Detailed guide to Warsaw metro: scheme, stations and tickets
How to use the metro in Warsaw

Detailed guide to Warsaw metro: scheme, stations and tickets

Warsaw’s metro is a fast, convenient way to move without traffic jams and crowds between neighborhoods and attractions. Especially on weekends, when there are great discounts on tickets. In this article I’ll tell you about the peculiarities of the Warsaw metro, how the passes differ and how to navigate the subway.

What you need to know about the Warsaw metro

The main currency in Poland is the zloty. This country is not part of the Euro zone. 1 zloty (1 zł or PLN)=17.81 rubles or 0.23 euros.

The Warsaw Metro is one of the youngest in Europe. The first station was opened in 1995. Construction attempts were made in 1918 and 1930. By 1939, several tunnels were dug, but the economic crisis and then the war interfered.

The construction of the subway in Warsaw was interrupted for various reasons. Old projects did not fit, and there was not enough money for new ones. In 1982, the final plan was approved, but only 13 years later the first 11 stations were opened.

Warsaw Metro Scheme
Warsaw Metro Scheme

There are now two subway lines in Warsaw:

  • The M1 — the 21.9 km long blue line runs from north to south and includes 27 stations. It can be crossed in 30—40 minutes.
  • The M2 is a 6.1 km long red line running from west to east. It has only 7 stations and takes 15 minutes to get from one end to the other.

You can transfer from one line to another in the center — at Świętokrzyska station (Świętokrzyska).

Signage with information about the arrival of the train
Signage with information about the arrival of the train

Warsaw Metro operates from 5:00 to 1:00, on Friday and Saturday — until 3:00. The interval between trains is 2—3 minutes. Scoreboards at stations inform about the time of arrival of the train and its model (old Russian, new Siemens). The scoreboard in the car shows the current station.

Useful subway stations for tourists:

  • The Town Hall Arsenal (Ratusz Arsenał) is the closest to the Old Town;
  • Centrum — railway station «Warsaw-Central» (Flixbus buses arrive here), Palace of Culture and Science;
  • The Copernicus Science Center (Centrum Nauki Kopernik) is a museum I recommend everyone to visit;
  • Wilno Station (Dworzec Wileński) — exit to the Warsaw Zoo;
  • Politechnika — located near the Lazienki Park.

I highly recommend using the metro in Warsaw to get around the city. It is convenient and fast. The metro is ascetic — there are no stations with unusual design like in Barcelona, Stockholm or Athens. But it is comfortable. Everything inside is new, clean, there are stores in the passages, and there are clean and free toilets.

Cars in the Warsaw subway are never crowded, even during rush hour.

Toilet at the entrance to Polytechnicheskaya metro station
Toilet at the entrance to Polytechnicheskaya metro station

Warsaw metro tickets and passes

All transportation in Warsaw is covered by a single ticket. This is convenient. You can use one ticket to ride on surface and underground transportation. The price is linked to the time of travel and the zone (Strefa 1 and Strefa 2). The first zone is almost the whole of Warsaw, the second — remote areas or suburbs. By the way, Chopin Airport belongs to the first zone.

Favorable ticket options for travelers:

  • Bilet 20-minutowy (20 minutes). A single ticket for a trip of up to 20 minutes. It does not imply transfer from one transport to another. The cost is 3.40 zł.
  • Bilet jednorazowy przesiadkowy (75 minutes). The temporary ticket allows you to change between different vehicles, but only in Strefa 1. Price 4.40 zł.
  • Bilet jednorazowy przesiadkowy (90 minutes). Temporary ticket with permission for several transfers and visiting both zones. Cost 7 zł.
  • Bilet dobowy (daily). A reusable ticket is valid for exactly one day from the moment of composting. The price of the ticket depends on the zone. The first one — 15 zł, both — 26 zł.
  • Bilet weekendowy (weekend ticket). It is valid from Friday to Monday from 19:00 to 8:00. The pass has no restrictions on the number of transfers. It costs 24 zł.

For a group trip for the whole weekend it is advantageous to use Bilet weekendowy grupowy. The ticket is valid for a group of 3—5 people and is valid in both zones. You can use it from Friday (19:00) to Monday (8:00).

Warsaw public transportation ticket
Warsaw public transportation ticket

Discounts on Warsaw metro fares

Public transportation, surface or subway, offers discounts of up to 50%:

  • students of Polish universities and universities of other countries (up to 26 years old);
  • parents of three or more children.

Free travel applies to children (up to age 6) and seniors (age 70 and older).

Sept. 22 is Car Free Day, and transportation is free for everyone.

To buy a discounted ticket, you do not need documents for the right to a discount, but you will have to show them to the controller.

Descending into the subway
Descending into the subway

Where and how to buy tickets

Since 2018, a ticket for public transportation is sold only in a special machine and online. Previously, tickets were sold by ground transportation drivers, but now this option has been removed.

Yellow and red vending machines stand all over the capital. I met them at bus stops, the bus station, at the entrance to the subway and near crosswalks.

Ticket vending machines
Ticket vending machines

Buying a ticket is easy — the menu is available in Russian. All that is required is to select the time of travel, then pay. Payment is available in cash (coins, paper money) or by card (Pay pass works).

As of 2018, it is now possible to buy tickets using mobile apps:


All applications are in Polish.

The entrance to the Warsaw Metro is blended into the cityscape
The entrance to the Warsaw Metro is blended into the cityscape

The ticket must be activated before riding the subway, otherwise you will be fined 266 zł. There is a 30% discount for paying the fine on the spot (160 zł in total). Otherwise, the controller will issue a receipt, with which you have to go to a special point of the carrier or to the bank. Failure to pay the fine within 7 days may result in a travel ban.

The ticket must be validated at the validator-turnstile before going down to the platform: the entry time is printed on the back of the ticket. It is better not to lose or throw it away during the trip. It is not necessary to validate it at the exit.

Getting to know the sights of Warsaw implies active transportation around the city. I recommend using the metro for this purpose. You can figure out the route and buy a ticket even without knowing Polish.