Poland's capital is often described as one of Central and Eastern Europe's top destinations to visit for many reasons.
Whether you're visiting for work or a weekend away, Warsaw is one of the continent's most exciting cities. From its blend of architecture that spans centuries, to its quietly excellent restaurant scene, the wide variety of things to see and do means there's something for everyone. So when you fly to Warsaw, no matter the reason, you'll be experiencing one of Europe's most underrated city break destinations - a pleasingly fun and soulful place to do business or just relax.
Once you’ve arrived in the city, you’ll quickly find that Warsaw is an easy place to explore thanks to its range of public transport options. Some areas are very walkable, and the city’s cycle hire service can be a pleasant way to get around in the warmer months.
Warsaw’s public transport network is an affordable and efficient way to get around the city. Over 1,000 different bus services operate, including night buses and fast services. You can also hop on a tram or a metro. All three options are run by ZTM and you can purchase tickets at ticket kiosks, some shops and in the metro stations. Prices are the same across all services and the cheapest (generally under £1) are time sensitive tickets that are valid for 20 minutes.
Spend a day in Warsaw’s Old Town and surrounding areas, and you'll probably find exploring them on foot is the best option. Walking allows you to soak up all the sights as you go. Warsaw is big on walking tours, some of which are free – perfect if you want to find out more about its turbulent history.
Warsaw’s road system is straightforward and well-maintained, making navigating by car simple. You might, however, find that some of the city’s streets are quite narrow and often slippery in the winter, so take the weather conditions into account.
If you don’t fancy driving but still want the flexibility of a car, Warsaw’s taxis are very reasonably priced with prices starting at 8zł, and then increasing by around 4zł per kilometre. Make sure you go
for a taxi that has a phone number and logo on it as there are unlicensed taxis that can charge higher rates.
A great way to see Warsaw while getting some exercise is to take things at a leisurely pace by bike. From March to November the city operates a simple bicycle hire system called Veturilo that allows you to pick up bikes from several points around the city.
The Old Town: for history and culture
Forming part of the city’s huge central Śródmieście district, Warsaw’s Old Town is an essential stop. It’s where you’ll find some of the best attractions, from St John’s Cathedral to the Old Town Market Place, which is packed with shops, bars and eateries. Also along its quaint cobblestone streets and wide plazas are the bustling 17th-century King Sigismund’s Column, the ornate Royal Castle and the Warsaw Museum. The district was extensively damaged during World War II but beautifully restored using much of the original materials to make it look as authentic as possible.
Żoliborz: for stunning architecture
A little out of the city centre and to the west of the river, this district is largely residential but a wonderful destination for a stroll, thanks to its gorgeous architecture. Wander down its streets in the summer and you'll see its charming houses covered in plants and fringed with blooming flowers. You’ll also find Warsaw Citadel in Żoliborz, as well as plenty of cafés to stop off in.
Praga: for nightlife and contemporary culture
This area is one of the oldest parts of the city. It’s nestled on the right-hand bank of the Vistula river and was left remarkably untouched during World War II. In more recent years, it’s seen plenty of regeneration and is not only home to the city’s National Stadium and the Soho Factory arts venue, but also some of Warsaw’s best nightlife. You’ll find several top nightclubs and bars at the graffiti-decorated backyard on Listopada Street, which host club nights, live music and festivals.
Currency: Polish złoty PLN (zł)
Time zone: Central European Standard Time (GMT + 1) and Central European Summer Time (GMT + 2)
Language: Polish; however, English is often spoken – particularly by younger inhabitants