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Flights to Warsaw
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The confident capital of one of Europe’s largest nations, Warsaw is hardly short of things to do. Almost totally destroyed in World War II, the city’s Old Town, New Town, Krakowskie Przedmieście and Nowy Świat areas have been reconstructed so beautifully it’s hard to believe they’re not centuries old.
Warsaw is now full of good restaurants, cafes, small galleries and has an eclectic clutch of museums, ranging from serious international institutions like the Chopin Museum to local oddities such as the Neon Museum. Its shops sell high quality Polish crafts at places like Cepelia and delicious local cakes and bread at the Hala Mirowska market. Experimental Warsaw restaurants like Kurt Scheller’s show there’s much more to modern Polish food than dumplings and potatoes, while the city’s nightlife veers from glamorous spots like Foksal B to edgy hipster bars around Plac Zbawiciela and Ulica Zabkowska.
The streets of Warsaw’s UNESCO-listed Old Town are a sight in their own right, with the Old Market Place lined with colourful 17th-century merchants’ houses and some of the city’s best restaurants. The nearby renaissance Royal Castle has been refitted with much of its original furniture, while part-ruined Ulica Próżna is one of the few places where Warsaw still has its wartime appearance, with shrapnel-scarred tenements providing an eerie reminder of the past.
Warsaw’s Filharmonia Narodowa (National Philharmonic) has been hosting classical concerts since 1909, while the Teatr Dramatyczny’s productions can be so visually brilliant that language isn’t a barrier. For more lowbrow fun, Foksal 19’s lounge and nightclub attract both Warsaw’s bright young things and its paparazzi. The Śródmieście district’s Plac Zbawiciela (Saviour Square) is considered the city’s hippest spot for bars, including the attic space at grungy, student friendly Plan B. The Pawilony arcades behind Nowy Świat contain 25 unique little bars hidden down two passages. Across the river in the Praga neighbourhood, Ulica Zabkowska hosts a set of arty bars and clubs with a bohemian twist.
Hala Mirowska is Warsaw’s central market hall, worth visiting for its 19th-century architecture as well as its fresh bread, cakes and produce. For high quality Polish ceramics, wood carving and folk art, try the well-established Cepelia in Plac Konstytucji. International fashion brands such as Burberry and Max Mara cluster around nearby Plac Trzech Krzyży, while the Bracia Łopieńscy bronze foundry has been making excpetional lamps, candlesticks and picture frames since 1868.
Kurt Scheller’s Restaurant shows the refined side of Warsaw’s food scene, with an Art Deco dining room and a menu that mixes Polish and Asian influences. Nowy Świat’s Restauracja Polska is a more traditional, folksier approach to Polish food, serving dishes such as roast boar with crispy dumplings in a homely, flower-filled décor. For a break from Polish food, try tiny six-table Dżonka’s pan-Asian menu or Ulica Wilcza’s Bacio, with its Italian home cooking and eccentric, over-the-top décor.