Yes, you read that right – we paid 50 euros for flight tickets for five people to Warsaw from Gothenburg, Sweden, to Warsaw and back again – at lowcost european airline Ryanair you can find ridicolusly low prices on flight tickets if you’re lucky, check it out if flying between european countries – airports are usually located a bit further from the actual city and you might need to be flexible with days and times to fly and it’s not the most comfortable aircrafts but as the flights are so short it’s usually no problem that it’s a bit uncomfy and that you cant tilt the seat. I have never experienced a delayed flight with them though!
We landed about 40 km from Warsaw city centre and took a taxi for 180 PLN (about 40 euros – bus would have been 133 PLN for us all) to our accomodation – a huge central apartment in the upcoming part of town called Praga or Nowa Praga – where we stayed for free through couchsurfing.org even though the hosts weren’t at home at the moment. Which was actually a little sad as they seemed like really cool people and also had three kids who our kids would have been delighted to play with – now they instead got to borrow their beds, play with their toys and feed their hamster which was also great! 🙂
View from our balcony in Praga – this mural was inspired by Warsaw’s lack of city planning – there are no areas for kids to play right by the buildings where they live, so they play with whatever they can find which was made obviuos to us outside our building where some kids got yelled at by an older lady for playing at a building site.
Although , there are lots of nice parks with playgrounds in lots of places such as Saxon Gardens located right outside the Old Town for example, or famous Lazienki park (where it’s apparently forbidden to ride bikes or lay in the grass sio I’ve read, but we were actually never there as there wasn’t enough time during our three days visit so I’m not sure)
What to do in Warsaw with kids
So what is there to do with the kids in this city? We discovered there was a lot of fun stuff to do so three days was actually a bit short of time cause there was so many things the kids wanted to do and see!
So here is what we did do:
We arrived early on sunday so after getting settled in at the apartment we walked to Old Town on the other side of Vistula River which runs through Warsaw. We could have taken the tram the few stops but then we wouldnt have found the entrance to the zoo, the nice fountain we didn’t know about or the cute little market which was held every weekend – a small but very nice fleamarket where you could buy great, cheap indian street food and sit down with a cold drink while the kids played in the sandbox located in a quiet corner of the market.
Zoo Market at Ratuszowa (name of the street) – don’t miss this if you like vintage clothing or cheap and good indian and thai stree food! Open 10 am – 6 pm saturday and sunday
There are several “entrances” to the Old Town in Warsaw (which is actually younger than the rest of the city as it’s rebuilt after the second world war), to of them are featured in this picture -we entered old Town from the riverside so the kids could let some energy out before “history class”. After the walk here the all the kids complained about veeery tired legs so we decided to take a tour with a horse and carriage (ok maybe because horse driving mum wanted to as well 😉 ), and saw most of the Old Town this way – where the carriage turned there was a puppet show going on and some other events for children.
Of course the kids wanted to try the cool, tall ice cream cones covered wuth chocolate, lemon, strawberry or whatever flavour you wanted, but actually Tindra was the only one who liked them. Unfortunately I don’t have a pic of a perfect new one to show as I was busy keeping track of little one Neo before finally sitting down and then the ice creams were already almost finished :p
We grown-ups tried typical polish “kanapki”, a kind of very long “pizza sandwich” often served with ketchup on top. Cheap, filling street food that goes well wit a “pivo” (beer in polish) – and of course I ran out of storage before getting a pic of that..
When you’re the only one who likes the ice creams you get two!
As we lived close to the zoo in warsaw and as the kids saw it during our walk on day one it was a must – wasnt expensive either – good experience but unfortunately there were no signs in English, only in polish, so they could only learn more about the animals that we happened to know about (and trust me I do not know a lot about as many animals as 500!) Also only a few of the staff knew English so ordering food was a bit of a challenge. But it ws a great and big park, with a nice playground, good prices, pony rides on both real and fake (!) ponies and nice facilities.
Dressed for a visit at the zoo!
Kids don’t need a language in common, they play together anyway which is why it’s a great idea to take your kids to a local playground on your vacation abroad. My kids have also practiced a lot of English that way when meeting English speaking kids at playgrounds in Europe.
Pony cycles in different sizes at Warsaw Zoo – very cute haha! Moved forward from pushing saddle up and down.
After our visit at the zoo we got Tindra a haircut for only 10 euros but then we disscovered it was even cheaper at other places but she was very pleased with the result though and while waiting the rest of us were offered coffee, tea, soda or vodka 🙂
I had the worst nail job ever at the same salon though…
Hangar 646 Trampoline park!
While browsing the web before our trip, looking for stuff to do with kids in Warsaw, we found Hangar 646, and with two gymnasts in the family and poor facilities near our home for that matter, this was a real must-do for us! And hobby gymnast mum also got to participate for free as Neo was so young. Was a bit hard to find out how to get there (bus 146 towards Falencia, from Stadion Narodowy) and booking online is in Polish but you can call them and book in English – important to book in advance as you join a Group for the hour you’re there, you get safety instructions (yoou must come 15 min before your appointment to register etc) and warm up together with an instructor – and the instructors are around to help for the whole our. GREAT experience and a nice cafe and cool virtual tv-game that the kids can play if having to wait for the bus (leaves every 30 minutes), all three kids and me had really fun! There’s also a skate ramp which you can book at an additional cost and there are helmets, skateboards, rollerblades and kickbikes to borrow for that.
After this we took the metro to Copernicus Science center, located next to Warsaw University librarý which has a great roof top garden to walk around in and looking at Warsaw from above which we did before going in to the science center as it was actually full and tickets sales had been stopped whn wi arrived in the middle of the day. We had lunch at the corner in a great little italian restaurant, good pizza and wine at a good price and entered the science center with happy and full kids after struggling with their whining a bit before they got lunch (fees yuour kids in time but when they’re hungry enough to eat their meal…easy-peasy, right? 😉 ) Take your time at Copernicus and use the English speaking staff as not all experiments etc are explained in English – and dont forget to discover the exciting stuff outside while walking from or to the metro!
Copernicus Science Centre and Roof top gardens at the University Library
We ended our last day with some shopping at Wysdonia Galleria (= mall) nearby our apartment and a home cooked meal after shopping some groceries at the huge grocery store (or well they sell everything) Carrefour.
What the kids say about Warsaw:
Alexis, 13: First ever visit to KFC, chicken a bit spicy but it was almost as good as I thought it woukd be! Parkour and skate at Hangar 646!
Tindra, 10: Shop accesories at Claire’s! Play in the playgrounds in the parks and learn to say “Sorry, I don’t speak Polish”or “I dont understand” in Polish 🙂
Neo, 6: Eat ice cream for a maximum of 4 PLN (around 1 euro) but not the lemon covered one and go discover Copernicus Science Center, but go in the morning or late afternoon to avoid long lines or not getting in at all. Morning is better I Think so you’ll have lots of time to discover, try stuff and explore!
Next time I want to see Soho factory with the Neon museum and E Wedel chocolate factory with its cafe and have more time for shopping! I’d also like to see the parks if better weather, and locate the kids’ cafees that according to the internet are everywhere but which I couldn’t find during our short stay…Anyone been?
Oh , right, there are sometimes something called “Orange umbrella free tours” in the old Town, free bnut you’re expected to pay the guide something (what you Think it’s worth) takes about 2 hours. And if you’re in Warsaw without kids (as we’ve been before) or are more than 2 adults so you have someone looking after the kids, don’t miss Horror House! (book in advance, minimum 2 people maximum 8 people) – I don’t get scared by horror Movies for example but my god, I have never ever been that scared before! Such a cool experience 🙂
When we went to Warsaw the first time, without kids, we stayed at Chopin B&B boutique hotel, which I can highly recommend, local, organic food, breakfast served around one big table with the owner present, he loved to share his knowledge about the city and Everything else as well and was happy to give directions and advice if wanted.