Poland’s Capital – Warsaw

March, 2015

Located on the Vistula River dividing the city in two parts to the left and right, Warsaw is the sprawling capital of Poland and has been since 1596.

Sad to leave Lithuania but as time is hurrying on, crossed the border into Warsaw without any hassles at all, to start travelling in a new country.

Tip: This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.

Getting there

The flash LUX Express Lithuania bus (€17) leaves from the Vilnius bus station behind the train station, at 14:45hrs and takes around 8.5 hours on pretty good roads and flat countryside. The final destination for this bus is Berlin so don’t fall asleep and miss your stop.Warsaw

The bus offers wi-fi, is very comfy, warm, and there’s a touchscreen TV on the seat in front of you, just like on a plane – caught up with The Monuments Men. The bus does stop several times during the journey for toilet breaks, or to pick-up/drop-off passengers.

Tip:

Bring snacks and water for the journey as the bus doesn’t stop for a meal, but does stop for toilet breaks – there is also a toilet on board the bus.

The only way I know that the bus crossed the border into Poland is by my phone alerting me with the message of “welcome to Poland” and the usual roaming charges info – no border checks. Poland is one hour behind Lithuania, so it’s an 8-hour bus trip – 2 hours to go yet…

Found out a few weeks ago that Australians are only allowed to stay in Schengen-agreed countries – pretty much the whole of the EU these days – for 90 days within a 180-day period, so now we’re on a timeframe.

Sights

There isn’t any shortage of sights in Warsaw and spending 6 days in this city is just not enough – must return.

Polin Museum

Polin museum
Contemporary Polin Museum

Spending around 6 hours at the Polin History Museum of Polish Jews (entry 25PLN), you really need a couple of days as there’s so much to absorb.

The amazing new museum built on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto is very impressive and a state-of-the-art building.

The museum documents and celebrates the 1,000-year history of the Jewish community in Poland, which was decimated by the Holocaust.

My head is spent afterwards as there’s too much information to absorb in one 6-hour hit.

Unfortunately, as with all museums, the fee is a once-off fee so can’t be used over several days.

Warsaw Uprising Museum

This museum (18PLN) certainly has a lot of historical information on display presented objectively and poignantly.

Allow around 6 hours or more for the museum, especially if you like to read most things when in a museum.

Warsaw Uprising Museum art murals
Uprising Museum murals

This is an excellent introduction to Warsaw’s history and the Polish people but particularly if you plan on visiting any of the concentration camps in Poland.
The museum commemorates the Rising, which began on 1st August 1944 at 17:00 and continued for two and a half months – an incredible effort by the Poles to drive the Germans out.

Warsaw Uprising Museum emblem
Kotwica emblem (left); continual screening of uprising members that died (right)

Old Town

Wandering around Warsaw’s Old Town in the glorious sunshine…

old town, warsaw window cleaner, B&W
Old Town Cleaner

…it’s not long before coming across very beautiful architecture.

Warsaw Old Town Poland
Visiting – Old Town

A replica of the original town built during the Medieval ages, the original Old Town was reduced to rubble during the World War II bombings.

old town warsaw
Colourful Old Town square

After the 1944 uprising, the Old Town was meticulously rebuilt using as many of the original bricks from the rubble as possible.

Warsaw Old Town Poland
Old Town

Rzezby Palace

Take the metro train from the Warsaw station to Wilanowska and on arriving, turn right at the front of the station, then it’s about a 15-minute walk to reach the palace grounds.

Interesting sculptures are positioned around the grounds but as it’s winter, most were in storage with just the pedestal left behind.

Xawery Dunikowski sculpture
The Soul Escaping the Body – Xawery Dunikowski

Also, the palace didn’t open to tourists until the 1st April, so we didn’t get to see inside. The grounds and outside of the palace are worth visiting – pleasant just sitting there for a while.

Kotwica uprising emblem
Kotwica – Uprising emblem of the Polish Underground
Glass sculpture warsaw
Glass sculpture – many sheets of glass reflect the landscape back onto the glass

Accommodation

Booking a cosy chic studio apartment on airbnb, the apartment offers everything needed for self-catering.

With central heating, this tastefully renovated apartment is only a 10-minute walk to the Old Town and very central to everything.

Bartosz and Anna (owners) are excellent hosts, very welcoming, and even picked us up from the bus station to drive us to the apartment.

Warsaw
My photo hanging in the apartment (Photo credit: Bartosz Koniuszewski)

Bartosz is eager to help with excellent suggestions of sights and local restaurants. City maps, brochures, and a guide book are provided in the apartment.


Food

Cooking most meals in the apartment helps keep the daily budget down, so only really indulge in the daily coffee and cakes.

If you need a fast-food fix then there isn’t a shortage in Warsaw, with McDonald’s, KFC, and Pizza Hut some of the popular ones.

You can usually pick up a sausage in a bun from the holes in the wall, which seem to be dotted around the city. You’re also spoilt for choice with tea and coffee shops.

Warsaw Old Town lantern
Old Town lantern

Green Café Nero

Check out the Green Café Nero for a great coffee amongst lovely ambience at one of these cafes, but at 10PLN it’s not the cheapest around.

The Besamim Restaurant

Spend any length of time at the Polin museum and you’ll definitely need a coffee.

The coffees are good at this restaurant and reasonably priced for a museum’s restaurant.

Cafeteria-style but a higher quality, offering many traditional Polish dishes, which looks delicious – Kosher food is also available.

McCafe

Although I try to avoid McDonald’s like the plague, especially coffee at a McCafe unless it’s out of sheer desperation, tried the McCafe at the Central Railway station whilst waiting for the train to Lublin. This is the only place with enough room to accommodate our big backpacks.

The coffee is real but weak and averaged-priced. Be warned, it costs 2PLN to use the toilet at the McCafe, which I think is rude but this keeps the beggars out. You put the coin into the machine, receive a paper ticket, and walk through a turn-style to enter – flash for a toilet.

Carrefour

In the Arkadia Mall, this supermarket is a great stop for groceries and to keep costs down as the apartment has a kitchenette with good utensils.

As expected, this French supermarket sells freshly baked bread and pastries, and loads of chocolate – you won’t want for anything here….


Leaving Warsaw

Without a concrete plan or travel route through Poland, Lublin sounds like a good option as any for the next stop.

The train (37PLN) from ‪‎Warsaw‬ to ‪‎Lublin‬ leaves at 12:50hrs (other times are available) and should take 2.5 hours – 1st and 2nd-class carriages are available.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Visit my Nilla’s Photography gallery for more images. More posts on Poland at Image Earth Travel.

political, street art
Political statement
warsaw, gates, old town, barbakan
Barbakan Entrance Gate
high-rise window cleaners Warsaw
Warsaw high-rise cleaners
political, street art, warsaw
Pertinent Street Art
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11 thoughts on “Poland’s Capital – Warsaw

Add yours

  1. Warsaw is amazing city ! As amator of big cities I love it.
    Favourite places : Old City or Park Łazienki 😀
    I saw in your post many interesting points of Warsaw.
    After reading your post I think you really was absorb of Warsaw 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! Many thanks for your thoughts, which I really appreciate.
      I guess travelling for more than a few days in each place, regardless of the country, helps to absorb a little of that place. I would have loved to have stayed longer in Poland but my 90-day Schengen visa ran out 😦

      Like

    2. Ohh it is the stuff of Visa. tht’s true – sometimes we would like to see more, explore cities at all – but our time is limited. I am living in Madrid – which is huge and I even haven’t visited yet everything here what is in my plan 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Think I mentioned in your post that I haven’t been to Madrid…yet. 😉
      Especially as an Australian, we are restricted in Europe and so, need to apply at home for extended visas but that’s hard to do when I left Australia in March 2014!

      Like

    4. Ha, ha always problems with visas as an Australian. I can’t change that, just have to travel around it! 😀
      I will head over to your site and take a look. Thanks for all your greet feedback and comments. 🙂

      Like

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