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Warsaw holidays are a good introduction to both Poland’s confident present and its beautiful, painstakingly reconstructed past. The city’s Old and New Towns are ideal for strolling, as is the elegant, café-lined Royal Way that connects them to the Wilanów Palace.
Museums such as the Fryderyk Chopin Museum are as good as the most modern in Europe, while it’s hard to beat the sweeping view from the top of the gaudy Stalinist Palace of Culture. Warsaw’s restaurants serve both hearty (and cheap) traditional specialities like Bigos hunter’s stew and fancy modern re-workings of Polish classics using local game and wild-gathered forest produce, while bars such as those around Nowy Świat serve hard-to-find local flavoured vodkas. Holidays in Warsaw needn’t stop at the city’s border. Nearby is the unspoilt Białowieża Forest, with its unique herd of bison, and the peaceful Mazurian Lakes. The grand Baltic city of Gdansk, Torun’s medieval university, Lublin’s colourful old town and Krakow, Warsaw’s rival as Poland’s cultural capital, all also within a few hours journey.