If you ever go to Poland, is highly possible that you will flight or pass by Warsaw, the vibrant Polish capital (about 1.7 million people lives here). So instead of rushing to get a transport to go somewhere else, you should spend a day or two here, since it has nice things to see, combining old Central Europe architecture with Soviet era as well as stunning modern skyscrapers.
Warsaw is a very economical destination to reach, since it's the main hub of Polskibus you can get a ticket Bratislava-Warsaw for just 8€, but be ready for 11h of bus. The first thing to know is to which place are you coming with your bus or train, since the city is very big, there are several stations. Most common station is Centralna, or stoping in fron of the inmense Palace of Culture and Science (from where you can get the bus to airport), but there are many others such as Wilanowska or Mlocini (both with a fast one line metro conection to centre) and Zachodnia . Is important to know the way back to centre from all of them, but usually is not a problem. Transport is cheap in ths city: 4,1 Zl (1 €) normal ticket and half price for students.
You also should notice that in Warsaw there is a big centre, but the 'centre' itself is around the Palace of Culture and Science, with many shopping centres around it (Zlote Terasy is recommended), but that's not the old town, so be ready to be welcomed by a pure Stalinist concrete dream city. But to reach the old town, you just need to go to the big avenue called Nowy Swiat which you will reach through Chmielna, a pedestrian perpendicular street. Once in the big avenue simply make your way up until you reach the Old Town (about 15 min).
Before you leave this central square you should not miss the views from the 33 floor of the Palace, as well as enjoying its indoors and see nice technology exposition in the Museum of Technology (very cheap and with a wide variety of expositions) located on one side of the building. Close to the square and also in the way to the avenue to the centre is the Aleje Jerozolimskie avenue, which if you continue some minutes, you will be able to see the National Museum and the Military Museum (which includes a free backside exposition of tanks, jets and helicopters from the last century).
Back to the Nowy Swiat avenue you will notice that is one of the main streets of the city, you can find a big variety of cafes and clothes shops on its sides. Eventually you will reach the university campus, which well worths a visit, and missing the modern library building with the rooftop garden would be a big mistake (remember that is a garden, so it will be open in spring and summer). In the university area there is also the Copernicus Science Museum, a must if you are with children. From there easy return to the main avenue in 5 minutes.
As you go up you will see the Old Town, but before you step in the main square notice a white tower, you can also go to the top and take the best pictures of the square (where the opening picture was taken). Also worth seeing the Opera building which is 2 minute walking in front of this white church.
In the old town there is a lot of things to see, the best option will be first head to the tourist information in the stuning central square and ask for a free map with all the attractions explained, so you can choose what is worth seeing for you. Regarding this I will add that most museums, even if they are in tourist area, are fair priced, but the backside of this is that they are nothing you will remember forever (the history museum is not bad). You will also see the Marie Curie house, which has a painted exterior (but the inside doesn't worth the money). Don't forget to see the Barbikan and pay attention to the buildings around (some of them are specially beautiful).
If you are hungry and want to have a good price local lunch my recomendation will be Zapiecek , which, even beign obviously turistic restaurants (there are three in the area, 3 minutes from each other) has a big menu with a lot of customizable local meals (you can order the typical pierogi and even select each of them, so you final dish can have 10 or more kinds of them). If you don't have time to eat simply buy a Zapiekanka, some kind of Polish toast and eat on the go or if the day is quite hot you can try the typical Polish ice cream. Don't forget to try Polish beer, avaliable in almost every bar and restaurant, but if you want to try a wide selection of very good Belgian beers you shoud definitely go to the Elephant Pub, with more than 200 bottled beers and 22 taps!
Sleeping options price range from 10€ in hostels to about 40-50€ a double room in a 3*. Before booking a place, please pay attention to the location, since wrong transport connections can make your move quite difficult. Also you may know that some dates are more expensive than others, take in care local festivities. Finally, you can find a very big selection of apartmets what for me is the best if you are traveling with couple. The best options to check prices are Hostelworld.com and Booking.com.
If you are going to stay more in the city I recommend the Jewish district (be warned that not many things remain) and the Warsaw Uprising Museum, as well as seeing the Wilanow Palace (you can get transport from the centre) where Jan Sobieski, a well loved Polish king and Christian hero is buried. If you are a football fan you should come to the old town and night and from the square of the column, see the ilumination of the football stadium in the other side of the river.
I hope you liked this guide and remember that Poland is an awesome country to visit, Warsaw is not the main attraction but the best starting point, and you may visit it several times if you come again, so make a calm stay and don't rush to see everything. Another guide for places sourronding Warsaw in Central Poland is avaliable! Wish you the best stay in Warsaw!
In this section you will find all you need to become a little expert in the guide place, without expending a lot!