I wasn’t quite sure whether visiting northern hemisphere during winter was a great idea. But Christmas Market in Europe is the best in the world! Me and my friend had been seeing all Christmas Market footage from across the Europe and we couldn’t stand the beauty of them all. The decorations, the ambience, and the crowd had us all dreaming about a perfect Christmas holiday in Europe.
So, we decided to explore eastern Europe on that winter 2018. We entertained the idea of spending new year in different country each year as well, and we thought spending new year in Prague would be such a great Idea (The previous year we celebrated new year in New York).
Why eastern Europe though? First of all, I had my first backpacking experience at western Europe on 2017. Although the europe trip was going to be my friend’s first, we decided to meet in the middle where we visited eastern Europe. But, I would also re-visiting two western Europe countries on her bucket list. They are Austria (Vienna) and Italy (Rome).
We both had to get back to work, so we only had 17 days (include travelling days) to explore eastern Europe. Countries we visited in eastern Europe includes Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, and plus Austria and Italy. In average, we only had two days for each countries (if we were lucky!). So, the schedule was pretty tight and we focused on exploring the capital city only.
In this post, I’m going to share what we explored during my first days in Warsaw, Poland including the highlights and some tips of using public transport in Warsaw. There are many other beautiful cities like Krakow, Wroclaw, Gdansk and many other we’d like to visit. But, we had limited time for that holiday and we tried to make the best out of it.
How to get to the City From Warsaw Chopin Airport
My research found that public transportation in Warsaw (and most countries in Europe) was reliable. So not only I got to the city using bus, but I used buses and trams as well to explore Warsaw. There are four kinds of Public transportation, they are train, subway, tram, and bus. During my stay in Warsaw I used buses and walk almost all the time.
To get to the city from the airport, bus and train were the options. I used bus number 175. You can use bus number 175 and 188. Bus 175 stops at City center and Central Railway Station and operate from 04:27 am to 10:58 pm. It departs every 15-30 minutes. While bus 188 goes to city center and terminates at Metro Politechnika Station. It operates from 04:47am – 11:18 pm.
You also can use bus 148 to reach eastern and southern part of Warsaw. Bus 331 connects Chopin Station and underground station Metro Wilanowska from 06:12 am to 05:54 pm. Bus N32 Covers route from Chopin Airport to Warsaw Central Railway Station only at night (11:15 pm – 04:49 am) and departs every 30 minutes.
Train can also be your alternative and it is the fastest way. There are two train company that serves route from Chopin Airport to city center, they are Fast Urban Railway, S2, and S3, and the other is Masovian Railways. You can read more about getting into the city from here and here.
How to get around Warsaw
For that one day, I primarily walked and used buses. From the airport I purchased the ticket through the ticket machine which can be found in almost all trams/bus/metro stop.
How the ticket works
Ticket works for all metro, bus, and tram. It works for specific period of time such as:
- 20 minutes
- 90 minutes
- 24 hours (or one day)
- 72 hours (3 days)
- Standard Weekend ticket, and
- Group weekend ticket that allows up to five people to travel together.
The ticket also differ between Zone 1 and Zone 2. For someone to travel in Zone 2, they need to have ticket intended for Zone 2, or Zone 1 + Zone 2, and for someone who travel in Zone 1 must have ticket intended for Zone 1, or for both zone (Chopin International airport is located in Zone 1). The price are also different between people between 7-25 year (reduced price) and over 26 years (regular price). You can visit here for the map of Zone 1 and Zone 2.
To use the ticket, simply tap the ticket before you begin the journey on the tapping machine. For example if you use the metro, you need to validate the ticket before getting onboard and just for that one time. We don’t need to tap before getting down.
As per September 2020 here’s the price for the public transportation ticket (source: Warsaw Transport)
Warsaw Public Transport Price
|Ticket Type||Zone Coverage||Regular Price||Reduced Price|
|20-minutes ticket||Zone 1 + Zone 2||3.4 PLN||1.7 PLN|
|Single 75-minutes ticket||Zone 1||4.4 PLN||2.2 PLN|
|Single 90-minute ticket||Zone 1 + Zone 2||7 PLN||3.5 PLN|
|75-minute group ticket||Zone 1||N/A||22 PLN|
|Daily ticket (24 hrs)||Zone 1||15 PLN||7.5 PLN|
|Daily ticket (24 hrs)||Zone 1 + Zone 2||26 PLN||13 PLN|
|3-day Ticket (72 hrs)||Zone 1||36 PLN||18 PLN|
|3-day Ticket (72 hrs)||Zone 1 + Zone 2||57 PLN||28.5PLN|
|Weekend Ticket||Zone 1 + Zone 2||24 PLN||12 PLN|
|Group Weekend Ticket (5 ppl)||Zone 1 + Zone 2||40 PLN||N/A|
Places to Visit in Warsaw in One Day
These are places that i visited on one day, and I thought it covered almost highlighted place in Warsaw. Click more options on this map to see the entire list of visited place.(
1. Palace of Culture and Science
This is the highest building in Warsaw at 237 meter and 5-th tallest in European Union. It is located in city central and a home to cinema, theatres, libraries, sport clubs, university faculties and authorities of the Polish Academy of Science.
We visited the viewing terrace only since we arrived late. Viewing terrace opens daily from 10 am to 8 pm and Friday at night from 8 pm to 10 pm. The ticket for viewing terrace is 20 PLN as normal price for adult, and 15 PLN for discounted price. If you visit the terrace after 8 pm, the ticket is 22 PLN. At that time, there was skating area in front of the building and it makes the situation were more lively.
I think it’s imperative to visit the viewing terrace since It presents the best view of Warsaw. I went there during the winter night. Although the visibility was limited, it was such a great view from the top.
2. Museum of the History of Polish Jews
What stood out from this museum was the architecture. It has a compact and futuristic design, and both exterior and interior will blow you away. We visited this museum after Palace of Culture and Science and it was already midnight, so we couldn’t see clearly the exterior.
This museum open every day except Tuesday from 10 am to 6 pm (Saturday, Sunday and Monday), and to 4 pm (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday). The regular ticket for core exhibition is 27 PLN and 17 PLN for reduced price. The core exhibition showcases the 1000 years of the history of Polish Jews (from middle age until today). It will explain how did jewish come to Poland and home to largest jewish community in the world. The exhibition itself is a narrative from painting, artefacts, reconstructions, video, sounds, and words.
3. Łazienki Park
Lazienki Park is probably one of the best integrated park I have ever seen. It has well curated public garden, beautiful winter ponds, beautiful European buildings, and beautiful wildlife. We went there early morning when nobody around and it was very cold. Yet it became one of the best city park exploration in our trip to Europe.
4. Castle Square (Plac Zamkowy)
We were supposed to visit this place after the Museum of the History of Polish Jews but we were beaten already. So, we visited the castle square the next morning after Lazienki Park. During holiday season, there’s Christmas market in the castle square. It Opens around 11 am and it was probably the best bonus after taking the stroll along the square.
That afternoon, we went to the Warszawa Centralna Station because we had to catch 13:50 PM Train to Prague. We arrived at Praha hlavni nadrazi (Praha Central Station) around 10 pm that night. Although it was just 24 hours, we had such a great time in warsaw and enjoy its City center and Christmas Market. See ya next Time Poland!