I just back last night from 6 nights/5 days in Warsaw and was pleasantly surprised. Tom from Somewhere Else, USA had mentioned he enjoyed Warsaw very much and wished he'd spent more time there. I understand that now! I've been to Prague (2x) and Budapest and I have to say I very much enjoyed Warsaw. I know a lot of people get turned off by the crowds in Prague and also at times in Budapest. There were slight crowds this past weekend (nothing like Prague) but we didn't mind because it was mostly Russian and other Eastern European tourists which was a completely different experience (and it actually added to it). There was also a street festival going on that we really enjoyed but overall, the old town and new town are not to be missed along with the wonderful parks.
I am headed to Krakow tonight from Prague, and was considering a day and a half in Warsaw, you may have just convinced me.
Brannon - We had considered a day trip to Krakow while in Warsaw but decided against it so we could fully enjoy the city. (I also got input from people I knew that have been to Krakow - they told me to save for another trip so that I could visit the concentration camps.) Let me know about any questions about what to see etc. I ripped out the RS pages for Warsaw, bought the Frommers and used the "In Your Pocket Guide" which my hotel had provided. Frommers was the least helpful of the books. Have a great time either way!
I just booked my train reservation, as I had seen the camps and much of Krakow in my 21/2 days. I leave at noon tomorrow, and decided to splurge and stay at Westin, which was way too cheap for 2 nights to pass up, better than hostel I am in now. What should I not miss? As I did not intend to go here. I have the Rick Eastern Europe book and Let's Go Eastern Europe with me.
Thank you for the Trip Report Ali! Just curious, did you fly into Warsaw and how did the costs for food and accommodations compare to Prague and other large European cities?
Hi Brannon -
Hopefully the Westin will have a copy of an "In your pocket guide" in your room. If not, I think the Warsaw section of Eastern Europe should be sufficient surprisingly and ask about festivals going on - looks like Warsaw summer jazz days will be going on during your stay. Your a bit of a walk to the old town and new town but it's totally doable. I didn't get a handle on public transportation as I really was trying to stay on foot (for exercise mostly) but I think you might want to think about the buses and trams from where you are. The hotel will be able to help with that I'm sure. Definite not misses are walking through the old town, new town and the royal way - RS does a good job in the Warsaw section of a walking tour which I actually followed.
- Royal Castle tour
- Going in all the churches (all different especially since one of them has Chopin's heart in it - it's in the book).
- Tomb of the unknown solider was interesting (the soldiers were mostly b/c they kept smirking at each other)and next to Saxon Park.
- Tazienki park (the walk was interesting b/c all the embassies are down that way and most (except the US of course) were quite beautiful) but figure out the tram.
- Eat the ice cream (it's amazingly creamy - the short fat cone, not the tall skinny ones - I think they were frozen yogurt), try the rose jelly filled donut, have drinking chocolate at E Wedel, Podwale Piwna Kompania is a good beer hall to eat at
Hope this helps!
We flew from Boston to Warsaw but had a layover in Helsinki for 9 hours. We took the very easy to find (and cheap) bus to downtown, hung out in Helsinki for 7 of those hours and flew to Warsaw.
I can't speak to the cost of accommodations in Warsaw since I tagged along with the boyfriend for a business trip and we stayed at Intercontinental but can speak to the food costs compared to Budapest and Prague.
It's cheaper to eat than Prague but not as cheap as Budapest. We actually ate at a couple of really really nice restaurants ("Frida" in our hotel was one) which were really pricey for Polish standards but a 300 ZLN meal cost us $95 USD...for what we had (liquor, meal and dessert) we thought was a deal and that was a pricey place. Otherwise an entree was more like 20-30 zln, depending where you went. We didn't try the milk bars (cafeterias) or try to find cheaper food but I'm sure it was there.
We shopped (he forgot his jeans...) at the mall and found generally the costs were about the same - designer jeans were expensive there as they are here. The jewelery (amber) stores in the old town were low-priced and I got a scarf that in USD was about $3 whereas in Prague the same scarf would have been $12 USD (I came home with about 5 just a few weeks before).
Excellent info Ali.
Thanks, I leave in 3 hours for Warsaw.
I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay in Warsaw! You mentioned a street festival, that's one of the things I loved about Warsaw and Krakow, there was always something going on - sometimes planned sometimes spontaneous. And the Old Town and "New" Town are as inspiring as they are pretty. It's staggering to think about how Warsaw was rebuilt after being destroyed during the war.