It’s been decades since Warsaw shook off its dreary Cold War cloak, and while other members of the EU have suffered economic woes in recent years, Poland has flourished, slowly but surely becoming an economic powerhouse in the region formerly known as behind the Iron Curtain.
Indeed, with the addition of high-profile architectural projects, new museums, and a couple of Michelin-starred restaurants under its belt, the Polish capital is finally coming into its own as a tourist destination. An affordable one at that.
Its impressive #29 ranking in our Product category, an amalgam of university ranking, airport connectivity, convention center space, attractions and museums. Warsaw ranks #28 in the world in the Convention Center and subcategory and #53 in Attractions.
Perhaps most impressive is the city’s Top 10 finish in our Unemployment subcategory, putting an exclamation mark on Poland’s robust—if urban—economic growth over the past decade.
But the Polish capital knows how to play, too.
The best way to explore the city is to start in Stare Miasto, or Old Town. It may be a bit of a misnomer since the original was almost completely destroyed by the Nazis in World War II, but the faithful reconstruction is a treat nevertheless.
For a bird’s eye view, climb the 150 steps to the top of Taras Widokowy. Then visit the former Warsaw Ghetto, where the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews opened in 2013. The Core Exhibition is a journey through 1,000 years of the history of Polish Jews, from the Middle Ages until today. Take in the city’s experimental art scene at Lokal 30 and down the street at Galeria Grafiki i Plakatu, which focuses on poster art.
Atelier Amaro brought Poland its first Michelin star and last year Senses became the second restaurant in the country to win a coveted star. Whichever one you choose, best make a reservation. Hang out with Warsaw’s artsy crowd at Bar Studio, a chic hotspot set in the Palace of Culture and Sciences, which also houses shops, a university, museums and a cinema.