Warsaw Regional Info (App Version)
Warsaw is Poland’s capital and by some margin its largest city. Its turbulent history has seen it flattened and rebuilt, but today’s Warsaw places skyscrapers next to parks, next to beautiful old buildings and surrounds them all with culture and history.
Now one of the most popular destinations in Central Europe, Warsaw really does have something to offer everybody, from jet-setter to backpacker.
Warsaw’s symbol is a mermaid despite being 260km from the nearest sea.
The Palace of Science and Culture was a gift from Stalin to the people of Warsaw – who wanted a metro system…
Warsaw’s population of 1.8 million makes it Europe’s 9th largest capital.
According to legend, Warsaw takes its name from a fisherman, Wars, and his wife, Sawa, who lived by the Vistula.
Warsaw succeeded Krakow as Poland’s capital in 1596 and, apart from the period between 1795 and 1918 when the country ceased to exist, has remained so ever since. Located right in the heart of Poland, it is now one of the major cities of central Europe, with a large business district, lively student population and the seat of the Polish government.
The Old Town, which has been completely restored since its near-total demolition in World War II, consists of narrow cobbled streets surrounding the Royal Castle and Market Square. Its raised elevation also offers stunning views across the River Vistula.
From the Old Town you can take the Royal Route along Krakowskie Przedmiescie Street, past the Presidential Palace, a host of other palaces, the University of Warsaw campus and many swanky hotels and shops.
The New Town is where you’ll find the bulk of the city’s skyscrapers, and offers a 21st century experience of steel, glass and concrete. But you’re never very far from a green space, with notable parks being the Saxon Gardens – see the changing of the guard every hour at the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier – and the beautiful Lazienki Park, with its lake and free summertime Chopin concerts.
Across the River Vistula lies the district of Praga. Sustaining somewhat less damage during the war, Praga is perhaps the closest you’ll get to the Warsaw of a hundred years ago. It’s also the heart of ‘Alternative Warsaw’, with quirky bars and offbeat restaurants.
Warsaw has culture by the bucketload: opera, theatre, classical music, museums and art galleries. In recent years it has also become a centre for electronic music, making it a popular destination for hard-core clubbers. Some 60 museums range from the grand (National Museum), through the tragic (Warsaw Uprising Museum), to the quirky (the Museum of Caricature).
Eating out is a serious business, with world-class restaurants showcasing the best of Polish, haute cuisine, sushi and fusion. On the other hand, the fashionable street-food scene has really taken off, with artisan burgers and other takeaway delicacies for the hungry in a hurry.