Help me pass a day in Warsaw
September 21, 2011 9:23 PM   Subscribe

I have a 12 hour layover in Warsaw. What to do?

Internet searches have turned up some useful info, but I don't want to waste time getting lost in some residential part of town since I have so little time.

I am perfectly content to take a bus into town, wander for a few hours, get a meal, wander for a few more hours, and get a bus back. But which bus, where to wander, and where to eat?
posted by resiny to Travel & Transportation around Warsaw, Poland (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had part of a day to spend in Warsaw a few years ago, and I spent my time at the Warsaw Uprising Museum. I recommend you do the same.
posted by soupy at 9:56 PM on September 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Seconding the Uprising Museum. It's top five museum experiences for me. They walk you through the uprising day by day. Very powerful.
posted by vecchio at 10:28 PM on September 21, 2011

There is an excellent poster gallery + shop on the southwest side of the old city square.
posted by migurski at 11:02 PM on September 21, 2011

Wander around the old town. Marvel that the whole thing was rebuilt stone by stone after WW2. Eat a Polish meal in a restaurant. As Wikipedia says in charming and non-full-stopped fashion: Great Polish national dish, it might well be bigos, pierogi, kotlet schabowy, gołąbki, zrazy, (silesian rouladen) roast and tomato soup[6] or barszcz,[7]

Have some drinks! I remember Żubrówka vodka and Żywiec beer, which probably both qualify as overpriced, but I thought they were good.
posted by DLWM at 11:14 PM on September 21, 2011

There is an airport bus.

Take a bus or taxi to the old town (stare miasto) and just putz around from there. Museums are fine, but you won't get any sense of how things are now by looking at museum exhibits of how things used to be during a war 70 years ago. The old town is also of course a bit of a living museum, but it's pedestrian-friendly and you'll be able to walk out from there into the real world with regular Poles. There are cheap books for self-guided downtown walking tours. See the Palace of Culture and Science, which is Warsaw's greatest landmark to communism, and scrabble around in the street markets nearby (are they still there?).

If you can, have a Warsaw mefite meet you. It would make bus-grabbing and restaurant-finding much easier. To see some possibilities, change your MetaFilter location temporarily to (if I got this right)
Latitude: 52.228825
Longitude: 21.012425
and see who shows up as "Nearby users" on your profile page. You could even arrange the first-ever (or what must be close to it) MefaFilter Warsaw meetup by inviting them all to meet you somewhere.
posted by pracowity at 1:37 AM on September 22, 2011

Autumn should be in full swing by now--I'd recommend Lazienki Park for strolling, loafing, and enjoying the foliage.
posted by orrnyereg at 6:38 AM on September 22, 2011

One good thing about the airport in Warsaw is that it's very close to the city centre - you don't need to worry about a long trip in or out. I'd say to take a taxi - it won't be much money, but don't get a ride with any of the drivers that approach you in the airport, as they will want to charge you double what the taxis waiting outside in the queue will cost.

I had a much shorter layover then you did, we took a taxi into the old town, had a wander and then got pierogies at a restaurant. If you like hearty portions of sour cream with your pierogies, Poland is the place for you!
posted by vodkaboots at 7:30 AM on September 22, 2011

Eat, eat, eat!

I just returned from Krakow and I envy you your twelve hours' easy access to pierogies.
posted by Sauce Trough at 11:16 AM on September 22, 2011

If your layover is from Mon to Sat., take a taxi from the airport. It's around 30 zlotys and 15 minutes depending on traffic. Tell them to drop you off on "Nowy Swiat" street. ("Under the palm tree" is code for "at the very start of the street"). And walk up that street, visit the churches, pop into the cafes, window show until you hit old town, then sit down for a drink, visit whatever is showing at the royal castles, have a very warsavian meal of either roast duck with apples, or steak tatar (for which the best place is "U Kucharzy" restaurant in old town) meal..

If your layover is next Sun. - this is your last chance to hear 2 free Chopin concerts this year at the Lazienki park. Totally worth it, Chopin is like religion in Warsaw.

The in your pocket guides have always helped me.

Depending on the time/date, I may be around. Mail me :)
posted by ruelle at 12:55 PM on September 22, 2011

pracowity - the street markets around the Palac of Culture have been liquidated.
[Long time since you've been back, ay? ;) The city even accomplished the unfathomable: today the Warsaw Central Station is renovated, clean, new, efficient and feels like Munich or Frankfurt. Proves that when there's a will..]
posted by ruelle at 1:02 PM on September 22, 2011

ruelle: I'll believe that when I see it! To think of all the hours I've spent waiting in the bowels of the Warsaw train station...
posted by orrnyereg at 5:36 AM on September 23, 2011

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