Warsaw - practical information

Time, shopping, food - gather information about Warsaw.


Warsaw is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich in the winter and 2 hours in the summer.


Warsaw's climate, like that of the whole of Poland, depends on the wind. If it's a northerly, it'll be cold, an easterly brings hot, dry weather in the summer and cold and dry weather in the winter. If it's a westerly' it'll be cold and rainy in the summer and warm and wet in the winter. It's easy to see the effect of a large agglomeration on the weather - a slightly higher temperature and greater rain or snow fall. Violent weather phenomena are becoming more and more common in Warsaw - dangerous storms, torrential rain or heavy snow. The average summer temperature is 22o C, but it can get higher than 30o C, whilst the winter average is -4o C, but it can drop to -10o C in the daytime.

Eating and Drinking

Almost every other door in the centre of Warsaw is an entrance to a restaurant or bar, where you can eat quickly and cheaply and many of which are chains. If you want some typical Polish cuisine it's worth knocking on the doors of Warsaw's famous restauranteurs like Magda Gessler's U Fukiera in the Old Town Square, or the Kampania Piwna on Podwale Street.

Typical old-fashioned Polish dishes include bigos - although originally Lithuanian, pierogi - which also appear in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, buckwheat with bacon bits - also popular in those countries, sauerkraut and gherkins - found in all northern Slavic countries. Poland has loads of soups - red borscht (beetroot soup) with stuffed dumplings (Kołduny) adapted from Lithuanian cooking, white borscht and żur (sour rye soup), cabbage soup, pea soup, tripe, bullion, mushroom soup and even duck's blood soup. Famous traditional sweets include kutia (sweet grain pudding), easter yeast cake (originally Lithuanian/Belorussian) and poppy seed cakes. There is also plenty of local honey in Poland.

Newer foods, often fusions with German and French cuisine, but now characteristic for Polish cuisine all over the contry include:

Schabowy - pork cutlet or the German Schweineschnitzel, steak from France, boiled beef with horse-radish gravy - the German Tellerfleisch or Tafelspitz, potato puree (also French), boiled potatoes, cucumber salad (mizeria) from France and boiled ham hock (popular in Germany) with its many Polish varieties, like Silesian, Hunter's or Cracovian, not to mention kaszanka (similar to black pudding). As far as sweets are concerned there are crepes (pancakes), gingerbread from the Baltic and North Sea coast, including Gdansk And Torun.


On public and bank holidays all shops are closed and sometimes restaurants, museums, theatres and cinemas, too. The holiday season in Poland is all of July and August and most theatres also have summer breaks at this time. In season, theatres are closed on Mondays. On Sundays only the larger shopping centres and supermarkets are open.

The holidays when everything is closed are as follows: 1.01 - New Year's Day, 6.01 - Epiphany (3 Kings holiday), Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, 1.05 - International Workers' Day, 3.05 - Constitution Day, Pentecost Sunday, Corpus Christi - Thursday, 15.08 - Assumption of Mary, 1.11 - All Saints' Day, 11.11 - Independence Day, 25.12 - Christmas Day, 26.12 - Boxing Day.


The National Museum is certainly worth a visit with its collection of Polish paintings (from as far back as the 13th century) and foreign works. The gallery of Egyptian art was initiated by the Polish archaeologist professor Kazimierz Michałowski. The medieval collection and the contemporary art collection have works by Matejko, Chełmoński, Wyspiański, Boznańska, Gierymski, Malczewski and Podkowiński.

The Royal Łazienki Park and Palace complex with its White House, Myślewicki Palace, reservoir, New Kordegard, Theatre on the Isle, Old Orangery, Łazienkowski Palace (or Palace on the Island or on the Water). It's also worth seeing the Museum of Hunting and Horse-riding.

If you prefer contemporary art then go to the Zachęta Gallery with its temporary exhibitions or the Centre for Contemporary Art in the Ujazdowski Castle.


There are many large shopping malls in Warsaw, mostly on the left side of the Vistula, where you can find hundreds of shops, restaurants and cinemas. The most popular are:  Galeria Mokotów, Arkadia, Złote Tarasy and Blue City on the left side. On the other side of the river you've got Promenada, M1 and Centrum Handlowe Targówek.

The City for Children

Warsaw is child-friendly with many play parks like in Żeromski Park by Wilson Square, Ujazdowski Park, Łazienki Park, Szczęśliwicki Park or by the Stanisław August embankment by Skaryszewski Park. There's also the zoo, the Copernicus Science Centre or the Technical Museum in the Palace of Culture and its planetarium. You could also take the narrow-gauge railway to nearby towns - there are 2 routes - Piaseczno-Tarczyn-Piaseczno or Piaseczno-Grójec-Piaseczno. Almost all of the shopping malls have attractions for children - Blue City, Centrum Bemowo or Promenada, for example. There are also plenty of swimming pools and aquaparks - Warszawianka or Wesoła to name a few, although there is one in most districts.

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