I have reached Warsaw from Vienna, it is a place I needed to re-sit to Vilnius. I was happy to use cheap bus service, named as Polski bus. It goes from Warsaw to central Europe cities as Bratislava, Prague, Vienna, Berlin, also stops in some major Polish towns. It is possible to get ticket for 10 euros or so.. :)
We used the Euro-line bus from Vilnius to Warsaw and I must compliment them. The bus ride was most enjoyable although long. We left Vilnius at 14h45 and arrived in Warsaw at 22h45. There was one stop along the way but you could buy water on the bus. Everyone however was prepared and had packed food for themselves. The trip costed us 39 euro only
We used the yellow city tour bus which cost us 60 slotty each for a 24 hour ticket. Some of the drivers (specially the older ones) were very friendly and helpful and would stop at the various points of interest to allow passengers to take photos but we had a young one that did not even stop at all the stops. Still it is a great way to get to know the city and find your way around.
Normal fare on public transport in Warsaw, no matter if you travel by bus, tram or the underground is, after the recent price rises, 4.40 PLN.
If you get the ticket directly from the driver, the fare will be the same. The driver won't give you change so have the exact fare ready. He may also refuse to sell the ticket if his bus is behind schedule so you'd better get your ticket from a kiosk. There are now ticket machines on some buses and such tickets need not be validated.
Tourists who need to get around a lot, and Warsaw is too big to waste your time walking, would do best to get a ticket valid on all kinds of transport for a longer period of time.
Here are the fares:
day ticket (bilet jednodniowy), valid for 24 hours from the moment of its validation - 15.00 PLN (for Zone I, but tourists don't usually go to Zone 2)
3-day ticket (bilet trzydniowy) - 30.00 PLN (also for Zone I)
Such tickets need to be validated - inserted into a machine which puts a stamp on them - only on the first means of transport you take, then keep the ticket and show it for inspection if required within the time set.
The fine for travelling without a ticket - 220.00 PLN. You may not meet an inspector but just think if it's worth taking the risk.
There are also now some tickets valid on all means of transport, e.g. if you want to change, for a limited period of time: 20 min.(3.40 PLN), 40 min. (4.60 PLN) and 60 min. (6.40 PLN) from the moment of validation, but if you are a tourist you wouldn't know how long it will take you to get somewhere. It's a new idea and I'm not sure it will work. How are you supposed to know for instance if your bus is not going to get stuck in a traffic jam so that your 20 min. pass and you will still be on it?
If you travel to Warsaw from other big cities in Poland, choose PolskiBus. It's reliable, quite comfortable and cheap. They offer a small snack and free Wi-Fi aboard. They operate not from the city centre but from the station Warszawa Wilenska which is also the name of the metro station and is situated close to it.
PolskiBus also operates between Warsaw and Vienna, Bratislava, Berlin, Prague. Remember: the sooner you buy the ticket, the cheaper it is.(once I paid for the ticket from Gdansk to Warsaw 1 zloty=25 cents or 60 zloty=15 euro from Warsaw to Vienna )
Although i walked most places because i wanted to explore the city thoroughly and had great weather, you could easily catch the buses or trams. You just have to know what bus goes where. I used bus 180 to return from Jewish area of Warsaw ( i walked there from nowy swiaty which was about 5 miles or so but a nice walk). You could buy tickets from ticket vending machines or from newstands or sometimes on buses. Not every bus has a dispensing machine inside of it ( the 180 bus which is a popular bus, did not have one , so i had to get off bus to buy a ticket and wait for next bus because i didnt want to take a chance on bus without ticket). Make sure you validate ticket immediately. I was on the 175 bus to go to airport and an inspector came and inspected. Fine could be pretty big i heard, someone said 50 or more euros if you get caught...
More than 1200 buses operate in and around Warsaw. The normal buses run between 5:00 h and 23:00 h. After that night buses with a 6xx number serve most routes.
Fast buses show a red number and skip the smaller stops. The bus lines 180 and 400 are recommended for routes along the most interesting places of Warsaw.
It's very very easy to reach Warsaw from Lithuania. Buss by Ecolines or Eurolines goes to Warsaw every day! It takes less than 10euros. I always use Ecolines buss, because they are big, comfortable and with full service (coffee, movies, blanket, food, drinks, stops for smoking) :) Also they give bonus points, so after a few trips its possible to buy another ticket for free!
It takes nearly 8 hours from Kaunas. Also they go from Vilnius, Druskininkai.
Buss stops in a station where You can easily reach train station or center.
Date of incident 25th Sept. 2011: I took Bus 175 from Warsaw Airport to city centre. Upon arrival in the main central square, 3 men attacked me on the bus, one pulling my hand luggage off my hand the other one tried to reach my wallet in the same time. There was no reaction or help from the passengers and as soon as I managed to put the thieves off, all three scattered to different directions empty handed. The driver was indifferent too and drove off as soon as I got off the bus. I informed the Police who came to the Hotel Lobby. Police did not file any report nor asked any specific questions about the attackers before living the hotel. The thieves were wearing smart suits and about 40 to 50 years old (beware they may not look like stereotype pickpockets). Do not accept any offer of help no matter how heavy your luggage is. My Polish friends have heard about similar incidents on BUS 175 and there are some reports on the internet. Pickpockets are found in almost all big cities but gang attack on a public bus mid-day and right in the city centre is alarming.
I was happy to find cheap bus operator Simple Express that works in Baltic States and also has route to Warsaw and St. Petersburg. The night bus Vilnius - Warsaw costs around 14 euros, sometimes even cheaper if you catch some happy hours or days of discounted ticket purchase. Bus stops at Kaunas, but later goes directly to Warsaw.
It is convenient that bus stops at three places in Warsaw: Wilenski bus station, Centralnia and Zachodnia bus stations.
Actually the quality of service was even better than other, more expensive, operators.
We visited Warsaw in early March, when temperatures are as low as 0ºC or less. Weather was grayish and sometimes there were some drops of rain or snow flakes. And we were traveling with our oldest son who loves to ride the hop-on hop-off tourist bus. So, we decided, that on our first day we would travel by City Sightseeing bus, which would also allow us to get a good idea of the whereabouts of places and walking distances. Our hotel was situated by Centrum, a major transportation hub, which is the departing point of the hop-on hop-off route. So, we waited for the bus and on we went. The complete tour takes about one hour and costs 60 zl per adult (children don't pay) (about 15 euro, March 2011). January through March the bus only operates on weekends, the daily routes begin in April. As of March 2011, there is a bus departing every hour, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
To get the bus, look for the bus stop situated in-between the Palace of Culture and Science and Zlota Tarasy shopping centre on E. Plater.
We used the buses and trams quite frequently during our 3 day stay so we purchased a 3 day transport pass from the Relay shop in the central train station. It's activated once you validate it upon 1st use, there are machines to validate your ticket on the bus. The current cost is 16zl (around $5US) for 3 days, 9zl for 1 day.
By the time we left we were getting quite good at figuring out where the buses and trams went, the schedules posted at the bus/tram stops list the name of the stop and they also list when the bus or tram turns onto another street. In the attached photo of the schedule, the stop you are at is highlighted in black, on the side is the number of minutes to the next stops, the name in capital letters without numbers next to them designate that the bus will turn onto that street.
On our 2nd arrival into Warsaw, we opted to use the bus instead of a taxi to get us into town. Bus #175 goes from the airport to the central train station (Warszawa Centralna) from where we could have connected to a tram to our hotel although we walked.
There are multiple ticket options, a single use ticket from the airport to the center is currently 2.8zl (less than $1US), there are also timed tickets so you can connect and multiple day passes. You can purchase a ticket at the Relay shop in the airport, the signs are bright red and hard to miss.
No additional charge to bring luggage on board, make sure to validate your ticket once you get on the bus, there are machines on the posts throughout the bus.
The quickest and easiest way to the airport is the 175 bus. It leaves from outside Warszawa Centralna, but on the opposite side to the large bus terminal. Tickets are 2.40PLN right now i think. It drops you right outside the airport.
This is a recent development for Warsaw transport and applies to both buses and trams. Passengers now open the doors from both the inside and the outside themselves, pressing a button on the right hand side of the door. We have not got used to that yet and you can see people waiting impatiently for the driver to do it - in vain.
Only last week a friend of mine was talking to me on her mobile and I suddenly heard her whimpering 'I can't get out, what's going on?'. I didn't know where she was and was afraid she might be stuck in a lift somewhere. As it turned out, she was on a tram and, a visitor to Poland after a long absence (she lives in the US), she didn't know she was expected to open the door herself. She should have read my Warsaw tips, hehe.
The purpose of this is to keep the cold off in winter but it applies to the summer months as well.