Warsaw/Old and New Town
The Old Town (Stare Miasto) and New Town (Nowe Miasto) are the two oldest parts of Warsaw. Administratively, they are neighbourhoods in the district of Śródmieście. The Old Town is comparatively small to the old towns of many other European cities, as during the time of its development Warsaw was a small town of mostly local importance and not yet the capital of Poland. The New Town is called so because it was the first part of Warsaw to be built outside of the original city wall ring, but it is indeed not much newer than the old town and much older than most of other neighbourhoods of Warsaw.
It is important to know that both the Old and New Town were almost completely destroyed during the Second World War, and were reconstructed after the war. While, due to the meticulous and painstaking efforts, the impression one gets is that of authentic historic places, one should remember it is a 20th century reinterpretation of the history of this area, and is actually a mixture of buildings that existed in different periods, and in many cases a rather creative faux. Warsaw's Old and New Towns are charming, compact and very walkable. It is hardly apparent when you walk around today that the buildings around you are little more than 60, rather than 600, years old.
The Old and New Town are in Śródmieście, so arriving from there is not a problem by public transit or on foot. You can also arrive from Praga across the river by bus or tram. Please note that there are no train or Metro stations within or in immediate vicinity of the Old and New Town. To get there, you need to change to a different means of public transit.
Several buses stop at Pl.Zamkowy, which is right in front of the eponymous Castle Square. For tourists, the most important ones would be the sightseeing line 180 going down the Royal Road to/from Wilanów, the 116 line which goes pretty much the same way, and the 175, going to the Chopin Airport (please note that the 175 only stops at Pl. Zamkowy on its way to the airport, it terminates farther away at Plac Piłsudskiego when coming from the airport).
The tram and bus stop right under the Plac Zamkowy (Castle Square) is called Stare Miasto. Trams serving this stop as 13, 23, 26 and 32. All of them continue through a tunnel under the Old Town to Metro Ratusz/Arsenał, and over the Grota-Roweckiego bridge to Dworzec Wileński in Praga. From the stop, the best way to get to the Plac Zamkowy is to take Warsaw's oldest functioning escalator, which is located next to the tunnel entrance, on the side closer to the Royal Castle. A lift for those with limited mobility is provided there as well.
It is quite impractical to try to ride a bike to the Old Town due to the uneven road surfaces on the way, sketchy bike path network and the fact that it is forbidden to ride a bike in the Old and New Towns.
Walking from either Ratusz/Arsenał or Świętokrzyska Metro stations is also possible and the routes can be interesting and picturesque.
- The Royal Castle (Zamek Krolewski), pl. Zamkowy 4 (In the Old Town), ☎ +48 22 355 51 70, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu. - Sa.: 10AM - 4PM. Su.: 11AM - 4PM. Adult: 12 zl; Students: 6 zl. Sunday: Free, except when there are special exhibitions.
- Pałac pod Blachą.
- Old Town Market Square.
- New Town Market Square.
- The Barbican.
- Fountain Show.
- Arkady Kubickiego.
- Kamienne Schodki.
- View over Vistula.
- Monument to Jan Kiliński.
- Monument to the Polish People Murdered in the East (Pomnik Polaków Pomordowanych na Wschodzie), ul. Muranowska (near ul. Bonifraterska). "East" means "in the Soviet Union".
- Pałac Raczyńskich (Raczyńskich Palace), ul. Długa 7.
- Pałac Radziwiłłowej (Radziwiłł Palace), ul. Długa 26.
- Pałac pod Czterema Wiatrami (Palace under the Four Winds), ul. Długa 38/40.
- Pałac Branickich (Branickich Palace), ul. Miodowa 6.
- Pałac Paca (Pac Palace), ul. Miodowa 15.
- Pałac Borchów (Borchów Palace), ul Miodowa 17.
- Pałac Krasińskich (Krasińskich Palace), pl. Krasińskich 5.
- St. John's Cathedral (Katedra św. Jana) (Old Town). The Warsaw's cathedral used to be an opulent neogothic church before the World War II, but following its destruction it was rebuilt in a sombre, masovian gothic style resembling what is presumed to be its original form.
- Jesuit Church (Kościół Jezuitów), ul. Świętojańska 10 (Old Town), ☎ +48 22 831 16 75. From the outside it seems like a large church, but step over the threshold and you'll see a rather modest and relatively small worship hall.
- Kościół Kapucynów Przemienienia Pańskiego (Transfiguration of Jesus Capuchins Church), ul. Miodowa 13.
- Kościół Garnizonowy NMP (Virgin Mary Garrison Church), ul. Długa 13/15.
- Kościół Bonifratrów Św. Jana Bożego (St John of God Hospitallers Church), ul. Bonifraterska 12.
- Kościół Bazylianów (Basilians Church), ul. Miodowa 16.
- Warsaw History Museum (Muzeum Historyczne Warszawy), Rynek Starego Miasta 20.
- Muzeum Literatury im. Adama Mickiewicza, Rynek Starego Miasta 28/42 (Old Town Market).
- Asia-Pacific Museum (Muzeum Azji i Pacyfiku), ul. Freta 5, ☎ +48 22 635 28 11.
- Marie Curie Museum (Muzeum Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej), ul. Freta 16 (In Warsaw's New Town), ☎ +48 22 831 80 92.
- Explore on foot by yourselves or take an organized tour.
- Piwna Kompania (Podwale), ul. Podwale 25. M-Sa 11am-1am, Su 12pm-1am. Located on the border between the Old and New Town, this pub serves king-size portions of traditional Polish fare. Meals are accompanied by a free dish of pickled cucumbers and sauercraut, while the bill comes with a shot of Polish cherry liquor. Beer is more average and solely pilsner, but it is drinkable and quite cheap. Free Wi-Fi connection. A bit noisy, but this is how a good pub should be. 20-30 zł.
- U Fukiera, Rynek Starego Miasta 27 (Old Town Market), ☎ +48 22 831 10 13, fax: +48 22 831 58 08, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are not many hotels options in either Old or New Town, mostly due to their small size and the historic nature of the buildings there not leaving much room for proper hotels. That said, staying in Śródmieście you should have no problems getting to the Old Town comfortably and quickly, and there are plenty of places to stay there.
- Castle Inn
- Ibis Warszawa Stare Miasto, ul. Muranowska 2 (despite the name, it is not in Stare Miasto at all, but it is close (within walking distance) to Nowe Miasto), ☎ +48 22 310 10 12.
- Hotel Le Regina Warsaw, Kościelna 12, ☎ +48 22 531 60 00, fax: +48 22 531 60 01, e-mail: email@example.com. Very comfortable hotel, that wants to go out of its way to make its guests comfortable. The hotel is located in the Old Town, but can be a little confusing to find, so be sure to take a cab or have the front desk to arrange for you to be picked up. €120-1,200.
Much of the area of the Old and New Town is covered by free WiFi provided by the City of Warsaw. All you need to log in is provide your email each time you want to use it (no pre-registration required).