Almost completely destroyed during WWII, Warsaw experienced a virtual rebirth during the 1950s, as the city was rebuilt and the pieces put back together. To see how the city once looked, drive your rental car just north of the centre and visit Old Town, a district which was painstakingly rebuilt after the war. Rubble and debris were sorted through to salvage as much of the original building materials as possible, and the historical area made to resemble how it looked prior to the bombings.
Within Old Town, there are plenty of great sites to visit, connected by picturesque cobblestone streets and medieval houses. Recommended places to visit are St Johns Cathedral, the Old Town Market Place, Royal Castle and the Barbican.
Drive your hire car south of Old Town, where you can visit the Warsaw Uprising Museum, and learn of how all the destruction came about. The museum details the epic struggle when local insurgents fought reclaimed the city from Nazi occupation, only to be substantially outmanned and defeated by waves of bombings. Also worth a visit are the Historical Museum of Warsaw, Museum of Technology, and Museum of the Earth.
Not only is Warsaw known for restored historical sites and well-designed city areas, it is also a city with great outdoor spaces and parklands designed for public use. Within the city limits, you can visit places such as the Botanical Gardens, Saski Garden and Skaryszewski Park, the largest park in Warsaw. To get away from the city completely, drive your rental car north-west from Warsaw and spend some time exploring Kampinos National Park, a huge forested area which is home to many rare species of birds and animals, and also contains many great walking and riding trails for visitors.
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