Due to Warsaw – and Poland’s – reinvention and economic rejuvenation it’s home to many designer labels, brands and retailers as well as the high-street favourites. And most at extremely reasonable prices. The backstreets, cobbled alleyways and markets are a real treasure trove of curios, beautiful trinkets, handmade wooden ornaments and vintage jewellery.
Arkadia, one of the biggest shopping centres in Eastern Europe, is a mecca for those who want to indulge in some serious retail therapy with around 200 different shops all under one roof. There’s also a food court with a variety of cafes and restaurants if you need to refuel.
Zlote Tarasy is a newly built shopping centre right next to Warsaw Central train station, and although it’s not as large as some of the others in Poland, it’s architecturally stunning and houses a cinema and fitness studio too.
Delicious recipes and delicacies may not be one of the offerings you instantly associate with Poland but their traditional dishes are seriously scrumptious.
There are chain restaurants, fast food restaurants and well-known cafes in Warsaw but during your stay it’s highly recommended that you have a taster of the more ancestral meals (and beers).
Trying Pierogi is a definite must, not only is it a prime example of traditional Polish cuisine, but it’s also absolutely delicious. Pierogi is essentially dumplings – first they’re boiled and then either baked or fried – and they come with a variety of fillings; potato, cheese, meat, vegetables and so on. Sometimes they’re served with a sauce but often just with a topping such as chives or bacon strips.
Also highly recommended are their pancakes that are served with a variety of fillings – sweet and savoury. It’s a deliciously filling meal that epitomises homemade wholesome food. Warsaw is great in terms of catering to tourists and the non-Polish speaking but if the menu doesn’t include an English translation then ensure that you ask the staff what options are stipulated – if you want a beef and mushroom filling you won’t be best pleased if a strawberry and ice cream filled pancake arrives.
Krakow boasts the best night life and party atmosphere in Poland,
For a more alternative and fashionable scene – reminiscent of the bars of Shoreditch and Camden in London – Plan B, Kulturana and Saturator are worth visiting in the Praga district.
Things to do
Royal Lazeinki park
This area houses the resplendent Lazeinki palace surrounded by a gorgeous garden complex. There you will also find what was once a wild forest, an Egyptian temple, a new and old orangery, a Roman amphitheatre and the Little White House garden. All of the buildings are architecturally beautiful and the park as a whole has a serene atmosphere.
This world heritage site is almost unmissable as you’re walking through Warsaw. This cobblestone neighbourhood dotted with gothic architecture, churches, quaint backstreets and winding alleyways has been lovingly restored to celebrate the charm of this area’s history. It’s ideal for sightseeing and stopping off in one of its may restaurants and cafes. There is also a bustling Old Town Square market with trinket and food stalls and galleries.
Warsaw Zoological Garden
This well maintained zoo, built in 1928, is in the Praga district and houses around 5,000 animals of 500 varying species. The zoo is easy to get to and located in a gorgeous setting bordered by greenery, colourful flowers and ponds. At the zoo you’ll find a pavilion for apes and gorillas, aquariums, an aviary and a tropical garden.
Historical Museum of Warsaw
On any city-break, if you’re indulging in sight-seeing and want to soak up the culture then a museum is always an interesting and educational glimpse into the place you’re visiting. Polish people are protective of the past and the story of their country and this museum details its grisly history through documents, artefacts, photographs and a film covering its reconstruction.