Warsaw, Poland’s capital of cool impresses with its resilience and contemporary style.
This was my second time in Warsaw, first on the wheels, and here is a quick update of the city’s wheelchair accessibility.
Like its little sister Gdansk, Warsaw still on the development stages when comes to accessibility, but during these 2 days I spend there, I could take myself around quite easily and the accessible hotel room I stayed in worked out pretty well too.
SO, LET'S START WITH ACCESSIBLE ACCOMMODATION, SHALL WE?
I spent 3 nights at the Novotel Warszawa Centrum, which is a block away from the train station, right in the heart of Warsaw, The wheelchair friendly hotel offers you great views from the city you and can see the Palace of Culture and Science just across the street.
Using the hotel as base to quick explore the city, I went out for a stroll around the city centre, strolling through some streets and parks I made my way to the Ujazdowski Castle
Centre for Contemporary Art, where we had a small bit to eat in the cafe outside.
Warsaw city center is spacious and flat, very easy to get around in a manual wheelchair, the and curb ramps are on street level, the sidewalks is not always smooth so you may need some wheelie skills here and there.
ANOTHER ‘SHORT & SWEET’ STROLL WAS FROM THE HOTEL TO THE NATIONAL MUSEUM…
… and again it was easy-peasy smooth roll through the Jerozolimskie Avenue. No drama.
TAKE A STROLL IN THE ARTSY NEIGHBOURHOODS OF PRAGA.
In one morning, we took a wheelchair-friendly tram (Most of the trams are accessible. I just pushed a button and the ramp came out automatically) to the artsy district of Praga – it used to be a separate town, then a workers’ district and the poorest part of the city, and now serves as the bohemian heart of Warsaw. As my friend mention, Praga was not badly destroyed during the war so visiting it is as real and authentic experience as you can get in Warsaw.
Meanwhile, at Praga, we took at stroll through the Bazar Rozyckiego (Rozyc) that is the oldest market in Warsaw. During Communism it was the most popular market in Poland and it is a centre of the specific culture of Praga district: dialect, food, music, games and a way of being. In the morning you can eat a typical Pragian delicacy -‘pyzy’ (potato balls). The old ladies with ‘pyzy’ in their little trolleys have been coming here for years and serve this dish in jars.
Talking about ‘jars’, according to my friend Fil, this is how Young Varsovians are called, as many of them were not born in the city, they come here to try their luck with a jar of food (probably Bigos) from their mamas house. Something like that if I understood it well.
So everyone that is not conceived or born is Warsaw is considered a ‘Jar’. There you go, learning something useful every day.
Now continuing with our stroll around Praga, rolling a few blocks away from Rozyc bazar, we are now in Praga Koneser Center, a modern, stylish and revitalised complex of cultural and entertainment facilities located on the premises of an old Vodka Factory. There are lots of different events happening here every week so check it before you come, when we were there we visited an interior design exhibition and also got the chance to buy some art in one of the poster/zines art galleries. The whole place was packet with young creatives ‘Jars’ and it is a must see if you are around Praga district in a manual wheelchair. Here you can find restaurants, art galleries, shops, live music, food trucks, museums and much more. All modern, all wheelchair-friendly. Pretty nice.
Polish street art.
After a short visit couple of days, I could see that Warsaw is not probably as wheelchair friendly as other cities, but still you should not encounter any serious obstacles.
Unfortunately I saw many stores and restaurants that had a couple of steps to get into (especialy in the city center), but again, with the city’s rapid development (Warsaw has undergone some rapid changes in the last 20 years since the fall of communism) I hope this will soon change.
Another issue I found was the lack of public wheelchair-friendly toilets, I have not seen many while I was there. Your best bet would be Coffee Shops chains like Starbucks or Costa Coffee as well as shopping malls and museums.
Overall, Warsaw is a great and interesting city to visit, it is cool, it is artsy and it is hip. An ideal destination even for those with limited mobility.
And for a little more in-depth info regarding wheelchair accessibility, please check the links down below. There are a lot of good information out there and I hope it helps those in wheelchairs who would like to visit Warsaw.
Get out there folks, Warsaw-yourselves-up.
GETTING THERE AND AROUND
Warsaw’s airport is very close to the city center and you could access it by taxi or Uber, it takes about 10 minutes and it costs around €12.
Uber still the most convenient and reliable way to do short trips around town.
Just remember that you should be able to transfer yourself to the front seat and gently ask the driver to put your wheelchair back in the trunk. I did that during the whole the time while I was there and it worked very well.
I also have use the tram and it is pretty accessible too.
So it is all good.