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One of the reasons I love traveling is that the world never ceases to surprise me. Even in popular destinations like Europe, you can find underrated countries and cities that are actually extremely beautiful. If there’s one city that probably isn’t on your bucket list, it’s Warsaw, Poland. But, is Warsaw worth visiting? I am happy to say that it is 100% worth it.
Although it has a painful past, nowadays it’s a vibrant Polish city that is more modern than you probably think (but it still preserves its history). Warsaw offers so many things to do and see and has everything you want when you’re going on a city break; incredible landmarks; beautiful old town streets and squares; lively parks and gardens; cool museums; hearty local food; vibrant nightlife.
Sounds good, right? So, let’s dive a little deeper into all the reasons to visit Warsaw that will surely make you book a flight right now!
IS WARSAW WORTH VISITING? YES, YES, YES!
1. IT HAS A RICH HISTORY
Did you know that during World War II, 80% of Warsaw was completely destroyed? This city has gone through so much during that traumatic period of time, and you can learn more about it by taking a Jewish history walking tour or visiting the Uprising Museum (amongst other activities).
The Communist regime that took place in Poland after World War II is another massive part of Warsaw’s history. Taking tours like a Communist Warsaw tour and visiting places like the Museum of Life under Communism are excellent ways to learn more about this complex time in Polish history.
2. ALL THE LANDMARKS AND BUILDINGS ARE EXTREMELY BEAUTIFUL
With stunning modern buildings alongside pre-war architecture, there’s no denying that Warsaw is one good looking (and interesting) city. While some landmarks were reconstructed like the Old Town and Royal Castle, you can also find historic buildings that had survived the war like the Wilanow Palace. Other important landmarks like the Palace of Culture and Science were built after the war. Believe me, you don’t want to miss any of these beauties.
3. IT OFFERS PLENTY OF CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
Culture lovers, this one’s for you. There are more than 50 museums in Warsaw including the Copernicus Science Centre, the Neon Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art. It’s also where the famous composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin grew up, so you can explore the museum dedicated to him, enjoy free Chopin concerts, and take a themed walking tour. If that’s not enough, Warsaw also hosts art exhibitions, film festivals, and many other cultural events.
4. GORGEOUS PARKS AND GARDENS
Even on a city break, you need to find places to relax and enjoy some green scenery, and Warsaw has that covered too. From big parks like Lazienki Park to the unique University Library Gardens, there are plenty of beautiful green spaces in this city.
5. SURPRISINGLY SUPERB FOOD
I don’t know what is your perception of Eastern European food, but I didn’t expect Polish food to be that tasty. From pierogis (stuffed dumplings) to potato pancakes to all kinds of soups and stews, the food in Warsaw is hearty, warming, and delicious.
6. SURPRISING CHOCOLATE SCENE
Did you know that Poland is in the top ten countries that import cocoa products? I was utterly surprised to discover so many chocolate shops selling pralines, chocolate desserts, and thick hot chocolate. So if you’re a chocoholic like me, Warsaw is worth the visit. My personal favorite: hot chocolate at E. Wedel chocolate lounge.
7. THE UNIQUE PRAGA DISTRICT
This out of the box district makes Warsaw worth visiting all on its own. While 80% of Warsaw was destroyed during World War II, only 20% of Praga was ruined, so you can see some interesting contrasts between modern and old. If you want to see a mix of quirky urban art, trendy cafes and restaurants, and pre-war buildings, you’ll love Praga.
Is Warsaw a good place to visit in terms of budget? Yes! One significant advantage is that you can visit Warsaw without breaking the bank. The local currency is called zloty or PLN, and one PLN is worth about 0.23 Euros or 0.26 USD.
Prices can go between 6-15 PLN for a cup of coffee, depending on the location of the coffee shop and the type of coffee you order. As for food, at a Polish restaurant, you’ll probably pay 6-10 PLN for a bowl of soup and 20-35 PLN for the main course. You can also easily find budget-friendly accommodations and visit many sites for free.
9. LESS-TOURISTY THAN OTHER EUROPEAN DESTINATIONS
I’m happy that traveling is more accessible and affordable these days, but many European cities suffer from tourist overload because of that and lose their magic. Fortunately, Warsaw is still relatively under the radar (though it is getting more popular), so it doesn’t really get overcrowded with tourists. You should take advantage of this and visit Warsaw while it’s a lot less touristy than other destinations in Europe.
10. PERFECT FOR A CITY ESCAPE
Honestly, you can spend even more than a week exploring this city and taking day trips. But if you only have a few days or even just a weekend, you can still enjoy Warsaw and experience the best of it. If you’re looking for an alternative European city break destination, Warsaw is a perfect choice.
So tell me in the comments, is Warsaw worth visiting? I hope that I’ve convinced you that the answer is YES!
CURRENCY AND PRICES
The local currency in Poland is called Zloty (or PLN), and its value is about 0.26 US dollars. You can either change your local money to Zloty in your country, in Warsaw’s airport, or in one of Warsaw’s exchange stores. I recommend arriving at Warsaw with a few dozens of Zlotys, just to be safe.
As far as the local prices, coffee usually costs 12-15 Zloty, main courses in mid-range restaurants cost 20-35 Zloty, and entrances to museums and landmarks cost 12-25 Zloty.
WHERE TO STAY IN WARSAW
We stayed at Hotel Chmielna, a mid-range budget hotel. Its location was perfect, it was comfortable, and the staff was friendly and helpful. What I really liked about this hotel is that in the room, there was a smartphone with a local SIM and internet that we could take for free and carry it with us all day long. It’s super helpful when you’re trying to figure out how to get from one point to another by public transportation (Google Maps is the best!).
The two things that could have been better were the wifi (a bit slow) and the room’s decor (kinda outdated). You can read other reviews and browse the latest prices and availability here.
WHEN TO VISIT WARSAW
It may come as a surprise, but you can visit Warsaw almost all year round. Late spring, summer, and early fall offer the most pleasant weather, but if you’re up for the challenge of surviving the low temperatures of pre-Christmas time, you’ll also discover that Warsaw is one of the best winter city breaks in Europe.
GETTING AROUND WARSAW
Since Warsaw’s Metro only has two lines, the popular ways to get around it are buses and trams. Read this full guide about how to get around Warsaw.
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