Warsaw might not be among the most visited cities in Europe, but Poland’s capitol really has a lot to offer. The city has a tragic history, during WW2 the city was bombed to smithereens, and what little was left after the germans had occupied it was dynamited. Almost every historical building was demolished, everything from churches to the Royal Castle. What followed after the war says a lot of the Poles, they started rebuilding their city, restoring the old town to look identical to what it did before the war. The Royal Castle looks hundreds of years old, but the rebuild was actually finished in the 1980s. This meticulous restoration work was part of the reason why Warsaw’s Old Town was placed on the UNESCO‘s list of World Heritage Sites, with one of the comments being “The historic centre of Warsaw is an exceptional example of the comprehensive reconstruction of a city that had been deliberately and totally destroyed.”.
Another remnant from the war is The Little Insurgent, a statue commemorating the child soldiers fighting in the Warsaw Uprising, the boy of whom the statue is modelled was the 13-year old boy named Antek, killed on 8 August 1944. Even now, decades later, there are fresh flowers and polish flags by the statue. As mentioned it’s a tragic history, but one must admire the spirit of the people never backing down.
If you’re visiting Warsaw as a tourist, the Palace of Culture and Science is a must-see. Both because of the importance of the site and because it quite frankly is hard to visit Warsaw without noticing it. Seeing as the Palace is 230m (755 ft) high, with a viewing platform at the 30th floor. The Varsovians are disagreeing greatly about the Palace, someone would like it torn down because it was an unwelcome gift from Stalin in the 1950s, while others think it’s an important part of the country’s history and should be treated as the important site that it is. The structure itself is huge and a fun fact is that it is the worlds tallest four-faced clock tower. From the viewing terrace, one have a 360 degree view of Warsaw and can see quite far in every direction. Also a good way to get an overview of the city if you’re a first time visitor. Needless to say, you should choose a clear and sunny day for going up there. One of the thing you’ll see is the new stadium from the UEFA EURO 2012 football championship, an event that had a very positive effect on the city, bringing lot’s of visitors and publicity.
And for those interested in shopping, Warsaw is actually great. We were actually quite surprised over the opportunities. Prices are low and all popular brands and international clothing stores are represented. The weather is irrelevant when it comes to shopping, we can mention three shopping malls within close proximity to the city centre, all containing over 200 shops each. The three are Zlote Tarasy, Arkadia and Galeria Mokotow. Here you can walk around for hours and spend whatever amount the travel budget allows, and then some. Another indulgence to explore if there’s financial room for it, is a relaxing day at the spa. We can recommend the Oasis Spa, great prices, great treatments and english speaking staff.
Warsaw is a great alternative for a weekend-getaway, accommodation, food and other travelling expenses are very affordable. Even though it is a city of 1,7 million inhabitants, the Old Town is very cozy, which combined with all the offers of a metropolis in the modern areas of the city makes it a recommended choice for most travellers. If you’re going, we’ve review Thomas Cook travellers guide Warsaw, here.
If you want to explore the city further, you might find some interesting information on these sites: