Warsaw Old Town

Warsaw Old Town
Author: Ferdziu, commons.wikimedia.org, CC BY

Saturday, 21 February 2015

The Miniature Park, Bracka St. 25

It is a well known fact that Warsaw was unimaginably destroyed during Second World War. Roughly speaking 65% of the whole city was demolished, 84% taking into consideration left-bank districts only. According to estimations, in 1945 Warsaw was covered by about 20 million cubic meters of rubble.  
Sadly, destruction did not miss Polish monuments - approximately 90% of historical treasure located in Warsaw was partly or fully demolished (674 objects).

Since 2010, Warsaw Uprising Museum provides the opportunity of seeing short animation movie The city of ruins (Miasto ruin) that presents destroyed and depopulated Warsaw during spring in 1945. The trailer of the film may be watched on the film's official site.

Although capital's population undertook an immense effort to rebuild the city, it was not possible to reinstate the whole city. The Miniature Park gives an opportunity to see some of historical monuments that were destroyed in the past, mostly during Second World War. All exhibits are made with great accuracy in scale of 1:25. The museum kicked off just in 2014 and is still developing, but the excellent quality of exhibited objects makes it a place worth visiting. Due to its relatively short history, The Miniature Park hasn't gained large popularity yet and it may be difficult to find it in Warsaw guide books.

Source: UD Wola
Duration: approximately 1 hour
Location: Bracka St. 25, DT Braci Jabłkowskich, level -1
(the above location is actual until 01/05/2015. During summer park changes its location. For actual adress please always check the official site of the musuem before visit). 

Tickets prices:
Regular PLN 12
Discount PLN 8

For further information please visit the museum's official site.

Invisible Exhibition, Jerozolimskie Avenue 123a

Operating in Budapest since 2007 and in Prague since 2011 has been also made available for Warsaw audience few years ago becoming one of the most memorable experiences that Warsaw offers. In a complete dark surroundings, during an interactive one-hour journey,  you can find out how to function without sight. Small groups and guides, who are blind or visually impaired, make it an eyeopening and genuine experience. 
If you are looking for alternative attractions, something different from standard must-sees in Warsaw, this is definitely for you.
Duration: 1 hour
Location: Jerozolimskie Avenue 123a, Millenium Plaza
Tours in English available, booking required.

- weekdays: PLN 21 (Regular); PLN 16 (Discount); PLN 13 (Groups)
- weekends: PLN 25 (Regular); PLN 22 (Discount); PLN 19 (Groups)

Please note that above prices are valid for online payments only. For in-house purchases prices are 3 PLN higher.

For more information please visit the official site.

Perfect holiday deal

Looking for a good holiday deal? 
Two days ago
incontrovertible rise in prices.

So, will there be a better time to visit Warsaw than now? I don't think so!

Full article may be found here.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

City sightseeing bus

City sightseeing Warsaw bus is good solution for tourists looking for quick and easy way of moving between most important sites in Warsaw. If your journey time is limited or you don't like long city walks this post is for you.

The ogranizer of tours belongs to City Sightseeing Worldwide group which operates in many cities around the world therefore the service provided is of high quality and probably well known to most travellers. Buses are well identifiable as they are colorful double decker vehicles moving around Warsaw city center. They have a sliding roof and may carry up to 70 people which ensures comfort during the drive.

The route of the bus covers some of important sites in terms of Warsaw tourist attractions although it could be far more expanded, reaching attractions located outside the city center. The list of stops includes ten locations:
Palace of Culture and Science (near Main Railway Station), Pilsudski Square, Chopin Museum, Bank Square, Old Town, Castle Square, University, Foksal, Royal Lazienki, City center.
The full route is presented below:
Another flaw of the bus is its cost: regular ticket price is PLN 60 for 24 hs and PLN 80 for 48 hs ticket which is rather expensive comparing to average prices range in Poland and taking into account that the route of the bus is rather limited and its frequency is one drive per hour. However, as I've already written here, if you decide to purchase Warsaw Pass card the City sightseeing bus line will be for free.

All in all, this is an alternative worth considering and may considerably facilitate moving around foreign city. It is also a good option if you plan to spend only few hours in Warsaw and would like to see the most important spots in a short time. The whole route lasts approximately 1 hour (but is highly dependant on traffic).

For full details, timetable as well as ticket purchase please visit the official site of the line.
Short promotional film of the bus trip may be also found on YouTube: click here

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Where to stay

Warsaw provides extremely vast range of  accommodation for tourists, suiting every pocket. As there is plenty of professional services available on the Internet, I am not going to rewrite here the content as this is not the aim of that blog. What I'd like to do, is to facilitate the proccess of looking for your perfect trip lodging by presenting in this post bunch of links to websites that will enable you to search for the most convenient accommodation, depending on your budget. 

For free
Couchsurfing - there is over 39 thousand of active hosts living in Warsaw or its close neighbourhood logged on the portal, so there is no doubt you will find someone corresponding your needs and eager to host you.

Low cost
Hostelworld, Hostels.com, Hostelbookers - hostels are popular and convenient accommodation for those looking for inexpensive place to stay. Prices per night in Warsaw hostels range from approx. PLN 30 to approx. PLN 100, depending on season and facilities.
Students' hostels (Akademiki) may be an alternative to hostels. They are usually located in more quiet surroundings and not as overcrowded as hostels are. During summer time finding a room should not be a problem, many of those hostels do not even require reservation. However, if you are going to visit Warsaw during school year you'd better ask for a free room in advance.
Airbnb - good choice for tourists preferring more intimate atmosphere or additional facilities such as equipped kitchen. On Airbnb you can find various accommodation offers, including high-standard elegant apartments, but there is also plenty of cost-effective sites made usually available as one room in a flat/house where also host lives.

Medium/High cost
Popular polish portals (available also in English):

International portals:

All the above mentioned portals are my personal subjective choice. I do also recommend using Trivago for easy comparison of hotel prices offered on different booking sites (as well as finding great deals) and TripAdvisor for checking reviews of hotels published by other travellers. Those two portals haven't let me down yet!

If there are any portals, tools you found helpful while looking for accommodation in Warsaw please let me know - I'll be happy to complement the list. As in my opinion good place to stay is an essential component of every fulfilling trip. Do you agree?

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene, Solidarności Avenue, 52

The Metropolitan Council of the Holy Equal to the Apostles of Mary Magdalene (Parafia katedralna św. Marii Magdaleny) is a Polish Orthodox cathedral which was opened in 1869. Its stunning architecture and masterpiece interiors make it a must-see in Warsaw, although it is located a bit off the beaten (tourist) track. 

Author: Ejdzej, en.wikipedia.org, CC BY
Author: Jalme.silva, www.flickr.com, CC BY

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Top 100 City Destinations

If you still haven't decided whether to come to Warsaw or not, here is something that may help to make up yours mind. 

Just few days ago, Euromonitor International released its annual Top 100 City Destinations ranking that presents 100 most popular cities in terms of international tourists arrivals, basing on data for 2013. Warsaw was ranked 42nd, outrunning such popular tourist destinations, as San Francisco, St. Petersburg, Sydney or Buenos Aires! Having hosted almost 4 million tourists, Warsaw increased 2012 arrivals by 8.9%.

First three places of the ranking are invariably in posession of Asian mega-cities: Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok that are followed by London and Paris. The only American city in first ten is New York City, ranked 7th.

For full Top 100 City Destinations ranking click here.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

In Your Pocket - free city guide

Those of you who had already an opportunity to visit Europe, especially Central and Eastern regions, probably heard about In Your Pocket city guides series. For those who hadn't, today few words about the idea.

The founders of In Your Pocket series are four men who got stuck in Vilnius, Lithuania, one day in 1991 with no idea on how to spend the evening. This is how they came up with the idea of Vilnius dedicated city guide which shortly developed and spread to other cities of the region. This initial intention remained the main theme of the concept as besides standard information on how to get to the city, where to sleep or what to see there is also wide range of other popular spots presented, such as restaurants, pubs, night clubs, gyms, theaters, cinemas. But, what in my opinion is the most distinctive and most valuable at the same time, is actual information about on-going events, concerts and any other cultural attractions. So, you can easily check what is going on in the city you are planning to visit (which is not always easy if you don't know the town and where to look information about current events) or even adjust arriving dates to events you are interested in.

At the moment, the guide is published for more than 100 cities in over 30 countries, located mostly in Central and Eastern Europe. Among others there is of course Warsaw - that's why I'm writing about it here :) First good news is that the guide is regularly updated every two months in order to provide the most current data. And second good news is that it is available for free, in few formats: it may be downloaded on your mobile device either in PDF format or as an app, printed,  picked up in Warsaw tourist information offices or in some of hotels. You may also ask for a printed copy to be sent to you, however there is an extra cost of EUR 5 for that. 

All in all, In Your Pocket is a great help for visitors looking for some additional attractions. It should rather not be seen as major guide for historical places and typical must-sees, as descriptions provided are basic, but if you want to feel like locals for some time, eat lunch in popular restaurant or go to an interesting concert this is something you should definitely read before your trip.

Current issue of In Your Pocket city guide for Warsaw may be downloaded here.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Jewish Cemetery, Okopowa Street

The biggest Jewish cemetery in Mazovian district and second largest in Poland, covers an area of approximately 33,3 ha. It houses over 200 thousands of tombs (matzevah) and is still in use.
Beautiful and mysteriuos, even more afflicting while covered in snow. 

Author: Chris [KrzysztofTe], www.flickr.com, CC BY