We were not enticed to travel to Warsaw when we first set our sights on the Polish capital. However, defied any preconceived notions we may have had and surprised us with a wealth of things to do in Warsaw.
Warsaw is unlike any other city in Poland. Unlike the many preserved old towns scattered across the country, Warsaw was leveled in WWII. It means the city has had a rebirth. The city seems to have stood the test of time despite being burned, bombed, and sacked numerous times throughout history. You can call it a testament to the Polish spirit.
Their “new” capital is full of exciting things to do ranging fantastic food, nightlife, and history. World class museums are sure are sure to resonate with visitors and the famous composer Chopin can be found around every corner.
In what is sure to make travelers happiest is the affordability of the things to do in Warsaw. It’s exciting nightclub, wonderful restaurants, and accommodation all come at a cheap price compared to Western Europe.
Things To Do In Warsaw
The Warsaw Uprising Museum
The Warsaw Uprising museum follows the Warsaw Uprising. In WWII, the locals took up arms against the Germans as Poland was squeezed between the Soviets and Germans. The Museum is really a testament to the Polish spirit and the human spirit at that. The museum itself is interactive and well designed. The cost of tickets is 22PL Adult or 16PL Student.
Chopin is considered a national treasure. His music can be found throughout the city and his heart lies at the Holy Cross Church in Old Town. There are many activities to do in the city related to the famous composer and pianist. Including the largest and oldest Piano Festival in the World going on to its 70th celebration. There’s also a museum dedicated to him.
Lazienki Park is famous for locals and visitors alike and renowned for its beauty. Old large trees and gardens line the pedestrian avenues, with sculpture gardens and impressive buildings. It is the largest park in Warsaw and occupies 76 hectares of the city center. The park dates back to the 17th century when it was first designed. Walking through the park is a great escape from the city.
Explore Old Town
Europe is littered with “Old Towns” Warsaw is no different. Warsaw’s Old Town was destroyed after WWII, but the restoration of Old Town was so methodical it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The market square is the center of the Old Town, Stare Miasto. The market square is littered with restaurants allowing you to dine in the restored square.
Eat At A Milk Bar
Climb The Tower at The Palace of Culture
Originally a gift from the Soviet’s back in the 50’s this building is still one of the tallest buildings in Europe. It now features two museums, a movie theater, four theaters, bookshops, a swimming pool, and a University. The viewing terrace from the tops offers a birds-eye view of the city. Did I mention the Christmas Market?
Drink Some Vodka
As with any large European city nightlife here is good, really good. It has everything that you could want ranging from a swanky bar, dive bars, hip bars, megaclubs, and all the stuff in between. Also, have you ever heard of Vodka? In Poland, Vodka reigns supreme. A good bottle of polish Vodka costs about 20 PLN, or just over $5. Drinks out cost anywhere from 8 PLN and up.
Find Street Art
Street art is all about the City. In the communist-era advertisements and propaganda would be painted large scale onto buildings, the Polish have embraced this and made it a part of art in the city. The locals cherish the large pieces of art scattered throughout the city. The Modern Art Museum in Warsaw is free, and they offer a map of notable street art throughout the city online too!
The Details of Warsaw
Getting to Warsaw:
- Flights: We did not arrive via a flight to Warsaw. However, Warsaw has two international airports and is serviced by many airlines offering routes all over the world. The budget airline Ryan Air also services Warsaw, making it cheap to get to while in Europe.
- Train: The Polish Train network is probably one of the most extensive train networks outside of Western Europe. Offering directs to Berlin, Vilnius, Minsk, Kiev, and Kaunas. Polish Train Network Website, PKP.
- Bus: We found the coach carriers to be extremely affordable, efficient, and comfortable. Arriving via Vilnius we paid 13 Euro and took a Lux Express Bus. Lux Express offers Android tablets with multimedia interfaces, free Wi-Fi, coffee & tea, a bathroom, and reclining seats. With their Partner Simple Express, they offer cheap buses on international routes to Berlin, Prague, and Vilnius. (Also viable for getting from Warsaw to Krakow.) Polski Bus is another coach site to check out.
Getting out of Warsaw:
- Public transportation to the rest of the Poland is extensive, giving you a long list of viable options. Polski bus is the largest private bus network in Poland, plus they have an English site here. PKP is the rail network and is a great way for getting around Poland offering some nice new modern trains; they tend to cost more too. Their website is also offered in English.
The Food in Warsaw:
- Warsaw is a major city, and with that comes the food. The city has just about everything to offer. Ranging from traditional Polish, Asian cuisines, hole-in-the-wall establishments, and Mediterranean. We were personally on a budget and did not enjoy many meals out. Also, be sure to check out a Milk Bar dating back to the Communist era most of these establishments have closed down, but a few still dot the city and offer a time warp with cheap Polish eats.
Costs: We were able to Warsaw for about $30 a day. This was on a pretty tight budget as we were backpacking at the time. However, Poland is well known for being a being a budget-friendly destination. You can read our post about how much we budget for backpacking around Europe.
Good To Know:
- Language: Polish
- Currency: PLN
- Time: GMT (+2.00)
- Country Code: +48
- Electrical Socket: Type F
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