Last weekend I made a quick to Warsaw, Poland. I am not an expert on the place, by any means, but here’s a few tips based on my experience. I blogged about my visit with more photos here.
It’s cold. Dress more warmly than you would in Vienna. Like two extra layers!
Everything is being “reconstructed.” All the time. Unlike Austrians, Polish construction workers seem to work at any time of day or night, even (gasp) on Sundays. The main square in Old Town is currently being reconstructed, as is the city museum. You can still walk around the edges and visits the shops and restaurants. Websites were not accurate in terms of what was open and when. Call ahead if you are really counting on seeing something.
Lots of people speak at least a little English. This is very handy. Also, nearly everything related to tourism will have text in both Polish and English. No German. Nope, they are not doing that.
It’s much cheaper than Vienna. Restaurant meals are as much as 50 percent cheaper, depending on where you go. There is some interesting shopping, too. I’m already stocked up on amber and Polish pottery, so I didn’t buy anything, but I certainly could have…
It’s very walkable. The Old Town area is not very large, and flat, so stroller-friendly. There are lots of kids running around. I did not take any buses, but there were lots of them and they seem to run frequently. Taxis are not expensive: I paid about $16 to get all the way out to the airport, and that was more than my husband paid earlier in the week. The prices seem to be somewhat negotiable 🙂
The Warsaw Uprising Museum is very good. However, it is also very detailed. I wish I had read up on the Uprising before visiting, particularly because it was so crowded on Sunday (free admission) that it was difficult to see the exhibits in chronological order. It is great that the Polish people are so interested in their history. But, I’d recommend going on a paid day just because it probably wouldn’t be so crowded. Allow a good two hours to see everything, maybe more.
The Hotel Bristol is really, really nice. Not the cheapest (per diem or a government rate helps) but elegant, clean, comfortable and located right in Old Town. I’d go back in a heartbeat.
Try the pierogies. They are awesome. The beer is pretty good, too.
Reviewed by Kelly.