where to stay in warsaw and things to do in warsaw poland - intersection communist style

Where to Stay in Warsaw: 8 Exciting Areas to Explore


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Picking out where you’re going to stay when you’re planning a trip can be one of the most daunting and overwhelming parts, in my opinion. Honestly, the quality and location of your accommodation can pretty much make or break a trip sometimes—especially in a huge capital city like Warsaw!

I’ve been to Warsaw four times now, and every time I’ve tried to stay in a different area, so I feel like I have a pretty good handle on where to stay in Warsaw! Whether you’re planning a Warsaw city break, or a slow travel journey through all of Poland, this post is perfect for your planning and inspo.

Keep reading to find out all the best neighborhoods in Warsaw, and discover which one is best for you to stay in on your trip! I’ve also answered some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting Warsaw at the bottom of this post, so make sure to check those out too.

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Delve into Poland

Where to Stay in Warsaw

1. Old Town: The Tourist Hotspot

The Old Town of Warsaw is probably the number one choice of places to stay for anyone who wants to be surrounded by the Warsaw of years past. It’s also a great choice for anyone who wants to be right in the thick of things, first time travelers, and anyone who doesn’t mind being surrounded by tourists and tourist businesses.

The Old Town is the quintessential picture of Warsaw, and it’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980! The entire Old Town was actually rebuilt after WWII, when the conflict completely flattened the city in the 1940s, and the results are incredible because you probably wouldn’t even notice a difference if you didn’t know the buildings were “new.”

The boundaries of Old Town essentially start at Sigismund’s Column, where you can get the main view of the colorful buildings in the plaza, and go through into the Old Town Market Square, and all the way out the Barbakan (old city wall).

The Old Town is filled in equal parts with tourist shops, shitty restaurants and photo ops, as it is with charming cobblestones, historic intrigue, and hidden gems you won’t find anywhere else. It all depends on the trade off you’re willing to make!

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I’ve never personally chosen to stay in Old Town, mostly because the options for accommodation are typically either super cheap hostels, or super opulent luxury hotels, neither of which has ever really been my thing.

I think Old Town would also be a nice choice for anyone with children (easy access to places to eat, and lots of apartments to rent), and anyone who isn’t a frequent traveler to Europe, because it’s always a charming treat to get to stay in the old cobblestone areas of European cities.

Don’t forget to check out my Things to do in Warsaw post to really all about the sights and things to do in Old Town!

My Top Hotel Pick in Old Town

Hotel Verte Warsaw Old Town

$$$ | 5 Star | Cozy Chic

Photo: Booking.com

P.S. When you book using my links, you help support Rachel IRL at no extra cost to you. It’s a win-win!

2. Powiśle: The Trendy Up-and-Comer 

things to do in warsaw where to stay in warsaw poland Powiśle university library

Powiśle wasn’t always this trendy, up and coming neighborhood, but today it’s rapidly becoming one of the most attractive areas to stay and play for those looking for a Warsaw hipster neighborhood.

The student area, which sits right on the Vistula River across from Praga Warsaw, has received more attention in recent years due to the influx of new museums, restaurants, and a shopping center. 

I like to think of Powiśle as a less rough around the edges version of Praga Warsaw (the well known hipster neighborhood just across the river).

where to stay in warsaw: powisle

The area’s proximity to the picturesque Vistula river means that in the summer you can expect to see loads of riverside bars and terraces that you can enjoy in the warm Warsaw sun. 

Not only that, but the Warsaw University Library (which is a sight to see on its own) has a free rooftop that you can also head up and enjoy (ideally with an ice cream or cool drink to beat the heat). 

Notably, the neighborhood is home to the Copernicus Science Centre and the Museum of Modern Art, so there’s definitely more to this trendy neighborhood than just shops and cocktails.

Before checking out this area I saw a ton of people recommending the Elektrownia Powiśle, which is essentially a mall that also has a bunch of restaurants on the ground floor. It’s inside an old power plant, which is a cool use of repurposing space, but ultimately I don’t recommend going out of your way to check it out cause at the end of the day…it’s basically a mall with all the big brands you would expect. 

However, there are bathrooms in the mall, if you do happen to find yourself in need (speaking from experience here lol). Also, I actually really enjoyed the Milk Bar restaurant—which is a nice restaurant that takes inspiration from the traditional Milk Bars. Just don’t go in expecting the classic Milk Bar experience!

There are a ton of great spots to check out in this neighborhood, and I don’t want to overdo it with the food recs in this post, so I’ll stick to my quick picks: MUUS Cukiernia Tamka (pastries), Grano Duro (Italian), and Cafe Kafka (coffee or lunch).

where to stay in warsaw powisle cafe kafka

I think Powiśle is the ideal place to stay in Warsaw for anyone looking for something a bit off the beaten path, or a Warsaw hipster neighborhood, that feels more like a neighborhood for locals than for tourists, but still wants to feel the trendy vibes that Warsaw has perfected.

My Top Hotel Pick in Powiśle

Hotel Verte Warsaw Old Town

$$ | 4 Star | Affordably Luxe

Photo: Booking.com

3. Praga Północ: The Warsaw Hipster Neighborhood Classic

The Praga Warsaw area encompasses a pretty large portion of the east side of the Vistula River, so I’ve broken it into two separate areas in order to make things a bit more manageable to wrap your head around!

where to stay in warsaw Praga Polnoc

Praga Polnoc is perfect for anyone who wants to stay off the beaten path, and get a taste of a neighborhood that’s a bit more local, and rougher around the edges. It’s also often (though not always!) a great place to stay if you’re looking to stay a bit cheaper on the accommodation budget, as you will have to go across the river each time you want to explore the rest of Warsaw.

While the neighborhood today is basically synonymous with trendy and hipster young people and businesses, it wasn’t that long ago that locals would tell you to avoid Praga Warsaw, especially at night. 

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However, today it’s just as safe as any other part of Warsaw, and any reputation you might hear about it is just a holdover from earlier years. We stayed in Praga just this last summer, and I felt totally safe, during the day and at night. The neighborhood has undergone some serious gentrification in the last decade, going from an underserved, working class area to a Warsaw hipster neighborhood mecca.

Something that makes Praga unique compared to the rest of Warsaw is that it’s one of the few parts of the city to mostly survive the relentless bombings of WWII, meaning that it’s also one of the few areas where you can see pre-war buildings. 

The older look of the area, coupled with the abundance of street art, definitely contributes to the “rougher” feel of the neighborhood, but it’s really just that it’s old, artistic, and historic!

If you want to see a glimpse of the Praga that once was, you can check out the Bazar Różyckiego, which is the oldest market in Warsaw. It was closed when we tried to visit, but I always love checking out a market to get a better feel for the local energy.

Even if you don’t make it to the market, this will put you at Ząbkowska street, which is one of the main streets/areas of interest in Praga Warsaw.

Technically based in Praga South, but in my experience is more easily connected and visited from Praga North, is the Soho Factory. It’s one of the more well known converted factories in Warsaw, and is full of art galleries, studios, shops, restaurants and theatres. Notably, the Soho Factory is where you can find the Neon Museum, which is one of the more well known museums in Warsaw.

where to stay in warsaw  poland neon museum warsaw museums

There’s honestly a ton more to say about Praga—much more than can fit into this post—so check out my guide to Praga Warsaw for all the best tips and places to check out!

My Top Hotel Pick in Praga Północ

Hotel Verte Warsaw Old Town

$$ | 3 Star | Quirky Coziness

Photo: Booking.com

4. Praga Południe: The Tucked Away Paradise

As mentioned, Praga Poludnie (Praga South) does technically encompass the area where Soho Factory is, but for the purpose of this guide I’ve decided to focus only on the Saska Kepa area of Praga for this option of where to stay in Warsaw.

Though I’d visited Warsaw a number of times before this past summer, this was the first time I made it to Saska Kepa. It’s located just south of the PGE Narodowy Stadium, and sits across the river from a pretty unnoteworthy part of the city (just south of Powiśle). 

where to stay in warsaw saska kepa PGE Narodowy

We ended up exploring this area because we were in town for a Harry Styles concert at the Stadium, so we happened to be in this new part of Praga, and I’m so glad we were!

This is a great area to stay for families, or anyone who’s looking for a quieter, greener and cleaner type of environment to stay. The neighborhood is very striking compared to the rest of Praga and Warsaw, as it’s full of pre-War mansions rather than the usual tenement style buildings you’ll have gotten used to in the city. 

Also, if you happen to be here in the summer, be sure to head to the part of the Vistula that runs through this area, where you’ll find some of the most popular river beaches in Warsaw, like Poniatówka.

where to stay in warsaw saska kepa PGE Narodowy things to do in warsaw vistula river beach

A lot of these buildings now serve as embassies and other official buildings, so it’s a pretty safe area all around. Some of them have also been turned into restaurants, so you can admire the glamorous 1920s-style art deco architecture for yourself.

Some of my other favorite businesses in Saska Kepa were: MOD donuts (not as good as American donuts, but fellow expats will know the donut struggle is real and sometimes we’ll take what we can get), Efes Kebab (the takeaway stand will almost always have a line, but don’t be deterred, it’s popular for a reason), Pallone Lody (great flavors, seemingly only open in warm months), and Norm Core (cafe/incredible vintage shop).

Honestly though, the entire main street in Saska Kepa is full of cute and well rated businesses and places to eat, so you won’t struggle to find good options. I wish I had better pictures from walking around here, but unfortunately I was a nervous wreck ahead of the concert (can you say “social anxiety”?) and this is all I have to offer you!!

My Top Apartment Pick in Praga Południe

Hotel Verte Warsaw Old Town

$$ | Just Like Home

Photo: Booking.com

5. Muranów: The Sleepy Historical Zone

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Muranów is where to stay in Warsaw if you’re looking for a quieter place to make your base during your trip, or just don’t really mind staying somewhere with less going on in order to snag a good deal or nice spot.

In all honesty, I don’t think there’s a ton going on in this area, but it is super historically significant, and if you stay in the south part of this Warsaw neighborhood you’ll actually be pretty close to the Old Town and the center.

Muranów is home to the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which is fitting because Muranów was once the home to the largest Jewish population in Europe, and was turned into a ghetto during WWII by the Nazis. You’ll know when you’re passing the ghetto borders because the boundaries have been memorialized permanently in the pavement. 

things to do in warsaw jewish ghetto boundaries where to stay in warsaw muranow

This neighborhood also has the impressive Ghetto Heroes monument, which is certainly worth a visit. However, the monument that I found the most moving and worthwhile is the Umschlagplatz Monument, which is a bit further north and slightly out of the way. This memorializes the spot where the Jews in Warsaw waited as they were sent off to the death camp Treblinka.

The architecture and vibe of this area is a really great microcosm of the overall allure of Warsaw, I think, in that you see all different layers of history on top of one another.

You’re so close to the reproduced pre-war buildings in the Old Town, you can see the boundaries of the former ghetto, and then you’re surrounded by ultra modern buildings like the POLIN museum, as well as Communist era blocs of flats from the post-war period. Even if there isn’t a ton to do in Muranów, it’s worth exploring for this alone!

Personally, I recommend exploring Muranów with a guide, or spending some serious time in the POLIN Museum because there’s such rich history in this area that you definitely don’t want to miss anything.

My Top Apartment Pick in Muranów

Hotel Verte Warsaw Old Town

$ | Centrally Located

Photo: Booking.com

6. Śródmieście Północne: The Buzzy Center

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Personally, I like to refer to this area as Centrum, or the Center, because that’s how it feels to me when you’re here (and there’s also a metro stop called Centrum here, so there’s that)! This Warsaw neighborhood is best suited to those who want to be right in the center of things. I also think this is probably the ideal place to stay for any first time visitors to Warsaw.

I stayed in this neighborhood the third time I visited Warsaw, and honestly I found it to be one of the more convenient locations that I’ve stayed in.

Home to the Palace of Culture and Science, arguably Warsaw’s most famous building, Śródmieście Północne is where you’ll find big malls, major hotels, and surprisingly, quite a lot of green space.

It’s also home to the Presidential Palace, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the National Opera. I feel like you’re probably getting the vibes by now. Most of the main important parts of Warsaw can be found in this neighborhood

This is also where you’ll find Nowy Swiat street, which is definitely worth a stroll. You’ll come across loads of shops, cafes, and restaurants as you make your way through the neighborhood.

Despite being such a bustling, major part of the city, there are several pockets of genuinely cool areas that you should check out. The area around Muss Vintage on Chmielna street has loads of cute cafes and restaurants, as well as a good record shop.

where to stay in warsaw Śródmieście Północne

Also, the northwest corner of the neighborhood (just north of Park Mirowski) is a great pocket to explore as well. One of my favorite memories in Warsaw is happening upon a wine festival in this area, and then (while tipsy) checking out a few charity shops in the area and walking around in the warm Warsaw evening.

But even if you don’t happen upon a wine festival, there are tons of restaurants, pastry shops, specialty coffee shops and more to keep you busy.

This is also the area where you’ll find the main train station, so it’s a very convenient option of where to stay in Warsaw from a travel perspective.

My Top Hotel Pick in Śródmieście Północne

Hotel Verte Warsaw Old Town

$$$ | 4 Star | Hip Sophistication

Photo: Booking.com

7. Śródmieście Południowe: A Personal Fave

Śródmieście Południowe is another one of the “trendy” neighborhoods in Warsaw, though in my personal opinion, it’s become a bit more commercialized and tourist friendly in the last few years. Think of it almost like Williamsburg in New York, or better yet, Friedrichshain in Berlin: still super trendy, but certainly not a secret anymore.

where to stay in warsaw near constitution square

This part of the city is admittedly one of my favorites. I love the way you can see remnants of pre-war Warsaw alongside communist-era buildings, near ultra modern buildings.

There are tons of shops, galleries, and restaurants and cafes (two of my favorite spots are in this area, actually) throughout this neighborhood. It’s also a great middle ground between being off the beaten path, and still pretty close to all the action in the center. Basically, it’s one of the more quintessential hipster Warsaw neighborhoods.

where to stay in warsaw and things to do in warsaw poland - intersection communist style

Parts of this area remind me of Serbia, while others remind me of Berlin, and then parts of it feel just entirely Warsaw, and it’s a very cool feeling to walk around and experience all those different vibes at once.

Konstytucji Square (Constitution Square), and the main street that runs through it is one of the most important Communist-era relics in Warsaw. The street was designed to serve a similar purpose as other major communist boulevards, such as Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin. 

where to stay in warsaw at constitution square and savior square

You can follow the route from the other most important Communist relic in Warsaw, the Palace of Culture and Science, all the way down to the square, which is surrounded by former residential complexes built with the intention of housing workers. 

Today you can still see the giant sculptures built into the facade of the building that depict and celebrate various types of workers.

One of the buildings was also opened as the MDM Hotel, which is still open to this day, and you can stay there if you’d like to take your own personal time machine back a few years. Check it out here.

Also fitting that this communist square is the new home to the The Museum of Life Under Communism, which showcases the good, the bad, and the strange everyday realities of living under communism in Warsaw. 

Zbawiciela Square (Savior Square) is probably the most well known hang out spot of this Warsaw hipster neighborhood, so don’t be surprised to find it full of expats and tourists. Plan B is a particularly popular bar that I’ve enjoyed in the past, and NA KOŃCU TĘCZY is where you’ll want to grab an ice cream in the summer.

Another of my favorite spots in Śródmieście Południowe is Cuda, which is a beer heavy bar located in the former communist party headquarters.

I really love a repurposed historical building, so this is right up my alley.

And last but not least, one of my favorite cafes in the city, Coffee Desk, is in this neighborhood.

Also, my favorite Milk Bar, Prasowy is just at the south end of this area, and it’s definitely worth a visit (or two, if you’re like me).

where to stay in warsaw prasowy milk bar

You can also access the biggest park in the city, Łazienki, quite easily from this neighborhood. So it’s another great choice of where to stay in Warsaw if you’ll enjoy having that reprieve from the hustle and bustle.

where to stay in warsaw near constitution square selfie pic
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My Top Hotel Pick in Śródmieście Południowe

Hotel Verte Warsaw Old Town

$$$ | 5 Star | Urban Spa Oasisv

Photo: Booking.com

8. Old Mokotów: The Locals Only Neighborhood

Mokotow is certainly the most off-the-beaten-path place to stay in Warsaw that I’ve included on this list, but I was so charmed by it when we were last in Warsaw that I obviously had to include it!

where to stay in warsaw old mokotow cool buildings

Old Mokotow is the southernmost Warsaw neighborhood on this list, so it’s certainly best suited for people who aren’t pressed about being in the center of things, and because it’s so local, it could be great for anyone looking to get a taste of authentic Warsaw life. 

I actually stayed in Mokotow the first time I ever visited Warsaw, though at the time I was so new to traveling (let alone solo traveling) that I barely even explored it, in favor of spending time in the center. But all of that to say that I know from experience that traveling to the center from Mokotow to the center isn’t bad! I took the bus every day back then, and this last time we were there we rode the tram.

Old Mokotow has so many cute bars, restaurants and cafes to explore, and one of the best parts of traveling (in my opinion) is wandering around and discovering hidden gems in local areas, so this neighborhood gets a gold star in that respect. 

If you want some of my top picks to get you started, here they are: Cafe Mozaika, Regeneracja, Lokal 44, Rdest Piekarnia, Kubek w Kubek, Mezze, and Kino Iluzjon (this one is actually a movie theatre, and I don’t think they do English showings, but there is a cool cafe out front).

Another very cool and off the beaten track thing you could do is see a production at the Nowy Theatre. They offer select shows with English subtitles, and they’re one of the cooler theatre companies in Warsaw.

where to stay in warsaw retro architecture in old mokotow

Finally, Mokotow is super close to Warsaw’s biggest park, Lazienki, so if you’re someone who likes to appreciate a city’s greenery, this might be the neighborhood for you!

My Top Apartment Pick in Old Mokotów

Hotel Verte Warsaw Old Town

$ | Impeccably Decorated

Photo: Booking.com

FAQs about Where to Stay in Warsaw:

Which part of Warsaw is best to stay in?

things to do in warsaw poland old town christmas market

First things first, if you ask me, there’s really no “bad” place to stay in Warsaw. The best part of Warsaw to stay in is going to have a lot to do with your personal travel preferences and needs. That being said, I think that, especially for first time visitors, staying near the Old Town, probably in Centrum is the best option.

This will put you centrally located to most of the rest of the city, and make it easy for you to see a ton of the main things on foot. I suggest staying near the Old Town, rather than in it, because, in my opinion, the Old Town can feel a bit hectic and touristy, and I think it’s always better to stay in a neighborhood where you can get a bit more of a local feel.

How many days is enough for Warsaw?

Because I prioritize slower travel, I’m always going to prefer taking a longer trip over a shorter one.

things to do in Warsaw poland - go to Łazienki park

That being said, I think 3 days is a safe, starter amount of time for Warsaw. It’s that sweet spot where you’ll probably wish you had a bit more time, but you also feel like you got to do a lot of things on your list.

There’s honestly a ton of things to do in Warsaw, so I feel confident that you’ll be able to easily fill three days.

I’ve always gone through Warsaw for 2-4 days, and I think it’s the sweet spot. Just make sure you take stock of the things that were on this list that you’re interested in, and make sure that 3 or so days will be sufficient.

Is it safe to walk around Warsaw at night?

Yes, it’s definitely safe to walk around Warsaw, even at night. I’ve never felt particularly unsafe in any part of Warsaw, and I’ve explored a fair bit of the city at this point.

That being said, it’s also the capital and the biggest city in Poland, so, much like any city, you should always remain aware of your surroundings and maintain a level of awareness and common sense while you’re walking around after dark.

where to stay in warsaw and is it safe for women at night

How English friendly is Warsaw?

Honestly, Warsaw is pretty English friendly! There are obviously going to be a lot of people who won’t speak English, but most people I’ve come across speak at least some level of English. And the few times that’s failed, I’ve found it easy enough to use Google translate to show to people.

I would also say that it differs between the Warsaw neighborhoods, so the more central you are, the more likely you’ll find English.

As always, I recommend learning a few basic Polish words and phrases so you can be polite while you’re there (check out my Poland destination page (coming soon) to download my phrasebook!). A little effort usually goes a long way!

Is Warsaw a walkable city?

Yes and no. Warsaw is a walkable city in that the roads and sidewalks are all well kept and it’s easy to get around on foot. I have always walked a ton when I’m in Warsaw.

That being said, it’s also a pretty big city, so I wouldn’t plan on taking Warsaw only by foot, because you’ll probably need to catch a cab or take the tram if you want to see more than just the central things (which I obviously recommend!).

This is also why it’s so important to make sure you pick the right place to stay for your preferences, so you know you’ll be able to get around the city easily enough!

things to do in Warsaw poland ride the tram

P.S. When you book using my links, you help support Rachel IRL at no extra cost to you. It’s a win-win!

Ready to plan the best trip to Warsaw?

I hope this post has made you super inspired and excited about where to stay in Warsaw, Poland!! 

If you have any questions, comments, or think I might have missed something, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email! 

And if you’re still planning, be sure to check out all my other posts about Warsaw so you can have the best Warsaw city break ever.

You can also always find me on InstagramPinterestYoutube, and my newsletter.

Happy traveling!

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