Spotlight On: Warsaw, Poland

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Share on LinkedIn

You would be forgiven for not immediately thinking of the Polish capital when one utters the phrase ‘Old Town charm’. But with just a few days to uncover and discover the city of Warsaw, Poland, I’m convinced this is one of the big cities that time, travellers, and perhaps even Europe has somehow in some way, forgotten.

Warsaw by World of Wanderlust

First Impressions: The Old Town

Upon landing at Warsaw International Airport I made a quick dash to the ATM, walked to the cab rank, and was ushered to a nearby cab by a young English speaking pole in uniform who promptly translated my hotel information to the cab driver. Despite all I had read online about arrivals in Warsaw, the whole process was incredibly smooth, fast, and most important, safe. It cost me 50 zloty to reach my hotel on the fringe of the Old Town.

I checked in to my room at the Hotel Mamaison Le Regina, Warsaw’s most celebrated luxury hotel. Due to a favourable exchange rate, I was able to book a room for no more than $100 a night, including a complimentary rom upgrade from booking online. The staff were incredibly welcoming and helpful, leading me to conclude that it was little wonder previous guests rave about this hotel as the best choice for luxury accommodation in Warsaw.

The Old Town itself was impossibly charming, particularly as I arrived at night and the streets were illuminated with an assortment of Christmas lights, decorations, as well as a gigantic Christmas tree! There is even a reasonably sized ice rink in the centre of the Old Town, as well as a few Christmas stalls during the month of December. Despite its reputation as one of Europe’s less attractive cities, the Old Town itself is reason enough to visit the city of Warsaw. It is incredibly underrated and I believe the only way to convince you any further is by the below travel snaps I took during my day exploring the Old Town!

Warsaw Architecture Warsaw_1 Warsaw by WOW Old Town Poland_Warsaw


Digging Deeper: A Communist Tour

On my second day in Warsaw I wanted to experience some history, culture, and local Polish cuisine. I booked a Communist Tour with Adventure Warsaw for 149 Zloty and they collected me that morning for a 3-4 hour day tour. I was piled in the back of an old communist van with four other visitors to the city and all in all the day was just as much fun as it was educational.

The tour stopped at a number of points of interest throughout the city, but the highlight of the tour was visiting Praga District, where we entered the ‘Communist Museum’ (created and operated by the same tour company). Here we were able to view different rooms that showed what life would have been like under communist rule. Finally we topped it off with a shot of Polish vodka and some biscuits. Ha!

The final stop of the tour was to visit a local Milk Bar and sample some really authentic Polish cuisine. I’m talking dumplings, bread, hearty dishes, and some horrible beetroot soup in a glass that I really could have done without!!!

Old Town Warsaw

Still Want More?

There’s a great range of museums and points of interest to visit whilst in Warsaw, Poland. I would highly recommend the Warsaw Uprising Museum, The Royal Route (following krakowskie przedmiescie), Wilanow Palace, and the Jewish Museum.

Elsewhere in Poland & Abroad:

If you’re looking to combine a visit to Warsaw with other destinations in Poland, I would highly recommend a visit to Krakow, Gdansk or even Wroclaw. Heading further East you could catch a night train to Kiev, Ukraine (via Lviv – also worth a stop). Even further East will take you into Russia, whereby I would strongly recommend visiting Moscow & St Petersburg, particularly if you’re a history buff like me!

You Might Also Like

    Arletta Cwalina
    March 31, 2016 at 6:23 am

    Also here you can find few more pictures from Warsaw and more places in Poland 🙂 And don’t forget about Masuria Lakes 😉

  • My Favourite European Cities of All Time | WORLD OF WANDERLUSTWORLD OF WANDERLUST
    February 4, 2016 at 4:21 am

    […] how much I loved Warsaw on my blog, then you’re missing out. Not to worry – you can read about Warsaw here. Having visited Poland for the first time at 17 years of age with the intention to see Krakow and […]

    Alex Anderson
    August 8, 2015 at 6:09 am

    You should come to Warsaw at summer. It’s one of the most green capital cities in Europe…

    Marcello Marchioli
    July 12, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    ahh the barszcz! I don’t eat beetroot so am not a fan, but the bialy (white) barszcz is nice. It seems any occasion is a good reason for a shot of vodka in Polska! I saw this first hand while staying in Poland with my girlfriends family. When friends come over, vodka, when friends leave, vodka. When you go to a wedding, VODKA!

    Warsaw is beautiful as is the rest of Poland. It’s difficult to pick one place to go so I suggest any one with intentions to travel to Poland allow a good amount of time to explore. It’ll most likely save you some money too and you won’t be let down 🙂

    July 7, 2015 at 2:54 am

    GREAT post! I loved it – the tour is a great option. Glad such an amazing travel blogger visited my beautiful country. Warsaw is a beaut but there are many other cities waiting to be uncovered.

    May 26, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Really glad to see that one of the most amazing traveler I’ve ever seen has visited my country ! I also recommend you exploring something smaller in Poland- the city of Lublin in the east part of Poland. Unfortunately it’s even more underrated than Warsaw and few people had a chance to soak up its charm. But it’s so beautiful, charming and historical city- if you are a history buff- ist’s definitely for you !

    Greetings from Poland 🙂

    May 15, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    great post! I have been living in Warsaw for few months now and I am discovering it all the time. There is so much to see and learn about! 🙂

  • The Cheapest Cities in Europe to Fly Into | WORLD OF WANDERLUSTWORLD OF WANDERLUST
    May 4, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    […] Related: Spotlight on: Warsaw, Poland […]

    Jane from Krakow Adventure
    January 26, 2015 at 4:18 am

    I also recommend you Zakopane. You can visit winter resorts. Zakopane is charming with ski slopes and highland cottage and pubs ofcourse:-)

  • The 7 Cities to Stay in Luxury Hotels for Less - WORLD OF WANDERLUSTWORLD OF WANDERLUST
    January 20, 2015 at 12:14 am

    […] The Polish capital is severely underrated as a tourist destination, but it certainly won’t stay a secret for long. Warsaw’s Old Town is packed with oodles of charm and the city as a whole has a unique history that will intrigue and delight simultaneously. The Hotel Regina is a fine example of luxury for less and is the great place to position yourself for a short break in Warsaw. Read more: Spotlight on Warsaw, Poland. […]

    January 12, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Warsaw is a beauty! And I’m not saying that just because I’m Polish 😉

    January 12, 2015 at 2:23 am

    i did that same tour when i was there for a study abroad program a couple of summers ago! it was a big group of college kids, so you can imagine that shot of vodka was a welcome addition 🙂 and to whoever is about to travel to warsaw…do this tour!!!

    January 11, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Glad you enjoyed Warsaw,pity about “beetroot” soup but barszcz(beetroot”) soup made properly i think is good, all the best to you lonnie girl enjoy yourself

    January 11, 2015 at 12:01 am

    I really want to explore more of Poland, I’ve only been to one little town when visiting for a day from Prague. I can’t decide though between Warsaw, Krakow and Wroclaw.

    What would you think about visiting Kiev at the moment though? I really want to go, but not sure whether the situation there is too tense and could flare up easily.

    January 10, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Such a beautiful city! I wonder if Warsaw was considered beautiful when it was built, or is it that we like heritage now?

    January 9, 2015 at 12:54 pm


    January 9, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    You should also try to visit Poznan. My mom’s from Poland, and we visit our family once a year. I’ve been i Warsaw once, and also just once i Poznan. I think Poznan is prettier and nicer than Warsaw, but I’ve head that Wroclaw should be even nicer!

    January 9, 2015 at 8:39 am

    I’ve heard great things about Poland and can’t understand why it doesn’t get the attentive it deserves! Great post.

    Silly Medley: Lifestyle and Travel

    Charlotte Sophia Roberts
    January 9, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Poland looks so nice! Would love to visit it one day! 🙂

    January 9, 2015 at 6:53 am

    Warsaw looks utterly charming, it’s definitely been added to my travel wish list!

    January 9, 2015 at 6:23 am

    How nice it is to read about different people travelling through your country. Yesss, I’m your Polish reader! 🙂 To be honest, for a long time I couldn’t understand Warsaw magic. Now I think it’s mostly connected with II world war history but some other too. I’d recommend you to watch some Polish movies about it. 🙂 And at least, I’m Team Cracow, it’s my favourite city. If you are travelling, just send me an e-mail, I can make a mini-guide-woth-seeing-things. 🙂

    Marie @ Marie Away
    January 9, 2015 at 4:54 am

    Really, the architecture is gorgeous. I’m surprised by the affordability!
    I know very little of Polish food, but beetroot soup in a glass sounds less than appetizing! I’m sure the rest was delicious!

    January 9, 2015 at 4:22 am

    I very much enjoyed this post, as I recently gained a new friend who was born and raised in Poland! This was a nice insight to a town from his home country. Thanks Brooke! 🙂
    Mel xxx

    January 9, 2015 at 4:04 am

    Lovely photos! Warsaw looks so picturesque.

    January 9, 2015 at 3:14 am

    its on my list for 2015, i would love to take a trip. Fantastic photos!

    January 9, 2015 at 1:31 am

    Warsaw is definitely worth a visit! Will be passing through on my next backpacking adventure!

    January 9, 2015 at 12:06 am

    I had heard of Warsaw, but never had the opportunity to read about it in detail. I love exploring underrated towns and places. Those places are quieter and are much more beautiful.

    January 8, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    It is such a beautiful place! I visited Poland in 2013, and loved it there! Calm, clean and with such lovely people! Such a contrast to other capitals like London!

    January 8, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    We visited Warsaw several years ago and really enjoyed it. There’s such a big contrast architecturally between the Old Town and some of the newer areas – definitely worth visiting!

    January 8, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    Warsaw is a nice place to visit. I was there recently for a training, but managed to squeeze in just about enough visiting.

    The beetroot soup is different, the best one you can have in Krakow. From all the places i visited, definitely Poland is in the top 3. people are friendly, prices are OK, the towns are beautiful and safe… a Go-to place any time of the year 🙂

    Inge - November Morning
    January 8, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    Sounds interesting! I’ve been to Krakow in Poland, and that’s also a really nice city. I guess I will visit Warsaw sometime as well then!

    January 8, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    I’ve been to St. Petersburg and Moscow. They are really amazing, but now I really want to go to Warschaw. It looks so colourful.

    Sammi Wanderlustin'
    January 8, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    I’m here right now! I would recommend Pierogi for everyone, there are tons of places here to try it. Try Zapiecek or Pierrogeria. I love it so much! There is so much to do here, if you want to (i’m actually just taking a break since I’m sick) but did the free walking tour yesterday which was really good and informative, and then today i plan on doing the Jewish history one. Just taking it easy for a couple of days, as I said. I feel I’ve seen tons this way, anyway!

    January 8, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    I agree that Warsaw is worth a visit, but when you’re first in Poland I would also hit up the tricity area. Since the train fares are low it is worth taking the time to go to especially Gdansk and Sopot. If you visit in summer you can enjoy a beautiful sand beach and nice architecture. Personally I have spent every summer in this are since birth and I couldn’t love it more

    A Life Passport
    January 8, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Warsaw looks beautiful! I was in Krakow for a day, and I loved it – regretted not spending more time in Poland. And I often get serious cravings for Polish dumplings.
    Ah well there’s always the next trip!

    January 8, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    It’s really nice to see that you are posting about my country and you like it. I would advice to visit Kraków and my hometown – Zakopane. It’s located in Tatra mountains and I really love it’s atmosphere. You can go skeeing, wandering in the mountains ( I reccomend Kosicieliska and Chochołowska valley and lake Morskie Oko), eat grilled oscypek on main street -Krupówki, or go therms and have a relaxing bath in thermal water. 🙂

    January 8, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    I was just looking at air fares for this city actually. It looks amazing!

    Best holiday destinations
    January 8, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    such a fantastic views. thanks for sharing nice views.

    January 8, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    I’m very happy that you decided to visit and describe Poland

    January 8, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    I totally agree that Warsaw is a city worth visiting…. IMHO the Warsaw Uprising Museum is one of the best museums anywhere. But I think it’s important to know that the Old Town, while charming, is not original. It was destroyed as was most of Warsaw toward the end of World War II and rebuilt after the war to look as original as possible. That’s one reason my favorite Polish city is Krakow. Charm and beauty all over the place. And good food too!

      July 16, 2015 at 12:44 am

      indeed Warsaw was almost completely destroyed and the old town was largely reconstructed, but visitors who care about such things should know that most of the basements are original and as old as the 13th century and on the north side (Dekert side) of the rynek almost all of the buildngs are original with even some original interiors from 13th century – this is where the Warsaw history museum is. Also, the districts south of Jerozolimska Street have over 50% original pre-war architecture as Nazi soldiers were housed here, a big chunk was destroyed sadly by communists because buildngs were too rich and bourgeois. Still tons to see in Warsaw, I especially like the Royal Palace at Wilanow and Lazienki Park, all original. Cheers

    Occasionally I may...
    January 8, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    sounds truly charming