Warsaw Travel and Tourist Guide

Warsaw Coat of Arms - Warsaw Travel and Tourist GuideWarsaw Travel and Tourist Guide – Warsaw (Polish: Warszawa) is a major tourist destination located in central Poland in the province of Mazowieckie and is the capital and largest municipal centre of Polska. Located on the Vistula River about 360 kilometres, 224 miles from the Baltic Sea and about 300 kilometres, 186 miles from the Carpathian Mountains located on Poland’s southern boarder.

Warsaw’s population as of December 2015 was estimated to be 1,735,442. The city area is 516.9 square kilometres or 199.6 sq miles, with an agglomeration of 6,100.43 square kilometres, 2,355.4 sq miles. About 8.3 million tourists visited Warsaw in 2014  of which 2.8 million were foreign tourists.

Warsaw is the 9th largest municipal centre in the European Union in terms of population and is one of the Alpha Cities (A global city, also called world city or sometimes an alpha city, is a municipal centre deemed to be an important node point in the global economic system).

Warsaw is split in two halves by the river with many of the tourist sites and financial district located on the western side of the Vistula (Wisła).

Accommodation in Warsaw

For the tourist there is the full range of accommodation in the capital of Poland, Warsaw, from the most luxurious five star hotels with up to date and modern amenities to pensions (a type of guest house or boarding house) and rooms or apartments at very reasonable prices. Some of the larger towns and municipal centres will also have hostels.

If you prefer to stay in a more rural location there are a number of “Agro” style of accommodation places on farms and in the countryside plus there may be camp sites nearby.

If you see any accommodation in Warsaw you are interested in on Warsaw Travel Guide or wish to know more about a place please contact the provider directly.

If you wish to advertise your accommodation on Warsaw Travel and Tourist Guide or elsewhere on this site you can find out more by going to the advertising page.

Accommodation in Warsaw

Name of Accommodation Address Class
Hotel Poland – Example ul.accommodation Hotel

Activities & Attractions in Warsaw

Warszawa panorama by Filip Bramorski - Warsaw Travel GuideWarsaw is a powiat (county), and is further divided into 18 boroughs, each one known as a dzielnica (district),  with its own administrative body. Each of the boroughs includes several neighbourhoods which have no legal or administrative status. For the tourist Warsaw has two historic districts, called Old Town (Stare Miasto) and New Town (Nowe Miasto) in the borough of Śródmieście.

Photo – FB Warszawa panoramaCC BY-SA 2.0

Most places of interest for the tourist are located in the centre of Warsaw or the district of Śródmieście. However, most tourists know Warsaw by the Old or New Towns, the Royal Route and the city centre.

The most interesting historical sites are to be found along the Royal Route (Trakt Królewski) which is a series of roads linking the Old Town (Stare Miasto), the Royal Castle with the Water Palace or Baths Palace (Łazienki Palace).

Stare Miasto and Nowe Miasto

Due to the destruction of the city in World War II you would think that Warsaw would only have modern buildings but thankfully out of the pile of rubble left by the ravages of war the Poles put their craftsmanship to good use during the 1950’s and 1960’s and reconstructed many of the buildings that now line the cobbled streets and squares of both the old and new town.

The Old town is flanked to the west by sturdy red brick defensive walls beginning at Plac Zamkowy ending at the Barbakan and was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1980 proving the skilled work by the Polish restorers. A 16th century tower where musicians are often found performing for tourists and a place where artists sell their creations. You may wish to take a stroll along the fortifications.

Rynek Starego Miasta

The Old Town is just a short walk along from ul.Swietojanska with it’s restored mixed height Burghers houses looking down on the Mermaid statue that is which is among the most photographed landmark in Warsaw dating from 1855. The square with horse drawn carriages providing tourists with site seeing tours, waiters scurrying here there and everywhere due to the abundance of summer outside cafes and restaurants. On the northern side is the Warsaw History Museum telling the story of the Warsaw’s origins and it’s restoration post war. Prices here for food and tourist items are dearer than the rest of Poland.

The New Town is located to the north of the Rynek on ul.Nowomiejski. The main attractions are the Maria Sklodowska-Curie Musuem (see museums) in her former house and the Rynek Nowego Miasta (New Town Square) which is somewhat quieter than the elder Rynek square.

Royal Castle

Coloured pink, Warsaw’s Royal Castle, Zamek Krolewski is situated on the Plac Zamkowy. The original residence was built in the 14th century but under the reign of King Stanislaw August Poniatowski it was transformed into a baroque palace fit for a King and turned into one of the most lavish palaces of it’s time in Europe. Sadly in 1945 Hitler issued an order for it to be blown up by his retreating forces. It was not until 1971 that rebuilding work began financed entirely by donations from abroad. Recreating this grand palace took craftsmen thirteen years. If you visit, look for the Great Assembly Hall with its gilt stucco work, glittering chandeliers and the frescoed ceiling.

Muranow and Mirow

If you are interested in the Jewish heritage of Warsaw you will find that it is scattered around the districts of Muranow and Mirow which can be found to the west and north of the centre. Before World War II there existed a Jewish community of about 400,000 in the city. These communities were turned into the evil and horrific ghettos by the invading Nazis during 1940 and who obliterated them when quelling the uprising of 1943. Very few survived the tortures of Hitler’s mass killers.

If you can, explore the area on foot visiting Umschlagplatz at ul.Stawki where the Jews were loaded into cattle trucks to be taken away to slaughter at the death camps through out Poland. This is now marked by a marble monument. Take a moment to reverence those victims. About 15 minutes away towards the south west you will find the Jewish cemetery containing some 150,000 gravestones, the largest in Europe.

Again on ul.Stawki there is Willy Brandt Square, a former German chancellor who fell to his knees while on an official visit to the capital in 1970, as an of atonement for the past crimes committed by the Nazis. There is a granite Monument to the Heroes of the Ghetto made from a stone that the Nazis bought to the city to be used as a monument of victory.

Another place of torture and death is the Pawiak Prison at ul.Dzielna 24 where some 37,000 prisoners were tortured and killed by the notorious Gestapo. The Jewish Nozyk Synagogue founded in 1900 by a wealthy family, which incredible survived the war depicts how life was in the Jewish community. In streets nearby you can find fragments of the wall that surrounded the ghetto.

Outside the old Jewish district is the Jewish Historical Institute (Zydowski Instytut Historyczny) at ul.Tlomackie 3/5 founded in 1994. Inside there are exhibitions on different aspects of Jewish life.

Poland is a country with a large variety of landscapes, a place where you can experience all four seasons. This provides the visitor with many opportunities for adventure and different activities and visiting attractions, whether you enjoy the mountains, lakes, rivers or the beaches you will find something that suits you.

If you see something you like on Warsaw travel guide or wish to know more about the activity or attraction please contact the provider directly.

What ever activity or attraction you run, if you wish to advertise on the Warsaw Travel Guide or elsewhere on this site please let me know.

Activities & Attractions

Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw

The prominent Palace of Culture & Science (Polish: Pałac Kultury i Nauki, also abbreviated PKiN) is the tallest building in Poland and can be seen from almost anywhere in the capital.

It is the eighth tallest building in the European Union and from 1955 to 1957 it was the tallest in Europe. It was originally known as the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science (Pałac Kultury i Nauki imienia Józefa Stalina), but in the wake of destigmatization the dedication was revoked and Stalin’s name has been removed from the interior lobby.

As of now it is the 187th tallest building in the world.

Name of Activity Address Class Website
Advertise your activity or attraction ul.activity Activity or Attraction www.website.com

Geography of Warsaw

Geographical Coordinates of Warsaw: 52°13′56.28″N 21°00′30.36″E

Warsaw (Polish:Warszawa, vär-shä’vä), capital of Poland and largest city with a population of about 1,715,000 and an estimated metropolitan area of 2,666,300. Warsaw lies on the Vistula River running north to south, in east-central Poland about 523 km, (325 miles) east of Berlin, Germany and roughly 260 kilometres (160 miles) from the Baltic Sea. The city covers (172 square miles) 445 km2. Warsaw is made of flat land, plains and occasional hills. Geographically situated in the central-eastern part of Poland, the city lies in the heart of the Masovian Plain.

Poland is close to other European countries like Russia, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine on the west, Germany and Czech Republic to the east, Slovakia to the south and the Baltic Sea on it’s northern border.

Climate

Winters are relatively mild and summers are cool; temperatures average 25° F. (-4° C.) in January and 65° F. (18° C.) in July. The average annual rainfall is 22 inches (560 mm).

City

Warsaw had a population of 1,300,000 people in 1939 and is a relatively engineered metropolitan area due to the effects of World War II, In reconstructing the old part of Warsaw, traditional styles of architecture have been used; historic buildings and monuments being rebuilt to their original designs. The rest of the metropolitan area was rebuilt in modern architectural styles. Streets have been planned to accommodate housing, commercial, natural and tourist districts.

The capital is the political and administrative centre of Poland and the seat of the Roman Catholic primate of Poland. It is also the country’s main financial, commercial, and industrial centre. Major manufactured products include motor vehicles, machinery, steel, electrical equipment, textiles, and pharmaceuticals and other chemicals.

It is also a main railway hub with lines connecting Warsaw with Poland’s other major cities and internationally with Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Kiev, Moscow, and St. Petersburg. Many of Poland’s highways converge on Warsaw. Warsaw Chopin Airport and Warsaw Modlin Airport are both located outside the capital, providing domestic and international services. Warsaw was in times past an important river port.

History of Warsaw

The capital of Poland reflects the history of the nation having survived more ups and downs, wars and different owners than most places around Europe. It has come back from the brink of destruction time and time again.

Most likely the first settlement of any size was created around the 14th century when the dukes of Mazovia built a stronghold on the current site of the Royal Castle. It owes it initial  rise to power to the Mazovian ruler Janusz the Elder in 1413, one of the dukes that made the city their seat of power and authority and it remained that way until 1526 when the last duke died leaving no heir.

The whole of Mazovia including Warsaw was taken over by the King, Sigismund I the Old, based in Krakow and was incorporated into his royal territory.  After the unification of Poland and Lithuania in 1569 the Sejm (lower house of parliament) voted to make Warsaw the seat of it’s authority due to the city’s central position within the commonwealth. The first election of a Polish king took place here four years later and then in 1596 King Zygmunt III waza decided to move his seat of power from Krakow to Warsaw so it became the capital.

The Swedish invasion from 1655 to 1660 battered the city but it quickly recovered and was extensively rebuilt by the Saxon kings in the late 17th century and continued to expand it’s influence. The Ogród Saski (Saxon gardens) in the centre of Warsaw date from this period. Strangely, during the 18th century when the Polish state endured catastrophic decline Warsaw had a period of prosperity. Palaces and churches were constructed in abundance and along with it cultural life flourished especially under the reign of the last Polish King, Stanislaw August Poniatowski.

Following the partition of Poland in 1795 the city was absorbed into Prussia and it’s status was reduced to that of a provincial town but in 1806 on the advance of Napoleon on his way to his defeat at the hand of the Russian army, Warsaw was turned into the Duchy of Warsaw making the city a capital once more.

However, this situation did not last very long as in 1815 Poland fell under the rule of Russia and although the Varsovians rebelled against their Russian leaders twice in 1830 and 1864, it remained that way until after the end of world War I when it was reinstated as the capital of an independent Poland when development and industry once again flourished.

The population at the outbreak of World War II had increased to about 1.3 million with a large Jewish community of about 380,000. The Nazis started WWII by attacking Poland on the 1 September 1939 and within a week had the city surrounded despite strong resistance and Warsaw fell to the Germans before the month was finished. Due to the hatred by the Nazis of the Jews and the Varsoovians they immediately set about terrorising them with arrests, executions and setting up the ghettos before herding them into cattle trucks and sending them to the gas chambers of the death camps. Resistance continued both in the April of 1943 instigated by the Jews known as the Ghetto Uprising and in August 1944 when most of the remaining population were involved but the rebellions where severely punished and Hitler ordered that the city be raised to the ground and the SS systematically destroyed the remaining buildings. At the end of the war over 850,000 people from the city had lost their lives and the actual city lay in ruins. In comparison there were about 730,000 casualties for the United States and United Kingdom forces combined through out the war. General Eisenhower described the city as the most tragic thing he had ever seen.

After the war the Poles that were left set about rebuilding their capital despite the Russian communist invaders and during the 1950’s and 1960’s many of the former historic buildings were reconstructed from the rubble to their former glory.

When communism finally ended in 1989 the city became once more the capital of an independent and free Poland. Twenty years on and the rebuilding goes on with modern skyscrapers appearing alongside the rebuilt historic old and new town sectors.

Museums in Warsaw

Polska is full of history and the Polish are great lovers of knowledge of the past so you will find many museums in the country, whether it be a folk, military, science, skansen, transport or any other type.

Poland has a long history and has been an important trading route that has been invaded by many different groups over the past 1,000 years. Museums are a great way to explore the nations history about the inhabitants of the land in the past, their lives and customs.

Accept a free advert about your museum and include it below by writing an article about it here on Warsaw Travel and Tourist Guide. Follow the link for the article. For the rest, if you see something you like or wish to know more about please contact the museum directly as we take the attitude that their own website will have more up to date details on what they offer than if we were to include it here.

What ever museum you run, if you wish to advertise it on Warsaw Travel and Tourist Guide or elsewhere on this guide at no cost please send me the details.

Museums

Maria Sklodowska-Curie Museum
The Maria Sklodowska-Curie Museum, located in Warsaw, is dedicated to the life and work of the Polish-French scientist, discoverer of polonium and radium, and the only woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize twice, once in physics and once in chemistry.
Muzeum Warszawy
Museum of Warsaw – The museum has many branches throughout Warsaw and continues the never-ending story of the city. The site is in polish only at the moment.
National Museum in Warsaw
The National Museum in Warsaw was originally founded in 1862 as the Museum of Fine Arts and is currently one of the oldest art museums in the country.
Name of Museum Address Type URL
Maria Sklodowska-Curie Musuem ul. Freta 16 Chemistry Museum en.muzeum-msc.pl
Muzeum Warszawy Rynek Starego Miasta 28-42 City Museum http://muzeumwarszawy.pl
National Museum in Warsaw Al. Jerozolimskie 3 National Museum www.mnw.art.pl

Places to Eat in Warsaw

There are many restaurants covering the usual pizza to those offering local Polish traditional and regional cuisine.

What Wikipeda says about Polish Cuisine

Polish cuisine (Polish: kuchnia polska) is a style of cooking and food preparation originating from Poland. It has evolved over the centuries due to historical circumstances. Polish national cuisine shares some similarities with other Central European and Eastern European traditions as well as French and Italian similarities. It is rich in meat, especially pork, chicken and beef (depending on the region) and winter vegetables (cabbage in the dish bigos), and spices.

It is also characteristic in its use of various kinds of noodles the most notable of which are kluski as well as cereals such as kasha (from the Polish word kasza). Generally speaking, Polish cuisine is hearty and uses a lot of cream and eggs. The traditional dishes are often demanding in preparation. Many Poles allow themselves a generous amount of time to serve and enjoy their festive meals, especially Christmas eve dinner (Wigilia) or Easter breakfast which could take a number of days to prepare in their entirety.

The Polish national dishes are bigos; pierogi; kielbasa; kotlet schabowy (type of breaded cutlet); gołąbki (type of cabbage roll); zrazy (type of roulade); roast (Polish: pieczeń); sour cucumber soup (Polish: zupa ogórkowa); mushroom soup, (Polish: zupa grzybowa) (quite different from the North American cream of mushroom); tomato soup (Polish: zupa pomidorowa); rosół (variety of meat broth); żurek (sour rye soup); flaki (variety of tripe soup); and barszcz among others.

If you see something you like or wish to know more about please contact the place to eat directly as we do not take commission and we take the attitude that their own website will have more up to date details on what they offer than if we were to include it here.

If you wish to advertise your cafe, restaurant or bar on Warsaw Travel and Tourist Guide or elsewhere on this guide please contact me.

Places to Eat

Name of Eating Place Address Type Website
Advertise your place to eat here ul.eatingplace Eating Place www.website.com

Tourist Information in Warsaw

Poland Travel Guide – This web site will eventually have tourist information on most of the places in Polska. Being a web site you will be able to access the information on most digital platforms, including your laptop, personal computer or a mobile phone.

Tourist organisations are welcome to contact us for details on how to display their information on Warsaw Travel and Tourist Guide.

PTTK – Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society is a non-profit organisation that you will find in many places in Poland.

It is one of the oldest tourist and travel societies in Europe and was was created by the merger of two societies: Polish Tatry Society (1873) and Polish Country Lovers Society (1906).

Official Tourist Information Centres in Poland are divided into 1*, 2*, 3* and 4* Certified and Non-Certified. All Certified Tourist Centres provide information in one or more foreign languages and have an expanded range of services as compared to the Non-Certified.

Warsaw Tourist Information

Stowarzyszenie Monopol Warszawski

Monopol Warszawski Association was founded in 2001. Among the founders there were people connected with tourism including guides, art historians, journalists, members of the local authorities and those who care about the future of Warsaw’s heritage.

The society remains in cooperation with Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Warszawy (Warsaw’s Friends Association – a non-profit organization acting since 1963. It promotes knowledge about Warsaw, its monuments, culture and nature) and Związek Artystów Scen Polskich (Polish Actors Association).

You can visit the Tourist Agency ‘to tu’, which is located on Ząbkowska 36 street in Praga (vis-à-vis Koneser)

Warsaw Tourist Office

The Warsaw Tourist Office (Stołeczne Biuro Turystyki) is an entity that operates within the larger organisation of Warsaw; it concerns itself with informing visitors about comprehensive activities related to tourism. Currently, there are three offices:-

Palace of Culture and Science
pl. Defilad 1
(entrance from Emilii Plater Street, between Kongresowa Hall and Museum of Technology)
tel. +48 22 194 31
e-mail: info@warsawtour.pl
Opening hours:
May – September: Mon.-Sun. 8 am-8 pm
October – April: Mon.-Sun. 8 am-6 pm

Old Town
Rynek Starego Miasta 19/21/21a
Opening hours:
May – September: Mon.-Sun. 9 am-8 pm
October – April: Mon.-Sun. 9 am-6 pm

Chopin Airport
Terminal A, exit 2
ul. Żwirki i Wigury 1
Opening hours:
May – September: Mon.-Sun. 8 am-8 pm
October – April: Mon.-Sun. 8 am-6 pm

Name of Tourist Office Address Classification URL
Archdiocesan Information Centre ul. Miodowa 17/19 Religious Information www.informacja-warszawa.pl
Praga District Information Point – ‘totu’ ul. Ząbkowska 27/31 Heritage Information www.monopolpraski.pl
Warsaw Tourist Information Centre – the MUFA Agency Plac Zamkowy 1/13 Tourist Information www.wcit.waw.pl

Transport in Warsaw

Warsaw’s integrated public-transport system is operated by Zarząd Transportu Miejskiego (ZTM) and consists of a network of tram, bus and metro lines, all using the same ticketing system. Main routes and services operate from roughly 5am to about 11pm, and most services are frequent and reliable, bear in mind Warsaw is a busy commercial capital so you will find that it’s often crowded during the rush hour periods which are; 7am until 9.30am and again in the evening 3.30pm until 6.30pm Monday to Friday.

Late night services operate on Fridays and Saturdays when the metro runs until 2.30am. After 11pm there are a number of night bus routes linking the major suburbs with the city centre. The night-service ‘hub’ can be found at ul. Emilii Plater, which is next to the Palace of Culture and Science, from where buses depart every half-hour.

It is usually best to buy a ticket before boarding buses, trams and the metro and please note that the exact change is normally required when purchasing a ticket on buses or trams. You may find that drivers may refuse to sell you a ticket if they are running behind their schedule. You can buy tickets at Ruch and Relay news stands, some hotels sell tickets, post offices, metro stations and even some of the various general stores. Just look for a sign saying ‘Sprzedaży Biletów ZTM’.

Warsaw Fryderyk Chopin Airport is located at 1 Żwirki i Wigury street approx. 10 km from the city centre. The airport can be easily accessed by car, public bus or taxi.

Railway Stations

Warszawa Centralna, in Polish: Dworzec Warszawa Centralna, is the primary railway station in Warsaw. It was designed by the architect Arseniusz Romanowicz, with construction commencing in 1972, completed 1975. The station is located on the Warsaw Cross-City Line and features four underground island platforms with eight tracks in total and is served by the long-distance domestic and international trains of PKP Intercity and Przewozy Regionalne as well as some of the regional trains operated by Koleje Mazowieckie.

Bus Stations

Dworzec PKS Warszawa Zachodnia, Al.Jerozolimskie, near the Rondo Zesłańców Syberyjskich. This is the larger of the two bus stations which is next to the railway station by the same name. Many buses arrive here including International buses like Eurolines. The other is Dworzec Autobusowy Metro Wilanowska where you will find several private buses and PKS services to towns located south of Warsaw. Some long distance operators in Poland also use this bus station so make sure you check where your bus starts from.

Here are some useful websites to help you find your way to this place.

Transport

Zarząd Transportu Miejskiego

Zarząd Transportu Miejskiego (ztm) is an organiser of public transport within the area of Warsaw. Some of the transport lines (i.e. zone lines) extend also beyond the borders of Warsaw, thus creating a network of convenient connections within the area of the Warsaw conurbation.

ZTM is responsible, among others, for the arrangement of routes, timetables, sale of tickets and ticket inspection.

Name Type URL
e-podroznik.pl Bus & Train Timetables www.e-podroznik.pl
Warsaw Chopin Airport Airport www.lotnisko-chopina.pl/
Warsaw Modlin Airport Airport en.modlinairport.pl/
Przewozy Regionalne Railways www.przewozyregionalne.pl
Zarząd Transportu Miejskiego Warsaw Public Transport www.ztm.waw.pl

Websites of Warsaw

If you have a website that is an official one linked to this town, or you administer a local community or an important trade site please contact me at Warsaw Travel and Tourist Guide or elsewhere on this guide as I may be interested in including it.

Websites of Warsaw

The Warsaw Voice

The new multimedia platform includes The Warsaw Voice Magazine in conventional print format, The online portal and daily news service. The platform is supplemented with specialized news and information services and communication tools. The multimedia platform is developed continuously, based on direct input from readers and users.

The Warsaw Voice Magazine, which took over the mantle of  The Warsaw Voice weekly, is a modern monthly covering the most important political, social, economic and cultural topics. “Reporting on trends, events and people, publishing interviews, news reports and features, analysis and opinion, The first issue was published on 23rd October 1988.

Name of Website Address Class URL
Warsaw   Official Website www.um.warszawa.pl/en
The Warsaw Voice 64 Księcia Janusza St Media Online Publication www.warsawvoice.pl

Other Information on Warsaw Travel and Tourist Guide

This travel website is about the country of Polska which is located in central Europe. You are very welcome to visit my site and I hope that you will enjoy the experience.

It is easy to use as each village, town and city has it’s own page with useful information for the visitor. Not all sections appearing on the left of the guide, on this place may have information as this is an ongoing project.

It may be the case that this location has not yet been reviewed and written about so if you can contribute any information about this place to improve this guide please send it to me.

Regional Links

Province

The Mazowieckie Voivodship was created in 1999 and is located in central Poland.

Province

 

Places in Province

The cities, towns and villages of the region of Mazowieckie.

Places in Province

Map of Warsaw

 

Warsaw - Warsaw Travel and Tourist Guide

Warsaw September 2014

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Warsaw September 2014

Warsaw Travel and Tourist Guide – Capital of Poland – Mazowieckie – Poland Travel Guide

Tatra Mountains in southern Poland