Weekender Warsaw, Poland

Although most of Warsaw was tragically raved to the ground during the Second World War, the Polish capital was given a nip 'n' tuck by architects who used artwork by 18th century court painter Bellotto to try to recapture its former glory. Even so, Warsaw will never win a pretty city award, but its historic centre has clusters of handsome buildings, as well as a rich offering in terms of art, culture and nightlife.

Headline attraction

The Warsaw Rising Museum commemorates the definitive event in the city's history, when plucky Polish freedom fighters were annihilated by the Nazis in 1944 after battling for an independent Poland.

The events unfolded in front of a backdrop of underhand Stalin-led Soviet dealings, who later tried to hush the whole thing up. Most of the city was destroyed and pictures show a Hiroshima-like landscape.

Best of the rest

Warsaw's most famous residents, Chopin, is paid tribute to in the recently revamped Chopin Museum, which boasts a concert hall and Chopin memorabilia.

Get your fix of serious culture with a trip to the opera or ballet at Teatr Wielki Opera Narodowa. Tickets are a steal at 20-100 zloty (£4.40 to £22).

Chow down

Polish food is hearty and tasty, perfect fodder for a cold winter's day. Tuck into pierogi, dumplings stuffed with everything from mushrooms to mince. If it's comfort food you're after, visit Bar Krokecik.

For generous portions at affordable prices, head to Kompania Piwna in the Old Town.

Get the camera out

You won't be able to miss the 231m-high Palace Of Culture And Science, which has dominated Warsaw's skyline for 55 years. The highest buildings in the country was Stalin's unwanted 'gift' to Poland to remind people that the state was bigger than the individual. After communism ended in Poland in 1989, this cavernous Palace was transformed into a multiplex.

The viewing platform on the 30th floor offers great views.

Try the local tipple

Drinking vodka in Poland is a custom going back centuries, and you'll soon discover that everyone from young hipsters to grannies is partial to a shot or two of the stuff. Drink vodka neat and chilled in 50ml measurements.

Before knocking it back in one gulp, make friends by saying a toast to good health: "Na zdrowie!" Famous brands include Zubrowka, flavoured with bison grass from the Bialowiza Forest; berry-flavoured Wisniowska and Jarzebiak; and lemon-infused Cytrynowka. Warsaw has a jumping club and bar scene. Big name Djs spin tunes at post-industrial-style club 1500m2 Do Wynajecia.