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On the banks of the River Vistula lies Poland's capital, Warsaw, a bustling metropolis with a population of around 3 million. Warsaw's Old Town (Stare Miasto), a UNESCO World Heritage site, was rebuilt to perfection after being flattened in the Second World War. It serves as a somewhat eerie reminder among the noticeably more modern buildings in the rest of city. Warsaw is a rapidly changing city, with an upwardly mobile population.
Straddling the Vistula River Warsaw is located in the heart of the Masovian Plain giving the city an altitude of only 100 metres (330 feet). This gives the city a continental humid climate. In January the average temperature is -2 °C (just above zero during the day and around -4 °C at night) and during July it is 18 °C, however sometimes it can get up to 30 °C during the summer and average daytime temperatures are nice with around 24 °C from June to August. The yearly rainfall is around 680 mm (26.8 inch) with most of the rain falling during the months of June and July, though usually in the form of some heavy showers. Winters are driest, with some snow possible.
|Avg Max||0.4 °C||1.9 °C||6.8 °C||13.1 °C||19.3 °C||21.9 °C||23.6 °C||23.4 °C||17.9 °C||12.3 °C||5.5 °C||1.9 °C|
|Avg Min||-4.8 °C||-4 °C||-1 °C||3.1 °C||8.1 °C||11.3 °C||12.9 °C||12.3 °C||8.6 °C||4.4 °C||0.3 °C||-2.8 °C|
|Rainfall||22.1 mm||22 mm||28.1 mm||34.8 mm||50.7 mm||71.3 mm||73.2 mm||59 mm||49 mm||38.2 mm||36.6 mm||34.6 mm|
1. LOT Polish Airlines is the national airline of the country and is based at Warsaw Frédéric Chopin Airport (WAW), formally Okęcie International Airport, located in the Okęcie district of Warsaw and the main international and domestic airport in Poland. Several other airlines serve Warsaw and Norwegian Air Shuttle uses the city as a focus place throughout Europe. Other low cost airlines are SkyEurope (to Vienna) and Wizzair (about a dozen places in west of Europe).
The airport has connections to most European cities and few other cities outside of Europe with the most common international flights being London, Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam. Some other main cities served include Moscow, Rome, Dublin, Brussels, Tel Aviv, Reykjavik, Barcelona, Chicago, Istanbul, Madrid, Milan, New York, Toronto and Lisbon. A few summer charter flights exist as well, mainly to destinations in southern Europe.
To/from the airport
Buses 175 and 188 run all day from the city centre while bus N32 runs during the night for a reasonable price. There is also a train station under Terminal 2 in the airport that has connections to the Warszawa Śródmieście Station. There is also an additional line 148 that provides access to Ursynów (a southern part of Warsaw) and Praga (an eastern part of Warsaw). The fare is PLN 2.8 one-way for all the lines (day and night). Taxis and rental cars are available at the airport as well.
2. Warsaw Modlin Airport is an airport which was transformed from disused militairy airport into an airport for budget airlines, especially aiming for the expected crowds at the UEFA 2012 European Championships. It opened in July 2012 and Ryanair flies to/from Barcelona, Bologna, Bristol, Brussels South Charleroi Airport, Budapest, Cork, Dublin, East Midlands, Eindhoven, Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, Glasgow-Prestwick, Liverpool, London Stansted Airport, Manchester, Milan-Bergamo, Oslo Rygge Airport, Paris Beauvais-Tillé Airport, Rome Ciampino Airport, Stockholm-Skavsta Airport and Airport Weeze.
Wizzair, flies to/from Barcelona, Brussels South-Charleroi, Budapest, Cork, Doncaster/Sheffield, Eindhoven, Glasgow-Prestwick, Gothenburg-City, Liverpool, London-Luton Airport, Malmö, Milan-Bergamo, Rome Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport|Rome-Fiumicino]], Oslo-Torp, Paris-Beauvais, Stockholm-Skavsta and seasonal to/from Burgas, Grenoble and Madrid.
To/from the airport
A new 5-kilometre-long rail spur branching off from the existing Warsaw-Gdansk line will be built with an underground station at the airport, providing a 30-minute trip to Warsaw's centre. For the time being the train connection with Koleje Mazowieckie operates and it is combined with a shuttle bus that delivers passengers from terminal to the train station Modlin. There are also alternative transfers like for example a shared door to door transfer by car.
Warszawa Śródmieście Station is the main train station in the city centre. It is on the main west-east corridor between the Netherlands and Moscow. There are numerous domestic services as well as regular trains to Berlin and Minsk. One train per day runs to Kaunas and Vilnius in Lithuania, with a change of trains at the border.
Four European "E-roads" lead to Warsaw: E30 (A2), E77 (7), E67 (A8), and E372 (17). Between brackets are the road numbers of Poland. From Warsaw, it's 390 kilometres to Gdansk 390 km, 290 kilometres to Krakow, 310 kilometres to Poznan, 570 kilometres to Berlin and 700 kilometres to Budapest.
There are many bus services throughout Poland, for example to Gdansk (7 hours) and Krakow (8 hours).
Polski Express] serves many destinations, including the ones mentioned above, plus services to Białystok, Bydgoszcz, Czestochowa, Gdynia, Gorzów Wielkopolski, [[Katowice, Lodz, Lublin, Pabianice, Płock, Szczecin and Torun. PKS Warszawa has similar routes.
If travelling from abroad you may choose from few international lines: Polski Bus from Vienna, Prague, Bratislava, Berlin or Vilnius, Simple Express for travellers from Baltic States, as well as Prague and Berlin, or Ecolines throughout the Europe. The main advantage is relatively low price, especially if you book your ticket early enough to catch few first seats that are usually being offered at extremally low prices.
As Warsaw is not located at the seaside it is not possible to arrive here by boat. However, you can easily travel by boat to Gdansk - there is many international ferries, the most popular one being Polferries, and journey from Gdansk to Warsaw may be organized by train, by plane, by bus or by rented car. The distance between this two cities is approximately 400 kilometres.
Using car in the city may be not a good idea, especially on work days. Besides traffic jams it is extremaly difficult to find a parking place, and parking rates are rather high. Therefore, if you are staying outside city center it is advisable to leave the car on one of many "Park and ride" parking areas and continue your travel by metro, bus or tram.
There is a paid-parking zone in the centre of the city. This applies Mon-Fri 8:00am-6:00pm. Parking costs 3.00 zł for the first hour. Subsequent hours cost more although there is no hour limit. 0.60 zł is the minimum payment. You can pay with coins (10 groszy upwards and you will be given the exact time you have paid for after you have paid the minimum charge) or with the Warsaw City Card (not the tourist card).
The public transport system in Warsaw is generally well-developed, with some 200 bus routes and 30 tram lines. The route descriptions on the tram stops are easy to follow (although bus stop notices are more complex) but it can be painfully slow, however, to travel between destinations far from the city center. As far as rapid transit is concerned, Warsaw has a singular underground Metro line going from south to north on the left bank, and a regional urban rail service. It might be a good idea to buy a public transport travelcard, available for 24 hours, 3 days or a week. You can buy them at the Warsaw Transport Authority.
Warsaw's Metro System is one of the newest underground railway systems in Europe and opened in 1995. The system currently consists of only one line, which was designed to carry commuters from the new districts at the northern and southern outskirts into the city centre. As a result, the subway does not go to many tourist destinations, however several stations will take you in a general vicinity of some attractions. A second route is planned, which is supposed to link the center with the right bank of the river Vistula with a segment containing 7 stations now expected to be completed in 2013 at the earliest. It operates at 3 to 10-minute intervals, mostly until midnight or 1:00am, until 3:00am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Bus lines 100 and 180 are the best ones for travellers. Number 100 makes a route that links some of the most interesting tourist attractions while number 180 is the Warsaw Sightseeing Route between the Powazki Cemetery and Wilanów. 148, 175 and 188 operate to and from the airport.
The centre of Warsaw can easily be navigated on foot.
Warsaw isn't an especially bike-friendly city, with a fragmented bike path network that does not cover many of the important streets. You may find yourself forced to ride on the pavement or the street itself at some points, neither of which is really comfortable or advisable - or indeed, can be deemed illegal.
That said, Warsaw started warming up to bicycles, and even has a bike-sharing scheme similar to other cities around the world, called Veturilo. You need a credit card and a mobile phone to pre-register at the website, and to pay 10 PLN initial fee, which is credited to your account. To rent a bike, you need to type in your code and the code of the bike you want to rent at the station, and there you go. The first twenty minutes are free, the first hour is 1 PLN and the fees increase every hour, because Veturilo bikes are meant for very short trips. Whenever you completed your trip, just lock your bike in the nearest station and check yourself out. There are maps of nearest points and the surroundings provided at every Veturilo station.
Warsaw is not globally renowned for its culinary scene, but it lacks nothing compared to other European capitals with regard to it. There is a wide choice of eateries from the most basic and cheapest to very sophisticated, and many different types of food are available throughout the city. Finding a unique dining experience is feasible daily.
For those on a budget, there are many kebab shops sprinkled around Warsaw, especially in Śródmieście, which offer decent food and portions for the fair price of 7-13 zł a kebab. Other cheap alternatives are milk bars, which are discussed later in the section, and Vietnamese restaurants.
Old Town and areas like pl. Trzech Krzyży, ul. Nowy Świat, ul. Chmielna, Krakowskie Przedmieście in Śródmieście are saturated with cafés. Coffee typically costs about 10.00 zł. Beer can cost anywhere from 5.00 zł to 15.00 zł for half a liter (the supermarket price being about 2.50-3 zł). Drink prices in clubs can go up to 50.00 zł (and possibly more). Drinking alcoholic beverages in public places is prohibited, but this is often ignored by locals with regard to public drinking in parks.
There are plenty of accommodation options in Warsaw at all budget levels. The most accommodation options are located in Śródmieście, Wola, and Mokotów. There are also many business travel hotels in Włochy, near the airport.
Warsaw has an oversupply of high-standard hotel rooms, as many luxury hotels were built in Warsaw post-1989. Almost every global upscale chain has at least one property, a few hundred rooms each. Therefore, you can easily snatch room at a modern four- or five-star hotel in the €50-70 range. Warsaw still sees more business than leisure travel, so your best bet to get a great rate are weekend stays. Look for offers and special rates in booking sites and hotel web pages.
If you are on a budget, do not assume that hostels are your only option. Booking in advance at 3/4 star hotels can yield prices only slightly higher than backpacker hostels, for far greater comfort. Do your research in any case before booking to make sure you do not miss out on a great offer.
Do note that breakfast is not included in the room price in most hotels in Poland. Expect steep charges for breakfast, especially if you book a premium hotel at a low price. If you are staying in the city centre, you might find many other breakfast options around your hotel though.
There are campgrounds in Włochy, Wawer, Wola, Ochota and Mokotów.
|B&B Warsaw||Sêkociñska Street Nr 5 flat nr 4, first floor.||GUESTHOUSE||83|
|Babka Tower Suites||Al.Jana Pawla II 80/D44 10th Floor-Section D,Reception-10th Floor||Hotel||80|
|Boutique B&B||ul. Smolna 14/7||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Castle Inn by Oki Doki||Swietojanska 2, entrance from Plac Zamkowy Warsaw||Guesthouse||80|
|Dizzy Daisy Hostel Riviera||ul. Waryńskiego 12||Hostel||79|
|Cityhostel Warsaw||Rynek Nowego Miasta 4||HOSTEL||80|
|Garden Villa||Dolna 42||Hostel||-|
|Helvetia Plus - Double Rooms||Bartoszewicza 1C (reception only in Hostel Helvetia, see details)||HOSTEL||82|
|Hostel Green Mazovia||Nowogrodzka 46/6 Street||Hostel||81|
|Hostel Helvetia||Sewerynow 7||Hostel||86|
|Old Town Hostel Kanonia||Jezuicka 2||Hostel||78|
|Hostel Krokodyl||Czapelska 24||Hostel||76|
|Camera Hostel||Jasna str. 22||Hostel||-|
|Hostel Sluzewiec||36, Bokserska Str.||Hostel||-|
|Hostel Tamka||Tamka Str 30||Hostel||82|
|Hostel To-Tu||8, Krasiczyñska Str.||Hostel||-|
|Jump Inn Hostel||Żurawia str. 32/34||HOSTEL||-|
|Nathan's Villa Hostel Warsaw||Ul. Piekna 24/26 Building C||Hostel||-|
|New World St. Hostel||Nowy Swiat 27||Hostel||87|
|Niska Studio||Niska 17 app. 2||APARTMENT||-|
|Hostel Oki Doki||Plac (Square) Dabrowskiego 3 Corner of Marszalkowska and Swietokrzyska||Hostel||89|
|Old Town Apartments||29 Nowy Świat apt. 3||APARTMENT||-|
|Patron Hotel||Al.Dzieci Polskich 20||Hotel||-|
|Bielany Apartmen||Kochanowskiego 3 app.103 Warsaw||APARTMENT||-|
|Royal Route Residence||ul. Nowy Œwiat 29/3 Warsaw||Apartment||81|
|Twarda Studio||Twarda 54 app. 91 Warsaw||APARTMENT||-|
|Wilson Hostel||Felińskiego 37||Hostel||81|
|Chmielna Guest House||Chmielna 13/12||GUESTHOUSE||83|
|Noclegi Okecie||Al. Krakowska 228||Hostel||-|
|Design City Freta Apartment||Freta Street||Apartment||-|
|Karis Hotel||ul.Karatowa 5||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Dom Literatury||ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 87/89||Hotel||-|
|Design City Brzozowa Apartment||Brzozowa Street||Apartment||-|
|Design City Mostowa Apartment||ul. Mostowa||Apartment||-|
|Design City Suzina Apartment||ul. Suzina||Apartment||-|
|Hostel Witt||00-669 Warsaw ul. Emilii Plater 9/11 m2||Hostel||-|
|Apartament 902||Pereca 2/902||Apartment||-|
|Magnolie Apartments||Ryzowa 36A||Apartment||-|
|Karat Hotel - Warsaw||Sloneczna 37 Sloneczna 37||Hotel||-|
|Rest Hotel - Warsaw||Poznanska 33||Hotel||-|
|Emma Hostel||Wilcza 25||Hostel||-|
|Szucha Apartment||Aleja Jana Christiana Szucha 11a/9||Apartment||-|
|Moon Hostel - Warsaw||16 Foksal St.||Hostel||84|
|Lost and Found||Odolanska 42 Warsaw||Hostel||-|
|Hostel Fabryka||11 Listopada 22/21 Warsaw||Hostel||79|
|El hostel||Smocza 1||Hostel||83|
|Jaz Warsaw||ul.Mickiewicza 32A/8 Warsaw||Hotel||-|
|JAZ Hostel||Mickiewicza 32A/8 Żoliborz||Hostel||-|
|UFO Hostel Warszawa||Grottgera 11, Mokotów, Warszawa||HOSTEL||-|
|V. Hostel||Hoza 42/10||Apartment||-|
|PuffaHostel||Solec 50 Warszawa||Hostel||77|
|B&B Nowolipki||ul.Nowolipki 2A/2400-160 Warszawa||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Marszalkowska Apartment||Marszalkowska 27/35 Apt. 52||Apartment||-|
|Hostel In The Center 4U||ul. Prozna 12A||Hostel||-|
|Globetrotter Hostel||Aleja (Avenue) Wyzwolenia 10/127||HOSTEL||82|
|AGA Hostel||Topiel Str. 27||HOSTEL||79|
|Warsaw Stopover||Al. Niepodleglosci 46/50||APARTMENT||-|
|Apartament Nowolipki 8||Nowolipki 8/9||Apartment||-|
|Central Station hostel||Emilii Plater 25/4500-688||HOSTEL||80|
|Dandelion B&B||Denarowa 15,02-490 Warszawa||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hostel Apiano||Al.Jana Pawła II 57 01-024 Warszawa Polska||Hostel||-|
|Bielany Apartment - Underground Slodowiec||Jana Kasprowicza 19, Flat no 4||APARTMENT||-|
|Chillout Hostel||ul. Poznanska 7/7||HOSTEL||80|
|Team Hostel||Lechicka 23B||HOSTEL||-|
|Swietokrzyska Apartment||Swietokrzyska 32||APARTMENT||-|
|Boomerang Hostel||Chelmzynska 62||HOSTEL||-|
|Hotelioni Modulowy Warszawa||TARGÓWEK Kołowa 18||Hostel||-|
|Old Town Kanonia Apartments||Jezuicka 2||Apartment||-|
|Anton Hostel||Palestynska 1E||HOSTEL||-|
|Mermaid Hostel||ul. Wilcza 29a/7||HOSTEL||-|
|The Warsaw Hostel||Kopernika 30 Street||HOSTEL||82|
|Kabaty Rooms||Bronikowskiego 17 02-796||HOSTEL||-|
|Hoza Hostel||ul. Hoza 42/8||HOSTEL||-|
|Design City Mostowa 2 Apartment||ul. Swietojanska 33 m. 1||APARTMENT||-|
|Warsaw Green Apartment by Subway||Lisowska 29/64 entrance from Str. Fontany||APARTMENT||-|
|Hostel Zelda||ul.Jagiellońska 6 m.1||HOSTEL||-|
|Apartament One||140 Marsza 322, kowska Street||APARTMENT||-|
|Hostel Lux 22||Odolanska 38||HOSTEL||-|
|"Little Warsaw" Apartment||47/61 Kolejowa Street||APARTMENT||-|
|New Town Market Square||Rynek Nowego Miasta 19 m 5||APARTMENT||-|
|Tapir Hostel||Ul.Wilcza 58A||HOSTEL||83|
|Fest Hostel||Oboźna 7 flat 64 00-332 Warszawa||HOSTEL||90|
|Kalinowy Sen||ul. Kaliny 2 F||HOTEL||-|
|Franciszkanska||Franciszkanska 10b m 3||APARTMENT||-|
|Top One Apartments||Warsaw, Graniczna 4||APARTMENT||-|
|Stalowa52 Hostel&Apartments||ul. Stalowa 52||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Castle Square Apartment||Plac Zamkowy 1/13 apart.8||APARTMENT||-|
|Wawa Noclegi||ul. Lechicka 25||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Pepe Hostel||Gdanska 25||HOSTEL||-|
|Unique Warsaw Center Apartment||ul. Warecka 5/7 m.13||APARTMENT||-|
|Senator Warsaw Apartments||Ul. Skierniewicka 12/14||Apartment||-|
|Tatamka Apartment||Tamka 16 Tamka 30||APARTMENT||-|
|In-joy Hostel||ul. Pańska 67 00-830 Warszawa||HOSTEL||-|
|Hostel Mostel Warsaw||Ul. Dąbrowskiego 15a / 8 02-558, Warszawa||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|P&O Apartments Center||12 Miodowa street apt. 22||Apartment||-|
|P&O Apartments Old Town||12 Miodowa street apt. 22||Apartment||-|
|P&O Apartments Arkadia||12 Miodowa street apt. 22||Apartment||-|
|Mish Mash Hostel||ul. Poznańska 3m.9 00-680 Warszawa||HOSTEL||-|
|Hostel Sando||UL. Sandomierska 18/14||HOSTEL||-|
|Chmielna 5||Chmielna 5||HOSTEL||-|
|Barnabitow Hotel||ul. Smoluchowskiego 1||HOTEL||-|
|Anton Center House||ul. Smulikowskiego 4||HOSTEL||-|
In the cities there are more and more Wifi Hot Spots, so if you have your own mobile device, you can connect. Best chances of finding one are at airports, railway stations, in cafés, shopping malls and universities. Places like McDonald's and Starbucks usually have unlimited free wifi. In some hotels you can find free wifi, though you might have to pay as well or maybe just use it for a limited amount of time. Internet cafes become less popular recently as people prefer to use internet at homes.
See also: International Telephone Calls
To call to Poland from abroad, dial the Polish country code,48, then the number without the leading 0, as if calling from a domestic mobile phone.
The general emergency number is 112. Police (997), Ambulance (999) and Fire (998) have phone numbers as well, and municipal police has 986 as a number.
Mobile phones work almost across the whole country. There are four mobile phone operators in Poland: Plus, T-Mobile, Orange and Play. About 98% of the country is covered by the standard European GSM 900/1800 MHz network, the remaining 2% are wildlife reserves or high mountains. 3G is available in almost every town.
Domestic call rates are roughly the same across all services. Prepaid starter kits with SIM card (called starter in Polish) are widely available in reasonable prices (PLN5-20, most of which is available for calls), in most of the shops, supermarkets and news agents.
Just about every shopping centre has at least one independent cellphone shop, the guys who run them are usually knowledgeable and have a range of cheap handsets which you can use as a local / travel phone. This may be a good option since juggling SIM cards is always a pain.
Poczta Polska is the Polish public post service. Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday. Some offices are open on Saturday until 2:00pm and the main post offices in major cities are open daily, 24 hours. Services are generally ok, but don't expact it to be fast and it is not always reliable, though most letters, postcards and parcels will arrive at its destinations after a week or two. You can find the red post boxes dotted throughout the country. You can check this postal website to see how much sending a letter, postcard or parcels costs, both domestically as well as internationally. For sending packages internationally, you can also check FedEx, TNT, DHL or UPS, as they have fast and reliable services and generally competitive prices as well.
Ask WarsawTraveller a question about Warsaw
I've been living in Warsaw for over 10 years, exploring the city as much as I can. I've also organised few city sight-seeing trips for my friends. Just recently I started running a blog about travelling to Warsaw in order to promote the city as an interesting spot and advise in trip organizing,
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