Warsaw is both the capital and largest city of Poland, filled with history and yet enjoying an economic boom.
As Eastern Europe revels in new found wealth and the revitalisation that comes with it, not quite the budget destination of lore, Warsaw still gives excellent value, especially for those that enjoy the energy of a lively club and music scene. Not without its cultural credentials either, Warsaw is home to both the National Opera Company and the National Philharmonic Orchestra both of which host frequent concerts in the city.
The regeneration of Warsaw may seem at little shocking on first view, with building work ongoing across much of the city, but this is soon forgotten as the warmth and charm of this great destination shines through; visitors return to Warsaw time and time again, returning to the city that stole their hearts.
The one thing that does tend to be expensive in Warsaw is the cost of hotel accommodation, the demands of the tourist rather than the business industry has slightly driven the prices down, but it still pays to look around, to find something resembling a bargain. Hotel Maria could be considered to be one such bargain, there may be no lift and the large building may look slightly past its best but the huge rooms and fantastic staff more than compensate for these minor inconveniences – a real gem in the city.
Those that feel like blowing the budget could do far worse than to book a room (or suite!) at Hotel Bristol, opulent and decadent, this original Art Nouveau hotel is only for the well heeled but it certainly fit the bill of a hotel to remember.
There is no chain restaurant culture in Warsaw, the range of unique eateries is overwhelming, and although the choice is somewhat eclectic the best option is always the Eastern European restaurants that boast some of the best chefs in Poland; Deco Kredens serves excellent Polish dishes in flamboyant surroundings, comfortable with comforting food – this is the ultimate in food to warm your heart and soul.
Almost a tongue in cheek reference to the days of communism Vodka bars have become the new place to eat, drink and party, these serve great hearty food alongside the country’s fabled tipple, expect to see herring, pickles and sausage on the menu, always tasty and always perfectly paired by ice cold vodka; try Warszawska on Plac Zbawiciela for one of the best examples in the city.
Visit the old city of Warsaw, although almost completely rebuilt after WWII the work was a sympathetic reconstruction using every salvageable material, not completed until 1953 it is now almost impossible to tell apart from the original, and be sure to visit Palace Square which holds Poland’s oldest monument – the Sigismund Column.
Bus tours around Warsaw are popular and taking a private guided tour is one way to ensure that you don’t miss any of this great city, these generally only take half a day and are run by various companies in the city; your hotel reception should be able to recommend and book you onto a suitable tour during your stay.
Summers are warm, autumn is generally crisp and cool and the winter months can be cold, the romantic image of a city deep in snow is often not far from the truth; the best time to visit is anywhere between April and October, although traditionally the month of July is rather wet. As with most European destinations it never hurts to be prepared so be sure to pack for the unexpected!