Warsaw Travel Guide
The ultimate guide to the best things to do and see in Warsaw
For a city that was almost completely razed to the ground by the end of WWII, Warsaw still boasts some magnificent architecture, elegant avenues and picturesque parks. Poland’s capital city seems underrated as a destination but it’s home to countless outstanding museums, art galleries, trendy bars and an impressive up-and-coming culinary scene. Start here with my basic Warsaw travel tips, or jump down below to read my latest Warsaw travel blogs.
When to Visit
Although the weather is great in Warsaw in the summer and you’ll get the chance to hang out by the river, it’s likely that you’ll encounter crowds of tourists doing the same thing so visit in spring or fall if you’d like it a little quieter. Having said that, when it gets frosty Poland’s Christmas markets are a ton of festive fun! If you’re a foodie, try to plan your trip in February, spring or fall because that’s when Poland’s Restaurant Weeks take place. They give locals and visitors the opportunity to dine at several of Poland’s most unique and outstanding restaurants, where three-course tasting menus are available for bargain prices!
Top Things To Do
Admire the view from the Palace of Culture and Science – Head up to the 30th floor of the Palace of Culture and Science to soak in views across Warsaw. The tallest building in Poland is a center for various companies, public institutions and cultural activities. While you’re up there make sure you find one of the city’s many musical benches that plays Chopin!
Experience the best of Polish cuisine – Over the past few years Warsaw’s culinary scene has exploded and each week a new restaurant opens. Visit Hala Gwardii, a food market and former boxing arena where seasonal produce takes center stage, and you can dine on everything from oysters to dim sum. Hala Koszyki is another excellent market and dining complex where you’ll find artisanal products, boutique bars, and a plethora of places to enjoy lunch and dinner. For a top notch Polish dining experience head to Bez Gwiazdek (translation: into “No Stars”) run by Jan Kecik and Robert Trzópek – one of Poland’s best chefs who has worked in a few Michelin star restaurants, among others, Noma** in Copenhagen.
Visit the Old Town – It’s no secret that Warsaw has a tumultuous past. After 85% of the city was destroyed in the second world war its inhabitants not only rebuilt the city, but meticulously reconstructed Warsaw’s Old Town using many of its original bricks and decorative details. Today the Old Town with its popular Stary Rynek (old market square) is an exact replica of how it once was.
There’s a lot to see and do in Warsaw so why not take the stress out of finding your way around the city and indulge one of your interests at the same time? Maybe you’d like to explore the city’s communist history or taste its best vodkas – either way, you can get to know the city better by taking a tour of Warsaw. For an excellent, tailor-made private tour with a focus on history, modern art, classical music or food get in touch with local guide and knowledgeable foodie, Agnieszka Kuś.
LGBT – Gay Warsaw Travel Guide
For a capital city you’d expect Warsaw’s LGBT scene to be a bit more well-developed but Poland’s conservative government continues to oppose civil unions for same-sex couples. Having said that 50,000 people marched in Warsaw in support of gay rights at Warsaw Pride in June 2017 and more gay bars have sprung up in recent years.
Head to the hipstery Śródmieście district in the city centre for the LGBTQ and LGBTQ-friendly options. Formerly “Paradise”, Club Galeria (Address: Plac Mirowski 1) is a well-established gay bar with two dance floors and karaoke. It regularly hosts small concerts, drag shows and dance parties! Smack bang in the middle of hipster central you’ll find Plan B (Address: Aleja Wyzwolenia 18) a bar with an edgy, gay-friendly vibe, an artsy crowd, electronic music and occasional film screenings.
For an up-to-date listing of clubs, check out www.gay.pl
Warsaw Hotel Deals
Warsaw has plenty of cool and quirky hotels, as well as all the big chains you’d expect. They’ll likely get full when there’s a conference or special event in town, so definitely consider booking in advance. I’ve found that using Booking.com, Agoda.com or Hotels Combined can be really useful for finding last-minute deals.
Featured in international magazines including Wallpaper*, Autor Rooms is the place to stay if you want a seriously stylish night’s sleep. Located in the Śródmieście neighborhood which is synonymous with hipsters, the stunning 4-room boutique hotel celebrates its original 19th century architectural features as it is one of the few buildings that wasn’t destroyed during the war. Created with help of experts from different creative disciplines, the achingly hip hotel showcases the best of Polish design, culture, craftsmanship and hospitality.
Also in the Śródmieście area is H15, a luxurious, boutique hotel housed in a 19th century building. Its 47 rooms and apartments have a ‘50s vibe and boast their own kitchenette and free Wi-Fi. The 5-star hotel has a spa and a restaurant serving contemporary international cuisine.
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