Warsaw Essentials:

How big is Warsaw?
Warsaw covers an area of over 516 sq km, and is the 8th largest city in the EU. It's the capital city of Poland.
How many people inhabit it?
Today, in excess of 1.7 million people call Warsaw home.
What are the language and the currency?
Warsaw's official language is Polish, and the currency is the Polish Zloty (PLN).
  • Old Town Market Square
Old Town Market Square Building on Krakowskie Przedmiescie

Things to see in Warsaw

In the Warsaw Uprising Museum
Tell me about one of Warsaw's main attractions?
Well, any trip to Warsaw isn't complete without a visit to the Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego (Warsaw Rising Museum) on ul. Grzybowska. This thought-provoking and enlightening museum is harrowing at times, as it tells the story of the Polish people who rebelled against the Germans in August 1944. It's frequented by a huge number of both Polish and international visitors. Inside, it's quite dark and sombre in keeping with the museum's subject matter. The artefacts on display here include letters, prison bowls, aid barrels, uniforms, weapons, children's toys and more.
Anything else which shouldn't be missed?
There are lots of great attractions to be seen in Warsaw, from churches to parks to historical buildings. One things that shouldn't be missed is the Palac Kultury I Nauki or Palace of Culture and Science. The building was constructed between 1952 and 1955 and it's the tallest building in Warsaw. Given as a 'gift' to the Polish people from the former Soviet Union, it includes a viewing terrace on the 30th floor, which offers stunning views of the city. It also boasts over 3,000 rooms, three theatres, a cinema, the Museum of Evolution, the Museum of Technology, and lots more. The Royal Castle on Plac Zamkowy in the Old Town area of the city is another popular attraction. As well as housing the splendour of the Royal Apartments, there's a huge collection of art and artefacts spanning Polish history on display including paintings, busts, coins and musical instruments. The castle dates back to the 14th century and had to be rebuilt after WWII.
What about museums? What are the best ones to visit?
Apart from the Warsaw Rising Museum, the two main museums to visit are the Historical Museum of Warsaw and the Polish Army Museum.
Anything else I need to know?
There are lots of things to do for free in Warsaw if you're on a tight budget or just looking to save your money for other things. One of the most popular attractions in Warsaw is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It's free to visit, and if you arrive around 1pm you might catch the changing of the guards. While there, why not check out the Ogród Saski or Saxon Garden, which is right beside the Tomb. There's a large fountain, a duck pond, lots of interesting statues, and many places to sit and take in the surroundings.
Where I should I go to sample Warsaw's best shopping?
Warsaw has many top class shopping areas, with an emphasis on large shopping centres. These include Arkadia in the Zoliborz district, with its 200+ stores, and the sprawling Zlote Tarasy in Sródmiescie. Nowy Swiat is the city's main shopping street. Here you'll see a great selection of well-known local names, as well as big international brands.

Going out in Warsaw

The Palace of Culture and Science at night
Where are most of the bars found?
Most of Warsaw's bars can be found in either Stare Miasto (Old Town) or Sródmiescie.
Any bars you'd recommend?
Not matter what kind of night you’re looking for, there's a venue for you here. Say you want nothing more than to hear the likes of Led Zeppelin and Metallica while enjoying a drink. If that's the case then Pub Lezaki on ul. Piwna is the place for you. Loud music and cheap beer are the hallmarks of this popular bar, and on top of that the staff are friendly too. Paparazzi on ul. Mazowiecka is one of city's best cocktail bars. Its big interior, and even bigger cocktail menu, matches its big personality perfectly. The décor takes its cues from the bar's name, with table tops that look like pages from a tabloid, and framed pictures of the stars on the walls. Spread across two levels, there’s space to dance to the tunes the two resident DJs play each night. For something a bit different, check out the Living Room on ul. Foksal. This wellness bar serves up a huge selection of non-alcoholic cocktails and special juices, as well as a host of alcoholic drinks too. It's chic inside, as evidenced in the abundance of white furnishings, with a whole pineapple on each table bringing a unique touch to the bar.
Do I need to carry my ID with me when going out?
As with most places, it's a good idea to have some ID with you. Although, chances are you won't be asked for it here.
Anything to do that doesn
Of course! Warsaw is well-known for a host of cultural pursuits, and if that's the kind of thing you're looking for then Teatr Wielki on Plac Teatralny is the place to go. It has served as the home of the Polish National Opera for almost 200 years, and today hosts a great selection of opera, ballet, musical and vocal performances. There's generally a show every day, except on Mondays, from October to June.

Eating Out in Warsaw

Traditional Polish dumplings
Where should I go for food?
Sródmiescie and Stare Miasto (Old Town) are the two main districts to check out for a great selection of restaurants and cafés. There are lots of other places scattered across the city too, though.
Any restaurants you'd recommend?
If you're looking for traditional Polish cuisine, then Pierrogeria on Krzywe Kolo in the Old Town area is a great choice. It serves a wide range of 'pierogi' or dumplings. These come in sweet and savoury variations, with vegetarian options also provided. For something cheap and cheerful, why not try Restauracja Dominium on ul. Zgoda in the Sródmiescie area. This place does a roaring trade in pizzas and pastas, with a huge number of different kinds to choose from. Popular with a younger crowd, there are lots of tables here, but you don’t feel like you’re on top of everyone else. Caffeine addicts will delight in the aptly named Coffee Heaven on ul Zurawia. Part of a city-wide chain, this branch serves a wide selection of coffees, pastries and sandwiches in a cosy atmosphere. In fact the couches and big arm chairs are so comfy you might find yourself making excuses to stay for just one more cup!
What times do restaurants close?
Restaurants stay open pretty late, with lots of places serving food until 11pm or later. Chances are, whatever time of day or night, you'll be able to find a bite to eat somewhere in Warsaw.
Anything else I need to know?
Kebabs are really popular in Warsaw, and can provide a tasty, low-cost meal option. It's not hard to spot the best kebab kiosks and shops, as they generally have a queue of people hanging around most of the day.

Transport in Warsaw

One of Warsaw's trams
How many different modes of public transport are there in Warsaw?
The three main modes of public transport in Warsaw are the bus, tram and metro networks.
Will I need to use public transport at all?
Yes. Despite the fact that lots of the main attractions are within walking distance of each other in Warsaw's Old Town, it's a big city. So you will need to use the public transport system at some stage during your visit.

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  • Posted: Wednesday, July 13, 2011
  • Comments: 6
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