Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Warsaw

Fri May 11, 2012 10:35am EDT
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By Karolina Slowikowska

WARSAW (Reuters) - Got 48 hours to spare this summer in Warsaw, the capital of Poland for more than 400 years? Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a 48-hour visit.

Located in central Poland, Warsaw is easily accessible by train and plane. The airport is conveniently located within the city limits and only a 15-minute drive or 30-minute bus ride from the center.

Legend says the city's name is based on the love story of a fisherman named Wars, who meets a beautiful siren on the banks of the Vistula river named Sawa. They marry and live happily ever after, with others naming the village after their union.

In modern times, just 20 years after ditching Communism and going into default, Poland is the European Union's economic success story. With central Europe's largest economy and a population of 38 million people, Poland is the only EU member to have avoided recession in recent years.

Warsaw, which combines the old with the new, leads the country's economy -- providing a busy home for the headquarters of many companies, a thriving stock exchange, government offices, international institutions, universities and many tourist attractions.


5 p.m. - Start your trip by looking out on the entire city from the top terrace of the neo-Gothic Palace of Science and Culture in the heart of the capital.

The palace, at 754-feet (230-metres), is Warsaw's tallest. It has 42 floors and hosts restaurants, theatres, bars, museums and a swimming pool. It was built in the 1950s as a gift from Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin to remind Poles of where their loyalties should lie during the Cold War.   Continued...

People walk at Plac Zamkowy in Warsaw's Old Town September 14, 2011. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel