Warsaw – Poland Travel Guide, Tourism, Vacation
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Warsaw is a large and sprawling city of more than 1.7 million people that is split into somewhat uneven halves by the Wisła (Vistula) River. Most everything of interest to visitors is on the western side of the river around the modern financial district. Its centrepiece is the landmark Palace of Culture and Science (Pałac Kultury i Nauki), a Socialist-Realist confection which can be seen from virtually anywhere in the city.

The epicentre of Warsaw for visitors is the so-called Royal Route (Trakt Królewski), which runs north-south from the New and Old Towns, past the fashionable shops of Nowy Świat, the palaces that survived the war and the royal gardens of Łazienki Park, before reaching Wilanów Palace to the south of the city centre.

Warsaw's striking Old Town may look like it dates back several centuries but the old gal has barely reached middle age. The painstakingly rebuilt area was awarded a listing on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1980. Unmissable attractions in and around the Old Town include the Royal Castle, St John's Cathedral and the Citadel. Farther afield, make sure you visit the Warsaw Rising Museum for the story of the courageous men and women who rose up against their occupiers in WWII as well as the Palace of Culture and Science for the views.

No surprising for a city that was essentially rebuilt from the ground up after WWII, Warsaw offers an inordinate amount of green space, with leafy parks where rowing boats cruise past outdoor cafés, during the summer, and free classical concerts attract crowds in a scene far removed from the dull Communist-era images of Warsaw. And don't miss the palaces and other historical and cultural buildings in the city's splendid Łazienki and Wilanów Parks.

Warsaw's nightlife is one of the best in Eastern Europe today, with a multitude of bars and clubs scattered across the city as well as a generous dose of more highbrow entertainment such as classical music concerts and opera. Whatever you do, don't leave town without sampling the tipple of choice here in these parts: wódka (vodka). It comes in a myriad of flavours and hues – from myśliwska (`hunter's vodka'), which tastes a bit like gin, and wiśniówka (flavoured with cherries) to pieprzówka (pepper) and the famous żubrówka ('bison vodka'), which is flavoured with grass and favoured by the beasties in Bialowieza National Park). Poles traditionally drank vodka neat — never in cocktails.

The dining options have improved no end in Warsaw, with international cuisine regularly featured alongside Polish standards. And Polish cuisine has also undergone some major transformations, lightening up old favourites with less fat and employing fresher ingredients.
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