Warsaw

Travel Guide Europe Poland Warsaw

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Introduction

Warsaw Old Town side street

Warsaw Old Town side street

© davidday38

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.

Warsaw's history of rapid development after many wars that ravaged and destroyed the city has earned it a reputation as a "phoenix city", able to recreate itself from the ruins and regain its erstwhile glory every time. During the Second World War, it suffered a fate similar to Rotterdam and Dresden in that it was almost completely razed, although in the case of Warsaw it was a much more tragic story of successive destruction and defeat. Due to the great efforts of its surviving inhabitants and, indeed the entire nation, it was rebuilt from a field of rubble, with its historic core recreated, but much of its heritage was lost. Warsaw also had one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe, which for the most part perished during the war, making Warsaw an important place of Holocaust remembrance.

Today, Warsaw is a bustling metropolis and one of the European Union's fastest-developing capitals and the Union's ninth most populous urban centre. It has a mixture of new and old in its eclectic architectural mix, and is constantly changing. While sprawling, it is quite easy to navigate for tourists thanks to a good public transit system, and most important sights are quite close to each other. There is no shortage of accommodation options and a wide choice of restaurants and bars. Warsaw's nightlife is also on the rebound, and a reborn cafe culture has taken over the city. There is a large variety of museums, galleries and other tourist attractions, and there is always something happening throughout the year.

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Neighbourhoods

Old and New Town - The Old Town is the historic core of the city that was contained in its erstwhile city walls in the times it was still a small town, before it became the country's capital in the late 16th century. The New Town, directly to its north, was the first expansion of Warsaw beyond those city walls, which compliments the historic core with more buildings from 16th, 17th and 18th century. Both were almost completely destroyed during the Second World War and meticulously reconstructed after the war.
Śródmieście - The most central district in Warsaw, as implied by its Polish name. It is the area where most travelers will spend their time in Warsaw, as most major attractions and hotels are primarily located here, including the Royal Route with historical royal and noble residences, Jewish monuments and memorials, as well as the modern buildings, including famous Palace of Culture and Science. Administratively, it encompasses both the Old and New Town, described in their separate article.
Western Centre (Wola, Ochota, Żoliborz) - The districts directly to the west of Śródmieście contain many historic buildings and significant points of interest. Most of the district of Wola has an industrial past, while having been a large part of the Jewish ghetto during the Second World War, it also contains the oldest of Warsaw's cemeteries, but nowadays is changing into a modern high-rise business centre. Żoliborz and Ochota have always had a more residential character, but they are also attractive as a urban complex.
Praga (Praga Północ, Praga Południe) - The eastern bank of the river was a separate city until the 19th century, and contains its fair share of history and attractions as well. Historically less affluent and considered inattractive or borderline dangerous for decades, it started to develop rapidly into a trendy part of the city in the 21st century.
Southern Warsaw(Mokotów, Ursynów, Wilanów) - The Southern part of Warsaw is one of the most intensely developing following the Second World War until today. The dense, yet peaceful districts of Mokotów and Ursynów have some interesting gems hidden between the apartment buildings. The southern terminal of the Royal Route, Wilanów is home to the Wilanów Palace.
Northern Warsaw (Bielany, Białołęka, Targówek) - The northern districts of Warsaw are residential "bedrooms of the city", but with several specific reasons for a traveler to go there.
Western Warsaw (Bemowo, Włochy, Ursus) - The western parts of Warsaw contains of historical villages mixed with modern estates, are also famous for the Warsaw Chopin Airport.
Eastern Warsaw (Rembertów, Wawer, and Wesoła) - The sprawling green residential districts remain in contrast with the otherwise dense, highrise apartment complexes of other districts, and have also several specific tourist attractions.

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Sights and Activities

Museums and Galleries

  • The National Museum was founded in the 19th century to be primarily an art museum. There are over 780,000 pieces of art from several different periods of times and locations around the world.
  • Zachęta National Gallery of Art is one of the best art galleries in Warsaw. There are several amazing paintings and works of art housed in the museum that are worth seeing.
  • Centre for Contemporary Art
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Polish Army Museum is one of the largest museums in Poland and has the largest collection of military objects found in Poland. It traces a thousand years of Polish military history from the 10th century to World War II.
  • Warsaw Uprising Museum is a museum dedicated to the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The museum has several artifacts and items that belonged to the people that organized the uprising. It also tells the history of what led up to the uprising, what happened during the uprising and what happened afterwards. One of the main missions of the museum is to collect the personal histories of people involved in the uprising that are still alive.
  • Copper-Roof Palace is an 18th century palace that is now home to a nice collection of oriental carpets.
  • Fryderyk Chopin Museum located in the rebuilt Ostrogski Castle this is a very nice home and museum to visit.
  • Historical Museum of Warsaw
  • Polish History Museum was established in 2006 to help promote education and the study of Polish history. There are also several scholarships meant for foreigners interested in studying more about Polish history.
  • Museum of Independence
  • Museum of the History of Polish Jews traces the thousand-year-history of Jews in Poland using multimedia and interactive exhibits.
  • Maria Skłodowska-Curie Museum, 5 and 16 Freta Street in Warsaw New Town (near the Old Town)
  • Museum of Sports and Tourism has collections of sports memorabilia ranging from uniforms to medals.
  • Museum of Caricature, 11 Kozia Street.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Royal Castle was the home of the Polish kings for many generations. The castle was completely destroyed by the Germans in World War II and was not reconstructed until the 1970s. Today the castle has been restored using much of the original stones and a nice place to visit.
  • Great Theater and Polish National Opera was built in 1833 and has been remodeled several times. During the battle of Warsaw in 1939 the building was completely destroyed except for the façade. It was rebuilt from 1945 to 1965. Today it houses many great performances every year.
  • Wilanów Palace - a royal palace located in the district of Warsaw called Wilanów, built for king John III Sobieski in 1696.
  • Łazienki Park - the largest park in Warsaw with Chopin monument, monument to John III Sobieski and Palace on the Isle, Myślewicki Palace, Little White House, Temple of Diana, Old Orangery, New Orangery and Chinese garden.
  • Palace of Culture and Science is the tallest building in Warsaw and very impressive. A terrace is made available to the public so as a wonderful city view could be admired from one of the highest floors. The terrace is open daily from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Ticket prices: 20 PLN /adult, 14PLN /child.

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Events and Festivals

  • Singer's Warsaw Festiwal (22 Aug 2015 - 30 Aug 2015) - Warsaw most important festival of Jewish culture
  • Warsaw Film Festival (09 Oct 2015 - 18 Oct 2015) - Selection of films divided into various sections, polish and international, documentary, comedies, shorts, for children and much more.
  • Jazz at the Old Town Square Festival - International stars, premiere event and jazz discoveries throughout the summer in Warsaw. The stage is located at the Old Town Square and the festival attracts great number of listeners every year. During whole summer, every Saturday evening different artists have chance to entertain Warsaw audience. Price: for free
  • Chopin concerts at Royal Lazienki garden - Piano concerts of pieces composed by famous Polish composer - Frederic Chopin. Open-air festival held every year starting from early spring until late autumn. Concerts are played every Sunday, at midday and 4:00pm, every concert being played by different artist. Address: 1, Agrykola Street, Warsaw, Price: For free
  • Warsaw Beer Festival (17 Apr 2015 - 19 Apr 2015) - Collection of well-known and local breweries as well as small, home-made manufactories presenting their techniques, ideas, products. Many of them cannot be bought in average shops so this is the best opportunity to find out more about local Polish beers. Address: 37A, Domaniewska Street, Warsaw, Price: 10 PLN /day
  • Orange Warsaw Festival (12 Jun 2015 - 14 Jun 2015) - One of the biggest music events in Poland, is held annualy during summer time in Warsaw. It usually lasts three days, artists have possibility to perform at two separate stages. Address: Horse Racing Track, Tor Sluzewiecki, Warsaw

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Weather

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.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max0.4 °C1.9 °C6.8 °C13.1 °C19.3 °C21.9 °C23.6 °C23.4 °C17.9 °C12.3 °C5.5 °C1.9 °C
Avg Min-4.8 °C-4 °C-1 °C3.1 °C8.1 °C11.3 °C12.9 °C12.3 °C8.6 °C4.4 °C0.3 °C-2.8 °C
Rainfall22.1 mm22 mm28.1 mm34.8 mm50.7 mm71.3 mm73.2 mm59 mm49 mm38.2 mm36.6 mm34.6 mm
Rain Days151413121213131212131416

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Getting There

By Plane

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. It has many international connections, among others to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Beijing, Belgrade, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Bucharest, Chicago, Copenhagen, Delhi, Dubrovnik, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hannover, Istanbul, Kaunas, Kiev, Kosice, Lisbon, Ljubljana, London-City, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Luxembourg, Lviv, Minsk, Madrid, Miami, Moscow, Munich, New York (and Newark), Nice, Nuremberg, Oslo, Paris, Prague, Riga, Tallinn, San Francisco, Seoul, Singapore, Sofia, Split, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Toronto, Venice, Vienna, Vilnius, Zadar, Zagreb and Zurich. Some other main cities served include Dublin, Milan, Reykjavik and Rome. A few summer charter flights exist as well, mainly to destinations in southern Europe. 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).
Domestic directions are Krakow, Wroclaw, Poznań, Gdańsk, Szczecin, Lublin, Katowice, Rzeszow, Olsztyn-Mazury, Bydgoszcz and Zielona Gora.

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, 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.

By Train

Warszawa Centralna 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 (including Olsztyn, Bialystok, Lublin, Krakow, Wroclaw, Szczecin, Gdańsk and Gdynia) as well as regular trains to Berlin, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Kiev and Minsk.

Timetables of trains in Poland and some in other countries of Central Europe are available on the website of the Polish State Railways, with the possibility to by tickets for many lines online.

By Car

Four European "E-roads" lead to Warsaw: E30 (A2 motorway), E77 (7),  E67 (A8), and E372 (17) - the road numbers of Polish net of roads are between brackets. From Warsaw, it's 140 kilometres to Lodz, 170 km to Lublin, 290 km to Krakow, 310 km to Poznan, 350 km to Wroclaw, 360 km to Gdansk, 550 km to Szczecin and 470 km to Vilnius, 570 km to Berlin, 630 km to Prague, 650 km to Bratislava and 690 km to Budapest. National roads connections are among others to Sochaczew, Sandomierz and Szczytno.

By Bus

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 Bialystok, Bydgoszcz, Czestochowa, Gdynia, Gorzow 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.

By Boat

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.

Similarly harbours in Swinoujscie, Szczecin, Kolobrzeg or Gdynia can be travel destinations by boat and further by train or plane (from the Solidarity Szczecin-Goleniow Airport or Gdansk Lech Wałęsa Airport). Each of them also has its own tourist attractions.

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Getting Around

By Car

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).

By Public Transport

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.

Metro
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
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.

Tram
There are a number of tram routes and the special Route T which can be of particular interest to travellers, though they are not faster or better.

By Foot

The centre of Warsaw can easily be navigated on foot.

By Bike

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.

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Eat

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.

If you are looking for a premium dining experience, your best chances are in Śródmieście, but away from the Royal Route. In Praga, head for Saska Kępa, and you will also find a fair share of upscale restaurants in Wilanów. New and innovative places crop up in the most unexpected locations, so do acquaint yourself with the district guides for the latest tips.

Warsaw is home to both Polish restaurants that hold Michelin stars:

Atelier Amaro, ul. Agrykola 1 (entrance from plac Na Rozdrożu square), ☏ +48 (22) 628 57 47, +48 607 970 000, ✉ reservations@atelieramaro.pl. Author's cuisine restaurant of chef Wojciech Modest Amaro. The restaurant does not offer à la carte dishes, in fact it doesn't have a fixed menu at all. Smart casual dress code is expected. Menus from 260 zł.
Senses, ul. Bielańska 12, ☏ +48 (22) 331 96 97, ✉ restaurant@sensesrestaurant.pl. A "private dining" restaurant, author's cuisine of chef Andrea Camastra. Reservation required. From 170 zł.

The new trend in Warsaw are food fairs, where fresh foodstuffs can be bought directly from producers, both for further processing and preparation at home and as ready dishes for consumption on site. Usually, some space for communal meals is provided. This can be a very nice option for breakfast or lunch. Some of the options are:

Targ Śniadaniowy (Breakfast fair), al. Wojska Polskiego 1; Skwer Grupy AK Granat and other places. Sa 09:00—16:00. Organised every weekend in various parts of town, usually.

Tourists will be happy to know there's no shortage of fast food in Warsaw. The city is rife with McDonald's and Subway outlets, there are also many KFCs and Pizza Huts, and a growing number of Burger King restaurants (the latter mostly in shopping centres). For a quick bite, chain cafés that are around every corner in the city centre, the shopping centres and many office buildings will offer you pre-made sandwiches and salads. Some more sophisticated cafés will make salads, ciabattas and sandwiches on site.

There is no particular Polish kind of fast food, as the traditional Polish cuisine does not really lend itself well to quick preparation or quick eating. Therefore, apart from the above international chain places, that niche in Warsaw is filled with kebab places and cheap pizzerias, similar to ones that you would find in most other European cities. Pizzerias are often chain places as well, and many do telephone deliveries, takeaways as well as offer tables to eat on the premises. Kebabs can often only do takeaway, and are often open all night long, much to the delight of taxi drivers and partygoers.

Remnant of the communist era, milk bars (Polish: bar mleczny, bary mleczne) were created in the 1960s to serve cheap meals based on milk products. After the fall of communism, most of them closed down but some survived and still bear the climate from the old days. Almost everything inside looks, feels and smells like in the 1980s. Milk bars attract students and senior citizens, because of the low prices (soup and the main course together may cost as little as 10 zł). The food served by milk bars can actually be quite palatable. Even if you can afford more expensive meals, milk bars are interesting because they offer somewhat a view of life before democratization in Poland. Nowadays they became even that popular, that new chains and milk bars are recreated.

Szwajcarski, ul. Nowy Świat between Al. Jerozolimskie and pl. Trzech Krzyży.
Prasowy, ul. Marszałkowska 10/16, ☏ +48 22 628 44 27. M-F: 10AM - 9PM. Sa-Su: noon - 9PM. Prasowy is a staple milk bar, reinvented. Facing imminent closure, it was taken over a creative team, who mixed together the traditional elements of the milk bar (cheap, homely cuisine and simple, simple decor) with trendy cultural and social events. An absolutely unique place, worth a visit. 10 zł.
Bambino, ul. Krucza 21.
Złota Kurka, ul. Marszałkowska 55/73, ☏ +48 22 622 46 78. M-F: 7AM - 7PM. Sa-Su: 9AM - 5PM. Small milk bar located near Plac Konstytucji. This particular milk bar serves up decent, but not good food, although it can be a tad difficult to find a place to sit and the kitchen can take a while. 10 zł.
Wook, al. Jerozolimskie 65/79 (Housed in the same building as the Marriott. The entrance is below street level and should be approached from ul. Chalubinskiego), ☏ +48 22 630 7474, ✉ marriott@wook.pl. Wook is a good and cheap place to grab Chinese. Soups and sides cost 4 zł, while all main courses cost only 6 zł. Wook also throws off the stereotypical European restaurant experience. OK, so while the service isn't amazing, it's effective, but the trademark difference between Wook and nearly any other restaurant on the continent is that the food will be on your table before you've even completed ordering. About 27 zł for a three course meal.
Zapiecek. 11-23. A chain of eateries scattered around the city, mostly in the Old and New Town, focusing on pierogi and other traditional Polish dishes, such as soups, pierogi, and pancakes. A fairly fixed menu with seasonal variations in alcohols - they tend to have seasonal selection – only mulled wine and hot beer in winter, for example. Other than that, the place is great, and in addition to the food you will certainly enjoy the service by charming waitresses. 15-25 zł. e
Buddha, ul. Nowy Świat 23, ☏ +48 22 826 35 01, fax: +48 22 826 35 01, ✉ restauracja@buddha.info.pl.
Casa Mia, ul. Poznańska 37 (Located just a few steps from Al. Jerozolimskie and the Hotel Polonia Palace), ☏ +48 22 621 61 01. A small, cozy pizzeria, Casa Mia is a great little restaurant to seek refuge and satisfy your hunger. Somewhat appallingly, Casa Mia doesn't serve alcoholic beverages, though they have non-alcoholic beer.
Chłopskie Jadło, Plac Konstytucji 1, ☏ +48 22 339-17-17. A chain of restaurants from Kraków, literally: "peasant's food". Good place to taste traditional Polish fare and enjoy wooden rustic environment. Soups are served in bread, while complementary smalec (lard) is free, so that you have no choice but trying it here. 25-40 zł.
C.K. Oberża, ul. Chmielna 28, ☏ +48 22 828 45 85, ✉ ckoberza@neostrada.pl.
Piwna Kompania (Podwale), ul. Podwale 25. M-Sa 11AM-1AM, Su 12PM-1AM. Located on the border between the Old and New Town, this pub serves king-size portions of traditional Polish fare. Meals are accompanied by a free dish of pickled cucumbers and sauercraut, while the bill comes with a shot of Polish cherry liquor. Beer is more average and solely pilsner, but it is drinkable and quite cheap. Free Wi-Fi connection. A bit noisy, but this is how a good pub should be. 20-30 zł.
Sunanta, ul. Krucza 16/22, ☏ +48 22 434 22 16, ✉ sunanta@sunanta.pl. Thai restaurant with well designed decor and good food, albeit a bit pricey. The lunch menu, however, has some good deals.
Socjal, Foksal 18. Socjal restaurant features an enormous, continuous table that can seat dozens and is good for, you guessed it, socializing. In warmer months, this is complemented by an outdoor garden. The menu is updated everyday as it is being prepared from whatever the chefs purchase fresh in the morning, and the restaurant stays open until late in the night - or even early in the morning. The menu mostly includes pizzas, pastas and salads made of simple ingredients but actually quite refined and tasty.
AleGloria, pl. Trzech Krzyży 3. Flagship outlet of the TV-famed restaurateur Magda Gessler, blending traditional Polish culinary traditions with cosmopolitan and modern inspirations. One invites guests there to impress with food, sumptuous decor and ability to foot the bill.
Amber Room, Al. Ujazdowskie 13 (at the Pałac Sobańskich), ☏ +48 22 523 66 64, ✉ recepcja.palac@twe.com.pl. noon-10PM (Sundays 8 PM). Hosted by the historic Sobański Palace and serving as the posh canteen for the business elite congregating at the co-located Polish Council of Business, Amber Room has become something of a paragon of haute cuisine. The location is ideal for tourists wanting to enjoy a meal in the most beautiful part of Warsaw, but frequently-organised events may get in the way, so reservations are recommended, even if to check if guests will be served on your chosen night. Mains 70-90 zł, tasting menu 250 zł, business lunch 80 zł.
Belvédére, Agrykoli 1. Located in the historic palm house in the Łazienki Park, it offers a very unique ambience - and charges for that accordingly. Main courses: 50-90 zł, Sunday Brunch: 145 zł.
Cesarski Pałac, ul. Senatorska 27. Chinese.
Chianti, Foksal 17 (Tram: Muzeum Narodowe), ☏ +48 22 828 02 22. Italian. Min courses: 28-37 zl.
El Popo, ul. Senatorska 27. Mexican.
Kuźnia Smaku, ul. Mazowiecka 10.
Le Cedre, al. Solidarności 61. Lebanese.
Papaya, ul. Foksal 16. Japanese and Thai.
Qchnia Artystyczna, Al. Ujazdowskie 6. In the Zamek Ujazdowski castle, which also houses the Centre for Contemporary Art, this artist-themed restaurant offers a suitably contemporary take on fine dining and splendid views from the escarpment from its summer terrace.
Ryżowe Pole, ul. Zgoda 5. Japanese, sushi.
Smaki Warszawy, ul. Żurawia 47/49. Polish and International.
St Antonio, Senatorska 37 (Tram: Metro Ratusz Arsenał), ☏ +48 22 826 30 08. Nestled in the corner of the Saxon Garden in a historic building, St. Antonio is where one takes out-of-town relatives, who may not appreciate more modern culinary inventions. The photo gallery of celebrities of bygone decades who had frequented the restaurant complements the retro decor.
Tandoor Palace, ul. Marszałkowska 21/25 (The entrance is on Al. Armii Ludowej), ☏ +48 22 825 23 75, fax: +48 22 825 76 77, ✉ tandoor@tandoor.com.pl. Indian restaurant with great food, augmented by unashamedly garish and tacky decor you would expect. The location is a bit out of the way, but well worth the tram ride.

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Drink

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 there are several places chosen by the local government where it can be possible.

Clubs are plentiful in Warsaw and are a very popular way to spend nearly every night out. The most popular nice and chic clubs are on ul. Mazowiecka in Śródmieście. You will be denied entrance if you wear sport shoes, no matter how expensive they are. Inconspicuous black shoes will normally do the trick.

Student clubs are popular and usually moderately priced, but can be hit or miss. Normally, the centrally located Hybrydy is a good option for night out. Other student clubs, like Stodoła or Remont in Śródmieście, and Park in Mokotów, are less predictable and quality isn't necessarily a concern for these clubs' patrons. If the point is to get drunk, then these are the place to go for a cheap drink.

Beware of certain bouncers (for example in Park), they are not the talkative kind if they suspect you of something. In addition, there are clubs in Wola and Mokotów as well as several popular and down-to-earth clubs in the Praga districts.

Warsaw's music scene can sometimes be disappointing, but it's a matter of knowing where to look because Warsaw has an abundance of musical delights, they just need to be ferreted out. Headline acts perform at the Bemowo airport in the Bemowo district and at the Stadion Narodowy (National Stadium) in the Praga Południe district of Warsaw. Smaller acts are hosted at clubs and concert halls around the city, but primarily in the center of Warsaw.

Throw stereotypes out the door. For Poles, one of the most important staples to quench their thirst is not wódka or beer, but rather tea and coffee. As such, you're likely come across dozens and dozens of cafés. Chain-wise, Coffee Heaven and W Biegu Cafe are the big players. Starbucks is also in Warsaw. The real treat of Warsaw, however, are small cafés that are littered about Warsaw. For the most part, a good cup of tea or coffee can be had for 5-10 zł a cup. A small tea kettle is between 20-30 zł.

Cafe A. Blikle, ul. Nowy Świat 35, ☏ +48 22 826 66 19, fax: +48 22 826 05 69, ✉ gastronomia@blikle.pl. The Blikle family has been running this café and confisserie for two centuries now, turning it into a nationwide business with many locations across Poland - but this is the original one. Stepping inside elicits memories of a turn-of-the-nineteenth-century café, which is more than charming in Warsaw, where a well-made coffee has been replaced by iced mochas and in-and-out coffee shops. This particulabuilding is divided into two parts: the café/restaurant and the confection shop. Walking into the confection shop may stun your senses with the wonderful smells of delicious sugary treats.
E. Wedel (Pijalnia Czekolady Wedel), Szpitalna 8, ☏ +48 22 827 29 16. 8AM-10PM; 11AM-8PM on Sunday. The best hot chocolate in Warsaw. The interior is old style and reminds you of pre-war Warsaw. Wedel's shop with stylish sweets is adjacent to the cafe. Prices starting at 10-11 zł.
Kawiarnia CAVA, ul. Nowy Świat 30, ☏ +48 22 826 64 27, fax: +48 22 826 64 27, ✉ info@cava.pl.
Pożegnanie z Afryką, 4/6 Freta. Winter: 7AM-9PM, summer: 7AM-10PM. This inconspicuous place with a tiny sign above the door is a true paradise for coffee-lovers. Here, you don't choose the type of coffee. You first select the type of beans, and then decide whether you want it espresso, cappuccino, or perhaps as Turkish-style coffee cooked on hot sand and flavored with cinnamon, ginger, or other spices of your choice. They also have a good selection of cakes and pastries, not to mention coffee beans and coffee-making tools sold in the adjacent store. Prices are a bit high by Polish standards, but the coffee is well worth it. Also at 62 Krakowskie Przedmieście.
Starbucks, ul. Nowy Świat 62. Within minutes of opening Starbucks became an instant hit in Warsaw with quite a queue forming inside. The service is actually relatively speedy, which may come as a shock for those who have ever experienced a line in Poland and what's more is that there actually seems to be something called customer service here.
Charlotte. A cafe-cum-boulangerie, it was one of the first in Warsaw to bake their own breads and pastries on premises and offer wine to accompany simple, Parisian-inspired snacks. Thanks to its popularity with the media and celebrities, as well as the prime location on the Plac Zbawiciela, it became a sustained favourite - you may find yourself unable to get a table at any given time of day. The pretentious and slow service got to be accepted as part of the flair by the clientele.
Cafe Kulturalna, Plac Defilad 1 (Located in PKiN, in the entrance to the theater, which is to the left of the main entrance of PKiN), ☏ +48 22 656 62 81. A really cool bar in the Palace of Culture and Science. A DJ spins the beats which is occasionally enhanced by a drummer and keyboard player. They also host live music on occasion. Kulturalna attracts the college aged intelligentsia type, but can bring in the elderly, but hip too who all end up grooving on the dance floor or chill out on chairs all night. Occasionally charges a door fee.
Chłodna 25 (corner with Żelazna), ul. Chłodna 25. The popular cafe/bar that served as a gathering place for off-mainstream culture enthusiast and perpetrated was recently reactivated after a brief period.
Jazz Bistro, ul. Piękna 20 (Located on the same street as the U.S. Embassy and on the same side of the street), ☏ +48 22 627 41 51, fax: +48 22 627 41 501. M-F: 8AM - Midnight, Sa-Su: 10AM - Midnight. Good restaurant in the city center, near the US Embassy and comes equipped with free Wi-Fi access. The restaurants hosts live musicians several times a week. The only downside to the restaurant is a side door, which leads into an office building. Bright lights from the office building shine into the restaurant, which somewhat diminishes the atmosphere of the restaurant and its music.
Living Room, ul. Foksal 18, ☏ +48 22 826-39-28, ✉ restauracja@livingroom.pl. A trendy bar that serves up good food and has a wide variety of elaborately created drinks.
Przekąski Zakąski, Aleje Jerozolimskie 44. 24/7. The cult joint is in the process of moving from its erstwhile prime location in Krakowskie Przedmieście to a new one in the city centre and operates in a temporary tent smack in the middle of Warsaw, continuing to draw crowds all day and night long. The main draw are obviously reasonably-priced alcoholic drinks and many cheap bites, but the menu was expanded to include more elaborate dishes prepared by the chefs from sister restaurant "U Kucharzy". All drinks 4 zł.
Warszawa Powiśle, ul. Kruczkowskiego 3B, ☏ +48 22 474 40 84, ✉ biuro@warszawapowisle.pl. The mother of all hipster places in Warsaw operates in the former ticket sales office of the Powiśle train station, which afforded them splendid modernist architecture and a recognizable name spelled out on the impressive neon sign above the building. The cool factor of Powiśle lies in the fact that its essentially an outdoor bar. There are no tables inside and most people either grab up the limited number of chairs that sit on the sidewalk or they straggle around underneath the nearby bridge, on the staircase leading up to the train station above, or off on a side street. Powiśle attracts huge crowds nearly every night.

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Sleep

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.

Emma Hostel, ul. Wilcza 25, ☏ +48 22 6297695, ✉ emmahostel@gmail.com. Hostel named after Emma Goldman (anarcho-feminist activist) is run by a cooperative according to ecofriendly, sustainable rules. Five dorms and several doubles on two storeys in a historic tenement house, communal bathrooms, kitchen, free fair-trade tea, coffee and breakfast. Pets welcome. Discounts apply to NGO workers, activists, students and persons aged 55+ (do not apply to persons using on-line booking portals). As of November 2019, Google Maps indicates that this place may have closed permanently. Around 50 zł per dorm bed.
Hostel Helvetia, ul. Kopernika 36/40. Helvetia is a cool hostel, a stone's throw away from the University of Warsaw's main campus, Nowy Swiat, and a ten minute walk to the Old Town. The staff are pleasant and helpful and the hostel occasionally hosts vodka and beer parties for its guests. Dorm 39/55 zł (sunday-thursday/friday-saturday).
Hostel Smolna 30, ul. Smolna 30, ☏ +48 22 827 89 52, ✉ info@hostelsmolna30.pl. HI Hostel. From 40 zł, 10% discount for the PTSM/ IYHF card owners.
Hostel Agrykola, ul. Myśliwiecka 9, ☏ +48 22 622 91 10, ✉ recepcja@agrykola-noclegi.pl. HI Hostel. From 30 zł.
Karolkowa Youth Hostel, Karolkowa 53a (Bus lines 171, 190, 422; Tram lines 20, 23, 24, 26, 27 - station DT Wola), ☏ +48 22 632 88 29. Check-in: 5PM, check-out: 10AM. An educational institution, mainly used by Polish pupils, students, teachers and education workers. Foreign students and teachers are also welcomed. If a room is available, they can accommodate people who are not connected with education. 18-105 zl.
Nathan's Villa Hostel, ul. Piękna 24/26 (Located on the same street as the main entrance to the U.S. Embassy). This hostel offers a cable tv room, and free laundry service, however, since they do not have a dryer it may take a day or two for clothes to dry. The manager will sometimes take guests to clubs. This hostel is open all day and is located only a few blocks from the city center.
Oki Doki Hostel, pl. Dąbrowskiego 3, ☏ +48 22 82 65 112. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. From the outside this big grey, ugly building doesn't look promising, but once inside you are greeted by a friendly, chatty member of staff on the 24hr reception. Directly opposite is the bar/café/breakfast room which serves some very cheap drinks. Each room has been individually decorated by a different artist and they are given names such as 'House of the Maiden'. Also equipped with kitchen, free Internet access, car/bicycle rental and a little shop. 5 bed dorm: 50 zł; double room: 90 zł.
Tatamka Hostel (Tamka Hostel), ul. Tamka 30, ☏ +48 22 826 30 95, fax: +48 22 826 30 95, ✉ tamka@hostel.pl.
ibis Budget Warszawa Centrum (formerly Etap Hotel), ul. Zagórna 1, ☏ +48 22 745 36 60, fax: +48 22 622 55 01. The ibis budget is a bare minimum, every-expense-spared budget hotel chain. Don't expect the door to manned all night and if you will arrive after the check-in deadline, you better arrange to be let into your room, because ibis Budget hotels may or may not have anyone on duty to let you in after a certain time. 159+ zl.
Hotel Logos, ul. Wybrzeże Kościuszkowskie, ☏ +48 22 622 55 62. A very simple hotel in Powiśle - the cheapest rooms do not even have ensuite bathrooms. That said, at their prices you will probably be able to get a nicer room in other, better-equipped hotels across Warsaw. Rooms starting at 134 zł per night.. edit
The Warsaw Hostel, Kopernika 30 (Go in the old grey building through the main doors, it's one flight of stairs up from the lobby and through the far hallway), ☏ +48 22 115 44 42, ✉ info@thewarsawhostel.com. Check-out: 11 AM. Nice hostel, friendly staff. Self-serve coffee machine (coffee grounds provided). Very basic kitchen. Common area in back of kitchen. Can get noisy on Saturday nights. 38 - 48 zł dorm, 150 zł private.
ibis Warszawa Stare Miasto, ul. Muranowska 2 (Old Town), ☏ +48 22 310 10 12.
Maria Hotel, al. Jana Pawła II 71, ☏ +48 22 838 40 62. From 222 zł.
MDM Hotel, pl. Konstytucji 1, ☏ +48 22 33 91 600, fax: +48 22 33 91 608, ✉ hotel.mdm@syrena.com.pl. Rates start at €130.
Mercure Warszawa Grand, ul. Krucza 28, ☏ +48 22 583 21 00, fax: +48 22 583 21 21, ✉ h3384@accor.com. The Grand Hotel became a part of the Mercure chain after its recent refurbishment. The swimming pool has been removed, but it remains at a relatively peaceful location among government offices, but at the same time close to most areas of tourist interest. starting at 215 zł.
Mercure Warszawa Centrum, ul. Złota 48/54 (Steps away from Warszawa Centralna train station), ☏ +48 22 697 3999, fax: +48 22 697 3899, ✉ h3385@accor.com. This Mercure was operated as a Holiday Inn until recently and will be known to many as such. It is very close to the Dworzec Centralny, separated from it only by the Złote Tarasy shopping centre, which provides for an almost entirely covered walkway between the two. The former Mercure Fryderyk Chopin up north in Jana Pawła II Avenue has been closed down and its building demolished. From 195 zł.
Hotel Metropol, ul. Marszałkowska 99a (Adjacent to the Polonia Palace Hotel and opposite the Novotel and the Palace of Culture and Science), ☏ +48 22 32 53 100, fax: +48 22 628 66 22, ✉ hotel.metropol@syrena.com.pl. Don't expect much of a view, unless you consider an intersection and the Novotel a view. Single: €99; Double: €119. Suites are also available.
Novotel Warsaw Centrum, ul. Marszalkowska 94/98 (About a two - three minute walk from the main train station and the Palace of Culture and Science), ☏ +48 22 621 02 71, fax: +48 (22) 625 0476, ✉ nov.warszawa@orbis.pl. Comfortable rooms. If you ask for room one of the higher floors, you are more than likely going have an amazing view in any direction.
Hotel Bristol, Krakowskie Przedmieście 42/44, ☏ +48 22 551 1000, fax: +48 22 625 25 77. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: Noon. The Bristol is a Warsaw landmark in its own right, imbued in history. Heads of state, royalty and various celebrities of different eras stayed here during its many decades in operation. It is also directly on the Royal Route, a short walk from Old Town and not far from many other historic attractions. Recently renovated again, it joined Starwood' Luxury Collection of prestige hotels. Rates start at PLN 420.
Regent Warsaw Hotel (formerly Hyatt Regency Warsaw), Belwederska 23, ☏ +48 22 558 1234, fax: +48 22 558 1235, ✉ warsaw.regency@hyatt.com. Outside of the city centre and on the border of the Mokotów district, it requires a bus or taxi ride to get to most attractions. The Regent nevertheless remains a firm favourite with frequent travellers due to a combination of lush comfort, large bathrooms and a location at the doorstep of the Łazienki Park. €55+.
InterContinental, ul. Emilii Platter 49 (Around the corner from Holiday Inn, near the Warszawa Centralna station, and just steps from the Palace of Culture and Science), ☏ +48 22 328 8888, fax: +48 22 328 8889, ✉ warsaw@ihg.com. The 5-star InterContinental is one of Warsaw's tallest, best designed, and most luxurious hotels. The hotel optimizes its commanding height by using wide windows to provide breathtaking panorama views of Warsaw. Be sure to stop by the fitness center for the best view. All rooms have at least 32 square meters of space, spacious bathrooms that come equipped with a bath and a separate shower, and minibars. High speed internet connection is available for a fee for those staying in the standard rooms. Each of the three restaurants have welcoming atmospheres and the E. Wedel cafe on the ground floor would be a great place to kick back to a coffee and some chocolates. €120-180 during the week, as low as €60 if booked in advance; Apartments from €2500/month.
Warsaw Marriott Hotel, Al. Jerozolimskie 65/79 (next to the main train station), ☏ +48 22 630 6306, fax: +48 22 830 0041. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: Noon. If you want a room with a view, you can't go wrong here, because the building is one of the tallest in Warsaw. Depending on the location of your room, you may have a view of the Palace of Culture and Science. The Panorama cocktail bar at the top floor provides great views of the city to the patrons, accompanied by steep drink prices. €69-350.
Polonia Palace Hotel (Hotel Polonia Palace), ul. Jerzozolimskie 45 (The hotel is located on the same side of Aleje Jerozolimskie as the Marriott, but is at the opposite end of the Palace of Culture and Science). 4-star luxury hotel in the center of Warsaw. The hotel first opened in 1913 and was the best surviving hotel in Warsaw during the second world war. The building hosted the embassies of several countries (including USA, UK, the Netherlands) the first difficult years after the war. Eisenhower, de Gaulle and several other celebrities have been guests at the hotel. The Polonia was made a protected monument in 1965. Police warn to watch out for prostitutes in the area. €149+.
Radisson BLU Centrum Hotel, Grzybowska 24 00-132, ☏ +48 22 321 88 88. The hotel is situated in the heart of the business district and tourist quarter of the city. It is close to the Palace of Culture and Science and Warsaw Central Station. There is another Radisson BLU (Sobieski) in Warsaw, not far away but in the opposite direction.
Hotel Rialto, ul. Wilcza 73, ☏ +48 22 584 8700, fax: +48 22 584 8701, ✉ info@hotelrialto.com.pl. In a less touristy area of the town and might be equally hard to find. €98+.
Sofitel Victoria Warsaw, ul. Krolewska 11, ☏ +48 22 657 8011, fax: +48 22 657 8057, ✉ sof.victoria@orbis.pl. Located a short distance from Nowy Świat, the Sofitel Victoria Warsaw Hotel is the prime real estate for visitors who would like to tour the Old Town on a whim. Rooms facing Plac Piłsudskiego have a really nice view.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

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.

Phone

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.

Post

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.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 52.229676
  • Longitude: 21.012229

Accommodation in Warsaw

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Warsaw searchable right here on Travellerspoint.

Contributors

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Warsaw Travel Helpers

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    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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