Warsaw is the place to go for curious travellers on a shoestring budget. Its turbulent history has left behind a mixture of architectural styles, from imposing Soviet-era buildings to the Gothic-effect Old Town, which was destroyed in World War II and carefully restored. You can explore Warsaw's many museums and galleries, or spend your time strolling through the parks that cover 30% of the city. At night, the lively bar and restaurant scene comes to life, with dance parties and concerts both inside and, in summer, outdoors too.
Many hostels in Warsaw are right in the city centre, so you'll be close to the major sights and vibrant nightlife. Lots of them have sociable common spaces or relaxing gardens, where you can meet new people to check out the local bars with. You can stay in an 18th-century building in the UNESCO-listed Old Town, or in a renovated tenement house with modern interiors. Or how about a Warsaw hostel with a bright retro-inspired décor or one with a minimalist design? If you prefer your own space, there are also Warsaw hostels with private rooms and en-suite bathrooms. Read our guide to the best hostels in Warsaw to find out more.
There are two main neighbourhoods in the central Śródmieście district: Old Town and New Town. The bustling Old Town is the medieval centre, where you'll find the Royal Castle, the famous Warsaw Mermaid statue and the 13th-century market square. The neighbouring New Town – built in the 14th century – is full of historic churches and tends to be a little quieter than the Old Town. Praga is perfect for arty types, with quirky bars and warehouse spaces for grabbing a craft beer.
Warsaw is a city with culture at every turn – with a nightlife spot right beside it. For people who like to immerse themselves in the local history, the Warsaw Rising museum is well worth a visit. Royal Łazienki Park is a perfect place to spend an afternoon, with an orangery, several palaces and free Chopin concerts in the summer. You can live like a local by visiting the city's beaches at Vistula river, or trying a typical vodka cocktail.
The closest airport is Warsaw Chopin Airport, which is just 20 minutes from the city centre by train. If you're flying into Warsaw Modlin Airport, the train journey will take an hour. Take a train to Warszawa Centralna, the main railway station, to arrive right in the centre of town. The city is easy to navigate using public transport. You have the option of tram, metro, bus and train, which all use the same ticket system.