I have been living in Warsaw for about 3 months now. I was born here but lived most my life in Chicago suburbs. When I first got here I thought it might be dangerous so I bought a knife to carry with. THERE was no need for it. People are very respectful
In general and do not bother anyone. Poor teenagers may ask you for money but are very polite and curtious, they say please and thank you. There are some older drunks and semi-homeless types but if you ignore them, they will not bother you. I have walked late at night even on side streets and have never been bothered by anyone. There is a strong police presence throughout the city; not sure about Praga district since I did not need to go there for anything. I have walked around late at night by myself and did not feel in danger at any time. Warsaw is quickly moving up in wealth as well as services provided for people. The central train station has been remodeled and is pretty modem in style and amenities. I have ridden a local train to the town of Pruszkow, which supposed to be more dangerous than Warsaw. I walke around there late at night and never been in danger. Warsaw is in a stage of transformation into a more prosperous and inviting place for tourists. Someone on here described as a dump and that may have been partially true 5 or 10 years ago. Police cameras are everywhere so people are being constantly monitored. Safety seems to be of concern for the local government. Most people I encountered who work in the city center do speak decent English. There are a lot of students in the area as well. There are also a lot of night clubs, bars, and go go places in the center. No body will bother you unless you are looking for it. The only time you see questionable individuals is around the time of football games when there is a lot of fans of the local club, out and about. They seem a bit rowdy but never bothered me. If anyone is planning on visit Warsaw soon feel free to contact me. I speak fluent Polish and know my way around the city adequately. Warsaw is coming up...so to all the haters...give it an another chance.
This funny grafitti, I found in Warsaw, shows a guy riding a bottle (of vodka, I guess). The Polish writing says "Mr Smith captures the World." It illustrates common problem of alcoholism which is a very complex problem in Warsaw.
From a visitor's point of few it's mostly not a problem. Most drunk local people concentrate themselves on walking on 2 legs and they are not dangerous. Just keep away from them. They are removed from the touristy Old Town and busy streets of center by either the Civil Guard or police, so you may never see them while you limit yourself to these parts of Warsaw. But watch for groups of drunk locals, especially after dark (Friday, Saturday, national holidays) and generally do not walk at night along dark, off the beaten path streets of residential districts full of huge apartment buildings (so called "bedroom districts.")
In Warsaw as in most urban dwellings there are also areas that should be avoided. It also includes visiting them on your bike. This areas include mostly some parts of Praga district and other desolate locations even in the downtown.
Take care of your bike also when you leave it even for a sec. Make sure that you chain it or lock in some other way to the immobile parts of building etc. Thieves are always looking for a quick buck...
When you are biking it is important not only to protect your bike but also your safety on the street, especially when you are not on a biking lane but in regular car traffic.
I studied in Warsaw for three months in 2008. As a woman and relatively young, I felt safe overall. I stayed out late in the down town "centralny" area and walked home alone at night. My advice for women though is to never carry large purses or bags and if you do keep a firm grip on them. Keep a close eye on your surroundings and be warry of the men around you. The only problem I ever had was with drunks and the best way to get rid of them is speak loudly and firmly and walk away. Overall it is best to stay in larger groups of friends-particularly Poles (males) who know the city.
Personally I agree that Warsaw is a dangerous place to explore at night, and sure there are a lot of people out there that want to steal your money. Such as the taxi scam for example. But if you have walked around london in the the dangerous areas at night it is likely that you would know what you are doing anyway. As long as you don't forget that your a tourist and people will try and take advantage of you. Be wary. There are people there who are so poor that they would pretty much do anything to just get a few zloty from you. But then in London you have equal dangers, just different dangers. The funny thing is when I went out late at night there were hardly any people around the city centre, it was completely deserted. It felt like a ghost town. As long as you keep your guard up you should be fine. After all you might find a few gems in the city. Some of the late night bars serve gourmet food which is EXCELLENT.
The main train station in Warsaw was not an especially pleasant place to be as we waited for our train to Vilnius. There were beggars, and homeless wandering throughout the place. Whilst nothing overly untoward occurred, we were happy to get on the train.
Maybe it's obvious, but for your safe...
Warsaw is beatiful city, but there isn't very safe. Downtown is, of course, safer than other districs. Safer, but not 100% safe.
So if you will go on trips, it's better to do it in groups and not in night. But if you will walk alone down the streets at night, of course, you can have luck. But sometimes.... You know...
It can be a very unpleasent experience going to the northern part of the Praga district, especially at night. It is considered to be the poorest and the most problematic area as far as criminal activity is concerned. Anyway, no real need for a tourist to go there unless you insist on checking what's going on at the flea market on Targowa St. (where one can get stolen radio set, stolen car parts or illegal weapon or drugs). Going there with an expensive watch, wearing designer's suit, showing off jewelry etc is an invitation to be mugged. Keep your pockets zipped. Otherwise you should be fine if you avoid any arguments with the local traders. The Stadion market is a unique experience.
Stay away. This place is ripe with prostitution and thieves, muggers.
Polish women were trying to sell themselves to us everywhere we went and they were not a pretty site.
I have never come across a more depressing place.
The locals actually carry knives to protect themselves. I will never visit this place again.. Stay in Western Europe is my advice. Eastern Europe especially Warsaw is a no go area for Westeners.
Warsaw is Polands least safe place. Theft and muggings are pretty rife, especially on the other side of the river. One of the safest parts of the city is the road that links the old town with Lazienkowski Park,as it is quite heavily policed.
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