Spring, Summer, Autumn
June – August
LCY → WAW
Freedom of movement
Taxi: 7 £GBP (20 min)
Bus: 0.7 £GBP (20 min)
Travel insurance is recommended
The eclectic mix of baroque palaces, sleek skyscrapers and stereotypical communist blocks in Warsaw can be a little off-putting at first, but it pays to persist and when you do, you will discover a city that is often beautiful and one where the recovery from almost total destruction in World War II is one of the greatest success stories in Europe.
Warsaw’s Old Town is centred on a baroque market square that was painstakingly reconstructed after the devastation wrought by the war, to the south are streets packed with hip cafes and bars (often tucked away in courtyards) in the Srodmiescie district and the controversial Palace of Culture with its imposing Stalinist-style wedding cake-like tower. The cultural scene in Warsaw is also excellent, including state-of-the-art museums dedicated to Chopin – a onetime resident of the city – and the tragic history of Polish Jews. For something a little lighter than high culture for your Warsaw holidays, the edgy Praga district on the other side of the river Vistula has hip clubs and bars based in former 19th century warehouses along ulica Zabkowska.
The climate in Warsaw is humid continental with reasonably warm summers and cold winters. The average temperature is -3 degrees Celsius (27 Fahrenheit) in January and 19.3 degrees Celsius (66.7 Fahrenheit) in July. However, temperatures can reach 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) in the summer.
The Vistula River divides Warsaw in two and many of the best places to stay in the city are located along its banks. Renowned as being a reasonably inexpensive destination, Warsaw also features plenty of boutique and high-end accommodation options to stay on Warsaw city break.
The brash capital of one of the largest countries in Europe, there’s no shortage of things to do on holidays to Warsaw. After the destruction of World War II, Warsaw’s Old Town, Krakowskie Przedmiescie and New Town, Nowy Swiat areas have been so beautifully reconstructed it is hard to believe they are not centuries old.
Warsaw is now home to good cafes and restaurants, galleries and has a slightly eccentric range of museums, from serious institutions like the Chopin Museum to curiousities like the Neon Museum. Delicious cakes and bread are sold at the Hala Mirowska market and in shops like Cepelia you can find quality Polish crafts. On the dining front there is much more to contemporary Polish cuisine than the stereotypical dumplings and potatoes, while the nightlife in the city from glamour hotspots like Foksal B to the hipster bars around ulica Zabkowska and Plac Zbawiciela.
The streets of Old Town Warsaw are UNESCO-listed and are an attraction in their own right, with the Old Market Place surrounded by beautifully reconstructed colourful 17th century merchants’ homes and some of the best restaurants in the city to visit on your Warsaw holidays. In ulica Prozna (Empty Street) echoes of the impact of World War II on the city can be seen in the part-ruined former Warsaw Ghetto street which still features battle-scarred tenement houses. The Royal Castle reconstructed to its original renaissance glory has been refitted with many items of original furniture.
Since 1909 the city’s Filharmonia Narodowa (National Philharmonic) has hosted classical concerts, while productions at the Teatr Dramatyczny can be so visually stunning language barriers melt away. Warsaw’s hippest spot for bars is the Srodmiescie district’s Plac Zbawiciela (Saviour Square). Behind Nowy Swiat are the Pawilony arcades which are home to no less than 25 unique little bars concealed down two passages. Across the river Vistula in the Praga district, ulica Zabkowska is home to a collection of bohemian bars.
Warsaw’s central market hall, Hala Mirowska, is as worth visiting on Warsaw city break to see its 19th century architecture as is for its produce. International fashion brands can be found around Plac Trzech Krzyzy.
Kurt Scheller’s Restaurant showcases the refined side of the dining scene in Warsaw with a menu that is a fusion of Polish and Asian influences. For a taste of traditional Polish fare head to Restauracja Polska in Nowy Swiat for dishes like roast boar with crispy dumplings.