Warsaw has a surprisingly old-world atmosphere to it. It’s particularly unforeseen as Poland’s capital was turned into a large heap of rubble by the Second World War, and has been rebuilt in classical style by its proud citizens, and astounding feat of triumph in the face of diversity that still defines the native’s character in many ways: stubborn, progressive and high achieving.
Despite their backwards-looking architectural exploits, the citizens of Warsaw are notoriously forward thinking, and the capital has become difficult to match in terms of contemporary entertainment, with an enviable nightlife and manic music scene. That doesn’t mean Warsaw’s forgotten its terrible past, though. You can explore the history in great detail through the numerous museums, which can be a dark, painful experience, yet remain extremely memorable.
If you prefer your sights a little more toned down, head to the pillared facades of the Lazienki Palace and its impressive lakefront views, or to the manicured lawns of the vast and equally striking Wilanów Palace. Or wander through the streets of "The Old Town". The shopping scene’s pretty impressive, too, with plenty of handmade products to splash (relatively insignificant amounts of) your cash on, before heading for the nearest restaurant to delve into an impressive array of stuffed dumplings washed down with a shot of bison vodka (which, for the record, is flavored with local bison grass, as opposed to the large cow-like creature).
Poland has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the new European Union, and though half the rest of Europe is keen to tell you how far the locals have spread, you’ll find Warsaw is now a pleasantly modern and affluent place, a beacon of just what can be achieved by the new European ‘super state’.
At first glance, Warsaw can come across as dull, but this is one of those destinations you learn to care for after digging deep, and several layers down it is extremely loveable. See a few sights, have a few nights out, and you’ll soon find the uninspiring, downbeat vibe has washed away. Given time, most visitors love Warsaw.