The best way to see any city is by simply walking through it. Especially when you have a knowledgeable guide. This is exactly what I did in Warsaw: Free Walking Tours.
I actually attended 3 of the 4 possible tours: Old Town Warsaw, Communist Warsaw, Alternative Warsaw. Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to do the Jewish Warsaw tour. The guides were great, friendly and they knew the history of their city in great detail. Our guide, Agnes, not only knew lots of cool stories and details about Warsaw and the world history in general, she also made us laugh quite often with her great jokes.
– The Old Town Warsaw walking tour takes you through… well, the old town of the city. On this tour you will learn lots about the city, how it was destroyed and how it was rebuilt, mostly from looking at 18th century paintings of Warsaw. That’s the tour that will make you understand why the residents of Warszawa are so proud of their city. Everyday at 12 pm. and 6 pm. (summer schedule).
– The Communist Tour concentrates on the USSR influence and another part of Polish and Warsaw history. A lot of historical facts will be told by the guide so you could understand why the communism was not the most favorite regime of the people. Of course you will be making a stop at the infamous Palace of Culture and Science and a few other “key” locations. Wed. Fri. Sun. at 10:30 am. (summer schedule).
– The Alternative Warsaw tour is brand new. I think we were one of the first groups (if not the first) that went on that tour. This tour takes you away from the central Warsaw all the way across the Vistula river, to the Praga district. Praga has been the ghetto of the city but is now turning into a hip district. I could probably compare it to Berlin’s Kreuzberg or Montreal’s Plateau. Hipsters are starting to take over because the rent is cheap and the district is getting more and more artsy and fun. If you want to see bears practically walking on the street, if you want too see where “The Pianist” was filmed, if you want to see what many tourists won’t see – I highly suggest this tour. Mon.Thu.Sat. 10:30 am. (summer schedule).
The free walking tours in Warsaw are free and the guides earn their “paychecks” with money that attendees contribute at the end of the tour. The cool thing is that you are not obliged to give them any money. This makes the tour accessible even to the tourists on very low budgets. However, if you can – please do contribute as much as you think your guide deserves.
The same foundation offers free tours in other cities of Poland, such as Wroclaw and Krakow. I can only imagine these tours are as great as the ones in Warsaw.
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