It is said that Warsaw, Poland, is not a very touristy city and you might even hear that it is not very beautiful, but who would believe that?
You just need to discover the city in your own way. Here we are to give you some nice tips on how to dive into the beauty of Warsaw and visit some really nice spots some of which are hidden in such a way that a usual tourist would never be able to find them. You have to discover it all: from gentrified polished architecture to those streets that managed to avoid the demolition of war and were used as a set for Oscar winning “Pianist” directed by Roman Polanski.
1. Exploring Old Town
Start your day in the city from here! You would thus get the real Warsaw feeling. The Old Town is the place where you can really enjoy architecture and especially the art of reconstruction. Most of buildings have been restored here; however, this work has been done lovingly. Narrow streets with crowded colorful buildings, state of art charming lamp stands, and small coffee shops some of which do not clear away the tables outside for winter and offer a warm lap robe for you to enjoy the view. But do not stay there for too long: it is time to change the sets and get to know another Warsaw area.
2. Warsaw-style student lunch
What we suggest is that you go for a lunch to some of Warsaw milk bars. These are very special establishments. Milk bars are among those things that have been left over by the communist past of Poland and they still look pretty much the same. They can offer you a very cheap lunch and you can bury yourself in the atmosphere of those Soviet times when not so many people could visit this country. Now Poland is wide open and its story is changed. However, you can find some rests of the curious but disappearing past in such places like Warsaw milk bars. Get yourself a portion if hearty “pierogi” – a dish of the traditional Polish cuisine. If you are really interested in that part of Polish history, you can also go to see what Propaganda Shop is like and have a dinner in a real deal communist restaurant called Jas i Malgosia.
3. Open air cinema
You should definitely go to Warsaw’s Open Air Cinema, if you share some of these passions: rivers, movies, and open air romance. There in Warsaw there is Guerilla cinema that is run by Ja Wisla. This is the foundation of the river Vistula admirers that offers to watch independent movies screened on an old parachute that is stretched between the pillars of the bridge. You can also watch old propaganda and some other enlightening motion pictures there. They start showing movies every Friday when the lights go out, from May to September.
4. Cheap and chic bars
There is a succession of trendy and shabby bars located in strange building called Pawiliony that you should definitely visit. This is one of the most favorite and popular places of students, hipsters, artists and other people looking for pretty cheap drinks, company and inspiration. The funky décor of these teeny-weeny bars and groovy mood of the places attract customers starting from the midday. Pawiliony is located in the back of the touristiest streets such as Nowy Swiat and fancy Foksal. To get there do not miss the right turn from Nowy Swiat, 22.
5. Downtown ice rink
Warsaw’s ice rink is situated in front of the most remarkable building of Warsaw, it symbol and icon: Palace of Science and Culture. This Stalinist skyscraper was built in the 50s and look very much alike famous Stalinist skyscrapers in Moscow. Palace of Science and Culture was a present from the Soviet Union to friendly Poland and it changed its landscape for ever. This 30-story edifice with clock tower on the top is located in the very center of Warsaw and is equally loved and hated. People still cannot make up their minds concerning the Palace, but love to see the panorama of Warsaw from top floor, check monstrous sculptures and impressive interiors. And of course, while visiting in winter, enjoy the ice skating rink in front of the palace, especially in the evening when the surroundings are nicely illuminated and music plays.
Photo of Palace of Science and Culture in Warsaw, Poland, by logofag