The best areas to stay in Warsaw for first time tourists are the neighborhoods of City Centre, Stare Miasto, Wola, and Praga Południe. This guide will help you to decide where to stay in Warsaw, Poland’s capital and best things to do in each area.
Most first time visitors to Warsaw opt to stay in the central Srodmiescie area. This district is where you will find most of the city’s top attractions, so it is perfect if sightseeing is your main priority. Srodmiescie is also where you will find most of the city’s nightclubs.
However, the real star of Warsaw’s nightlife scene is Praga, just across the river, where you will find tons of edgy bars and restaurants. Alternatively, Powisle offers a more refined option, with a range of riverside cocktail bars.
Budget travellers may want to consider the neighbourhood of Mokotow. Just outside of the city centre, Mokotow is quieter and cheaper than the inner city districts, whilst still being conveniently nearby to Warsaw’s top tourist attractions.
It is also well worth remembering that Warsaw is, by far, one of the more affordable of Europe’s capital cities. You will be able to find some impressive bargains here, even on a tighter budget.
Warsaw does boast a pretty comprehensive public transport network of buses, trams, and metro trains. Even if you stay in the outer districts, you will still be able to easily get around the other districts of the city with relative ease, just try to stay near a metro station.
- Where to Stay in Warsaw: 8 Best Areas to Stay in Warsaw
- Srodmiescie and Nowy Świat, where to stay in Warsaw for first time tourists
- Stare Miasto (Old Town), where to stay in Warsaw for sightseeing
- Powisle, where to stay in Warsaw for the riverside views of Warsaw
- Praga, where to stay in Warsaw for nightlife
- Mokotow, where to stay in Warsaw for family
- Wilanow, where to stay in Warsaw off-the-beaten-track
- Warsaw New Town, quieter neighborhood, close to the Old Town of Warsaw
- Wola district (and Mirow), where to stay in Warsaw for business travellers
Where to Stay in Warsaw: 8 Best Areas to Stay in Warsaw
1. Srodmiescie and Nowy Świat, where to stay in Warsaw for first time tourists
The most central neighbourhood in Warsaw, Srodmiescie is the most popular area for tourists to stay in the city. The major street of Nowy Świat literally translates as ‘New World’, so it’s unsurprising that most of Warsaw’s towering hyper modern skyscrapers can be found in the area.
The larger district of Srodmiescie, literally meaning ‘Downtown’ in Polish, encapsulates some of the most desirable areas in Warsaw, including the Old Town. Even if you choose to stay outside of those specific areas, you will still be within walking distance of many of Warsaw’s top attractions.
With so much to see within a relatively compact area, Srodmiescie is perfect for those planning shorter trips to the city. You won’t have to waste time travelling between sights and so will be able to pack even more into your itinerary.
It is also particularly ideal for first time visitors to the city. Between the many tourist attractions and the painstakingly preserved history and heritage of the area, Srodmiescie offers a perfect first introduction to traditional polish culture.
The streets are lined with fantastic restaurants and cafes, where you can sample incredible Polish food. From iconic pierogis to sweet paczki, Srodmiescie is a wonderland for foodies who love to try a never-ending variety of local delicacies.
Another convenience that makes Srodmiescie such an attractive location for visitors is how well connected it is.
It is home to several public transport hubs, including Warsaw’s primary train terminal, Warsaw Central Station (Warszawa Centralna). With train lines stretching across Poland and out into neighbouring countries, staying close to Warsaw Central is particularly convenient for backpackers.
As absolutely packed with tourist attractions as Srodmiescie is, it may be difficult to decide which to visit first. You will likely be drawn to the massive Palace of Culture and Science pretty quickly though, as it’s a building that can be seen from all over the district.
The Palace of Culture and Science is the tallest building in Warsaw, towering above the surrounding buildings at 237 metres. A viewing terrace on the thirtieth floor offers incredible panoramic views across the entire city.
The building contains two museums, several theatres, cinemas, and a conference centre that hosts most major international conferences in the city. The palace is definitely a centre of culture in Warsaw, and not to be missed.
As you would expect of the central area of a capital city, Srodmiescie is absolutely packed with museums.
The main branch of the National Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Ethnographic Museum are just some of the many fascinating archives you can visit in the central area.
The west end of Srodmiescie was once the site of the Warsaw ghetto during the war. Fragments of the area’s grim history remain and can be spotted amongst the modern streets. There are numerous pieces of the old ghetto wall still scattered around, so keep your eyes peeled to spot them.
As the largest Jewish ghetto in Nazi occupied Europe, it is unsurprising that many monuments and museums dedicated to the dark history of the area exist. POLIN Museum of the history of Polish Jews is one of the top museums in the city.
There’s no need to worry that Srodmiescie is just an overwhelming crush of buildings. Srodmiescie is also home to many of Warsaw’s loveliest parks and green spaces. The beautiful Marshal Edward Rydz-Śmigły Park is full of sculptures, statues, and world war two memorials.
Łazienki Park, the largest park in Warsaw, is located in the southwest of Srodmiescie, and home to Lazienki and Palace on the Water. Meanwhile the Ogrod Saski gardens (Saxon Garden) in the north of the district is one of the oldest public parks in the world.
For a shopping experience, head to the best shopping mall in Warsaw, Zlote Tarasy shopping mall, which is located next to the train station, with lots of shops and several restaurants.
Being the most popular area for tourists to stay in Warsaw, prices for accommodation can get pretty high. That said, you will also have the widest selection of hotels in Warsaw to choose from, so you are sure to find one that really suits you.
However, being such a large district, there is also space for mid range hotels and lower cost hostels. They may be more basic than what you could pay the same prices for further from the city centre though.
Stay in Srodmiescie And Nowy Świat If you are visiting Warsaw for the first time; you are planning a shorter trip; you want to stay right at the heart of the city centre; you love hitting the clubs; you are travelling by train.
Best places to stay in Srodmiescie:
- luxury: InterContinental Warszawa, an IHG Hotel
- mid-range: Novotel Warszawa Centrum
- budget: Hampton by Hilton Warsaw City Centre
2. Stare Miasto (Old Town), where to stay in Warsaw for sightseeing
If you are looking for a neighbourhood with tons of old world charm, you can’t beat Old Town Warsaw. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in the eighties, Stare Miasto is a vibrant neighbourhood of colourful buildings and quaint cobbled streets.
Old Town is the most popular area to stay in Warsaw for tourists who love history and culture and plan to do lots of sightseeing.
Much of this neighbourhood was destroyed during the Second World War, but don’t be worried that there’s no history left to be enjoyed. Thanks to painstaking reconstruction efforts over the intervening years, many of the streets and buildings have been returned to their former glory.
If you are planning a romantic city break, or even a honeymoon, you may want to consider staying in Stare Miasto. With its charming streets and historic atmosphere, this is by far the most romantic neighbourhood in Warsaw.
You can spend your days wandering the winding streets, stopping in cosy cafes and browsing little boutiques. Grab dinner and drinks in the shadow of beautiful historic buildings, letting the wonderful views complement the flavours of traditional Polish fare.
In the east the Royal Castle gardens run along the west bank of the Vistula river, offering lovely surroundings and views. Down by the water, the riverbank is lined with bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a romantic dinner in the river breeze.
The majority of the Old Town area is contained within the Barbakan. Originally built in the 16th-century, the red brick fortified wall was once the main defensive line for the city.
Heavy reconstructions allow you to experience the impressive fortifications as they would’ve been hundreds of years ago.
At the southern end of the Barbakan is the Royal Castle, one of the top attractions in the whole city. The stunning red brick castle dates back to the 14th-century and is filled with artworks and relics from its royal residents of centuries past.
The castle overlooks Castle Square, a busy public square lined with restaurants and cafes. Sigismund’s Column has stood proud in the square since the 17th-century, a monument to King Sigismund III.
The town within the Barbakan centres around the Old Market Square. At the centre of the Old Town Square is a statue of a mermaid, in honour of the fact that a mermaid is the symbol of the city.
In addition to the usual bars and restaurants, the square is also surrounded by several museums. The Museum of Warsaw spans eleven colourful town houses at the north end of the square and details the history and culture of the local area.
Just next door you have the Adam Mickiewicz Museum Of Literature. In honour of the Polish poet, the museum displays the works and belongings of not just Adam Mickiewicz but also other Polish authors of note.
For a great view of the Old Town, you should head up the Old Town Tower. Climb the 150 steps up to the viewing platform at the top of the tower to look out across the Old Market Square and over historic rooftops.
Just a minute walk from the square is St. John’s Arch Cathedral. One of the most stunning buildings in Warsaw, the red brick cathedral dates back to the 14th century and houses the tomb of the last king of Poland, King Stanisław August Poniatowski, along with other notable figures.
Although it’s one of the most popular areas of the city to visit, there are actually comparatively few hotels here. There are a couple of boutique hotels if you have the budget for them but it’s mostly self-catering apartments.
Stay in Stare Miasto (Old Town) If you want to stay in the most historic area of Warsaw; you want to stay surrounded by incredible attractions; staying in the most central possible location is a priority; you are planning a honeymoon or romantic getaway.
Best places to stay in Warsaw near Old Town:
- luxury: Hotel Bristol, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Warsaw
- mid-range: Oki Doki OLD TOWN
- budget: Ibis Warszawa Stare Miasto
3. Powisle, where to stay in Warsaw for the riverside views of Warsaw
Just south of the old town, so still super central, Powisle is a lively neighbourhood running along the west bank of the Vistula river. With lovely views of the river, world class museums, and fashionable hospitality, Powisle is an underappreciated area with more to offer than most visitors realise.
This hip area of Powisle is much more popular with younger people, whether locals or visitors. Its numerous riverside cocktail bars make it a fantastic and lively place to spend your evenings.
This is especially true in the summer, when you can enjoy the warm evenings on a wine terrace overlooking the water. During this time, the Vistulan Boulevards are the centre of Powisle activity.
The pretty riverside promenade is a popular gathering place year-round, lined with bars and art installations. It particularly comes alive in summer when it hosts festivals and sometimes artificial beaches.
Running alongside the boulevards is the lovely Skwer Kahla Park. The open lawns offer a relaxing place to sit and appreciate views across the water. They are also home to another of Warsaw’s mermaid statues.
If you want an even closer look at the river, consider heading out onto it on one of the River Cruises that operates along here.
At the northern end of the park sits one of Warsaw’s top museums, the Copernicus Science Centre. One of the largest science centres in all of Europe, the Copernicus centre boasts over four hundred interactive exhibits, a planetarium, and a discovery park.
Just beyond the science centre is the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art. With a permanent collection of over two hundred contemporary pieces, along with a rotation of temporary exhibits, this is a must visit for any fan of modern art.
The Presidential Palace is another of the top attractions that can be found in Powisle. The grand seat of polish governance is open for guided tours by visitors, so you may admire the opulent interior as well as the majestic façade.
Powisle in part owes its buzzing nightlife scene to being one of the more popular student districts, since this is where you will find the University Of Warsaw. Whilst the university itself may be of little interest to visitors, the Warsaw University Library Garden is certainly worth a look.
One of the largest rooftop gardens in Europe, the Warsaw University Library Gardens are a fabulous place to spend an afternoon. Filled with stunning flowerbeds, greenhouses, and art installations, they also offer spectacular views across the surrounding area and the river.
Just along from the university campus is the Holy Cross Church. The pretty 18th-century church may seem relatively unassuming from the outside, but it boasts the macabre honour of housing urns containing the hearts of notable Poles, including legendary composer Frédéric Chopin.
In fact, there are several monuments in the area dedicated to the world renowned, Warsaw-born musician. The Frédéric Chopin Museum houses not only Chopin’s original scores and manuscripts, but also personal effects such as letters and furniture.
You should also keep an eye out for the Chopin benches. Several benches dedicated to the musician are located around the area. With the press of a button they will play you some of his music, though you may have to concentrate to hear it over the din of city traffic.
Stay in Powisle If you want to stay in the riverside of Warsaw; you want to stay in one of the trendiest, up and coming neighbourhoods; you want to be surrounded by lively nightlife districts; you want to stay close to the city centre with lovely river views.
Best places to stay in Warsaw in Powisle:FIND BEST HOTELS IN POWISLE
See more: Where to Stay in Krakow
4. Praga, where to stay in Warsaw for nightlife
Anyone who prefers staying in a neighbourhood with more of an urban edge will love Warsaw Praga. Now a trendy, artsy hangout for the city’s younger crowd and hipsters, Praga still bears the aesthetic of its rougher years.
Don’t let its lingering reputation deter you though. Whilst some locals who remember its dodgier years still steer clear, it’s now as safe as any other touristy part of Warsaw.
It was also one of the few central districts of Warsaw to come out relatively unscathed from the destruction of World War II. As such, it is one of the most authentically historic neighbourhoods, with original buildings rather than post war reproductions.
Praga was divided into Praga-South (Praga-Południe) and Praga-North (Praga-Północ) in 1945.
The towering spires of St Florian’s Cathedral, soaring seventy-five metres into the sky, are one of the most prominent features of historic Praga. Meanwhile, the Museum Warszawskiej Pragi offers a look into the history of the local area since the 16th-century.
Whilst you are in the area, you should definitely swing by Bazar Różyckiego. The oldest market in Warsaw, Różyckiego has fallen from its fashionable status of decades past, but it is still an interesting look into working-class Warsaw life.
Once a bustling industrial district, just across the Vistula river from the city centre, Praga has undergone a remarkable transformation over the last few decades.
The various old warehouses and factories have been converted into stylish events venues that draw people to the area both day and night. If you are looking for an area with plenty to do, no matter the time of day, Praga would be a great option for you.
During the day, Praga is the home of Warsaw’s artist community. Various studios and galleries are scattered around the area, bringing colour to the old industrial buildings.
One of the centres of art and culture in Praga is The Soho Factory. One of the many converted factories in the area, the Soho Factory is a little hub of art galleries, studios, theatres, and shops.
The most notable gallery in the factory is the Neon Museum. The colourful Neon Museum displays stunning signs from throughout the communist era.
The art you can find in Praga is not just contained within frames and galleries, however. Keep your eyes peeled whilst wandering the streets and you will spot the wonderful street art that decorates many of the walls.
The art ranges from vintage advertisements from times gone by to vibrant murals.
When in Praga you must stop at the Polish Vodka Museum. This monument to that most Polish of beverages is hosted in an old vodka factory. In addition to exhibits on the methods of producing vodka throughout the ages, you can, of course, enjoy tastings of local spirits.
For a breath of fresh air, spend an afternoon relaxing in Skaryszewski Park. The expansive, leafy park offers walking trails winding through trees and around ponds and fountains. In the north of the park is the sparkling Kamionek Lake, lined with waterfront cafes and restaurants.
In the evenings, the riverside warehouses come alive with music and night-time revellers. From nightclubs and live music venues to laid back bars overlooking the water, Praga is the best place in Warsaw to go for brilliant nightlife.
Still working to shake off its rougher reputation from years past, accommodation in Praga is still fairly cheap.
Being just across the river from the heart of the city and the old town of Warsaw, this is one of the best places to stay for people on a tighter budget who still want to keep close to the city centre.
Stay in Praga If you want to stay at the heart of the city’s nightlife; you want to stay in an edgier, more urban district; you love art and want to spend your days exploring Warsaw’s creative community; you want a more affordable area that is still close to the city centre.
Best places to stay in Praga:FIND BEST HOTELS IN PRAGA POLUDNIE
5. Mokotow, where to stay in Warsaw for family
A little more removed from the crowded city centre, leafy Mokotow is a more relaxed, residential area. Still within walking distance of many of Warsaw’s main attractions, it offers a laid back alternative to the bustling tourist districts.
Understated and local, staying in Mokotow really gives you the opportunity to revel in everyday Polish life. You can spend your days wandering the many parks, browsing in bustling shopping centres, or enjoying authentic Polish food at the local restaurants.
Mokotow is one of the best areas to stay in Warsaw with children. With plenty of parks to run around in, very well-connected with the city centre, and plenty of family friendly amenities, Mokotow is a peaceful haven for family vacations.
Just north of Mokotow is Lazienki, Warsaw’s biggest park. Aside from being a beautiful, luscious park full of trees and ponds and winding paths, Lazienki is also crammed with attractions.
There are tons of statues and sculptures, an art gallery in an old castle, and a botanical garden, to name just a few of the things you can discover here.
In the east of the park, you will find the lovely Palace On The Isle. Perched on a little island in the middle of a lake, Pałac na Wyspie allows guests to explore the ornate rooms and appreciate its collection of artworks and artefacts.
On the opposite side of the park is Belweder Palace. One of the residences of the polish president, the palace is not open for tours, but it is still lovely to admire from the outside.
If you want somewhere a little quieter, try nearby Morskie Oko Park. With fewer attractions than Lazienki, Morskie Oko is more peaceful, without crowds of tourists. Alternatively, Pole Mokotowskie park is a wonderland for cyclists, boasting the best network of cycle paths in Warsaw.
In the summer, both locals and tourists flock to Czerniakowskie Lake. The long lake is a popular swimming spot, with a sandy beach and scenic surroundings. Perfect for cooling off, or relaxing on a hot day.
The last of Mokotow’s parks that I will mention is Arkadia Park. Another retreat of trees and lakes, Arkadia is also home to the Królikarnia Museum.
A department of the National Museum, Królikarnia hosts the largest collection of sculptures in Poland. The sculptures are housed both within the lovely palace museum, as well as scattered throughout the gardens.
Being further out from the city centre has the added bonus of keeping prices for accommodation slightly cheaper than in Centrum. Whilst you won’t have the same variety that you can find in the more touristy districts, you will be able to find some high quality options for very reasonable rates.
Stay in Mokotow If you want to stay in a quieter district that is still reasonably close to the city centre; you are travelling with children; you want to experience what everyday life in Warsaw is like;
Best places to stay in Warsaw in Mokotow :FIND BEST HOTELS IN MOKOTOW
6. Wilanow, where to stay in Warsaw off-the-beaten-track
One of the most upmarket areas of Warsaw, Wilanow is ideal for those who just want a laid back vacation, away from the crowded tourist districts.
If you want to experience the fancier side of Warsaw living, you will love browsing the fashionable boutiques or relaxing in the chic bars and cafes.
Further into the suburbs of Warsaw, Wilanow is quite off-the beaten-track, removed from the sights and attractions of the city centre. Whilst you can still get into the main town fairly easily via taxi or bus, it’s still less convenient if sightseeing in the Old Town is your priority.
Right out towards the edge of the city, large swathes of Wilanow are taken up by farmland and the Morysin Nature Reserve. Along with its various public parks, Wilanow is one of the most scenic neighbourhoods in Warsaw.
The inconvenience of reaching the city centre sights is offset somewhat by Wilanow’s own attractions. In fact, Wilanow Palace is one of the top attractions in the whole city and it will be right on your doorstep if you stay in Wilanow.
Often referred to as ‘The Polish Versailles,’ Wilanow Palace is a stunning, 17th-century estate, set in expansive, manicured gardens. The palace itself, once a royal residence, is now an art museum displaying classical works, many from the royal family’s own collection.
If you are a fan of more contemporary art, you may want to visit the Poster Museum. Right next door to the palace, it’s no trouble to visit both in a single trip. One of the largest poster collections in the world, the Poster Museum houses over 55,000 posters from the 19th-century to modern times.
Being further out from the city centre, accommodation in Wilanow is not actually terribly expensive, despite the luxury atmosphere. You will be able to choose from a range of more luxury hotels without breaking the bank like you would in Warsaw Centrum.
Stay in Wilanow If you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of Warsaw; You don’t mind being further out from the city centre; Sightseeing is not your top priority; You want to stay in affordable luxury.
Best places to stay in Milano:FIND BEST HOTELS IN WILANOW
7. Warsaw New Town, quieter neighborhood, close to the Old Town of Warsaw
Known as Nowe Miasto in Polish, Warsaw New Town hasn’t actually been ‘new’ since the 14th-century. Immediately north of the Old Town, this is another super central area, within walking distance of some of Warsaw’s top sights.
With a similarly historic vibe to Stare Miasto yet fewer big attractions drawing in tourists, this is a great alternative. If you want the whole trifecta of central, historic, and less crowded, then the New Town is the best area to stay for you.
Being one of the more historic areas of the city, there are, of course, a few interesting old buildings to visit whilst you are in the area. Fort Legionów is a round, red brick fortress from the 19th-century. Set in pretty parkland, the round hall is now a popular venue for indoor markets.
Alternatively, nearby Traugutt Fort is a bit more imposing. Multi-storied and with the traditional battlements you expect from a defensive castle, it’s well worth paying a visit to see if you can explore the spooky depths of the old fortress.
A bit lighter hearted, Warsaw Zoo is just across the river. Home to over five hundred species, it’s a wonderful, educational day out for the whole family.
One of the downsides to staying in Warsaw New Town is that it is less well connected to the public transport system. As such, it is not so ideal for those with mobility issues who will be relying on public transport to get around.
Less popular than the neighbouring districts, there are fewer accommodation options to choose from here. However, a few hotels have started to pop up in recent years, as tourists become more aware of the benefits to staying here.
Stay in Warsaw New Town If you want to stay in one of the most historic areas of Warsaw; you want a quieter neighbourhood that is still close to the city centre; you plan to spend a lot of time enjoying the attractions of the Old Town; you won’t be overly reliant on public transport.
Best places to stay in Warsaw New Town:
- luxury: Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw
- mid-range: JessApart– Babka Tower Apartment
- budget: Ibis Warszawa Stare Miasto
8. Wola district (and Mirow), where to stay in Warsaw for business travellers
Another of Warsaw’s rejuvenated industrial districts, Wola is now one of the most modern areas of Warsaw west of Sródmiescie. The city’s business centre, Wola is where you will find most of Warsaw’s shining office buildings, conference centres, and towering skyscrapers.
Although a little out of the main town centre, Wola is Particularly well connected to public transport. As such, you will have no trouble getting around the city, and in many ways it’s actually easier to see more of Warsaw from here.
Of course, you don’t have to always venture out of the area to find something to do. Wola is where you will find one of the most significant museums in Warsaw, the Warsaw Uprising Museum.
The Warsaw Uprising Museum documents the uprising of the jews in the Warsaw Ghetto in the Second World War, and the subsequent destruction that followed its quashing.
A little more light-hearted is Wola’s vibrant street art. Most notable is the Wola District Mural, a commissioned piece depicting daily life in Wola and featuring significant landmarks and notable residents.
Plenty of other beautiful murals can be found splashed across walls around the area. Just make sure to keep your eyes peeled as you are walking around and you are sure to spot some incredible artwork.
Wola is just far enough from the centre of the city to be a more affordable place to stay. Being popular with business travellers, you will mostly find contemporary chain hotels at mid range prices. There are also some smart hostels here too, for those with tighter budgets.
Stay in Wola District (And Mirow) if you are visiting Warsaw on business; You want to stay in one of the most modern areas of Warsaw; You want to stay close to the city centre, but outside of the main tourist districts; Being well connected to public transport networks is a priority;
Best places to stay in Warsaw in Wola district:
- luxury: The Westin Warsaw
- mid-range: Leonardo Royal Hotel Warsaw
- budget: Holiday Inn – Warsaw City Centre, an IHG Hote
So, there you have the eight best areas to stay in Warsaw. If you are planning your first trip to the Polish capital, I’m sure you are feeling much more familiar with what the city, and its various districts, has to offer you.
Hopefully returning visitors will have discovered something new to explore on their next visit too. Warsaw is such a lively city that there are always new attractions and events to enjoy, no matter how many times you have visited before.
Whether you are paying Warsaw a flying visit or are planning a longer vacation, I am sure you will have a marvellous time in the city.