Warsaw: sightseeing, public transport and tips
January 1, 1970
by Polina Buyanova
I’ve never had an aim to visit Poland. I wanted to visit the Czech Republic, Prague in particular. But one day in 2012 I had a reason to visit this country: my boyfriend bought a ticket to the concert of Coldplay which took place in Warsaw. And we decided to go there together and combine both countries: the Czech Republic and Poland in our trip.
It was my first independent trip, without parents, without any travel agency. Everything we found by ourselves: tickets, places to stay, places to visit. And I gonna share this experience now.
Below you can find information on the major travel destinations in the capital of Poland. Here you will find budget tips, money saving advice, things to see and do.
Small info about how to travel through Poland
Bus carriers “Operators” and “Neobus” are great for traveling around Poland.
Ticket price starts at 1 Euro, if you book in advance you can easily book a flight, for example, to Krakow or Krakow-Wroclaw for just 5-10 PLN.
The bus trip takes longer time than the train, but the tickets are cheaper. It makes sense to use the bus only for short sections (50 kilometers) in southern Poland, in the mountains (Tatry). Where train speed slower than buses.
For planning your bus trip in Poland, please visit the CheckMyBus, and in order to calculate any public transport in cities use website “Jak Dojade”.
History of Warsaw
Warsaw had been almost completely destroyed during the second world war, 80% of the capital of Poland was bombed
Historical houses, many small souvenir shops and narrow streets that is what, as usual in Europe, lead to the Central Square. But all these old items– recovered
The old town was restored according to the paintings of 17-18 centuries and was included in the list of UNESCO world heritage site, as an example of a thorough restoration of the destroyed heritage!
And I can’t tell you from the first glance that all these sights-new buildings
Warsaw Sightseeing Pass
The standard tourist card of Warsaw has a small difference from those which offered by most European capitals. It applies only to visits to the main attractions but does not entitle you to travel on public transport.
The card where public transport is included is a little more expensive (2,5 or 7 euros depending on a number of days).
But along with Warsaw Sightseeing Pass, you will receive a detailed guide, and the opportunity to ride the tour bus Hop on Hop off.
You can buy a card in one of the tourist offices or online.
Free city tours
In Polish cities “Free Tours” are very popular. For more details, just search in Google – * name of city * Free Tours and get information about the free tours.
In Warsaw, for example, information can be found here.
There are different themes: Warsaw, Communist Warsaw, Historic Centre of Warsaw, etc. But there you can also find paid tours, such as “Food and beer Warsaw”
But please note that guided tours are in English. Not everyone can manage it.
But at least the possibility to have free City tour makes you a bit gladder.
You cannot ignore the Royal castle on Castle square in Warsaw.
And Yes, it was assembled literally stone by stone after World War II. In the restored form the Castle was presented to the world in 1979.
The original castle was built in the 15th century, today it is a Museum with a collection of paintings, in particular, paintings with the image of old Warsaw. Here you can admire tapestries, porcelain, and antique clocks.
We took the audio guide, but I did not have enough patience to listen until the end. I have up after the first 20 exhibits probably.
Lifehack for budget travelers: free access to the Museum on Sundays.
Royal Lazienki Park
I recommend you to take the time to look at the Royal Lazienki Park. Its territory is 76 acres right in the heart of Warsaw. Currently, this Park is one of the most grandiose local historical complexes
Initially, the Park was conceived as a natural reserve but only whites and peacocks are main habitats of this Park as of now.
Speaking of peacocks! Very surprising to see them just walking in the Park! There is a beautiful Palace staying on the water in the Park, an amphitheater and various museums. Their visit will cost you some money, but in the Park, you can relax without spending any money, a walk by itself in the Park is a pleasure already.
Small tip for fans of cultural pastime
From mid-may to end of September every Sunday to Lazienki Park, you can listen to the Chopin concerts for free twice a day (at 12:00 and 16:00)
Honor and glory to the composer in everything!
The most important sight of Warsaw — Wilanów Palace
I must say locals are very proud of this Palace.
Previously it was a residence of the kings, and now the monument of baroque, combining elements of Polish, Italian and French architecture. The Palace is surrounded by carefully manicured Gardens and numerous sculptures.
We didn’t visit the Palace since we are not the fans of the art. But we walked around the Palace, there’s a river in that area, a place to sit on the riverbank, where you can meditate in silence.
How to get to Wilanów Palace by public transport
You can get to Wilanów Palace by city buses number 116 and 180, you should pass on the last stop Wilanow. Travel time no more than an hour. Buses go directly from the Church of St. Anne.
As I remember, we bought tickets back to the city Centre through special vending machines that located on the bus stops.
But note that the machines are not on each stop, so take care of it in advance.
Tickets for public transport you should buy in newsagents — they are cheaper than drivers sell.
Tickets need to be chosen carefully. There are several types of tickets available: disposable (day and night), day, hour, week, day group, weekend and holiday tickets, and tickets are to be validated immediately after planting.
Those who need public transport, please visit the website below.
Website has an English version
Bicycles in Poland
I think bicycles in Poland can feel comfortable. The sidewalks are often divided into two parts — for people on foot and on wheels. A bike lane is better not to step on, you can get hurt by bicycles!
There are automated bike rental stations In Warsaw. The system is like in Paris or in London — first 20 minutes are free, up to 1 hour — 1 PLN, more than 1 hour- more expensive. You can pick up a bike on the one stop and return on another one.
I know that in Wroclaw and Krakow this system is also existing.
Viewpoints in Warsaw
In Warsaw, we found several viewing platforms. One of them is the Bell tower of St. Anne’s Church
The Church itself is located on the Castle square and Krakowskie przedmieście. It was rebuilt many times in its history, and that’s relatively recently acquired its former shape.
The entrance costs 5 PLN for a normal ticket, and for students, 4 PLNTower is not so big, so to climb it you can very quickly and effortlessly. It offers good views of Castle square and Old town, respectively.
This high building became a gift from the Soviet nation to the poles after the war. Stalin decided to build it free of charge in Warsaw
It is said that Stalin offered a metro to choose from, but the poles chose the skyscraper which was constructed according to the type Stalin’s skyscrapers today in Moscow, the tallest building in Poland — 235 meter high Palace of culture and science.
Another observation deck is located on the 30th floor of Palace of culture and science, a Stalinist skyscraper that looks like a building of the Foreign Ministry or Moscow State University in Moscow.
To get to the site, you need to enter via the main entrance from the East wing of the building. Ticket for students is 14 PLN. Usual about 20 PLN.
In my opinion, better to go there in the evening when the night lights light up, because of the view on the highway and modern buildings, Department stores.
There is the only one city in Poland which has is Warsaw. The second train line was opened quite recently in 2015.
The fare is around 3.4 PLN (for travel over 20 minutes) or 4,4 PLN for 1 trip without a line change.
If you travel a lot around the city, better to buy a daily for 15 zlotych and use it in all types of transport in the capital.
In the capital of Poland, we saw benches with the audio system installed performing the music of composer Frederic Chopin. On the seat of “Chopin” bench placed button, after pressing this button within 30 seconds the music of Frederic Chopin starts to play. 14 granite benches are installed all along the specially designed tourist route “In the footsteps of Chopin in Warsaw”. There is a map of this route drawn on each bench.
This, of course, a symbol of honoring Frederic Chopin by Poland. These benches are installed in order to make creations of composer and tourists a bit closer.
Cinema in Poland
In Poland, all the movies in cinemas except the cartoons are shown without dubbing with subtitles. Perhaps this is one reason why locals have good knowledge and skills of the English language. When I lived in the Netherlands, for example, I tried it by myself. There are also original movies shown in cinemas. And that’s cool, I think! It’s not a secret for anybody that in Russia people do not speak English very well in general. When I communicate with foreigners, they are often surprised by my speech, because Russian tend to shrug and say, “I don’t understand”. But knowing the language makes life much easier while traveling. At least it adds mobility and you have the ability to navigate in a foreign country and the Travel Agency is not required. It’s not only about English (in Portugal English language doesn’t really help). Don’t be afraid to make a mistake or look foolish! The development of any skill is impossible without mistakes. But it is much better to develop and get bonuses than to do nothing in this direction and hope for others. Agree with me?
There is a famous Library of the Warsaw University known as a Library with a Botanical Garden on the roof of the main building!
The garden is a wonderful place for a lovely chill: to sit outside, read a good book or have a picnic.
In front of eyes of visitors, there are all kinds of huge windows so you can observe through the windows what is happening inside the library building, namely in the reading and meeting rooms.
Great idea! And entrance is free what is also nice!
To be honest, I’ve never met people who have really explored this country in its entirety. When I went to Poland, I was too young and, probably, stupid to rent a car or even assume that it might be something interesting in the country except the capital. Only on the last day of being in Warsaw, we realized that we forgot about Auschwitz completely. But on the other hand, you should be really strong and brave to visit that place
I’d love to visit other cities in Poland, for example, Wroclaw, Krakow or Gdansk. Especially Gdansk with its port vibes and red brick structures. Since I work in logistics I have a professional interest about this city. I’m very curious about Terminals and container Hubs. But I had a chance to visit only Warsaw with its historic Old Town contrasted by strong Soviet architecture just a few blocks down so far. Hence hope to see all he rest next time 😉