DECEMBER IN WARSAW - THE UNDERRATED CAPITAL.
Warsaw in numbers:
Number of inhabitants: 1.7 million
Number of students: ~ 2million
Number of tourists: 9,65 million
By many, Warsaw is seen as an 'ugly,' post-war, poor eastern-Europe city.
It is not! It is an underrated city among travelers.
There are so many things to do,
so many places to visit,
so much beauty to see,
so many tastes to try,
and so much history to absorb.
Remember it is the city of students! The nightlife is pulsing, indefatigable along the Wisła River.
While traveling across many 'fancy' and famous cities, we forget about beautiful and underrated eastern side.
Polish people do know English! Especially students! English is a must, and it's first international language to learn in our education. Older people might be better in German and Russian. Moreover, this city is full of foreign students!
I'm getting crazy by the fact that people's reaction to Poland looks like:
--> 'Poland? No, I've never been there. What would I do there? People barely speak English in this country'.
So here are pictures of beautiful Warsaw and ten things to do and see!
1) Palace of Culture & Science (Pałac Kultury i Nauki)- Heart of Warsaw
Location: Pl. Defilad 1, four minutes walk from the central station
Price: Admission for the viewing level is 20/15PLN. Group ticket for more than ten people 15zł per person. You can purchase tickets online or buy at the entrance.
It's Warsaw’s most visible, the tallest building in Poland, located opposite the biggest mall of Warsaw Zołte Tarasy. In the middle of luxury hotels it's a jewel for a photo.
The Palace of Culture and Science is an iconic building left over from the Communist Era. It is well worth the small fee to go up to the viewing platforms that give a fantastic view over the city. At night the building is beautifully lit in various colors. It's such a good idea to take a stroll around the building.
It was built in 1955, and the initiator was Józef Stalin (Soviet politician). Besides the theatres, bars, and museums on the ground level, visitors are advised to explore the conference and commercial spaces. An old-style lift with a lovely lift attendant will take you to the viewing terrace which is on the 30th floor with a cafe where you can admire stunning views.
2) Cool piano crosswalk
Location: Emilia Plater Street, Warsaw; right next to the Palace of Culture & Science
The year 2010 was the year of the famous Polish composer and pianist Frederic Chopin. There were contests to create the most interesting 'chopinities' and to make classical music cool again! Chopin concerts, Chopin posters, Chopin benches, Chopin gadgets, Chopin murals.
What is white, black and stripy? Is it a crosswalk? Piano keys? Yes and yes!
3) Złote tarasy
Location: Złota 59 Street 00-120 Warsaw
Złote tarasy is the biggest mall in Warsaw. It's an ideal place for shopping lovers, full of restaurants, cafes, bars, supermarkets and local entertainment. It's located in the heart of Warsaw, right next to the Central Station, Palace of culture and Science.
There's a small outside Christmas market.
4) Old Town Market Place (Rynek Starego Miasta)
Location: Piekarska | Świętojańska, Warszawa 99-200, Polska
Take a stroll in the heart of the atmospheric Old Town. You can find a lot of polish with traditional art, food, and clothing at the Christmas markets. December’s atmosphere and the Christmas lights at night are astonishing.
The most impressive fact about this old town is that it was destroyed during the second world war and rebuilt based on old pictures. I recommend taking a stroll from the nearest metro station (Nowy Świat-Uniwersytet) through Krakowskie Przedmieście St.
5) Christmas markets and ice ring in the old market square.
6) Presidential Palace- a must visit spot
Location: Ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 46/48, Warsaw 00-325, Poland
Impressive building on the royal route. It is an immaculate looking building but no chance to visit. During the night it's beautifully lightened with different colors with Christmas tree on the building. Perfect place to take a picture.
The palace is used by protesters to draw the attention of those in power to their issues.
Make sure to visit at different times of the year, especially during Night at the Museum, when the Palace is lit up with animation. Or during Independence day when it is lit up like the Polish flag.
7) Castle Square (Plac Zamkowy)
Location: Junction ul. Miodowa and Krakowskie Przedmiescie, Warsaw, Poland
A colorful place in the very center nearby the Old town square. The lights in the square are made in a very professional way that makes you fall in love with the place. Just sit and enjoy watching the people moving around, soak up the atmosphere.
Check the balcony east; you can see National Stadium on the other side of Vistula river and then look at the road below with trams.
8) MULTIMEDIA FOUNTAIN PARK & Monument of Maria Skłodowska-Curie
Location: skwer I Dywizji Pancernej, 00-221 Warszawa
The fountains are quite beautiful, located very close to the old town, at the side of the river, it offers a good show, and it is nice to spend some relaxing time there in the park.
Show of laser lights and water absolutely not to be missed on summer and winter weekends, accompanied by music.
Water drops make up a movie screen showing a film, while lasers, lights, and music completes the presentation.
It is something entirely different from whatever else you'll see in Warsaw, so don't miss it. Showtimes vary throughout the year, so check in advance.
Monument of Maria Skłodowska-Curie
Located at the top of the hill near the Multimedia Fountain, this statue is pretty big. Maria Skłodowska-Curie is the first person in history to accomplish the feat of twice receiving a Nobel Prize. She if famous for discovering radioactive elements, radium and polonium.
9) Łazienki Park (Park Łazienkowski) & Palace and Theatre on the Island
Location: Al. Ujazdowskie, Warsaw;
A must visit, especially for Chopin fans! A sculpture of the Great Composer, Chopin, greets you at the cozy & spacious park.
A beautiful place to have a picnic & enjoy the peacefulness.
The gardens are unusual and magical. The light and the decorations are fantastic. Passing through the tunnel of lights with classical music you can easily start to dance a valse.
There are a lot of animals, like peacocks, squirrels, ducks, crows, etc. You can also find different structures, including a Roman theatre, a palace, a Greek temple, a Chinese garden and the Chopin monument.
It's beautifully lit during the night with a Christmas decorations.
10) National Stadium Ice Rink
Location: Aleja Poniatowskiego 1, 03-901 Warszawa
During winter the National Stadium serves as Poland's largest indoor ice skating complex.
More ice skating:
Ice rinks begin appearing around the Palace of Science and Culture and Złote Tarasy shopping center during the festive season. And don’t worry if you forgot to pack your skates. They can be hired for a few zloty.
Where to eat: Manekin, u fukiera, Marconi restaurant - hotel Bristol
One of my favourite restaurants in Poland is Manekin.
Check out: Menu in english.
This place is famous of pancakes. But! They're not just usual pancakes. You can eat spaghetti crepes, lasagne crepes, sweet and dry crepes. This place is very famous amongst students because regardless of it's amazing taste, it is also for students' pocket. You can fill up your stomach for just 20zł($4-6). I promise you'll not regret waiting in the queue! Pancake is big and it tastes like little drops of heaven. My sweet favourite crep is 'Ferrero' and dry one is spaghetti pancake with chanterelle mushrooms and cream.
Second place worth tasting is U Fukiera located in the old town. Restaurant is a live painting, created by Magda Gessler. Go and try famous polish kotlet schabowy (Breaded Pork Cutlet …of a monstrous size, served with cabbage).
If you are looking for something luxury, go to Marconi restaurant inside the Bristol Hotel.
Worth seeing: monument of a small insurgent (pomnik małego powstańsca)
The monument is dedicated to the youngest participants of the Warsaw Uprising. It stands illuminated at the end of a wide open plaza, guarded by two men and adorned with flowers.
Warsaw is very easily walkable, and for longer distances, you can hop on the metro. A single ride costs 3.40 Polish złoty ($0.85), and a 24-hour ticket good for unlimited rides costs 26 złoty ($6.50). Find more ticket options here.- http://www.ztm.waw.pl/?c=110&l=2
For more attractions click here.
Did you know that Warsaw has beaches? In the summer, hanging out at the river’s beaches is a favorite way to spend an afternoon (or evening, when the nightclub La Playa really gets going).
Warsaw is a worthy travel destination, and I encourage you to see it for yourself.
Have you been to Warsaw? What’s your take–top travel destination or total bore?