Warsaw

Aerial view of Castle Square in Warsaw.
Overview

You'll be impressed by Warsaw's Stalinist showpieces like the Palace of Culture and Science, which towers over the city centre. But also explore Warsaw's UNESCO World Heritage Old Town from the striking riverfront facades to its cobbled backstreets. Enjoy gentle strolls in leafy 17th-century Lazienki Park, and as the sun goes down, sample some local pierogi dumplings and enjoy late-night cocktails in city-centre bars.

Background

In the middle of Warsaw, you'll see Poland's tallest building, the Palace of Culture and Science, built in the 1950s. Warsaw was left in ruins in 1944, so you'll be amazed to see the medieval streets and restored Baroque buildings in the Old Town. To the south you'll find major shopping streets like the upmarket Nowy Swiat and beyond that the former royal enclave of Lazienki Park and Palace. Across the River Wisla is Praga, a pre-war suburb that is now experiencing an artistic revival.

First-time visit

See all of Warsaw unfold before you by taking a zippy lift up to the viewing platform on top of the impressive Palace of Culture and Science. Don't miss the UNESCO-listed Old Town, a haven of winding cobbled streets and charismatic cafes. Tour the renovated Baroque Royal Castle, which houses salvaged artworks and furnishings from the original Castle, as well as two Rembrandt masterpieces. Don't miss the Warsaw Rising Museum, which recounts the story of 1944's doomed anti-Nazi rebellion.

Return visit

Trace Warsaw's wartime history by tracking down the remaining segments of the Ghetto wall, which imprisoned the Jewish population during the Nazi occupation. Or visit Pawiak Prison, a former Tsarist jail where Polish political prisoners were interred and murdered by the Nazis. Turn your attention to Polish art at the Zacheta National Gallery of Art, next to the 17th-century Saxon Garden. Visit the elaborate yellow and white Baroque Wilanow Palace, known as the Polish Versailles. Then head to the Chopin Museum, home to a number of personal belongings of 19th-century Romantic composer Chopin, who was born in Warsaw.

airports

Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport

Essentials

Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport is the busiest airport in Poland, handling more than half of the nation's air traffic. Nine million passengers pass through the airport annually, a figure that is rising rapidly as Poland cements its status within the EU. In spite of a recent programme of expansion and modernisation, the airport remains compact and user friendly, with none of the snaking walkways found in Europe's larger airports. Located just 10 kilometres south-west of central Warsaw, journey time to the centre often hinges on the traffic, though will rarely take more than 15 to 30 minutes.

Airport Facts

Airport code
WAW
Airport website
Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport website
Airport tel
+48 22 650 4220
No. of terminals
Two
Distance from city centre
10 km (6 miles) south-west of central Warsaw.
Transport between terminals
Terminals 1 and 2 are located within five minutes' walk of each other.
Airport parking
The airport has four car parks, including short stay and long stay; all four are within five minutes' walk of the terminals. For a full list of fares check the airport website.
Time zone
GMT +1 (+2 in summer).
Useful tips
Poland's busiest airport it might be, but Warsaw Frederic Chopin still has a long way to go before it's on par with other European capitals' airports. Food and drink options are poor and overpriced; travellers are best advised to eat beforehand.

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