modern city 01 - THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TRAVEL TO POLAND ON A BUDGET; PART 2 - WARSAW ON A BUDGET

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TRAVEL TO POLAND ON A BUDGET; PART 2 – WARSAW ON A BUDGET

My boyfriend and I arrived in Warsaw by a high-speed train from Krakow. Before I start with our adventures in Warshaw, take a look at my post about some general information about Poland and our trip to Krakow. You can find it HERE. If you are looking to travel “smart” this travel guide about traveling to Warsaw on a budget is just what you need.

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the railway station Warsaw

The first feeling you get when you leave the railway station is that you are transported to a completely different country. As soon as we arrived we were impressed by the tall modern glass high-rise building of the Marriott Hotel. We could also tell that this was a modern trendy city which was a lot different than the older traditioned Krakow

Warshaw is developing steadily, being an important economic and political center of the country and a major transportation hub in Europe.

WHERE TO STAY IN WARSAW

Warsaw on a budget

There is also the Old Town here, but this time we decided to stay in the modern part of Warsaw with high-rise hotels. My choice was the Novotel Warszawa Centrum 4*. I am familiar with this chain of hotels for a long time and always happy with my stay. Another plus is walking distance from the railway station and to all the sights. If you still don’t know where to stay in Warsaw this hotel is really a good choice.

According to the European standards, the prices for accommodation are quite affordable, and it is better to take the higher room category. We had a modern and stylish Executive room on the top floor with a fantastic panoramic city view. In our room, we had an available a Nespresso coffee maker and a Sound Spot wireless speaker.   The bed was very comfortable and the Wi-Fi worked perfectly. By the way, I also liked a lot the toiletries too, which rarely happens to me. We really enjoyed our stay in the Novotel Warszawa Centrum and highly recommended for your stay.

Besides our hotel, the best 5 * hotels are also located at the railway station area (Warszawa-Centralna), such as the Radisson Blu Sobieski, Intercontinental Warszawa, Warshaw Marriott Hotel, Mercure Warszawa Centrum, and Hilton Warsaw Hotel. Nearby there is a metro station and modern shopping centers.

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Srodmiescie area

The area between the Central Station and the Vistula River is also very popular and is often known as Śródmieście. First of all, this area is remarkable together with the Warsaw architecture of the first half of the 20th century is preserved here. In Marshalkovska Street (Ulica Marszałkowska), you will find a large number of shops and there is a large pedestrian area to walk. Here you can check the hotel H15 Boutique, the guest house Between Us Bed and Breakfast and the Residence St. Andrew’s Palace.

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Krakowskie Przedmiescie

In the Krakow suburb area (Krakowskie Przedmieście) there are massive palaces and majestic churches are located around. This street is a sight in itself and is included in all tourist routes of Warsaw, moreover, staying here, is more convenient to explore not only the Old Town of Warsaw but also its suburbs.

If you looking to travel Warsaw on budget, then it’s definitely worth paying attention to, perhaps, the nicest hotels, which are – the Bristol Warsaw, as well as the Sofitel Warsaw Victoria. There are also simpler options here, for example, the Royal Route Residence apartment complex.

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Stare Miasto

One of the most beautiful and authentic places to stay in Warsaw is, of course, the Old Town (Stare Miasto), restored after the bombings of the Second World War as it was in the XV – XVI centuries. The advantages of living here include the walking accessibility of city sights, developed tourist infrastructure (cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops), and authenticity – the buildings, as a rule, have a medieval layout. The biggest disadvantage of the Old Town hotels is the day and night noise from the streets – both from institutions and street musicians and tourist groups. In this area, you can сheck the small hotel Castle Inn. Also on the winding streets of the Old Town, you can get a look at the pretty apartments Warsaw Old Town Apartments and Duval Serviced Apartments.

Warsaw on a budget

If this is not your first time in Warsaw, and you have already visited all the sights, you should probably stay in the area near the Łazienki Palace. There are no so many tourists as in the Old Town, but it is much easier to find where to park the car, and you can spend a lot of time in the park, walking and admiring peacocks and pavilions, or doing jogging. From the local hotels I can recommend the Regent Warsaw, and for those who prefer quiet family-run hotels – the Rezydencja Belweder-Klonowa.

WARSAW FOOD EXPERIENCE

As you know, I sometimes don’t book breakfast at the hotel in order to sleep more. But I still don’t like to miss this primary meal, so we found some cozy places for breakfast in Warsaw and I am happy to share with you our Warsaw food experience.

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Bulke Przez Bibulke cafe

On the first day, we found a homelike cafe near our hotel – Bulke Przez Bibulke cafe. Although the cafe was not very attractive at first glance, there was a very warm atmosphere inside. There is a variety of breakfast options, so I decided to order the poached egg with avocado, smoked salmon and green salad and my boyfriend had a delicious omelet (since I tried it too😜). By the way, coffee was excellent too, either cappuccino or espresso.

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Piekarnia Aromat

The other cafe we visited was the Piekarnia Aromat, which is located behind the Palace of Culture and Science. It is not even a cafe, but a bakery, so it is very easy to find it by “the smell”😊. You can simply get lost in a variety of pastries. We ordered two sandwiches with coffee and of course, we tried the amazing fresh croissants.

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Manekin restaurant

The variety of restaurants for lunch is also quite large. The first restaurant in which I wanted to go and heard a lot of positive feedback is Manekin. It turned out to be not far from our hotel, but when we arrived, there was a kilometer-long queue😬 in front of us. A really popular place. We decided to look for another place, but we still visited it the next day!

TRAVEL TIP
What to try: the famous soup in bread and a variety of pancakes with different fillings. The prices will pleasantly surprise you too.
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Zapiecek restaurant

On the day when we did not get into the restaurant Manekin, we decided to visit a good known chain of Polish restaurants – Zapiecek. I really liked the design of the restaurant, reminiscent of a wooden country house with pleasant hostesses. We ordered our favorite mushroom soup, and I also ordered the “fried cabbage dumplings in the hot pan” , my boyfriend tried the Polish pork knuckle with roasted cabbage. Everything was so delicious…oh.. and don’t forget to try their mulled wine, especially in the winter season)

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U Fukiera restaurant

During our walk through the Old Town, I liked the restaurant in a rustic style and pots of colorful flowers – U Fukiera. The atmosphere in the restaurant was presentable with very good service. We ordered the soup of the day, which guess what😅…. was mushroom soup😋. The duck and the foie were very tasty accompanied by wine and drinks.

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N31 restaurant ând bar by Robert Sowa

The next evening we chose for dinner (behind our hotel) – N31 restaurant & bar by Robert Sowa. I read that this restaurant is run by master chef Robert Sowa and wanted to go there. The very elegant place with a romantic atmosphere and the best service in Warsaw. If you are a couple💑 – this place is just perfect for you! Try different appetizers and cod with duck for main dishes. Don’t forget to check their wine list.

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Panorama Sky Bar

If you want to have the best cocktail with a panoramic view, be sure to visit Panorama Sky Bar on the very last floor of the Marriott hotel. They have a pretty decent list of cocktails and snacks.

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E. Wedel Chocolate Lounge Staroswiecki Sklep

For the best hot chocolate in town visit E. Wedel Chocolate Lounge Staroswiecki Sklep. I took a mix of three hot chocolates and my boyfriend coffee with cake. Here you can also buy chocolate by weight and boxes for gifts. If you are a sweet tooth, then this place is what you need!

In order to fully enjoy traditional Polish cuisine, check also my post TRADITIONAL POLISH FOOD: WHAT YOU REALLY SHOULD TRY.

WHAT TO DO IN WARSAW

Warsaw on a budget
the Palace of Culture and Science

If you are thinking about what to do in Warsaw you will find a lot of places to visit. The first place we visited was the Palace of Culture and Science. A building with a difficult history- for about 70 years of its existence, it was repeatedly proposed to be demolished, thus ending forever with the symbol of the Soviet era, but in 2007, instead of destruction, the Poles added it to the register of architectural monuments. The building is 123 meters high where you are able to see the panoramic view of the Οld Town but also the view of the modern glass and concrete skyscrapers. If you have time, take an extended tour, which includes a walk through the halls of the Palace and a visit to the basements.

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Saxon park

We then headed towards the Old Town. After a twenty-minute walk, we reached the Saxon park. I can imagine how beautiful it is during the warm season! Trees wearing a green dress and in flowerbeds bloom beautiful flowers. It’s amazing how many ducks are found in the park! There is an artificial lake on the territory of the park, and before that, there was the Saxon Palace, but it is currently going through a restoration phase. There are also three arched shaped entrances, under which you will find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Eternal Flame. You will also find a Fountain with Sculptures which decorates the park.

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Castle Square

The main attraction of the old city is Castle Square. In my opinion, one of the most beautiful places in Warsaw, at least, from those that we managed to see. The Royal Palace has decorated the square, in front of it is a column of King Sigismund III. You will be surprised to learn that this old-looking building was built (or rather restored) only in the 1970s. The fact is that in 1944, on the orders of Hitler, the whole city of Warsaw was practically destroyed. As a result of the bombing, all the historic buildings were blown up – including the beautiful Royal Palace, from which only one arch remained.

In the Royal Palace, there is a permanent exhibition – you can visit the palace rooms, the Senate Hall, the Sejm Hall, the Royal Chambers. I especially recommend visiting the Marble Cabinet, where the portraits of the Polish kings painted by Marcello Bocerella.

TRAVEL TIP
The most beautiful view of Castle Square opens from the tower of the Church of St. Anne.

The semicircular defensive structure Barbican is attractive with its appearance and is located opposite the castle. The beautiful Christmas tree with huge toys was still up.

The best way to get to know the city is to take a Half Day City Sightseeing Tour of Warsaw.

Historical sites such as the Ghetto Memorial, the Monument of Warsaw Uprising, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Grand Theatre, Chopin’s monument, the Belvedere Palace and the Old Town are all seen on your tour. At the Old Town, you can enjoy a walking tour passing by the Castle Square, King Sigismund’s Column, St. John’s Cathedral, the Old Town Market Square and the Barbican.
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the Old Town of Warsaw

The streets of the Old Town of Warsaw as if they smelled of antiquity, it is a pleasure to walk here, and when a carriage passes by, it feels like we really moved in time. Here hovers the extraordinary atmosphere. While enjoying the walk, we looked at the architecture of the capital with interest, and so slowly we reached Warsaw’s Old Town Market Place. Here is a skating rink, and next to cozy tables where you can drink a glass of mulled wine and relax.

The life in the Market Square is in full swing: full of street musicians and artists, a lot of souvenir shops, small galleries and all this is surrounded by toy houses. By the way, each of the four sides of the square and even each house has its own name. One of the most beautiful buildings – the House under the lion. It is often depicted on postcards of Warsaw.

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Mermaid

The symbol of Warsaw is a Mermaid. She was awarded an honorary seat on the main square of the Old Town of Warsaw. According to legend, the mermaid Syrena swam to the Vistula, and she liked this city so much that she decided to stay here forever. The shield and the sword in the hands of Siren are not accidental, because according to legend, she promised to protect the city and its inhabitants from enemies.

Before you go to the Royal Road, check the one unique place – the picturesque garden, located on the roof of the Warsaw Library. The library building is located on Dobra Street. It is 5-7 minutes walk from the Market Square. The Warsaw Library is a real art object, the main decoration of which is a real roof garden where anyone can enter.

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Royal Route

The road that starts from Castle Square and on which almost all the sights of Warsaw are located is called the Royal Route. It stretches right up to the Royal Gardens of the Lazenkovsky Park. The most beautiful street of the Royal Route is the Krakow Suburb street. So, on the left side, you will see Radziwill Palace, where the young Chopin gave his first concert. Now in this building is the Council of Ministers of Poland.

Next, you will see the University of Warsaw. It is easily recognizable by the magnificent baroque gate. By the way, opposite the university is the Academy of Fine Arts of Poland. Also, pay attention to the monument to Adam Mickiewicz. Behind the great poet is the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and of St. Joseph, to which the palace adjoins – the Residence of the President of Poland.

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Ujazdow Castle

Near the Royal Gardens, there is another famous castle – Ujazdów Castle. From here, can be observed a great view of the Royal Channel. In the castle, there is a good center for contemporary art. The Royal Route ends with the Square of the Three Crosses. From here begins the new city with its modern buildings. So ended our first busy day exploring the city.

Warsaw on a budget

Ask any resident of Warsaw what is the coziest place in the city and 90% will name the Royal Gardens of Łazienki Park. There we went to the next day. Numerous lakes, fountains, a greenhouse, gazebos, mansions, statues, and even a Greek amphitheater are located on 76 hectares. Pathos peacocks stroll through the park with which curious tourists take pictures (as well as we were😋). By the way, this is where the monument to Frederic Chopin is located. Here are often arranged concerts of classical music, but the main pride and attraction of Lazienki Park is the famous Palace on the Water.

TRAVEL TIP
Walking through the park, we paid attention to the queue at one of the small cafes and decided to check what they have there. Be sure to try the waffle rolls with cream and aromatic coffee.
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Wilanow Palace

From the Royal Gardens, you can get to another attraction of Warsaw – Wilanów Palace. Next to the stop is the cemetery. You need to cross the road, to get to the Church of St. Anne. The entrance to the park is located right behind it. This place is called the “Small Versailles”. Wilanow Palace was built in honor of King Jan III Sobieski’s wife. Inside the palace, you will find luxuriously furnished rooms, with a unique collection of furniture, paintings, sculptures, and knightly armor. By the way, the first Poster Museum in the world is located in the former coach house.

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Fryderyk Chopin Museum

After our long walks, we still had the energy to visit the most famous museum in Warsaw – Fryderyk Chopin Museum. The collection of the museum now has more than 5 thousand different exhibits. Here you will find his first handwritten scores, letters, autographs, as well as items belonging to the composer: piano, cufflinks, etc. In the museum of Chopin are his death mask and handprint. The museum is simply ultra-modern – there are a lot of multimedia expositions, touch screens everywhere, live music concerts are held.

Also, you should visit the Copernicus Science Center (Centrum Nauki Kopernik) in Warsaw. A paradise for the curious. The CSC has 7 major exhibitions and more than 400 exhibits. There you can spend the whole day with your family: it will be exciting for both adults and children who will be interested in science and will involve them in the knowledge of the world. Do not forget to buy tickets in advance, as when we arrived – there were no tickets left🤔. And we, like the rest of the losers, were sent to the planetarium😅.

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Zimowy Narodowy

While in Warsaw we also visited the ice rink Zimowy Narodowy. We noticed this huge luminous building from the window of our room. We got there very quickly by tram. We bought tickets at the machine on the street and validated them inside the tram. Before you visit it, check out the schedule of all rinks and prices (there are several of them), as well as other services that they offer for families. Since no one speaks English there, some tips before visiting:

TRAVEL TIP
You pay for the ticket at the entrance, then take a queue to take the ice skates, here you also pay and you will be asked to leave your passport or ID as a deposit. Then go to the queue opposite, where you can leave your personal belongings for an extra fee, but it is better to have a bag for shoes with you.
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ice skating Warsaw

Then, you get to the rink, where the music is playing and they also have their own DJ. So, as soon as you hear that DJ, shout unfamiliar words🤷‍♀️😂🤦‍♀️, it means it’s time to change directions. And if you do not want somebody hit you, you need to respond quickly☝. The ice rink is cleaned every 1.5 hours that’s why it is a pleasure to ride. Back we returned to the hotel on foot.

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Zlote Tarasy mall

We did not forget to have the time also for shopping. Luckily near our hotel was an ultramodern shopping mall – Zlote Tarasy. It is worth to see its unique architecture in the form of a glass wave. Maybe inside, it is not the largest shopping center, which I have ever seen but quite lively with several restaurants and cafes, where, by the way, we also had a snack.

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the shopping mall in Warsaw

Another excellent place for shopping that I can propose to you is Shopping Mall – Wars Sawa Junior. Here you will find a large variety of brands with huuuuuuuge discounts.

FROM WARSAW TO THE AIRPORT

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We wanted to take our time around the city before heading to the airport, so decided to take a taxi and we only paid 10 euros from the city center.

You also can get from Warsaw to the airport by bus or train:

By bus. There are five lines of city buses in total (No175, 188, 148, 331 & 32 (night route), with stops at the airport, Warsaw railway station, main hotels and attractions in the center.

By train. Several types of trains pass through Warsaw Chopin Airport and the city center: high-speed trains Szybka Kolej Miejska (red). You can go into any wagon, and your ticket can be punched through the yellow machines available there. There are two routes S2 and S3 and regional trains Koleje Mazowieckie (white, green and yellow).

TRAVEL TIP
It is important to enter exactly from the first wagon in order to validate the ticket. In the other wagons, there is no validator. If you are caught with a “clean” (non-validated) ticket, you will have to pay a fine.

Coming back, I thought, what an amazing country is Poland. I have unforgettable memories about my travel adventures in Poland and be sure to include this country on your bucket list of the most beautiful European countries.

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