Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Warsaw
WARSAW (Reuters) - Got 48 hours to spare this summer in Warsaw, the capital of Poland for more than 400 years? Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a 48-hour visit.
Located in central Poland, Warsaw is easily accessible by train and plane. The airport is conveniently located within the city limits and only a 15-minute drive or 30-minute bus ride from the center.
Legend says the city's name is based on the love story of a fisherman named Wars, who meets a beautiful siren on the banks of the Vistula river named Sawa. They marry and live happily ever after, with others naming the village after their union.
In modern times, just 20 years after ditching Communism and going into default, Poland is theEuropean Union's economic success story. With central Europe's largest economy and a population of 38 million people, Poland is the only EU member to have avoided recession in recent years.
Warsaw, which combines the old with the new, leads the country's economy -- providing a busy home for the headquarters of many companies, a thriving stock exchange, government offices, international institutions, universities and many tourist attractions.
5 p.m. - Start your trip by looking out on the entire city from the top terrace of the neo-Gothic Palace of Science and Culture in the heart of the capital.
The palace, at 754-feet (230-metres), is Warsaw's tallest. It has 42 floors and hosts restaurants, theatres, bars, museums and a swimming pool. It was built in the 1950s as a gift from Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin to remind Poles of where their loyalties should lie during the Cold War.
Located between the central train station and a main shopping area, this "living museum of socialist realist art", is visible up to 20 miles away.
6 p.m. - After enjoying a view over the entire city, take a lift back down, run by an old-fashioned lift operator, and make your way to have dinner and/or drinks at the trendy and artsy Cafe Kulturalna, the socialist-realist and monumental ground floor of the Palace, set up inside a theatre. Cafe Kulturalna often hosts alternative music bands that play small live concerts. Reservations are recommended.
8 p.m. - If you are up for a short walk, take a stroll to Foksal street. There you will certainly find a bar of your liking. Reservations on weekends are recommended if you want to sit on one of the beautiful patios on a summer evening.
If you are feeling more ambitious, walk over the Poniatowski bridge (the walk should take 20-30 minutes) to see Warsaw's newest investment - the National Stadium built for the UEFA European Championship soccer cup this June. At night it is beautifully lit up in the red and white national colors.
10 p.m. Go to Przekaski Zakaski - Bistro a la Fourchette on nearby Krakowskie Przedmiescie (Royal Avenue). Move back in history and have Communist-style vodka shots and herring snacks, overlooking the Presidential Palace.
10 a.m. A walk down the Royal Avenue (Krakowskie Przedmiescie), the route of Polish kings for travelling between their city and summer residences, is an ideal start to the day.
You can stop by the Church of All Saints, by the Copernicus Monument, where the heart ofFrederic Chopin is buried.
The Old Town awaits you at the end of your stroll.
Don't be fooled, though. The old town is not that old - it was reconstructed afterWorld War II. It is an almost exact replica of the original - from before the destruction.
During the war and particularly during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, Warsaw was torched, bombarded and razed to the ground, including the Old Town area.