Hi everyone. As you know, I live in Warsaw now and I am not originally from here (possibly, like 50-60% of people here). But living here is really fine! There are a lot of things that surprised me positively since I moved here, and that is why today I would like to tell you about those things that I really like about the capital of my country
I live in Warsaw since the middle of May, so it’s already 1,5 months. This weekend I am going to my home town for the first time since then. I used to go to Warsaw very frequently when travelling to Lublin (which I want to visit again soon) for my University, so I knew this city only from the perspective of the train and bus stations. Of course this type of knowledge is not a real one – you cannot experience the city by waiting for your bus. Living here is a different story!
1. Very developed public transport
As you know from my Tallinn posts – I am a bit crazy about public transport. Warsaw is a big city, with enormous number of transport lines. These are:
- 288 bus lines, including 43 night lines
- 26 tram lines
- 2 underground lines (yet, one is very short – just 7 stations and 6 kilometres). Total operating distance is 27 kilometres, it is planned to be 52 km.
- SKM (from Szybka Kolej Miejska – Fast Urban Train) – it connects Warsaw with neighbouring towns and also stops within Warsaw, in many different areas.
Those above are owned by ZTM (Zarząd Transportu Miejskiego – The Board of Urban Transport). There are also KM (Koleje Mazowieckie) and in some routes – ZTM’s ticket is honoured. There is also WKD – Warszawska Kolej Dojazdowa – that connects Warsaw and several cities that are located nearby.
Typical Warsaw’s tram inside, produced by Polish company – PESA
I live very close to the center (on the border between Śródmieście and Wola areas) but sometimes I am taking tram to work. Usually, tram is not overcrowded before 9 am. Most of the people inside are behaving like Estonians = they just travel and do not cause any troubles :)
If I had to find 2 cons for public transport in Warsaw they would be: the price of the ticket (if you are not a person who filled in natural person’s tax in Warsaw, you are paying 110 PLN per month or 280 PLN per quarter. I chose the second option. 110 PLN equals around 27 euros and 280 PLN is more or less 70 euros). Of course, it might seem cheap for someone from more developed countries, but for Poles it is quite expensive. Second thing: some lines (e.g. 105) can be late, veeery late, and then 2 buses would come at once – always take the second one, much less crowded! :)
2. You can live relatively cheaply close to the center
If you don’t own the car (just like me at the moment) – living in the center might be the thing for you. I currently pay only 1400 PLN (350 EUR more or less) per months for around 40m2 (it is very cheap in Warsaw) and of course – I have an old flat, but everything else is fine – the location, access to all the services around, bus stops, tram stops, machines to add your ticket to your electronic card and at the same time – my windows overlook the green area and other blocks – there is also a street, but it is not overcrowded. The block is silent as well – there are rarely some parties etc.
I spoke with my friend who also lives in the center that the prices are cheaper because: there are very few parking places, sometimes they are extra paid to your bullding owner if you want that but in most cases – if you wanted to park on the street, it would have been a paid parking zone and will cost you a fortune. Also – most of the buildings are old and they are valued like old ones. I don’t think you would be able to find a flat in the new apartment complex in the center for less than 600 euros per month. For me it’s perfectly OK to live like that, especially while you can see the business area from your window.
3. Parks, forests, swimming pools – Warsaw has it
There are so many green areas in Warsaw. I have been to Pole Mokotowskie – which some people call Warsaw’s Central Park – like the one in New York. The other one I visited was Park Skaryszewski – in Praga Południe. I have been to Agrykola as well and Park Ujazdowski – both are stunning. My goal for the next few weeks is to visit forests: Las Bielański and Las Kabacki. I am also thinking of spending a day or two in the outdoor swimming pool – the closest one to me is Moczydło Aquapark and it is located in the Park that is also called Moczydło. I know it might be crowded all day long though and there are long queues to enter. There is really a lot of good stuff for nature lovers in Warsaw – I think it’s even more green than Sofia that I already considered to be very green and with tons of nature.
Park Skaryszewski, Praga Południe district
4. There is a lot of happening
In summer season, Warsaw is really alive. There are dozens of concerts, free of charge fountain show (if you missed it, you can read more here), Wisła river banks that are one big party and entertainment place etc. So even if you prefer to stay at home, it is very likely that you would enjoy some outdoor activity with your friends. You can also enjoy some places that are illuminated in a very nice way.
Świętokrzyski bridge on Wisła river – you can see people sitting below, but that is a calm part :)
5. There are some places where I can go shopping and do it fast
There is one shopping mall in Warsaw that is not big, but offers a lot of things – furniture, electronic appliances, pharmacy, some clothes etc. It is called Fort Wola and is absolutely deserted. Even in the rush hours, you can go there and shop for groceries etc. I went there once and I bought: groceries, home appliances and medicines. Took me like 20 minutes in total. I am planning to get there to buy new glasses once I have time for that.
Fort Wola at its rush hours – in the hypermarket there are always 2-4 cash desks open and it does not take much waiting to finish your groceries
The funniest part is that you can get to this place with numerous trams and buses and it is located only 25-30 minutes from the center and 20 minutes from my block.
There are also small stores, bakeries, supermarkets and so on located in the whole city, some of them are open long hours. Some shops are even 24/7 – which was always a case while I lived in Estonia – I could never shop after 11 pm :)
So, whatever you are doing at weekend – enjoy it. Happy Friday everyone!