The eighth largest city in the European Union, Warsaw, speaks with its versatile cultural offer. The old town of Warsaw, which was rebuilt after the Second World War, combines spectacularly with the modern commercial buildings and skyscrapers that appeared in the cityscape in the 21st century.
The warm season in Poland lasts from April to the beginning of October, after which the autumn rains slowly reach the eastern part of Central Europe. A rainy day does not slow down the cultural city's activities, as museums, exhibitions and concerts can be enjoyed extensively indoors. In September, temperatures rise up to + 26 ℃ at best, and in October + 20 ℃ for the slopes.
Warsaw has a lot to offer travelers interested in science, art, and history. Among the most interesting sights is the Polin Museum of Polish Jewish History, which was completed in 2013 and is a creation designed by Finnish architect Rainer Mahlamäki. Located in the heart of the Warsaw ghetto, the building proclaims light and life and offers changing exhibitions in front of 4,500 square meters.
ActivitiesWarsaw offers a comprehensive range of activities for both a peaceful and sporty city holiday. You can go around the sights of the big city from the back of a bicycle or hop on a cruise boat on the Vistula River as a listening student under the guidance of an English-speaking guide.
You can go cycling, hiking and horse riding in the Kampinoski Park Narodowy national park, located 20 kilometers from Warsaw. In connection with the national park trip, you can also stop by the village of Żelazowa Wola to get to know the birthplace of composer Frédéric Chopin.
The famous Copernicus science center Centrum Nauki Kopernik operates in Warsaw, which offers interesting things to see for travelers of all ages. Nikolaus Copernicus was an astronomer born in West Prussia in the 15th century, known worldwide for his sun-centered world view. The Copernicus Science Center is located only a short distance from the core of Warsaw and is easily accessible by bus and subway.
During your trip in Poland, we recommend you also get to know the current film and music festivals, as well as the shows offered by the Polish National Opera and Ballet.
ShoppingThe best shopping centers and small boutiques are located in the Warsaw core area. The prices of clothes, souvenirs and food are also affordable compared to the price level in Finland. Polish leather products in particular are valued in Europe due to their good price-quality ratio.
Handicrafts such as colorfully painted wooden dolls, ceramics or embroidered linen products can be admired in Warsaw's old town at the Rynek Starego Miasta market. The Old Town market area is the oldest building in Warsaw, so the area is also an interesting destination from that point of view.
Polish food culture combines Central European and Slavic cuisine. At the markets and boutiques, you can buy cheeses, sausages, honey and various beers to taste. In the Muzeum Polskiej Wódki vodka museum, you can also taste famous Polish vodkas during a guided tour.
From the sausages, you should put the smoked and dried Kiełbaski myśliwska pork sausage behind the ear, the garlicky and dark Kiełbasa weselna, and the Kiełbasa Żywiecka, which is suitable for bread and pizza. The most prestigious of the Polish cheeses is Radamer, which can be bought both in a neutral flavor and smoked. Bryndza Podhalańska, on the other hand, is mostly a cottage cheese-like delicacy made from sheep's milk.
Like its neighboring countries, Poland also produces high-quality beers. While in Warsaw, you can taste, among other things, the ruby red, sweet malt Amber Koźlak beer. Vaalea Brok is a popular mild lager produced using traditional techniques. If you want to go back 400 years in the worlds of flavors, we recommend buying citruses Tyskie Gronie -beer.
Warsaw is an international and colorful student city, which can be seen as a youthful nightlife. The general price level in Warsaw is almost 50% cheaper than in Finland: you can get a 0.5-liter pint of beer in a restaurant for 8–13 złoty (€1.70–€2.75). In the city of millions, the evening may continue until the next day on the cruise boats of the Vistula River or in the clubs that are open around the clock.
If you head to Warsaw between 13 and 15 October 2022, you will end up in the middle of the Warszawski Festiwal Piwa beer festival. These refined, largest craft beer festivals in Poland are held annually in spring and autumn.
Museum and art gallery recommendations
Warsaw's museums are mostly open between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday. If you plan to visit several museums during your vacation, we recommend buying the Warsaw Pass. A one-day Warsaw pass costs 89 zlotys (approx. €18.9) and a three-day pass costs 199 zlotys (approx. €43). With the pass, you can skip the queues and get unlimited access to attractions and it also gives you a discount on many services, such as Polish food culture courses aimed at tourists.
Illuusion maailman museo - Museum World of Illusion
Frederik Chopinin museo - Fryderyk Chopin Museum
Evoluution museo - The Museum Of Evolution
POLIN - Puolanjuutalaisten historiamuseo - POLIN Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich
Puolan vodkamuseo - Muzeum Polskiej Wódki
Nukketalojen, pelien ja lelujen museo - Museum of dollhouses, games and toys
Zachęta - Puolan kansallinen taidegalleria - Zachęta - National Gallery of Art
Ujazdowskin linna, nykytaiteen keskus - Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art
Kommunismin museo - Museum of Life under Communism
Maria Sklodowska-Curien museo - Muzeum Marii Skłodowskiej-Curie w Warszawie
Getting around in Warsaw
The sights of Warsaw's central area are located so close to each other that the best way to get around in the center is on foot or by bicycle. When traveling from one part of the city to another, the easiest way is to travel by two-line metro, bus or tram.
Tickets are available for a short period of time, as well as for a day or more. For example, a 24-hour ticket for an adult costs 15 zlotys, i.e. approx. €3.17. You can buy a 72-hour ticket for 36 zlotys, or about €7.60. Tickets must be stamped before getting on the bus/metro/tram.
Public transport in Warsaw is divided into zone 1 and zone 2. Zone 1 includes the urban areas of Warsaw and certain nearby municipalities. Zone 2 includes towns and villages outside Warsaw. If you don't have any plans to visit smaller villages in the nearby areas, you will get by well with the ticket for zone 1 during your vacation.
Where can you buy these tickets? The most convenient way is to buy tickets immediately upon arrival at Warsaw Airport at the Warsaw Tourist Info point. Tickets are also on sale at several kiosks, post offices and markets. There are also many red bilety ticket machines in the central area, from which you can conveniently grab tickets regardless of the time of day.
Traveling by taxi is quite cheap in Warsaw. The starting fee is generally 8 zlotys, or approx. €1.7. The kilometer tax is about 2 zlotys, or just under 50 cents. Of course, rising gasoline prices also affect taxi prices. Traveling by taxi is recommended, especially at night if you are not familiar with the city.
Polish history in a nutshell
Nowadays, the capital of Poland, Warsaw, appears as a trendy and global city of millions, whose skyscrapers and lighting rival the splendor of big cities in the United States. However, the rise of the country's splendor has only happened in recent decades. Poland's history at the feet of the great powers is full of suffering, loss and reconstruction.
Several different tribes and peoples have inhabited the Polish region since the Stone Age. The state of Poland is named after the Poles, a Germanic people who moved to the eastern regions of Central Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. In the 16th century, the then Kingdom of Poland formed a state union with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which strengthened Polish power in Europe. At the same time, there was a fierce struggle in Europe between the supporters of the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation. The Catholic Church took its side in the battle, and Poland has remained a Catholic country to this day.
In the 18th century, Poland was divided between Russia, Prussia and Austria. The people persistently rebelled against foreign governments - eventually Poland was completely annexed to the Russian Empire. The area remained part of the Empire until the First World War, when the Central Powers occupied the area. Poland became a puppet state of Germany.
During the Second World War, Poland was divided in half by Germany and the Soviet Union. Persecution of Jews, extermination camps and other atrocities against civilians led to the fact that by the end of World War II, up to a quarter of Poles had been killed. More than 3 million of them were persecuted Polish Jews. Although Germany was defeated and the old extermination camps were abolished, the Poles had dark decades ahead of them. Against its will, Poland became a communist state, which it remained until the early 1990s.
When the first free elections were held in Poland in 1990, there were candidates from more than a hundred parties. The idea of transitioning to a market economy burned in the minds of people who grew up in a socialist state. Poland's economy quickly took off in the 90s and the citizens' standard of living began to improve little by little.
Good to know
Airlines: Several different airlines fly from Finland to Warsaw. At Aventours, we fly to the destination with Enter Air company planes.
Airport: Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport (WAW). The airport is located 10 kilometers from our hotels located in the center of Warsaw.
Flight time: 2 hours
Time difference: -1 hour
Warsaw's population: 38 million
Passport: Finnish citizens need a valid passport as a travel document.
Currency: Złoty (PLN), divided into one hundred groszy. Euros are also accepted in several places.
Tipping: If you are satisfied with the service, you can leave a tip of 5-15% on top of the invoice amount if you wish.
Tap water: Tap water is as drinkable in Warsaw as it is here in Finland.
Three tips for those vacationing in Warsaw
1. Go for a walk in Warsaw's Central Park in Ogród Sask. The architecture of the central park, opened in the 18th century, was inspired by Versailles in France. An artificial lake has been dug into the green surroundings and a large fountain has been erected. The familiar gods and goddesses of ancient Greece can be seen in the buildings.
2. Visit the refined Łazienki Królewskie park area built by the last king of Poland. The area has a lofty palace, wonderful garden areas and museums. The park also hosts Frédéric Chopin concerts.
3. Rent a car or go on a bus trip to nearby villages/cities! Larger urban destinations such as Lubin and Łódź are a two-hour drive from Warsaw. In connection with the trip, you should also stop by an authentic Polish milk bar. Milk bars are canteens where you can get simple Polish home food at an affordable price.