Last Updated on March 12, 2018 by Suzy
When considering your next holiday for you and your family, Poland may not be at the top of the list. With the stories of woe from WWII and years spent behind the Iron Curtain. The central European country has struggled to shake the stereotype of dark, miserable and mean. That is until recently.
* This is a Guest Post
With Poland’s economy expanding fast and cities rebuilding themselves to their former glory whilst staying stylish and elegant. Poland has worked hard to prove itself to be a tourist destination available for everyone.
It’s capital, and largest city, Warsaw has been named the Phoenix City for its ability to quickly rebuild after having 85% of it demolished and reduced to dust during the Second World War.
Now it’s a hub for international companies, students, entrepreneurs and tourists alike. With its clear-cut and beautiful seasons. Warsaw has had life pumped into it all year round and the city seems to never sleep.
Planning a holiday for a family can be difficult; planning ahead, budgeting and finding accommodation can prove difficult if the destination is not family-friendly. But fear not, Warsaw is the perfect getaway for families whether you want a sizzling summer city break or a cultural, snowy Christmas abroad. Warsaw has something for everyone.
How to get to Warsaw, Poland
Let’s start with flights. If you go with airlines such as Ryanair or Wizzair, it is possible to get tickets as cheap as £29.99 per person if you book early enough. Start looking through their offers six months before your planned holiday and you could save yourself hundreds of pounds later. However, with like any budget airline, though the tickets may be cheap they’ll hike up the prices for luggage and airport transfers.
Warsaw has two airports, the main one being Chopin Airport based in the Wlochy district of Warsaw. It is just a fifteen-minute bus ride away from the centre and is Poland’s largest airport. It can get quite busy, but it is comfortable and spacious, perfect for a large family. They even have facilities for children to be occupied while you wait for your flight.
The second airport is Modlin Airport, located 25 miles from the centre. Although it is a lot smaller and much further away from the main attractions of Warsaw, it could make for cheaper tickets so that’s something to consider when travelling. It’s a lot let spacious when travelling back, however, the check-in when travelling into Poland is fast and never gets overcrowded.
Currency in Poland
Now let’s talk exchange rate when getting into the country. As of now, for each pound you sell, you get anywhere between 4.68zl and 4.75zl. This is all dependent on the current political and economic climate (a simple Google search will always have the answer) and where you go to exchange your money. One piece of advice; NEVER exchange your money at the airport or at Western Union points. They’re known for having severely decreased rates, so you could be losing out on a lot of extra money.
Where to stay in Warsaw for families on a budget
One of the other major parts of a holiday is accommodation. This bit may get overwhelming as Warsaw is a hotspot for hotels and apartments that are modern, stylish and clean. Polish people pride themselves on their cleanliness and making sure their guests are feeling welcome so choosing a place can get difficult!
However, I’d recommend going on Booking.com and searching for apartments instead of hotels. Privately owned apartments are usually a lot cheaper than chain hotels and offer more privacy and comfort. Yes, that’s right, an entire apartment will cost you on average £50 less a week than a hotel room to stay in. This is because a lot of the properties are managed by private owners who have taken advantage of Warsaw’s growing tourist visits and have worked hard to compete against large, corporate hotel chains. It has worked too! Ask anyone who has stayed in Warsaw and they’ll tell you an apartment is a far better choice.
Expect to spend anywhere between £170 to £1,000 a week in an apartment. This all depends on the services they offer, the location and the size of the apartment. Be quick though! If you’re travelling during the summer holidays, good spots get booked up fast.
Where to eat on the cheap
You’ll find one of the cheapest things in Warsaw is food. Stalls, restaurants, takeaways and pubs are all a lot cheaper than most European countries, the UK included. For a family of four, you could easily go for a hot meal, desserts and drinks for under £40. What’s also great is, that Polish people love to eat and the portions you get in restaurants are usually massive and you won’t need to ask for seconds.
Alcohol and street food is also very cheap. For £5 you can get yourself a pint of Polish lager and a traditional favourite, a cheese, tomato and mushroom baguette from a street vendor.
Warsaw overflows with places to grab some tasty food. Any cuisine you could possibly think of; Warsaw will have you sorted.
Getting out and about in Warsaw
Until the introduction of the underground Metro system in Warsaw and a complete overhaul of the way public transport works, Warsaw’s buses and trams before that weren’t much to boast about. However now, with environment-friendly buses, newer and quieter trams and a fast and cheap underground Metro system, you don’t need to rent a car or drain the bank with Taxis.
Public transport in Warsaw, especially for travellers is very cheap and very easy to grasp. There are even options for a three-day ticket, so that could mean half of your trip is covered already for a small price. Also, there are no separate tickets for buses, trams and the underground; you buy one and travel on ALL THREE. That’s right, buy one ticket and have a mix-and-match on routes to take. The centre is best to navigate on the underground metro, whereas if you’re looking to go a little further out, buses and trams are your better options.
Family-friendly things to do in Warsaw
When it comes to entertainment and ways to spend your day in Warsaw, there is an endless number of things to do. Warsaw has taken major steps in improving its public parks and spaces making them safe, clean and child-friendly.
Parks such as Saxon Gardens, Lazienki Park, Palace and Praski Park are all beautiful, spacious parks that are perfect for relaxing in and enjoying the scenery. Take advantage of Warsaw’s green spaces for a fun and relaxing day out with minimum money spent. An authentic ice cream stall during the summer will charge you no more than £2 per cone, so that’s all the spending you need.
If you’re looking for more faced paced entertainment, the Copernicus Science Centre is perfect for an entire day of fun and education suitable for children and adults alike. A family ticket (minimum two adults and one child) is 50zl which is around £10. The exhibitions and discovery park outside the centre can take up to five hours to fully discover and appreciate.
Also, have a look through Warsaw’s museums. From WWII to Poland’s ancient history and initial discovery as a country, there are many museums scattered around the centre that won’t set you back more than £20 for the day. The same goes for palaces and castles, that have been made available for the public to enter for a small fee and enjoy their beauty.
So why not take advantage of what Warsaw has to offer? It is currently one of the safest and cleanest countries in Europe, with experts predicting that public spaces and entertainment only get better and bigger.
Although I must say, as Polish people we completely understand if you can’t learn a word of our language; we know how difficult it is, we’re still learning it ourselves.z
This is a guest post by Anna at The Filth of the Void. Thank you, Anna, it was a pleasure to have you.