80° BY THE SEA
Looking for a beach vacation? Let us help you find the right spot.More
Perhaps the only constant quality of Warsaw is change. It is remarkable how often—and how quickly—Poland's capital rebuilds and reinvents itself over time. Though in the past this reinvention was involuntary, the city having been invaded and destroyed several times over the ages, Warsaw now continues to metamorphose quite well on its own. To today's young Varsovians—and visitors alike—World
War II may seem like ancient history, but it is impossible to forget that some 85% of the city was utterly destroyed in the war. The "phoenix from the ashes" label fits no other modern European city more than Warsaw.
In decades immediately after World War II, Poland's capital was often—and rather unjustly—dismissed as "concrete jungle" or "a life-size model of a city." Now well into the 21st century, both these phrases simply no longer apply. Warsaw will consistently surprise you: you may find yourself in a beautiful park wondering whether you are in a city at all; but go just a bit farther, and you will be confronted by a brand-new, tech-and-chic skyscraper you would not necessarily envisage in the country from the former Soviet bloc. Warsaw is a modern, thriving metropolis, with everything you'd expect in a bustling urban environment: plush five-star hotels, a thriving arts scene, top-notch contemporary architecture, gourmet restaurants, and upmarket shops. It's worthy of the label "European capital" as much as Berlin, Paris, or Rome.