Warsaw is a city with a turbulent past, almost entirely destroyed but has managed to rise from the ashes.
Warsaw in these two days has captivated us. We could feel the people’s friendliness, appreciate the beauty of its main squares, and enjoy the Christmas decorations and gastronomy.
In this blog, I will tell you about our visit to the capital and our Poland travel guide. If you want to know the itinerary of our week in Poland, read our entire post.
How to Get to Warsaw?
We arrived in Warsaw on a Friday afternoon at Modlin airport. We traveled the first days of December on a long weekend. Get flight tickets here.
We expected it to be cold since I had been watching the weather forecast since we bought our plane tickets. I am one of those people who enjoys winter, especially when there is snow.
When we arrived, the first thing we did was buy bus tickets to go to the city center. They cost about 33 zlotys (8,25€). To make the calculation, you must divide it by four.
The airport was small, so we had time to buy the tickets and get to the bus. We arrived a little before 8 pm, and the bus left at 8:10 pm. But it was better to buy the tickets online when we arrived. There were only 4 seats left!
The bus drops you off at the parking lot in front of the Palace of Culture and Science. From there, we returned to the hotel only after stopping to take pictures!
Click the link to book a transfer before your trip.
Where to Stay in Warsaw
We stayed at Hampton Inn by Hilton, a beautiful, modern, and well-maintained Hotel. Book a room in the Hampton Inn by Hilton here.
We checked in and ate dinner at a restaurant that serves Polish food. We went by cab, and it cost us 14 zlotys.
We had dinner at Portretowa, a restaurant in the Stare Miasto or Warsaw’s historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage. We loved it!
The whole place was embellished with Christmas decorations. The food and service were excellent; they only had about 7 or 8 tables. Super recommended!!!
We went back to the hotel for a walk around the city. It seemed to us that Warsaw was a very safe city. Wear these travel shoes to make your walking tours convenient.
Things to Do in Warsaw
On the second day in Warsaw, we had a guide for the whole day named Iza. The guide picked us up at the hotel, and we toured Warsaw as if we were locals, some on foot and some by public transport.
The first stop was the visit to the Palace of Culture and Science. We went up to the 30th floor and enjoyed 360º views of Warsaw while Iza told us what we were seeing. The Vistula River runs through Poland, the PGE national stadium, the different buildings, etc.
Our guide, Iza, showed us around the city, and as we toured Warsaw, she told us about what had happened in each place.
We toured the Warsaw Ghetto, and Iza showed us the only four surviving buildings that are now being restored from the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
From there, we went to the POLIN Museum, which tells the life, culture, and history of the Jews in Poland. There is a record of their arrival in the country through the trade routes in the 10th century, more than a thousand years ago.
It is fascinating because it interactively tells the story. It has 8 galleries that explain the life of the Jews from their first encounters to the present.
With a guide, we learned the most important details. Without a guide, it is advisable to visit with an audio guide to take advantage of what you see. It is advisable to have enough time to go through it, at least two hours.
We visited the Royal Castle and needed to be early. The castle was rebuilt entirely, maintaining its original style, since the Nazi occupation destroyed almost all of Warsaw. You can buy the tickets to the castle in advance here.
It is now a museum but was once the residence of the kings of Poland. We can see the works of art saved from World War II because they were hidden before the Germans arrived.
You can see two Rembrandts: “The Girl in a Frame” and “The Father of the Jewish Bride.” The visit to the royal apartments, the Throne, and other royal rooms makes it worthwhile.
Visit The Square Of The “Little Mermaid”
Legend has it that there were two mermaids, one headed for Copenhagen and the other for Warsaw.
The one who arrived in Warsaw was captured by a merchant, who kept her locked up and earned money from the mermaid’s songs.
This is how a Polish fisherman fell in love with the mermaid and set her free. She, in the form of gratitude, became the guardian of Poland. For this reason, she is seen with a shield and a sword.
The castle square at this time of the year has an ice skating rink around the little mermaid statue, and the Christmas market square stalls with their lights complete the decoration.
In the afternoon, we went to the Wilanow Gardens. We could see the light and music show prepared for the Christmas season. It is ideal traveling to Warsaw with kids. Here is a short video where you can see some of the scenes.
Where to Eat in Warsaw?
After the POLIN Museum, we went to the center to grab a bite to eat and then visited the castle.
We ate at Zapiecek restaurant, which specializes in “Pierogi,” a traditional Polish food. They are like large ravioli or small pies with various fillings. The most famous is the “Ruskies.”
We tried them pan-fried when they are more similar to empanadas, and the other version is boiled, similar to ravioli.
A Brief History of Warsaw
Traveling to Poland feels like walking through the history of Europe. You learn about the invasions, wars, and murders that happened there happened less than 70 years ago.
Poland in the 18th century was divided into three parts. The Russian Empire, Prussia, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire took a piece of Poland. When the First World War came, they became a single independent country again, although smaller than it was at the time.
It seems that the Russians and Germans did not forgive this. When the Second World War came, the Germans invaded from the west and the Russians from the east.
During World War II, we already know everything that happened. The Nazis persecuted and murdered Poles, Jews, Gypsies, and anyone who did not fit into their principles.
They destroyed 90% of Warsaw. Its reconstruction was based on photographs and paintings of the city that were saved from being destroyed.
The Second World War ended, and the communists arrived and stayed until 1989.
How to Get Around Warsaw?
It is often necessary to use public transport, which works well and is cheap, to move around the large city of Warsaw.
We have used the subway, bus, and streetcar. It was a good experience, but you must know the stops because the names are complicated!!!
You can also take a taxi. It is cheap if it has the name of the place where you want to go written on it, from how it’s written to how it is pronounced…
Warsaw is one of the safest cities we have ever visited, but some things may happen during your trip. It can be lost luggage due to the December flights or health emergencies because of the cold.
In another post, I tell you about our visit to Warsaw on Sunday and our train trip to Krakow. Book train tickets here.
If you want to contact our guide, her name is Izabela, and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
We thank the Polish and Warsaw Tourist Office for showing us some of their cities.
Plan Your Trip to Poland
- Ultimate 7-Day- Poland Itinerary
- Visit Warsaw’s Ghetto
- What to See in Krakow in 4 Days
- Visiting Auschwitz from Krakow
- Visiting the Salt Mines from Krakow
- Where to Sleep in Krakow
- Visiting Zalipie and Tarnow from Krakow
Last Updated on 8 September, 2023 by Veronica
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Vero, a seasoned traveler, has explored 25 countries and lived in five, gaining a rich perspective and fostering an infectious passion for travel. With a heart full of wanderlust, Vero uncovers the world’s hidden gems and shares insights, tips, and planning advice to inspire and assist fellow adventurers. Join Vero and let the shared passion for travel create unforgettable memories.