Kraków may be known as Poland's cultural capital, but the country's official capital – Warsaw – is just as appealing to culture hounds. After all, this is the city where iconic figures like Marie Curie and Frédéric Chopin grew up. Following a day spent at a music festival or the Copernicus Science Centre, you can explore the historic Old Town neighborhood. Or, soak up Warsaw's rich (and often dark) past at museums like the Warsaw Uprising Museum and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. No matter how you fill your day, you can end it with locally made vodkas or hearty traditional fare (think: meat and potatoes) at one of the city's restaurants, bar mleczny (government-subsidized eateries) or street vendors.
Once you’ve traveled around Poland, you realise this: Warsaw is different. Rather than being centered on an old market square, the capital is spread across a broad area with diverse architecture: restored Gothic, communist concrete, modern glass and steel.
This jumble is a sign of the city’s tumultuous past. Warsaw has suffered the worst history could throw at it, including near destruction at the end of WWII – and survived. As a result, it’s a fascinating collection of neighborhoods and landmarks. Excellent museums interpret its complex story, from the joys of Chopin’s music to the tragedy of the Jewish ghetto.
It’s not all about the past, however. Warsaw’s restaurant and entertainment scene is the best in Poland. You can dine well and affordably here on cuisines from around the world, and take your choice of lively bars and clubs. This gritty city knows how to have fun.
Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport, more commonly referred to as Chopin Airport or Warsaw-Chopin Airport, is an international airport located in the Włochy district of Warsaw, Poland. Address: Żwirki i Wigury 1, 00-001 Warszawa, Poland. Code: WAW. Elevation: 362′.
Warsaw is the sprawling capital of Poland. Its widely varied architecture reflects the city's long, turbulent history, from Gothic churches and neoclassical palaces to Soviet-era blocks and modern skyscrapers. The city's Old Town was restored after heavy damage during WWII. Its heart is Market Square, with pastel buildings and open-air cafés. The Monument of the Warsaw Mermaid at its center is the city’s symbol.