Cobblestones and stairs present challenging mobility issues in Warsaw's Old Town, and many older buildings, including hotels and museums, are not wheelchair-friendly. However, all new buildings, including modern museums, art galleries, shopping malls and train stations, are designed to be accessible, and an increasing number of older buildings are being retroﬁtted with ramps, lifts and wider doors.
In terms of public transport, most trains, buses and trams have ramps and are designed to accommodate wheelchairs.
Warsaw City Transport (www.ztm.waw.pl) Information on public transport in the capital (on the English-language website, click on Information and Travel Without Barriers).
Accessible Poland (www.accessibletour.pl) Specialises in organising tours for travellers with disabilities and mobility problems.
Nie Pelno Sprawni (www.niepelnosprawni.pl) Polish language only, for up-to-date information on the current situation for people with disabilities in Poland.
Dangers & Annoyances
- Warsaw is no more dangerous than any other European capital city, but you should take precautions while walking at night, and watch your possessions on public transport and in other crowded places.
- Bikes are particularly at risk; try not to leave your bike out of sight for too long, and always lock it firmly with the strongest lock you can find. Beware also of unauthorised 'mafia' taxis.
- Praga has improved but still has a reputation as a rough area at night. Follow the lead of the locals and use taxis as transport in and out of the neighbourhood.
Warsaw Pass (www.warsawpass.com) Available from all Warsaw tourist offices, this card costs 119/159/189zł for 24/48/72 hours, and allows free admission to 10 of the city's top attractions (including the Chopin Museum, Royal Łazienki Museum and the PKiN observation deck), as well as unlimited travel on the hop-on hop-off City Sightseeing Bus (www.warsaw.city-sightseeing.pl).
Attitudes toward LGBT+ people are gradually evolving, but many Poles still are not accepting of gay culture. Given the prevailing attitude, Warsaw does not have the kind of well-developed scene you might expect in a city its size.
The best sources of information are the Warsaw city guide on www.queerintheworld.com, and www.queer.pl (in Polish only).
Kantors (currency-exchange offices) and ATMs are easy to find around the city centre. There are 24-hour kantors at the Warszawa Centralna train station and either side of the immigration counters at the airport, but exchange rates at these places are about 10% lower than in the city centre. Avoid changing money in the Old Town, where rates can be poor.
Main Post Office Warsaw's head postal facility, which never closes its doors.
Warsaw is blessed with a useful network of tourist information centres, staffed with cheerful English speakers with oodles of free brochures on what to do, where to stay, where to eat and just about everything else.
Tourist Office – PKiN The Palace of Culture & Science branch of Warsaw's official tourist information organisation is a central resource for maps and advice. The staff can also help with accommodation. There's no phone number, so visit in person or contact via email.
Tourist Office – Old Town Hands out free maps and booklets, and dispenses information on what to see and do during your stay. There's no phone, so visit in person or contact by email.
Tourist Office – Airport Located in the arrivals hall of Terminal A, this handy branch hands out city maps and can advise on activities, accommodation and transport options. There's no phone contact.
Travel with Children
Admittedly, Warsaw is not the best travel destination for infants and small children. Distances are vast and transport options such as trams and buses are often packed and not particularly pram- or child-friendly. On the streets, traffic can be heavy and many corners lack kerb cuts. You’ll find escalators and lifts in metro stations and some central underpasses, but outside the centre you’ll have to negotiate lots of steps.That said, there are plenty of parents with prams in Warsaw, and kids seem to do just fine.
Kids young and old will enjoy the illuminated signage in and around the Neon Museum in Praga. Older children might also enjoy the visual and sound effects of the highly interactive Warsaw Rising Museum, though parental guidance is recommended in explaining its dark story.
Parks abound. Łazienki Park has plenty of space to run, plus peacocks to spot, hungry ducks to feed and a boat trip to take, while the Saxon Gardens has a good playground. There are boat trips at Wilanów Park too.
The view from the Palace of Culture & Science is impressive for all ages.
The city's tourist information offices can help out. They offer a colourful, fold-out Free Map for Young Travellers aimed primarily at teens and students, but with some hints for younger travellers as well.