A short guide to getting around Warsaw

Anna Kowalska | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Warsaw is the biggest Polish city that consists of 18 districts. It is stretched over two banks of the Vistula River, which crosses the whole country from south to north. As for a big metropolis, its parts are well-connected by public transportation. Here's a short guide to getting around Warsaw and accessing its most interesting parts.

The districts of Warsaw

© Pixabay/marylak

Warsaw is divided into 18 districts, growing around the central part, with the Palace of Culture and Science and the Central Railway Station as its focal points. While visiting, you will probably be interested in the areas around the center that gather the majority of tourist attractions. The city has three main railway stations: East, Central and West, that usually serve all the intercity connections. Commuting to the main airport, Warsaw Chopin Airport, is very easy, especially from the central parts. You can get there in around half an hour using a city bus or train. Another airport that serves the area of Warsaw is located in Modlin, and you can find cheaper operators there. Make sure you have enough time to catch your flight, as the journey takes around an hour or more (depending on the means you choose). 

Over the river

The main division of the city is marked by the River Vistula. The right bank is occupied by a district called Praga that might land on your must-see list. It's the more authentic, but also poorer part that still has remainings of recent history visible on the facades of its buildings. There you will find the Neon Museum, a big orthodox church, and some great places to party. Around the banks of the river, you will also see the National Stadium and multiple bars on the beach during the summer months. On the left from the river, you will find the Old Town (with the oldest part of Warsaw) and Muranów that was turned into a ghetto during World War II and was later completely demolished during the Ghetto Uprising. You will notice that the whole area has a very beautiful post-war architecture. In Muranów, you might want to visit Polin, the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Another popular spot is the Museum of Warsaw Uprising, located in the nearby Wola district.

© iStock/itsmejust

The banks of the river on the western side mark the area called Powiśle, where you can find the Copernicus Center of Science as well as the temporary location of the Museum of Modern Art. The neighborhood has recently gone through a big renovation and now has beautiful boulevards where people like spending time during the summer. In the central part, Śródmieście, you will find all the other amenities that you will be probably looking for. Among them, there is the National Museum, the Palace of Culture and Science, Fotoplastikon, Marszałkowska Street, and the Zachęta National Art Gallery. Moving South from the center, you will find Ujazdów, a home for Łazienki Park, the Center of  Contemporary Arts, and Jazdów neighborhood.

There are two lines of metro in Warsaw that go from north to south (M1) and west to east (M2). They cross on Świętokrzyska Station, which is one stop away from the center. The main transportation hub in the city is located around the place commonly called 'Patelnia' (the frying pan), and it joins the Metro Centrum Station with the Central Railway Station, as well as multiple buses, trams and trains stopping in the area. It probably got its name from a peculiar shape. It's a very specific and busy place, where you have a chance to see flower vendors and street performers.

Public transportation

© iStock/badahos

Using public transportation in the city is very easy, as you have a lot of options: buses, trams, metro and city trains. All of them have their timetables on popular websites that will plan your journey for you. If you are coming for a weekend, you can equip yourself with a special weekend ticket valid from Friday evening to Monday morning. Other bargain options are 24h tickets to buy when you plan on traveling on more than three routes during the day. Each ticket is valid for all the means of transportation, and there is usually no need to buy any for more than one zone. Most of the time you will be able to buy them in the ticket machines installed in buses, trams and metro stations. Make sure there is one though before entering the car, as you might find yourself in trouble! Apart from that, you can also find multiple city bikes that you can easily rent using an app. 

Warsaw is the biggest Polish city, but thanks to a good network of public transportation it is easy to get around it. I hope this short guide will help you find your ways and enjoy the days in the capital to the fullest. 

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