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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Poland > Warsaw

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Getting around Warsaw

Public transport

The Municipal Transport Board - ZTM (tel: 19115, in Poland only; www.ztm.waw.pl) operates the bus, tram and metro network, connecting all parts of Warsaw. Night buses converge on Ulica Emilii Plater, next to the Palace of Culture and Science.

Tickets, valid for all modes of transport, are available at Ruch and Relay kiosks, post offices and some shops and hotels. It is also possible to purchase tickets on board buses, but a surcharge applies. With every change of vehicle, you must punch a new ticket in the metal boxes inside the bus or tram, or before entering the platform on the underground.

One-day passes are valid for 24 hours after you first punch the ticket. Weekend passes and group weekend tickets (allowing up to five people to travel together) are also available. Students with an ISIC get a 50% discount and children under seven years of age travel free. Pickpockets operate on some routes (especially bus 175 to and from the airport).

Taxis

Taxis in Warsaw are metered and can be hailed on the street, although fares are usually cheaper if the taxi is ordered by telephone.

Reliable firms include MPT Radio Taxi (tel: +48 22 19 191, www.taximpt.com.pl), Halo Taxi (tel: +48 22 19 623, http://halotaxiok.pl) and Super Taxi (tel: +48 22 19 622, http://supertaxi.pl). Unofficial taxis should be avoided; only use a taxi with the telephone number displayed on the top. Tipping is usually around 10% of the fare.

Driving

In the past decade, traffic congestion in Warsaw has increased dramatically. Many of the city's drivers travel at high speeds and perform dangerous overtaking manoeuvres, which may trouble nervous visitors.

Be mindful of tramway lines when driving as the tracks are not always on a separate road area. At red lights, a small green arrow indicates that it is permissible to turn right, but priority must be given to cross traffic. At intersections without lights, traffic must stop for pedestrians once they have begun to cross at zebra crossings.

Paid street parking is in effect and there are some underground car parks in the city centre. There is also 24-hour parking around the Palace of Culture and Science.

Car hire

Drivers must be at least 21 or even 23 years old (depending on the company). There is no mandatory insurance, although collision damage waiver is advised. The major car hire providers in Warsaw are Avis (tel: +48 22 572 65 65; www.avis.pl), Budget (tel: +48 22 113 91 10; www.budget.pl) and Europcar (tel: +48 22 50 01 620; www.europcar.com.pl).

Bicycle hire

Warsaw is a flat city and has some wonderful cycling paths especially along the Vistula River, but beware that drivers are not supportive of cyclists sharing the road with them.

The city's bikeshare scheme, Veturilo (tel: +48 22 19 115; https://en.veturilo.waw.pl), has docking stations throughout Warsaw and runs in spring, summer and autumn.

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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.

Harenda Hotel

A well-priced accommodation in the heart of Warsaw, Harenda offers simple rooms equipped with a TV and safe. The lobby is welcoming and once you’ve checked in, you can climb the large wide staircase to find your room. Note that some of the rooms/suites have been rented out for business purposes (eg doctors' offices) and that some singles are on the small size. The hotel entrance is off Krakowskie-Przedmiescie to the left; you’re really paying for the location here.

Dom Literatury

A bargain for what it offers and the location, the 'House of Literature’ is – appropriately enough - the headquarters of the Polish PEN Club, an international association of writers. It’s on the third floor with no lift but the climb up several flights of steps is worth it for the wonderful views over the Old Town. The rooms are quite formal, with comfortable but old-fashion sofas and beamed ceilings.

Hotel Hit

It’s nothing to write home about but this budget hotel’s location near the bars and other nightlife venues of Praga make it a, well, hit with those coming to Warsaw to party. The clean, rather cosy, modern rooms are bland but perfectly functional and represent excellent value for money. Look on the website for weekend and other specials.

Maria Hotel

Away from the city centre, but handy to the city's Jewish sights and just a few tram stops from the Old Town, Maria Hotel is a small, family-run and family-friendly hotel with modern amenities and a decent restaurant on the premises. Rooms are generally big, bright, and airy, and all are en suite. It’s in a rambling old house with rooms set over three floors (no lift) with atmosphere in spades and a friendly, welcoming staff.