Don't expect - discover!
You arrive to Warsaw, not sure what to expect?
Here are Ira’s ideas where to start:
- For the first general view the city I'd recommend to visit the viewing terrace at the Palace of Culture and Science, so you can spot the different areas from above. Don't you dare to compare Warsaw to Cracow. Both cities are in different regions of Poland, both have a different history. Warsaw saw the war and build up to the full of varieties vibrant capital it is now. That's why it's called a phoenix city.
It’s where new meets old.
- Walk around in the beautiful Old Town but avoid to eat there - it's an expensive tourist trap. Go downtown for fancy themed restaurants. Or try out one of Milk Bars- traditional Polish cantines where you can have a main, a soup and a drink for 3-4 euro (my favourite are: pierogi ruskie - with potatos and cottage cheese and barszcz- beetroot soup).
If you are vegan but also want to try traditional polish dishes, I can totally recommend Vege Bistro with its traditional foods vegan way.
In the summer the promanade at the Vistula river is always worth a walk, but check out the beachside, too. It's the only place where it is allowed to consume alcohol in public - the perfect place to chill out in summer. It’s where the hostel staff will take you for relaxing and fun camp fires.
- Praga district market (Bazar Różyckiego) is a secret tip as well - not for serious shopping but to check out interesting things and maybe... bride dresses? In the past they even sold weapons there. When in Praga, look out for street art and murals (more about the Praga district soon).
- Don't stress yourself with museums, pick the ones you are most interested to. My favorite is the museum of communism. It's interactive and you'll get a huge impression of polish lifestyle under communism. Believe me it was full of abstract.
But there is plenty of museums to choose from. The most popular ones are Warsaw Uprising Museum, POLIN- the History of Polish Jews Museum, Chopin Museum, Neon Museum, National Museum, etc. You can also enjoy the art in one of many art galleries.
- One more tip: drink & party with locals and celebrate big city life. Pub crawls and party hostels are the best recipe for doing so. Oki Doki City hostel got me hooked of Warsaw party nights.
Czupitos shot bar is a good starting locations. You can get over 100 of different colored mixed shots for only 5 Złoty each. But beware of headache the day after.
- In case of an after a night out headache, a recommended chilling day activity is walking through the peaceful green scenery at Łazienki Park. Try to feed one of the tamed squirrels from your hand or admire beautiful and colorful peacock tails. For music lovers: take a blanket to sit on with you and check the times for free Chopin piano concerts in summertime.Go out and explore your own version of the polish capital. I came here for the 8th time and there are still so many things to discover. Fall in love with Warsaw!