Poland’s capital city Warsaw is more accessible than ever for a weekend or short break. Flights we have noticed are exceptionally low priced and once you’re there in the city you’ll realise that it is such a low priced destination you’ll struggle to spend money. We took a 3 day trip to Warsaw to discover what the city had to offer. So here’s our guide to visiting Warsaw
This is simply translated to New World Street and is a picturesque street featuring some of the most on-trend bars, stores and restaurants in the capital.
We chose to visit a couple of bars on Nowy Sŵait and especially liked Coctail Bar Max & Dom Whisky which is open until 5am most mornings. They serve great cocktails and the vibe is quite relaxed and upmarket.
If you head down the street and take a turn into the concealed alley there are 15 Bars all grouped together in the Pawilony zone. This area is a jumping spot for nightlife and much cheaper prices than on the street, it’s a great place to have a few drinks. A round of 2 beers and 2 shots came to around £3.
Warsaw’s Culture And Science Viewing Platform
The focal point of Warsaw is the Palace of Culture and Science. Constructed in 1952-55 as a gift from the Soviet Union. This huge centre houses various companies, public institutions and cultural activities such as concerts, cinemas, theatres, libraries, sports clubs. As well as universities, scientific institutions and authorities of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
This is the 8th tallest building in the European Union and boasts a spectacular viewing platform over the city. You can ride the elevator up 33 floors to explore 360-degree views of Warsaw. A trip to the top will cost you 16zł (£3.30) and is well worth seeing for the breathtaking views.
Ice Skating At The PGE Narodowy
If you are visiting Warsaw around Christmas time then do make sure that go ice-skating at the ice rink inside the PGE Narodowy. This is Poland’s national stadium and is a really impressive structure. There are 2 huge ice rinks which are complemented by a curling rink, bumper cars and an ice tunnel. There are also little stalls selling hot chocolates and sweet treats to warm up after your skating.
When we visited entry was 16zł (£3.30) and then boot hire was 10zł (£2.10). This was for 75 minutes on the ice and it’s a spectacular thing to be able to tell people that you ice skated on the pitch of Poland’s National Stadium.
Places To Eat
We were only in Warsaw for 3 days so didn’t get a chance to explore the growing vibrant gastronomy scene. We did eat at a couple of nice restaurants and these were;
Located at the very end of Nowy Sŵait this steakhouse is upstairs. This tries to convey an American style steakhouse with a relaxed atmosphere and an open kitchen. With the steaks coming in only 100g increments it was a little confusing. We both opted for the fillet and had vegetables and potatoes. Chips aren’t an option.
The service is exceptionally slow and the server was rude and not very attentive, serving everybody before us. Tutting at every request we made.
The food, however, was delicious, the steak different in flavour to any other steak I’ve had before. We found Nasty Steak exceptionally great value for money for what we had and the quality of the food. For a glass of red wine, coke, 2 fillet steaks and veg the meal came to 207zł which was around £43.
AiOLI Cantine Bar Cafe Deli
On one of the lunchtimes, we stumbled into AiOLI for a bite to eat. This rustic hip-looking burger joint was bustling with diners. Sitting down I ordered a Moscow Mule from the menu. Expecting a cold cocktail in a copper mug. Like it is usually served. I was presented with a tall glass with a hot version of the classic. We did, however, enjoy a really tasty lunch. we opted for the chicken burger and margarita pizza. Both served promptly and full of flavour.
For a coke, “Moscow Mule”, burger and chips, pizza, beer and Irish coffee the whole bill came to £22 which was an exceptionally great value for money. Warsaw really is really reasonable for dining.
On our last evening, we headed to Lokanta which was a two-minute walk from the apartment we were staying at. Deceptively it claims it is a club, however, we were unable to find their club space. The restaurant itself serves up classic mezze & charcoal-grilled meats in a rustic setting with Turkish decor & a mezzanine floor.
We both selected a cocktail aperitif as we chose our meals from the menu where we opted for chicken kebabs. Again the service was extremely slow and virtually non-existent once they had discovered we were English.
The food, however, was really good and one of our favourite meals in Poland. We sat up on the mezzanine which was quite nice as we looked down into the open kitchen and watched them prepare our meals. Again the prices were exceptional with our meal coming in at around £16 for 2 cocktails and 2 chicken kebabs.
If you’re looking for something relatively clean and light then I’d recommend visiting Lokanta, but don’t go with the hope of this being a club. It isn’t
As this was our first trip to Poland I insisted that we tried a traditional Polish restaurant to enjoy the local cuisine. We headed to the Polish chain Zapiecek for a lunch to discover why everybody was raving about the dumplings. With the waitresses dressed in traditional Polish dress and a very ‘like Grandma used to make’ feel about the whole place, the menu was full of traditional Polish dishes and although a chain, a great place for first-timers.
Selecting the potato dumplings with a mushroom sauce and a basket of fried dumplings our food was served pretty quickly.
The potato dumplings were a little bit like gnocchi were absolutely delicious although the sauce was exceptionally rich. The traditional Polish dumplings, however, wouldn’t be my first choice. Then again I’m not a lover of deep-fried parcels. Again the bill was really low cost and 12 dumplings, and my gnocchi with a coke and beer came in at £15.
Top Tips For Warsaw
Be Wary Of The Underpass
In Warsaw jaywalking is a fineable offence so you’ll notice underpasses below all of the main roads. These are complicated enough to navigate without having to also navigate the suspicious people and homeless that loiter around on an evening in them. Be wary after midnight, especially female travellers. Try and avoid them where you can.
Uber Is Your Best Friend
The flat rate for an Uber is 10zł which is roughly £2.10. The cars are all unmarked and all drivers look about 13 years old. You might even be picked up in a cab older than you, however, they are great for getting around the city and probably the most friendly people you’ll encounter (as they’re after a good tourist tip).
They’re exceptionally low-cost for getting around and an Uber from the airport is around 95zł which works out at approximately £19. You can get the shuttle from the Airport to Modlin and then get the train from there, this costs about £2-£5 however if there are a couple of you then it’s probably better to order an Uber.
British? Expect Slow Service
We had more than a few incidents where we were greeted in Polish to smiling waitresses, and especially so at the ice rink until we spoke English and attitudes completely changed towards us. We were often ignored and waited forever to be served.
We found that the majority of people we came into contact were extremely rude (and initially put it down to culture, it soon left a sour taste in our mouth). We had read this a number of times on a number of different sites about the people of Warsaw being rude so we were well prepared for this but it was still unpleasant.
We did get ourselves lost and had gone over to a Policeman, the words ‘excuse me’ had barely come out our mouth before the policeman raised his flat palm to our faces and sternly proclaimed NO ENGLISH.
Hire Electric Scooters To Exploring
If you want to explore Warsaw yourself and go off the beaten track then download the Lime app (Apple and Android) and attach your card, simply scan a scooter you find on the street with the app and away you go on the electric scooter.
There Is A Man-Made Beach
In the landlocked capital, there is a manmade beach under the Poniatowski Bridge. This is a large stretch of sand which runs for miles and plays home to around 20 clubs along the beach path. In the Summer it is a revellers paradise as there is something for everybody along the route.
Polish Brands Are Cheap, Imports Carry A Heavier Price Tag
Use a currency converter at all times and know prices of things prior to travelling to the city. For example; Żubrówka vodka in a UK supermarket is around £17 a bottle however in Poland it is around 40zł (£8.40). However, imports such as MAC cosmetics are significantly more expensive with a £27 bottle of foundation costing £41.
Their luxury department store which carries brands such as Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Jimmy Choo and Moncler is also significantly more expensive.
Flights And Accommodation
Getting to Warsaw is relatively easy (and affordable) it appears that the majority of flights are run by Ryanair and relatively regularly. Or check Skyscanner for other cheaper routes.
We had booked the apartment through booking.com as we wanted something different from a traditional hotel, there are some chain hotels such as the Novotel and the 5* Marriot (with rooftop bar). Which are also pretty central too. With a range of hotels and apartments for all types of budget and traveller.
Our opinion of Warsaw was a mixed one and although we did enjoy our time in Warsaw, however, it’s not somewhere that we would rush back to because of feeling unsafe and the rudeness of the people. The architecture is beautiful and the vodka is cheap (and food plentiful).
I’d love to know if you’ve visited Warsaw and get your thoughts of the city in the comment section below. As always, if you’ve found this article of value, I’d love for you to share it across your social channels and pin for later.