Along the river bank
The Vistula River intersects Warsaw, making up two independent organisms united in one town at this 28 kilometres long part of the river. The right bank of the river is home to Praga, which contrary to the left river bank survived World War II without major damage. The left side is home to the Old Town, Mokotow and Zoliborz. Those who live on the left bank consider Praga to be a run-down slum, dangerous and inhabited by the dregs of society. The inhabitants of Praga on the other hand consider themselves to be the only true Varsovians and despise the inhabitants on the left bank for being a bunch of conceited newcomers without any true understanding of the culture and traditions of the town.
The animosities are intensified by the lack of bridges across the river, and in the peak hours it can be a minor triumph to come across to the other bank.
But now the Metro will soon be reaching the other side, and more and more exclusive areas appear on Praga, which means that traditional viewpoints may soon change.
The Vistula is a wild river with limited regulation. A few dikes have been built, but the delta is seen as a buffer-zone towards the actual town, and when the water level rises it sometimes threatens the express road along the river. This also means that we don't see a lot of constructions along the bank.
On the right river bank you find a large terrain, several hundred metres wide, with wild, varied foliage and a few vaguely marked footpaths. There are several sand beaches, which are being used intensively during the hot summer days. At the outskirts of Warsaw - at Wawer - you even find a nudist beach.
On the left side you find an elevated express road - the Wislostrada, and below the road a complex of paths, small bars, areas with playgrounds and boat bars. This area is ideal for a stroll, both summer and winter. There is a biking road running the entire length, and this is one of my favourite biking routes in Warsaw.
You can get to the river bank from the Palace Square in Warsaw within 10 minutes by foot. The escalators take you down to Solidarnosc street, and then you should just walk straight ahead. Obviously there are other ways of getting to the river, but the Palace Square is a good point of departure, as everyone will be able to find it.
If you bike this stretch you will visit a lot of exciting places and get a good visual experience. It is a magnificent sight to look at the Old Town from the river bank, and it is worth making a detour when you come to the Citadel, the Russian Tsar's old fortification, erected to control the city during the Russian supremacy. The citadel is open to visitors, and you may see the prison cells where the nationalist opposition spend longer periods. There is also the original gibbet, where militant oppositionists could hang and enjoy the view over the Vistula River.
On the outskirts of Warsaw, at both ends, you find forests and places with magnificent views, causing you to forget that you are actually in a city.
There are loads of possibilities to enjoy a lager along the river bank - or to have something to eat.
It looks like something temporary - but it is cosy and the prices are low.
A bridge to the other side.
With a double- decker construction the trams are on the lower deck, cars and pedestrians on the upper deck.
Centrum Nauki Kopernika (Copernicus Science centre)
Opened in 2010
Knowledge centre or Exploratorium
Another way to experience techniques - for children and adults.
You may touch, play, experiment and explore.
Fall in loved with Warsaw in Warsaw. Fall in love during a stroll along the river bank.
That's how to spend the summer! The right side seen from the left side.
Left bank. Seafront for children and their parents - and for those without children.
The view across the river from the Bielanska terrace
Excursion boat on the river