So, you are going to Warsaw for the first time. You have never been there, although you may have read something and even looked at a couple of sites with photos. Keep in mind: the capital of Poland has a number of features that you may not even be aware of when planning your trip.
Warsaw is a major tourist city and the capital of a European country. It would seem that it sounds banal, but an experienced traveler will immediately understand what the matter is. This means that the city has a developed tourist infrastructure, waiters and sellers speak several languages fluently, and you are a welcome guest. The reverse side of the coin – the city is full of people, there are long lines in popular places, and you can lose your wallet in the crowd on the square.
The tourist center of Warsaw coincides territorially with the Old Town. Most of the 24-hour restaurants and entertainment are located here, and it is not quiet even late at night. If your hotel is right there, it will be difficult to sleep with the windows open. Instead, all the entertainment is at your side. But if you have small children, it is better not to stay in the very center.
English will save and help in 99% of cases. Hollywood hits are often released in Poland without dubbing, only with Polish subtitles. That is why Polish youth speak English fluently. The older generation of Poles remembers Russian well: if you suddenly have a problem with English, you can try it.
But there is still a small chance of meeting someone who only speaks Polish. A smile, an automatic translator on the phone and the help of others – this is what will help any tourist in such a situation.
Warsaw is a really big city. Even with an unlimited supply of free time, it is difficult to reach all interesting places on foot. You will have to take a bicycle or use municipal transport.
Good news: Warsaw has a single ticket format. Having bought a ticket in the machine, you can go to the subway, tram, and bus. If the trip is only for a couple of stops, you can take a simple twenty-minute ticket. But it is better to take standard one-time tickets for 72 minutes for 4.4 zlotys. With this ticket, you can transfer from one type of transport to another. The ticket must be composted, and the validator will print the time until which it is valid.
The bad news: it’s better to buy tickets in advance. There may not be a ticket machine inside the vehicle, or it may only accept zlotys in coins – and the required amount, as usual, will not be collected. There are no problems with ticket machines in the city center, and you can pay in them with cash and cards, even foreign banks. But there may be problems with this on the outskirts. But a ticket machine is sure to be found at the nearest metro station.
We do not recommend riding without a ticket. Inspections are carried out regularly, the fine is quite large, and leaving without paying is unlikely to work.
Taxis in Warsaw also exist, available online and “from the curb”, but the rules of their work are changing now, so we will talk about it next time.
Recently, a law has been passed in Poland that prohibits work and trade on Sunday. It seems that this is connected with the strengthening of religiosity: a good Catholic should go to church on weekends, and not work.
The Poles themselves have mixed feelings about this law. Initially, traders asked the legislators for permission not to close cafes and shops designed for tourists. Then they made another relaxation – now some shops can open on the first and last Sunday of the month. As a result, there was such confusion that it is not at all clear what works.
So, find out in advance whether the places you want are open on Sunday. If necessary, stock up on food. As a last resort, 24-hour Swiat Alcoholu stores are available, but they are not everywhere, and the prices there are 20-30% higher.
In any case, Warsaw is a friendly, touristic city, and very similar to Kyiv. Have a nice trip!