The day when you had to save money for a year in order to be able to go on a trip is long gone. Traveling has never been more affordable than it is today! Here are our “Warsaw, Poland: Budget travel tips”
WARSAW , POLAND
Warsaw is the capital of Poland. It is a city that was completely destroyed during World War II and continuously invaded by other nations, wanting to conquer it. Warsaw is a city with hundreds of years of history dating back to the first Slavic tribes that settled Central and Eastern Europe, a Jewish movement west out of Israel, and even back to Bible Times and the Old Testament. Today, Warsaw stands as a resurrected city and a witness of an enduring and brave nation. After the end of World War II, the city was quickly restored to what it once used to be. It is one of Europe’s largest and most beautiful capitals and highly recommendable destination to visit if you have not yet done so. It is possible to visit Warsaw on a small budget and here are our budget travel tips.
WARSAW: BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS
What once used to be part of the Soviet Block, today forms the beautiful nations of Eastern and Central Europe. Most of them have not yet accepted the euro as a national currency, which makes them fairly more affordable for tourism than western nations. Poland is a country that offers scenic views, beautiful mountains and tons of historical and cultural places to tour. Although you might not get much of a discount on your flight tickets, you can easily make-up the difference by following our advises below.
Warsaw’s museums are some of the most popular tourist destinations in Poland. Their admission fees are between 15-30 PLN (polish zloty), but they all have one day of the week where admission is free. Here’s the list:
- Royal Castle of Warsaw: located downtown at the city’s most popular square where the Sigismund’s Column/Statue is. The Royal Castle was, as almost all other buildings in the city, completely destroyed by the Nazis. Actually, Hitler used a bombing strategy on how to successfully destroy it, and quickly. Today the Palace has been restored and its glamorous hallways, ballroom, throne hall, and exhibits are as breathtaking as only a Royal place could be. FREE admission day: SUNDAY
- Lazienki Palace: the palace is located outside of central Warsaw, but still in zone 1 (read at end of the article about different zones). The palace belonged to the popular Polish King Stanislaw August. It served as a summer residence of the King and his family, while the Wilanow Palace (closed for restoration) and the Royal Palace were the “Grande Palaces”. Although smaller in size, Lazienki’ surrounding grounds are great for walks, jogging or enjoying some peaceful time. The amphitheater is located right in front of the palace and a small lake embraces the palaces from the front and back. Before the Russian revolution, the palace also belonged for a short time to the Romanov’s dynasty. FREE admission day: THURSDAY
- Warsaw Uprising Museum: this is probably the most popular and most attended museum in Warsaw. It will take you back to the first weeks of World War II and Hitler’s attacks. Warsawians are people with strong-will and patriotic feelings, and that helped them to organize themselves and defend their city by all means. Unfortunately, their attempts were unsuccessful, but the story behind it is incredible and one that shakes everybody who has gone through the museum. It could take you up to 3 hours to see all exhibits. FREE admission day: SUNDAY
- Polin Museum of the history of Polish Jews: this is the museum that shows how Poland played an important role during the Old Testament times. It all started with a small group, led by God, who left Israel and its lands and moved westward to the land of Polin. Firstly, almost all of the settlement were Jewish. They were successful in trading and quickly established villages, communities and later cities. The last part of the museum is the Holocaust. As depressing as it is, it also shows determination and dedication to their faith. FREE admission day: THURSDAY
- War Museum: If you don’t know much about Poland’s history, you might be surprised to find out that it was once upon a time a land of knights, royalties and rich-rich war history. The museum’s yard is full of wartime helicopters, airplanes, tanks, etc. A truly amazing story stands with each vehicle. FREE admission day: THURSDAY
WHAT ELSE TO VISIT WHILE IN WARSAW, POLAND?
These are the top 4 museums with a FREE admission day. Other popular places are the National Museum Warsaw, which costs 15 PLN p/person and a headset guided tour is included in the price. You will need at least 4 hours to see all exhibits in this museum. The place is huge and rich in culture.
The Museum of Neon is typical Polish and highly recommended too, as well as the Poster Museum. Last but not least are places that have made Poland popular in modern day: Copernicus Science Museum and Planetarium and Fryderyk’s Chopin House.
In order to visit Copernicus Science Center, you need to visit their website, ahead of time, and book your tickets. They only sell 1000-1200 tickets p/day. The science museum is well worth it and very interesting, not to be missed. The planetarium has no admission fee unless you want to watch one of their special movies, for which tickets are sold out fast and it’s best to be purchased in advance.
Chopin’s house is a place filled up with positive energy, classical music and the story about the young composer’s life. Admission fee is about 17 PLN p/person. Inside the house, you can listen to Chopin’s best compositions, learn more about his life and musical talent, as well as his illness that caused his death at age of 30.
BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS FOR TRANSPORTATION
Whether you decide to stay at a hotel, hostel or AirBnb apartment, getting around Warsaw is very easy! Their trams, buses, subway have regular departures from each stop basically every 7 minutes during weekdays and about 10-15min on weekends. All of Warsaw’s tourist attractions are located in Zone 1, as well as the Chopin international airport. A daily ticket, for all lines, for zone 1 is 15 PLN and you can buy those from Ticket/Bilet kiosks located at bus stops. The ticket is valid for 24 hours after validation. ALERT: there are people who do check tickets, so make sure you validate it as soon as you get on! The fine is about 200 PLN is your ticket has not been validated.
If you’re traveling in a group, there is a weekend ticket for 40 PLN, zone 1 only, for a group of up to 5 people. A 3-day pass is 36 PLN, which is the best deal!
There is also something called “The Warsaw Pass”, which includes admissions to some of the museums and transportation cards. After researching and experiencing Warsaw on my own, it is most cost-effective not to purchase the pass. If you plan your trip well, you can save about 100 PLN by using the FREE admission days in most museums and by buying a 3-day pass for 36 PLN, you will end up paying a total of 80 PLN for the rest of the museums and travel pass included. According to today’s exchange rate, $1=3 PLN and the Warsaw Pass comes more expensive.
A taxi from Chopin airport to Old Town (where most tourists stay) or blvd Novi Swiat is about 40 PLN, which comes around $20. Taxi drivers don’t speak much English but know enough to get you around.
Follow the blog posts and look-up for my next article on Warsaw: A Resurrected City for more tips and ideas of how to use your time in Warsaw as best you could, also why it is so worth visiting!