Warsaw is still one of Europe's most underrated cities, with a string of things to see, an impressive cultural scene and an increasingly lively nightlife. Nowadays the Polish capital is marching forward from the Soviet past. The image of the city is constantly changing while preserving its unique ambience. A lot of new hotels, bars and restaurants are appearing during last years.
Warsaw is a real survivor - the city's current day existence is impressive in itself. By the end of World War II, roughly 85% of the city laid in ruins. Much of Warsaw's historic center was painstakingly recreated during the postwar years. Some critics have dismissed the 'new' Old Town as being nothing but an unconvincing fake. But in fact, many of this day Old Town's buildings are closer to the original architecture than they were before destruction, as the alterations of the intervening centuries were not incorporated in the reconstruction. The strikingly successful rebuilding of the Old Town was finally rewarded in 1980, when the entire complex earned its place in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Situated in the Mazowieckie province, in east-central Poland, the city spans the Vistula River and all the main tourist sites are on the left bank, while the right bank contains the increasingly fashionable Praga district. The tourist epicenter of Warsaw is the Royal Route, which runs north-south from the New and Old Towns, past the fashionable shops of Nowy Swiat, the palaces that survived the war and the royal gardens of Lazienki Park, before reaching Wilanow Palace to the south of the city centre. The city also boasts many green spaces, with leafy parks where rowing boats cruise past outdoor cafes, during the summer, and free classical concerts attract crowds. The nightlife scene today is equally surprising, with the city's clued-up and increasingly well dressed youth flocking to the countless bars and clubs of a city that now buzzes after dark.
Warsaw is still Poland's largest city and the nation's economic, cultural and educational hub. The peak tourist season is from May to October, when the weather is most pleasant, although there will be some odd days when the temperature rises above 30 C (86 F). January and February are the coldest months and temperatures can drop as low as -30 C (-22 F).