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Warsaw Travel Guide

About Warsaw

Poland’s capital Warsaw is a city of unshakeable stamina, a modern metropolis charged with history. The national beauty sweepstakes may have been won by Cracow years ago, and Gdańsk still claims the endless Baltic Sea, but neither matches Warsaw for its culture, verve and variety. Take note, too, that it has been earmarked as one of Europe’s cheapest cities for culture.

This is a large and sprawling metropolis of more than 1.7 million people, split into somewhat uneven halves by the Vistula River. Almost everything of interest to visitors is on the western side of its waters. Dominating the skyline here is the landmark Palace of Culture and Science, a “gift” from Stalin’s USSR in the 1950s. At 237m-high (778 ft), it’s still the tallest building in Poland for now.

It’s the distant past that gives Warsaw its main sights. The so-called Royal Route (Trakt Królewski), which runs south from the city’s Old Town, passes a number of historical landmarks, including the royal gardens of Łazienki Park and the 17th-century Wilanów Palace.

The Old Town itself, however, is the chief set-piece attraction. “Old” is something of a misnomer – badly damaged by WWII bombing, the area was painstakingly rebuilt with such success that it was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1980. Sights in and around the Old Town include the Royal Castle, St John’s Cathedral and the Citadel. Further afield, visit Warsaw Rising Museum for the story of the courageous men and women who rose up against their occupiers in WWII.

Not surprisingly for a city that was essentially rebuilt from the ground up, Warsaw offers an inordinate amount of green space. When it’s sunny, leafy parks, rowing lakes, outdoor cafés and al fresco concerts create a mood far removed from the dull, Communist-era images of Warsaw.

The nightlife, meanwhile, is some of the best in Eastern Europe, with a multitude of bars and clubs scattered across the city as well as more highbrow entertainment such as classical music concerts and opera.

Key facts

Population:
1750000
Latitude:
52.252573
Longitude:
21.007136
A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

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Mercure Warsaw Grand

 The Mercure Warsaw Grand is conveniently located in the city centre, only 5 minutes from the nearest metro and 15 from the nearest train station. The hotels facilities include a gym, bar/lounge area and a restaurant. Mercure Warsaw Grand also offer transportation to and from Warsaw airport.

Radissson Blu Centrum Hotel Warsaw

The rooms at this top-class hotel offer a choice of three styles of décor ranging from 'Maritime’ and 'Scandinavian’ to 'Italian’. Each style differs through its colour scheme, furniture and layout. The Italian style is most whimsical. Staff are accommodating, and there's a first-rate fitness centre in the basement, featuring a pool, fitness machines plus massage and beauty services.

Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw

Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw is a cut above the competition. Located just north of the Old Town in a quiet neighbourhood, it’s housed in a gorgeous 18th-century palace and filled with period furniture. But the hotel is modern where it counts, with sparkling new bathrooms and Wi-Fi connection throughout. Rooms are bright, breezy and decorated in eye-catching chocolate and beige.

Hotel Bristol

Looming over the river, this stately property preserves the feel of a classic 19th-century hotel. First built in 1619, it opened for guests in the late 1800s, and was the first hotel to have electricity in the city – earning it the name 'Electric Hotel'. It has hosted everyone from monarchs to Sigmund Freud. Today, expect a blend of traditional atmosphere with contemporary service.

Premiere Classe Varsovie

It lives up to its name in cleanliness and prime location (very close to Warsaw's main train station) but this is a straightforward 'tourist class/budget' hotel with few frills beyond rather cramped en-suite facilities and a colour TV with a satellite connection. Wi-Fi access is available. What you lose in character, you'll gain in saving zloty for more interesting pursuits.

Castle Inn

Castle Inn Oki Doki has plenty going for it. It's the only hotel within the limits of Warsaw's Old Town, is stumbling distance from the Royal Castle, and is housed in a 17th-century tenement house that miraculously survived WWII. Rooms (most of which are 3-star, a handful 4) are colourful ensembles, each sporting a unique and playful theme, such as 'Alice in Wonderland' or 'Oriental Express'. 'Viktor’ is named after a reclusive street artist, complete with artsy graffiti.