I visited Warsaw back in April and fell completely in love with the city. Having never visited Poland before, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect but I adored it and would put it in my top three European cities.
Planning on visiting or just want to know more about the city? Read on for my guide to all things Warsaw.
From London, there are several low cost carriers flying to Warsaw, so you have a choice of ten flights daily. You can fly from various other UK airports including Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool. Most of these fly in to Warsaw Modlin, a tiny airport 35km outside the city centre.
Once there you can take a transfer, taxi, train or bus. The bus is the cheapest option and is really straightforward. Book beforehand on the Modlin Bus website and jump on directly outside the airport doors. The bus will drop you off outside the Palace of Science & Culture; from there you can reach anywhere in the city easily. A return journey costs around £14pp but they frequently run promotions on the website.
Public transport is efficient, super cheap and plentiful in Warsaw with trams, buses and metros. For buses and trams, buy tickets from machines dotted on the streets or at tram stops. A one-day ticket with unlimited journeys cost 15pln, around £3.14.
THINGS TO DO
Warsaw Rising Museum
One of Warsaw’s best museums, this is dedicated to the uprising in WW2. Interesting, informative and reasonably sized, the museum is well worth spending some time at, especially if you’re interested in the world wars or Polish history. To get there, jump on a tram and hop off at Muzeum Powstania Warszawskieg 06, which is a couple of minutes walk away.
If you were to compare Praga to somewhere in London, it would be Shoreditch. Cool and slightly gritty, it’s well worth venturing over the river by tram to explore some of the neighbourhood. Stroll around and take it all in or head to the quirky Neon Muzeum.
Take in the views from the top of The Palace of Science and Culture
Built in 1955, this is a building that divides opinion but nobody can deny how striking the Palace of Science and Culture is. One of the tallest buildings in Europe, it offers incredible views over Warsaw. Check out when the sun will be setting on the day of your visit and head there just before to watch the sunset. Entry costs around £4.25.
Shop at Zlote Tarasy
If you’re looking to hit the shops, Zlote Tarasy is your best bet. This huge, sprawling mall has all of the high street shops you could desire. Prices are higher than here for British shops but you’ll be able to find some good bargains in European chains such as Stradivarius and Zara.
Enjoy a drink in the Old Town
The Old Town, although reconstructed after WW2 and so not exactly authentic, is absolutely beautiful. Stroll around taking in the colourful buildings, watch the street performers and then sit down to enjoy a drink in the main square whilst you people-watch for a while.
Located between the Old and New towns, the Barbican is a beautiful defensive stucture. Wander the walls and be sure to take photos of the super pretty houses nearby!
Visit Lazienki Royal Park
Although quite far outside the city centre, Warsaw’s largest park is well worth a visit. With sprawling manicured lawns and peacocks roaming around freely, the park is a welcome oasis from the hustle and bustle of the city. There are even al-fresco Chopin concerts on a Sunday from May through to September.
Stroll down Nowy Swiat
A famous Warsaw street often seen on postcards, Nowy Swiat is lined with shops, restaurants and cafes. Sometimes compared to the streets of Paris, this charming part of Warsaw is a great place to spend some time wandering.
Warsaw has endless dining options, from traditional Polish cuisine, to cool pizza joints to top Asian fusion. Aside from Zapicek (more below), a lot of restaurants in the Old Town are tourist traps; read: overpriced and underwhelming, so do your research beforehand. Here are some of my recommendations:
Don’t let the tacky waitress costumes or the fact that this is a chain put you off. Tasty, hearty polish food served with cold Polish beer and steaming hot cups of soup. Plates of peirogi to share are a must, as is the traditional beetroot soup.
Maka i Woda
Situated in a hidden away cobbled square, this is a must for pizza lovers. The sourdough pizzas are absolutely delicious and the restaurant itself is uber cool. Grab an Aperol Spritz and a seat at the bar to watch the chefs in all their pizza-making glory.
Hotel restaurants are often overpriced and lacking imagination but that definitely isn’t he case for In Azia, part of the Sheraton hotel. Rated the fourth best restaurant in Warsaw, the restaurant offers amazing Asian fusion food in a romantic setting. The duck curry was the best I’ve ever tasted and the prices were more than reasonable. You’d pay at least three times the price for something as good in London.
A city break isn’t complete without a cool brunch spot and Mr. Pancake is exactly that. Offering many sweet delights, as well as your usual savoury pancake toppings, it’s a tasty and inexpensive way to kick off a day of exploring the city.
To be honest, we didn’t do a whole lot of drinking in Warsaw so this section is short and sweet.
Yes it’s not traditional Polish, but Brewdog never disappoints and the Warsaw branch is small, cosy and perfectly formed. Not so much a summer destination due to lack of outside space but definitely one for the cooler months.
Panorama Sky Bar
Situated in the Marriott hotel, close by the Palace of Science & Culture, this bar offers incredible views Over Warsaw. Yes it’s expensive, yes it’s ever so slightly pretentious, but the views are great and the cocktails even better (Espresso Martinis highly recommended!)
- Although not everybody in Warsaw can speak fluent English, you’ll be able to get by quite easily. Grab a phrasebook to converse using simple Polish phrases when in restaurants and bars.
- Service in restaurants is quick but can be quite cold. Take it in your stride and don’t expect overly friendly service or you’ll be left disappointed in most cases.
Have you been to Warsaw? Do you have any other recommendations?