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Walking around the Old Town in Warsaw

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This article is an itinerary.


The Old Town (Polish: Stare Miasto or Starówka) is Warsaw's most distinguishable area, which once was the city center. It is fully contained within the boundaries of Śródmieście, the most central district of Warsaw.

This itinerary takes you for a walk around the Old Town. It should be fully manageable to see all the sights within a day, although more time may be needed if you plan to traverse all the exhibitions at a reasonable pace.

If you still have some time the same day, you can then visit the New Town (Nowe Miasto), which  — contrary to what the name suggests — is basically another old historical city area, just north of the City Walls. The Royal Road also begins here, but you'll be better off leaving it for the next day.

Understand

The Old Town was obliterated in 85% during World War II. Most of the present-day buildings were carefully reconstructed in the 1950s. The castle was rebuilt even later for political reasons and has regained the adjective «royal» only after the fall of communism.

Prepare

  • Get a free map of Warsaw with the transport routes from the Tourist Information at ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 39 (9AM-8PM; Oct-Apr: 9AM-6PM) or many other places.
  • There is a shortage of public toilets in the area. When in need, search for a bar or a restaurant as they are obliged by the law to have toilet facilities. Sometimes, they may be for customers only but it doesn't hurt to ask.

Get in

This itinerary starts at the Castle Square (pl. Zamkowy). The transport information was up-to-date as of August 2006.

By bus to pl. Zamkowy. This is the nearest stop:

  • 100 and  180  — the tourist routes
  • 175   — from the airport
  • 116,  122,  160,  174, 192, 195, 503, 518  — other buses
  • 607 — a night bus (all stops on request)

By bus or tram to Stare Miasto. This stop is equally nearby but downstairs, at the tunnel level:

  • 13, 23,  26, 32 — trams
  • 125,  160, 170, 190, 192 — buses
  • 601 — another night bus (all stops on request)
  • 100 also stops here

Walk

Around the Castle Square

  • Castle Square (pl. Zamkowy)
  • Royal Castle (Zamek Królewski) pl. Zamkowy 4 and Pałac pod Blachą [1]
  • Old Town Houses on the northern side of the Castle Square
  • East-West Route (Trasa W-Z). The tunnel beneath the Old Town built in the 1950s, now part of al. Solidarności. Also try the pastry called wuzetka (pronounced voo-ZET-kah).
  • Gothic Bridge (ul. Podwale)

Old Town Streets

  • Beer Street (ul. Piwna). One of the longest streets in the Old Town.
  • St Martin Church ul. Piwna
  • St John Cathedral ul. Świętojańska
  • Kanonia behind the Cathedral is a triangular square with a bell in the center
  • St Mary the Favorable Church next to the Cathedral

Around the Old Town Market

  • The Old Town Market
  • The Mermaid, which is the emblem of Warsaw
  • Barbican and the City Walls

West of Old Town

  • Long Street (ul. Długa)
  • Raczyńskich Palace (Pałac Raczyńskich) ul. Długa 7
  • Virgin Mary Garrison Church (Kościół Garnizonowy NMP) ul. Długa 13/15
  • Radziwiłłowej Palace (Pałac Radziwiłłowej) ul. Długa 26
  • Palace under the Four Winds (Pałac pod Czterema Wiatrami) ul. Długa 38/40
  • Honey Street (ul. Miodowa). The name comes from the honey pastries produced in Toruń (ciasta miodowe, nowadays called pierniki).
  • Branickich Palace (Pałac Branickich) ul. Miodowa 6
  • Transfiguration of Jesus Capuchins Church (Kościół Kapucynów Przemienienia Pańskiego) ul. Miodowa 13
  • Paca Palace (Pałac Paca) ul. Miodowa 15
  • Basilians Church (Kościół Bazylianów) ul. Miodowa 16
  • Borchów Palace (Pałac Borchów) ul Miodowa 17
  • Krasińskich Square (pl. Krasińskich)
  • Krasińskich Palace (Pałac Krasińskich) pl. Krasińskich 5
  • St John of God Hospitallers Church (Kościół Bonifratrów Św. Jana Bożego) ul. Bonifraterska 12
  • 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".

Stay safe

Warsaw is generally a safe city and the tourist areas are particularly well-patrolled. There are however pickpockets operating, so watch out, especially in the crowded places.

Should something bad happen, call the police (policja) at 997 or 112. They used to have a problem with interpreters but hopefully it has now been solved and there is even a tourist emergency freephone operating Jun-Sep 10AM-10PM at 0 800 200 300 (or +48 608 599 999 from a mobile phone) where you can communicate in English, German or Russian.

Get out

This itinerary ends near the Bank Square (pl. Bankowy). You can then proceed to the New Town or Contemporary Center if you wish.

Transport options at pl. Bankowy are:

  • M -- Ratusz
  • 15, 18, 35, 36 — trams; T   — tourist tram line (historic cars)
  • 100, 107,  111, 119, 127,  128, 171, 310, 409, 512 , 515, 520, 522, 524, E-2, 601, 606  — buses
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