To save money right from the start, take a local bus from the Warsaw Chopin airport to the city centre (nr 175, 188, and the night bus N32). If you’re arriving at Warsaw Modlin airport, which is located 45km away from Warsaw, you can either take the train or the Modlin Bus, which takes you right to the centre of Warsaw (Palace of Science and Culture) in approximately one hour.
If you’re over for a weekend, make sure you buy a weekend ticket, which is valid for all public transport (including buses, trams and the subway) from Friday 7pm to Monday 8am. You can also easily walk around the city (weather permitting) or rent one of the Venturillo public bikes.
It’s probably best to stay in Warsaw’s central Śródmieście district, so that you can easily move around the city. Choose a hostel or Airbnb over booking a hotel room. You will save money and get a much more social experience. Many hostels organise free city tours, while Airbnb hosts are likely to give you useful insider tips allowing you to experience Warsaw like a local.
Warsaw’s must see museums include the Warsaw Rising Museum, the POLIN History of the Polish Jews Museum and the Copernicus Science Centre. Tickets don’t cost a fortune, but if you want to experience them for free, plan your visit for the annual Night of Museums on May 20 2017. Last year, over 250 museums took part in the event.
Another great way to explore the city is to sign up for one of the free guided tours (with English, Spanish and Italian speaking guides) such as Warsaw at War, Chopin’s Warsaw, Old Town Warsaw, Communist Warsaw or Alternative Warsaw.
On a sunny day, walk around Warsaw’s most beautiful park, Łazienki. Here, you’ll find 17th century Palace on the Isle, a peacock sanctuary and a bronze statue of Polish composer Frederic Chopin, where outdoor classical music concerts take place every Saturday and Sunday of the summer, free of charge.
From the hipster favourite Plac Zbawiciela and the alternative Praga district, to magnificent churches (free entry) and historical landmarks of Krakowskie Przedmieście and the Old Town, it’s always best to explore different neighbourhoods by foot.
For a uniquely Polish and good value for money dining experience, head to one of the centrally located milk bars such as Bambino, Prasowy or Bar Familijny (milk bars were immensely popular in postwar socialist Poland). Make sure you taste some of the Polish classics such as pierogi, kotlet schabowy and borsch soup.
When eating out, always ask for special deals. Many of Warsaw’s restaurants offer a daily lunch menu, which is always cheaper than ordering meals À la carte.
Warsaw has also experienced a boom of great food markets in recent years. The weekend Breakfast Market (Targ Śniadaniowy) is immensely popular among young locals and families (it takes place in different locations on Saturdays and Sundays, so it’s always worth checking the events tab on their Facebook page before going). The Burakowska 14 market is open on weekends until 2am and offers everything from locally sourced vegetables to hip food trucks offering both Polish and international dishes. Hala Mirowska is also a great place for shopping for locally made products.