Just like most cities in the world, Warsaw offers a huge variety of accommodations. And as usually, it all comes down to the price you want to pay.
Staying at Hotels
I don’t like hotels. I don’t like hotels because they are expensive. I don’t like hotels because they are boring. I don’t like hotels because they are the worst place to meet new friends.
However, hotels usually will have available rooms when all the other options fail. In short: if you are not on a budget and if you don’t mind to spend your time “alone” – hotel might be a good choice for you.
Warsaw offers a big selection of hotels, many start at $75-$85 per night.
Staying at Hostels
Hostels are preferred by students, young people and folks on budget. I would rather stay at the hostel simply because it’s a lot more fun than a hotel. In fact, choosing a hotel instead of a hostel was my biggest regret when traveling in Germany in the past.
Hostels are fun because people tend to stay outside of their rooms and in the common areas. Hostels also set-up outings, pub crawls and city-tours. This is a great way to make new friends, wherever you are. Sure, most of these people will be your “short-term-buddies” but some will become your long-term friends.
I haven’t stayed at a hostel in Warsaw yet, however my girlfriend did. She really liked the place and the staff and highly recommends it: Oki Doki Warsaw. A bed in the shared room costs about $15 per night – and that was in a well-located hostel, between the center of the city and the old town. If you prefer a private room in a hostel, prepare $50-$60 per night, breakfast included. The hostel asks its guests to book directly through their website – this way it will cost You a lot less then booking through an agency or a booking site.
Renting a Flat in Warsaw
Renting a flat (apartment) could also be a great choice, as it’s usually a little cheaper than a hotel room – yet you are getting a full apartment, with a functional kitchen. There are lots of offers for small furnished flats that you can rent for $50-$70 per night, many of them are conveniently located in the downtown Warsaw area.
I needed a place for a mid-long term (4 months) so I had to find an apartment that is not targeted to weekend tourists. At first I contacted those “short term” places and they quoted me $2,000 per month for a small studio.
I kept looking online, my girlfriend was already in Warsaw and we were able to find a small furnished studio for about $300 per month + utilities (that’s another $75-100 for natural gas, electricity and internet). It’s located in Stary Mokotów, a desirable neighborhood, 5 minute walk from metro and 5 minute walk from my girlfriend’s school.
The search of a flat revealed a few interesting points…
- Gumtree.pl is probably the best site to find an apartment. You can filter the offers to only see the ads posted directly by the owner. If you go through an agency, they will charge a very high fee.
- It is a very wise idea to have a Polish-speaking friend when looking for a flat as older people tend to not speak English. Our Polish friend also negotiated the price for the flat a little.
- Apartments go FAST (as least the ones located in the center and near the center). If the ad was posted in the morning, it’s probably rented out in the evening. This is simply incredible.
- Many people will not want to rent for less then few months, some will not rent for less then a year. Be ready to pay a little more if you want a place for 2-3 months.
- You will be required to pay a deposit, in the amount of one month’s rent. The deposit will be given back to you at the end of the lease.
Renting a furnished apartment is the optimal and cheapest way to go if you are planning to stay in the city for few months.
Couchsurfing in Warsaw
Almost 25,000 people are registered as hosts in Warsaw. I have done my fair share of couchsurfing in the past and I loved the experience. It’s a great way to meet awesome people, and CS in itself is free. However, if you chose this route – I’d recommend cooking for your host and taking them out for a drink.
I will surely couchsurf this year when I will be visiting other cities!
AIRBNB in Warsaw
Airbnb.com is the new “hot” thing – however I haven’t tried it yet. Airbnb is a mix between couchsurfing and short-term apartment rentals. Most people on this site will offer to rent out a room in their flat or house, usually for less than a hotel room. This alternative seems interesting and I might try it – however, I would probably still prefer couchsurfing or a hostel.
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