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Things to do in Warsaw

Explore Warsaw's beautiful bombed out buildings

The destruction of Warsaw's famous landmarks is a sad consequence of WWI but the likes of the restored Royal Castle (tel: +48 223 555 170; www.zamek-krolewski.pl) give an insight into the city's former splendour. Inside, the Great Assembly Hall is wholly impressive as are the National Hall's original artworks.

Get sand between your toes on an inland hike

Easily accessible from Warsaw, Kampinos National Park boasts the largest inland sand dunes in Europe. You may have sand between your toes but hiking boots are recommended when walking the park’s abundant trails through pine forests alive with beavers, lynx and elk.

Hit the slopes in the middle of summer

For skiing and snowboarding addicts, CSN Szczesliwice's (tel: +48 733 755 571; http://gorka-szczesliwicka.com/) 225m-long (738ft) all-season slope means you can do your thing even in July. Non-skiers should ride the Alpine Coaster; the exciting gravity-powered roller coaster boasts excellent views - if you can keep your eyes open.

Join the resistance and learn of life in occupied Poland

One of the most popular and important attractions in Poland, Warsaw Uprising Museum (tel: +48 22 539 7905; www.1944.pl) is unflinching in its retelling of the desperation under Nazi occupation. Learn of the resistance fighters' 1944 uprising and witness Warsaw's landmarks being obliterated in response, a sobering and essential visit.

Splash and skate at Warsaw's water park

In summer, cool off at Park Wodny Moczydło (tel: +48 22 598 9400; http://aktywnawarszawa.waw.pl), an enormous water park in the western district of Wola with indoors and outdoors pools and waterslides. In winter, the pools are turned into giant ice-skating rinks with skates are available for rent.

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City Highlight: Warsaw

Epic nightlife, rich history and fascinating culture make Warsaw, Poland’s capital, an exciting city to visit and explore

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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.