Thursday, September 7, 2023
Poland travel guide - Travel S helper


travel guide

Poland (Polish: Polska) is a nation in Central Europe with a long and exciting history, a colorful legacy reflected in the diversity of monuments from many eras, and a highly diverse terrain that stretches from the long Baltic Sea coast in the north to the Tatra Mountains in the south. Between them are rich primeval woods teeming with interesting wildlife, including bisons in Biaowiea; magnificent lakes and rivers perfect for a variety of watersports, the most famous of which are in Warmisko-Mazurskie; rolling hills; flat plains; and even deserts. Among Poland’s cities are Toru’s completely preserved Gothic old town, Gdask’s Hanseatic history, and ód’s 19th-century industrial development.

While Poland today has a very homogeneous society in terms of ethnicity, language, and religion, it was a very multi-cultural and ethnically diverse country for centuries (when the erstwhile Republics of Poland encompassed a much larger territory than it does today), and was known for a time as Europe’s most religiously tolerant country. Poland, in particular, had Europe’s biggest Jewish population, which was almost wiped out during World War II, yet the enormous legacy endures. Poland’s western areas, which include significant portions of Lower Silesia, Lubuskie, and Zachodniopomorskie, as well as other regions, have historically been a part of neighboring Germany. The natural border of mountain ridges that separates Poland from its southern neighbors, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, has had little effect on cultural impact (and periodic warring). To the east, modern-day Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine constituted a continuous political unit centuries ago, and cultural evidence of this may be found closer to the present-day boundaries. Finally, although Poland currently shares just a tiny strip of border with Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast in the former’s northeastern corner, the Russian Empire formerly ruled the whole eastern half of Poland, leaving many cultural and architectural remnants.

Despite losing a third of its people during World War II, including a disproportionately significant percentage of its elites, and suffering many economic losses as a Soviet satellite state after the war, Poland thrived culturally in many respects throughout the twentieth century. Poland’s difficult transition to democracy and capitalism in the 1980s laid the groundwork for its fellow Soviet-block nations. Poland entered the European Union in the new century and has seen uninterrupted economic development unmatched by any other EU member. This enabled it to significantly enhance its infrastructure and had a dramatic impact on its society, which once again became fairly cosmopolitan while maintaining its characteristic hospitability. Poles are inventive and entrepreneurial, always coming up with new ideas for events and festivals, and new structures and organizations sprout up practically overnight, so that each time you return, you are certain to find something new.

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Poland - Info Card




Złoty (PLN)

Time zone



312,696 km2 (120,733 sq mi)

Calling code


Official language


Poland | Introduction

Tourism in Poland

After entering the European Union in 2004, Poland saw a rise in the number of visitors. Tourism contributes substantially to Poland’s total economy and accounts for a sizable share of the country’s service sector.

Kraków was Poland’s historic capital and a remnant of the Renaissance Golden Age. The city was the site of the coronation of the majority of Polish monarchs. The Zoological Gardens in Wrocaw are the biggest in Poland and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. The Old Town of Warsaw, Poland’s capital, was rebuilt after being destroyed during WWII. Gdask, Pozna, Szczecin, Lublin, and Toru are other popular tourist destinations. Near Owicim lies the historic site of the Nazi-German Auschwitz concentration camp.

According to the World Tourism Organization, Poland is the 16th most visited nation in the world by foreign visitors (UNWTO).

Outdoor sports like as skiing, sailing, and mountain trekking, as well as agrotourism and historical sites, are among Poland’s most popular tourist attractions. The Baltic Sea coast is in the north; the Masurian Lake District and Biaowiea Forest are in the east; and Karkonosze, the Table Mountains, and the Tatra Mountains are in the south, where Rysy, Poland’s highest peak, and the renowned Orla Per mountain route are situated. The Pieniny and Bieszczady Mountains are located in the far south-east. There are more than 100 castles in the nation, many of them are located along the famous Trail of the Eagles’ Nests.

Geography Of Poland

Poland’s area spans various geographical zones, with latitudes ranging from 49° to 55° N and longitudes ranging from 14° to 25° E. The Baltic seacoast runs from the Bay of Pomerania to the Gulf of Gdask in the north-west. This coast is distinguished by a number of spits, coastal lakes (former bays shut off from the sea), and dunes. The Szczecin Lagoon, the Bay of Puck, and the Vistula Lagoon interrupt the mostly straight shoreline. The North European Plain encompasses the center and portions of the north.

A geographical area consisting of four mountainous districts of moraines and moraine-dammed lakes created during and after the Pleistocene ice period rises above these lowlands. The Pomeranian Lake District, the Greater Polish Lake District, the Kashubian Lake District, and the Masurian Lake District are the names of these lake districts. The Masurian Lake District is the biggest of the four, encompassing most of northern Poland. The lake districts are part of the Baltic Ridge, a succession of moraine belts that run along the Baltic Sea’s southern coast.

The areas of Lusatia, Silesia, and Masovia are located south of the Northern European Lowlands and are distinguished by wide ice-age river basins. Further south is the Polish mountain range, which includes the Sudetes, the Kraków-Czstochowa Upland, the Witokrzyskie Mountains, and the Carpathian Mountains, which include the Beskids. The Tatra Mountains, which run along Poland’s southern border, are the highest point in the Carpathians.


The Vistula (Polish: Wisa) is 1,047 kilometers (651 km) long; the Oder (Polish: Odra), which forms part of Poland’s western border, is 854 kilometers (531 mi) long; its tributary, the Warta, is 808 kilometers (502 mi) long; and the Bug, a Vistula tributary, is 772 kilometers (480 mi) long. The Vistula and Oder rivers, as well as many minor rivers in Pomerania, run into the Baltic Sea.

The yna and Angrapa flow into the Baltic through the Pregolya, while the Czarna Hacza flows into the Baltic via the Neman. While the vast majority of Poland’s rivers go into the Baltic Sea, the Beskids are the source of some of the higher tributaries of the Orava, which flows to the Black Sea through the Danube and the Váhand. The eastern Beskids are also the source of several streams that flow into the Dniester and eventually into the Black Sea.

Rivers in Poland have been utilized for navigation since ancient times. Longships, for example, were used by Vikings to go up the Vistula and Oder rivers. When the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was Europe’s breadbasket in the Middle Ages and early modern periods, the transport of grain and other agricultural goods down the Vistula into Gdask and on to other areas of Europe took on enormous significance.

A rare natural karst spring of water containing calcium salts is located in the valley of the Pilica river in Tomaszów Mazowieckithere and is protected in the Niebieskie róda Nature Reserve in Sulejów Landscape Park. The name of the reserve, Niebieskie róda, which translates as Blue Springs, originates from the fact that red waves are absorbed by water and only blue and green are reflected from the bottom of the spring, resulting in the unusual color.

Poland has one of the most lakes in the world, with over ten thousand closed bodies of water spanning more than one hectare (2.47 acres) apiece. Only Finland has a higher density of lakes in Europe. Lake niardwy and Lake Mamry in Masuria, and Lake ebsko and Lake Drawsko in Pomerania, are the biggest lakes, spanning more than 100 square kilometers (39 square miles).

In addition to the lake regions in the north (Masuria, Pomerania, Kashubia, Lubuskie, and Greater Poland), the Tatras include a significant number of mountain lakes, the biggest of which is Morskie Oko. Lake Hacza in the Wigry Lake District, east of Masuria in the Podlaskie Voivodeship, has the highest depth—more than 100 metres (328 feet).

The shoreline of the lakes in the Greater Polish Lake District were among the first to be inhabited. Biskupin, a stilt house village inhabited by over a thousand people, was established before the 7th century BC by members of the Lusatian civilization.

Lakes have always played a significant role in Polish history and continue to do so in contemporary Polish society. The Polanie, the predecessors of today’s Poles, constructed their first castles on islands in these lakes. The mythical Prince Popiel reigned from the Kruszwica tower on Lake Gopo. Duke Mieszko I, Poland’s first historically recorded monarch, held his castle on an island in the Warta River near Pozna. Nowadays, the Polish lakes serve as a venue for water activities such as yachting and wind-surfing.

The Polish Baltic coast stretches 528 kilometers (328 miles) from Winoujcie on the islands of Usedom and Wolin in the west to Krynica Morska on the Vistula Spit in the east. Poland, for the most part, has a smooth coastline that has been sculpted by the constant movement of sand caused by currents and winds. This constant erosion and deposition has resulted in the formation of cliffs, dunes, and spits, many of which have moved inland to shut off ancient lagoons, such as ebsko Lake in Sowiski National Park.

Prior to the conclusion of WWII and subsequent changes in national boundaries, Poland possessed only a very short coastline, which was located at the end of the ‘Polish Corridor,’ the only internationally recognized Polish territory that provided the country with access to the sea. However, after World War II, the redrawing of Poland’s boundaries and resulting’shift’ of the country’s borders left it with an enlarged coastline, providing for much more access to the sea than had previously been available. The 1945 Wedding to the Sea referred to the magnitude of this event and its relevance to Poland’s future as a great industrialised country.

The Hel Peninsula and the Vistula Spit are the two biggest spits. Wolin is the name of Poland’s biggest Baltic island. Szczecin, Winoujcie, Gdask, Gdynia, Police, and Koobrzeg are the biggest seaports, while the principal coastal resorts are Winoujcie, Midzyzdroje, Koobrzeg, eba, Sopot, Wadysawowo, and the Hel Peninsula.

Climate In Poland

Throughout the nation, the climate is mainly temperate. The climate is oceanic in the north and west then progressively warms and becomes continental in the south and east. Summers are typically warm, with average temperatures ranging from 18 to 30 degrees Celsius (64.4 to 86.0 degrees Fahrenheit) depending on location. Winters are chilly, with average temperatures in the northwest about 3 °C (37.4 °F) and in the northeast at 6 °C (21 °F). Precipitation falls throughout the year, although winter is drier than summer, particularly in the east.

Lower Silesia, situated in south-western Poland, has the highest summer temperatures in Poland, averaging between 24 and 32 °C (75 and 90 °F) but reaching as high as 34 to 39 °C (93.2 to 102.2 °F) on certain days during the warmest months of July and August. Tarnów, located in Lesser Poland, and Wrocaw, located in Lower Silesia, are the hottest cities in Poland. Wrocaw has typical summer temperatures of 20 °C (68 °F) and winter temperatures of 0 °C (32.0 °F), although Tarnów has the longest summer in Poland, lasting 115 days from mid-May to mid-September. Poland’s coldest area lies in the northeast, in the Podlaskie Voivodeship, near the borders with Belarus and Lithuania. Suwaki is usually the coldest city. Cold fronts from Scandinavia and Siberia have an impact on the climate. In the winter, the average temperature in Podlaskie varies from 6 to 4 °C (21 to 25 °F). The greatest effect of the oceanic climate is seen in the city of Wroclaw and along the Baltic Sea coast from Police to Supsk.

Demographics Of Poland

Poland has the eighth-largest population in Europe and the sixth-largest in the European Union, with 38,544,513 people. Its population density is 122 people per square kilometer (328 per square mile).

Poland has traditionally been home to a diverse range of languages, cultures, and faiths. Prior to World War II, when Nazi Germany’s rule led to the Holocaust, the nation had a notably significant Jewish population. Before the war, there were an estimated 3 million Jews in Poland; fewer than 300,000 survived. The war’s result, especially the relocation of Poland’s boundaries to the region between the Curzon Line and the Oder-Neisse line, along with post-war deportation of minorities, decreased the country’s ethnic variety considerably. After the war, the main three Allied countries (the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union) redrawn the country’s boundaries, and almost 7 million Germans fled or were expelled from the Polish side of the Oder-Neisse line.

According to the 2002 census, 36,983,700 individuals, or 96.74 percent of the population, identify as Poles, while 471,500 (1.23 percent) claimed another nationality and 774,900 (2.03 percent) did not declare any nationality. Silesians (173,153 according to the census), Germans (152,897 according to the census, 92 percent of whom live in Opole Voivodeship and Silesian Voivodeship), Belarusians (c. 49,000), Ukrainians (c. 30,000), Lithuanians, Russians, Roma, Jews, Lemkos, Slovaks, Czechs, and Lipka Tatars are the largest minority nationalities and ethnic groups in Poland. Vietnamese are the most numerous ethnic group among foreign citizens, followed by Armenians and Greeks.

Poland’s official language is Polish, which belongs to the West Slavic branch of Slavic languages. Until recently, Russian was widely studied as a second language, but it has since been surpassed by English as the most frequently studied and spoken second language. In 2015, more over half of Poles claimed that they spoke English, with Russian coming in second and German coming in third. Other frequently spoken languages include French, Italian, and Spanish.

Poland’s population has declined in recent years as a result of increased emigration and a drop in birth rates. Since Poland’s admission to the European Union, a large number of Poles have moved, mainly to the United Kingdom, Germany, and Ireland, in pursuit of better job prospects. With improved economic circumstances and Polish wages reaching 70% of the EU average in 2016, this tendency began to decline in the 2010s, and the country’s workers became more required. As a consequence, Polish Development Minister Mateusz Morawiecki recommended that Poles living abroad return to Poland.

Polish communities may still be found in nearby Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania, as well as in other nations. The total number of ethnic Poles residing in other countries is believed to be about 20 million. Outside of Poland, the United States and Germany have the highest concentrations of Poles. In 2013, the total fertility rate (TFR) in Poland was projected to be 1.33 children per woman.


Poland has made significant contributions to the advancement of religious freedom since its inception. Since the country’s conversion to Christianity in 966, it has been open to other faiths via a succession of laws: the Statute of Kalisz (1264), the Warsaw Confederation (1573). However, the Catholic Church persuaded Poland’s King Wadysaw II Jagieo to issue the Edict of Wielu (1424), which outlawed early Protestant Hussitism. Theological movements in Poland include the Calvinist Polish Brethren and a number of other Protestant organizations, as well as atheists such as ex-Jesuit philosopher Kazimierz yszczyski, one of Europe’s earliest atheist intellectuals. In addition, after being persecuted in Western Europe, Anabaptists from the Netherlands and Germany moved in Poland in the 16th century and were known as the Vistula delta Mennonites.

Poland had a religiously varied nation until World War II, with significant Jewish, Christian Orthodox, Protestant, Armenian Christian, and Roman Catholic communities coexisting. In the Second Polish Republic, Roman Catholicism was the main religion, claimed by about 65 percent of Polish people, followed by various Christian denominations and approximately 3 percent of Jews. Poland has become predominantly Roman Catholic as a consequence of the Holocaust and the post–World War II flight and expulsion of German and Ukrainian communities. In 2007, the Catholic Church claimed 88.4 percent of the population. Despite decreasing rates of religious attendance, Poland remains one of Europe’s most religious nations, with 52 percent or 51 percent of Polish Catholics practicing their faith.

Karol Józef Wojtya (later Pope John Paul II), a Polish citizen, served as Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005. He was the first non-Italian Pope since Dutch Pope Adrian VI in 1522, and he was the only Slavic and Polish Pope to date. Furthermore, he is credited with having played a significant role in hastening the fall of communism in Poland and throughout Central and Eastern Europe; he is famously quoted as telling Poles “not to be afraid” at the height of communism in 1979, later praying: “Let your Spirit descend and change the image of the land… this land.”

Polish Orthodox (approximately 506,800), different Protestants (around 150,000), Jehovah’s Witnesses (126,827), Eastern Catholics, Mariavites, Polish Catholics, Jews, and Muslims (including the Tatars of Biaystok) are among the religious minorities. Protestant churchgoers include about 77,500 Lutherans in the biggest Evangelical-Augsburg Church, 23,000 Pentecostals in the Pentecostal Church of Poland, and lesser numbers in other Evangelical Protestant denominations. There are also thousands of neopagans, some of them are members of legally recognized churches such as the Native Polish Church.

The 1989 law of the Polish Constitution currently guarantees religious freedom, allowing for the formation of new denominations. The Concordat between the Holy See and Poland provides religious education in public schools. According to a 2007 poll, 72 percent of respondents were not opposed to religion teaching in public schools; alternative ethical courses are offered in just one percent of the public educational system.

Famous Roman Catholic pilgrimage destinations in Poland include the Jasna Góra Monastery in the southern Polish city of Czstochowa, the Basilica of Our Lady of Liche, and the Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Kraków. Many visitors also visit John Paul II’s family residence in Wadowice, close outside Kraków. Mountain Grabarka, near Grabarka-Klasztor, attracts Orthodox pilgrims.

Language In Poland

Poland’s official language is Polish.

Foreign tourists should be informed that almost all government information is typically only available in Polish. Street signs, instructions, information signs, and so forth are often exclusively in Polish, as are train and bus timetables and announcements (airports and a few major train stations seem to be an exception to this). Signs in various languages are usually seen exclusively at major tourist sites when it comes to information signs like museums, churches, and so on.

The majority of young people and adolescents are fluent in English. Because English is taught from a relatively young age (some schools begin as early as four years old), only Poles who grow up in remote towns or villages will be denied English instruction. Older Poles, particularly those living outside of the major cities, will speak little or no English. However, it is very likely that they speak French, German, or Russian (however, if you use Russian when asking a Pole, say first that you don’t know Polish and that’s why you speak Russian – taking Russian as an official language of Poland is considered an offense as a result of Russian occupation and communist times), which were taught in schools as the main foreign languages until the 1990s.

Russian, which has many parallels with Polish, has mostly been replaced by English, although German is still taught in many schools across the nation, and is particularly popular in the western regions. Ukrainian and Polish have numerous commonalities.

In Poland, a few words may go a long way. Unlike in some other tourist locations, where locals laugh at how poor a foreigner’s usage of the native language is, Polish people usually appreciate the few foreigners who acquire or attempt to learn Polish, even if it is just a few phrases. Younger Poles will also take advantage of the opportunity to improve their English. Be aware that if you are heard speaking English in public outside of major cities and tourist regions, individuals may listen in to practice their English.

Make an effort to learn how to pronounce the names of locations. Because Polish has a fairly consistent pronunciation, this should be no issue. Although most English speakers are unfamiliar with a few sounds, knowing every phoneme is not necessary to attain intelligibility; capturing the spirit is more important.

Poland’s recent history has resulted in a very homogeneous society today, in stark contrast to its long history of ethno-religious diversity; nearly 99 percent of the population today is ethnic Polish; prior to World War II, it was only 69 percent with large minorities, primarily Ukrainians, Belorussians, and Germans, and less than two-thirds Roman Catholic with large Orthodox and Protestant minorities as well.

Poland also had the biggest Jewish community in Europe, with estimates ranging from 10% to 30% of the Polish population at the time. Outside of the main cities’ most touristic districts, you’ll encounter few, if any, foreigners. The majority of immigrants in Poland (mostly Ukrainians and Vietnamese) work in the larger cities. Poland’s tiny collection of current ethnic minorities, Germans, Ukrainians, Belorussians, Silesians, and Kashubians, all speak Polish, and few regional languages survive except in the south and around the Baltic coast.

Internet & Communications in Poland

Mobile phones

Plus (code 260 01), T-Mobile (previously ERA) (260 02), Orange (260 03), and Play are the four mobile phone carriers in Poland (260 06). The typical European GSM 900/1800 MHz network covers about 98 percent of the nation, with the remaining 2 percent being nature reserves or high mountains. Almost every town has 3G service. Plus and Cyfrowy Polsat have just launched LTE networks. Some carriers currently have two identities for their prepaid services as a result of the introduction of virtual brands: Plus has Plush and Simplus, T-Mobile has Heyah and Tak Tak, and Orange has Pop and Orange Go. Domestic call prices are approximately the same across the board for all providers.

Prepaid beginning kits with SIM cards (called starter in Polish) are readily available in most stores, supermarkets, and news agencies at affordable costs (5-20z, the majority of which is accessible for calls). Request a beginning and be careful to specify the network you prefer. Accounts are valid for a few days for outgoing calls, so fill them up for, say, 20z (“doadowanie” [do-wa-do-vanye] in Polish, be careful to provide the figure you want). Prepaid SIM cards must be registered as of July 25, 2016. It implies that the SIM card must be linked to the identification evidence.

Almost every shopping center has at least one independent cellphone store; the owners are generally educated and offer a variety of low-cost phones that may be used as a local/travel phone. This might be a decent alternative since juggling SIM cards is usually a hassle.

Polish telephone numbers

In Poland, all phone numbers are 9 digits long and never begin with 0 — though they used to. Sometimes numbers are printed the old manner, with just the last 7 digits given, in which case you must prefix the now-mandatory area code (e.g. 22 — Warsaw, 61 — Pozna, 12 — Kraków) OR a 0 is included at the beginning, in which case it must be omitted. It makes no difference whether you call from a landline or a mobile phone.

International calls

To make a call from Poland to another country:

00 Country code from a landline phone Local phone number

  • Country code from a mobile phone Local phone number

To contact Poland from outside the country, dial 48, then the number ‘without’ the leading 0, just as you would from a domestic mobile phone.

International and roaming calls are both costly. You may cut your bill by doing the following:

  • Purchase “phone cards” to make overseas calls.
  • To make or receive calls in Poland, activate a pre-paid account (the cost may be as low as 20 z).

Skype and other free internet communication tools are also widely used in Poland.


If you’re carrying a laptop, Wireless LAN Hot-Spots are accessible at various locations, sometimes for free, sometimes for a fee. The best places to look for one are airports, train stations, cafés, retail malls, libraries, city centers, and universities. You may inquire at your hotel, but expect to pay. If you need to connect to the Internet, don’t worry; Internet cafés can be found in all of Poland’s main cities. Customers may access free wi-fi in most coffee shops and restaurants, which is typically password-protected. There is a lot of accessible wi-fi in residential estates, but there has been anecdotal evidence of cyber crime, so it is important to be cautious.

You may utilize your mobile phone to use CSD, HSCSD, GPRS, or EDGE, but the cost may be prohibitive. UMTS/HSPA service is accessible in nearly all major and mid-sized cities. If your phone is not SIM-locked, you may want to consider buying a pre-paid SIM card intended for data access. Every cell provider has its own pre-paid internet plan. You have the option of purchasing Era Blueconnect Starter, iPlus Simdata, Orange Free na kart, or Play Online na kart. Internet access from Era, Plus, and Orange is available across the nation using GPRS/EDGE technology. 3G/3.5G signals can be received in nearly all large, medium, and small cities.

You may use Skype, etc., at a wifi hotspot if you have an internet-enabled device that is not a phone but has full audio capabilities (such as an iPod touch).

Economy Of Poland

Poland’s high-income economy is one of the biggest of the post-Communist nations and one of the EU’s fastest expanding. Poland is the only European country to have escaped the late-2000s recession due to its strong internal market, low private debt, flexible currency, and lack of reliance on a particular export industry. Poland has followed an economic liberalization strategy since the collapse of the communist regime. It exemplifies the shift from a centrally planned to mainly market-based economy. Machinery, furniture, food items, clothes, shoes, and cosmetics are among the most successful exports of the nation. Germany is Poland’s biggest trade partner.

Privatization of small and medium-sized state-owned enterprises, as well as a liberal legislation on starting new businesses, have facilitated the growth of the private sector. Several consumer rights groups have also emerged in the nation. Since 1990, “critical sectors” like as coal, steel, rail transportation, and energy have been restructured and privatized. The greatest privatizations have been the sale of Telekomunikacja Polska to France Télécom in 2000 and the listing of 30% of Poland’s largest bank, PKO Bank Polski, on the Polish stock exchange in 2004.

With 32.3 branches per 100,000 people, the Polish banking industry is the biggest in the East Central/Eastern European area. Banks are the country’s biggest and most sophisticated financial market sector. The Polish Financial Supervision Authority regulates them. During the transition to a market-oriented economy, the government privatized some banks, recapitalized the others, and implemented legislative changes that increased competition in the industry. This has attracted a large number of key international investors (ICFI). Poland’s banking industry consists of about 5 state banks, a network of over 600 cooperative banks, and 18 foreign-owned bank branches. Furthermore, foreign investors own controlling interests in almost 40 commercial banks, accounting for 68 percent of banking capital.

Poland’s agricultural industry includes a significant number of private farms, and the country has the potential to become a major food producer in the European Union. The most profitable exports include smoked and fresh fish, exquisite chocolate, dairy goods, meats, and speciality breads, with the currency rate favorable to export growth. Food exports were 62 billion zloty in 2011, up 17 percent from 2010. Health-care, education, the pension system, and state administration structural changes have resulted in higher-than-expected budgetary constraints. In terms of foreign investment, Warsaw leads Central Europe. GDP growth was robust and consistent from 1993 to 2000, with just a brief dip from 2001 to 2002; the nation also avoided recession in 2008.

In 2003, the economy grew at a 3.7 percent annual rate, up from 1.4 percent in 2002. GDP growth in 2004 was 5.4 percent, 3.3 percent in 2005, and 6.2 percent in 2006. According to Eurostat statistics, Poland’s PPS GDP per capita in 2012 was 67 percent of the EU average.

In December 2010, the average wage in the business sector was 3,848 PLN (1,012 EUR or 1,374 USD), and it was rising rapidly. Salaries differ by region: the median salary in Warsaw was 4,603 PLN (1,177 EUR or 1,680 USD), while in Kielceit it was 3,083 PLN (788 euro or 1125 US dollars). Salaries in Poland are distributed unevenly throughout the country’s regions. They vary from 2,020 PLN (517 euro or 737 US dollars) in Kpno County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, to 5,616 (1,436 euro or 2,050 US dollars) in Lubin County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship.

Since the opening of the labor market in the European Union, Poland has witnessed a mass emigration of over 2.3 million people overseas, mostly due to better salaries provided abroad and an increase in unemployment levels after the worldwide Great Recession of 2008.

The outflow of employees has raised the average pay for those who have stayed in Poland, particularly those with intermediate level skills.

Products and goods manufactured in Poland include: electronics, buses and trams (Solaris, Solbus), helicopters and planes (PZL widnik, PZL Mielec), trains (Pesa SA), ships (Gdask Shipyard, Szczecin Shipyard, Gdynia Polish Navy Shipyard), military equipment (FB “ucznik” Radom, Bumar-abdy SA), medicines (Polpharma, Polfa).

Entry Requirements For Poland

Visa & Passport for Poland

Poland is a signatory to the Schengen Agreement.

Border restrictions are usually not required between nations that have signed and implemented the pact. This covers the majority of the European Union as well as a few additional nations.

Before boarding foreign planes or boats, passengers’ identities are typically checked. Temporary border restrictions are sometimes used at land boundaries.
A visa issued to any Schengen member is also valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty.

In addition to the standard Schengen visa waiver, residents of South Korea, the United States of America, and Israel are allowed to stay in Poland without a visa for up to 90 days, regardless of time spent in other Schengen countries. Time spent in Poland, on the other hand, counts against the time provided by another Schengen state.

Regular visas are granted to tourists and business visitors visiting Poland. Regular visas allow for one or more entry into Polish territory and remain in Poland for a maximum of 90 days and are granted for a certain length of time. When applying for a visa, please provide the number of days you want to stay in Poland as well as the day you intend to arrive. Regular visa holders are not permitted to work.

If you have a Schengen or UK visa, you don’t need a second visa to transit through Poland.

How To Travel To Poland

Get In - By plane

The majority of Europe’s major airlines fly into and out of Poland. LOT Polish Airlines is Poland’s national airline and a Star Alliance member, running the Miles&More frequent flyer program with many other European Star Alliance members. Most other European legacy carriers retain at least one link to Poland, while a number of low-cost airlines, notably WizzAir , EasyJet, Germanwings [www], Norwegian, and Ryanair, also fly to Poland.

While Poland has numerous international airports and international air traffic is increasing, Warsaw’s Chopin Airport (WAW) remains the country’s primary international hub. It is the only airport with direct intercontinental flights – LOT travels to Beijing, Toronto, New York, and Chicago, while Qatar Airways and Emirates fly to their Middle Eastern bases, allowing access to their extensive worldwide networks. Most European airlines will also provide a link to Warsaw, enabling you to take advantage of connecting flights via their hubs.

Warsaw is the only city in Poland with two international airports; Modlin Airport (WMI) is near to the city and is mostly used by low-cost airlines.

Other significant airports served by airlines that provide intercontinental flights include:

  • Kraków (KRK) – via Vienna, Rome, Moscow, Berlin, Helsinki, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Munich and Warsaw
  • Katowice (KTW) – via Munich, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Warsaw
  • Gdańsk (GDN) – via Berlin, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Oslo and Warsaw
  • Poznań (POZ) – via Munich, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Copenhagen and Warsaw
  • Wrocław (WRO) – via Frankfurt, Munich, Dusseldorf and Copenhagen and Warsaw
  • Rzeszów (RZE) – via Frankfurt and Warsaw
  • Łódź (LCJ) – via Copenhagen (due to proximity to Warsaw Chopin Airport, there are no flights to Warsaw from Łódź)

Among the smaller regional airports that provide international flights are:

  • Bydgoszcz (BZG) (Great Britain and Ireland with Ryanair; Lufthansa started a Frankfurt route in March 2015 with 4 flights a week)
  • Szczecin (SZZ) (intercontinental connections via Warsaw)
  • Lublin (LUZ) opened in late 2012, serviced by Wizz Air and Ryanair

All of the airports mentioned above are also serviced by low-cost point-to-point airlines flying to European destinations. The most popular connections from Poland’s regional airports are to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, and Norway, where significant Polish communities create long-term demand for air travel. Flights are so frequent, and tickets may be purchased at a relatively low cost.

As the number of aircraft and passengers has grown considerably since 1990, a new terminal at Warsaw Chopin airport has been built, greatly increasing the airport’s capacity and viability as a transit hub. Airports at Katowice, Kraków, Pozna, Wrocaw, ód, and Rzeszów have been been upgraded to improve standards and capacity.

Get In - By train

  • Berlin, EuroCity “Berlin-Warszawa-Express (BWE)”, 4 trains per day, 5,5 hours, Berlin-Gdańsk
  • Koeln, Hannover, Warsaw, EuroNight “Jan Kiepura”, everyday, 13 hours
  • Bratislava, night train, every day
  • Budapest, night train, every day
  • Kiev via Lviv, Night Train, 16 hours
  • Vienna, Night Train “Chopin”, every day, 9 hours, EuroCity “Sobieski”, everyday, 6 hours, EuroCity “Polonia”, every day, 8 hours
  • Prague, Night Train “Chopin”, EuroCity “Praha”, every day, 9.5 hours
  • Paris, Strasbourg, Night Train “Ost-West”, every day, 17 hours
  • Moscow, Night Train “Ost-West”, every day, 20.5 hours
  • by regional trains: Berlin-Kostrzyn (1h15m, every hour), Berlin-Szczecin (2h, 2 direct daily, but many with one change in Angermünde), Dresden-Wrocław (3h, 3 daily)

Get In - By car

You may enter Poland through one of the numerous routes that connect Poland to its neighboring nations. Checkpoints at border crossings with other EU nations have been eliminated since Poland’s accession to the Schengen Zone.

However, lines on Poland’s non-EU borders with Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia remain long, and in regions clogged with truck traffic, it may take several hours to cross.

Get In - By bus

Many international bus routes link major Polish cities with the majority of major European cities.

  • Voyager is a website that enables you to discover the majority of international bus connections (Eurolines, Ecolines, PPKS, Visitor, Inter-bus and more)
  • Eurolines (from: A, BY, B, HR, CZ, DK, GB, EST, F, D, GR, NL, I, LV, LT, N, RUS, E, S, CH, UA), biggest European bus network.
  • Ecolines
  • Comfortable low-cost bus service to and from Berlin, Vienna, Prague, and Bratislava. It is the most affordable choice for those who prepare ahead of time.
  • Simple Express
  • Sindbad
  • – The website enables you to hire a bus for an organized group of travelers. The website offers a wide variety of vehicles, from inexpensive buses to luxury coaches.

Get In - By boat

  • From Sweden: Ystad (7–9 hours, 215 zł) by Unity Line ; Karlskrona (10 hours, 140-220 zł) by Stena Line; Nynäshamn (18 hours, 230-270 zł), Visby (13.5 hours, 170 zł), Ystad (9.5 hours, 230 zł) by Polferries
  • From Denmark: Copenhagen (9–12 hours, 220 zł), Bornholm/Rønne (5 hours, 125 zł) by Polferries
  • From Germany: Rostock (~15 h) by Finnlines

Get In - By yacht

Along the Polish coast, there are more and more ports, at least at every river mouth. Larger marinas may be found at Szczecin, eba, Hel, Gdynia, and Gdask. Gdask has two yacht docks: one in the ancient market square , which is often overcrowded, and one near the city center, close to the Baltic Sea. The newest yacht dock is situated on Sopot’s longest wooden pier . Despite the fact that Poland has a large number of sailors, the country’s maritime infrastructure still needs to be upgraded.

From Czech Republic

  • Local, express, and rapid trains (but not IC or EC!) sell a special cross-border ticket (“bilet przechodowy” in Polish) that is valid between Czech and Polish border stations (or vice versa) and costs just CZK15 or 2 z. You may buy it from the conductor on the train (or completely disregard it if the conductor does not emerge before you reach the other border station, which happens) and combine it with domestic tickets from both countries to your advantage (the one you buy before departure and another one you may buy if your train stops for an amount of time in the first station after the border and you have time to quickly reach for the ticket office – or you buy the other domestic ticket at the conductor with a low surcharge).
  • If you are around the Czech-German-Polish border, you may take advantage of the ZVON transportation system’s uniform fare:
  • The railway in the Krkonoe/Karkonosze mountains between Harrachov (Czech Republic) and Szklarska Porba (Poland) has been out of service since World War II and was restored in summer 2010. There were 5 trains each day in January 2013. The trip takes approximately 30 minutes.
  • After a multi-year electrification project, there are currently multiple trains each day between Lichkov (Czech Republic) and Midzylesie (Poland). However, if you arrive by the final train of the day, which ends before the border, you may be able to stroll to the other side. Following the traffic instructions to Brno, you may approach the border by following the route and going through the settlements of Smreczyna and Boboszów. After crossing the border, take a sharp right at the crossroads and walk the rest of the way to Lichkov. There is a lot of flat land there. This is a 13-kilometer diversion, but although the railway is somewhat shorter, you should not follow it since it passes through a dark forest, putting you in danger of colliding with night freight trains and, of course, breaking the law.
  • Guchoazy, a Polish railway station, is serviced by Czech trains running between Jesenk and Krnov and may be accessed with a domestic Czech train ticket (with “Gluchlolazy” as the destination). You may also purchase a ticket beginning at that station or a return ticket in advance, however you cannot purchase Czech tickets at the station. There are no longer any Polish trains leaving from Guchoazy to the rest of Poland; only buses from the city (1,5 km walk from the station) are available.
  • There are just a few daily connections between Bohumn (Czech Republic) and Chaupki (Poland; formerly named Annaberg and located on the three-country border of the Czech Republic, Germany, and Poland), however crossing the border on foot is simple if you miss your connection. Bohumn is a significant Czech railway station, while Chaupki is a train terminal serving central Poland. Between the two locations, you travel through the Czech town of Star Bohumn, which is located exactly at the border, which is temporarily created by the river Odra in this location, which you cross on an ancient pedestrian bridge. The walk is totally level, nearly straight, passes almost entirely through populated areas, and is very short in length (5 kilometres).
  • The split city of Český Těšín (Czech Republic) / Cieszyn (Poland) is a popular border crossing point. If you get to one of them, you can walk to the other quite comfortably and quickly (20 minutes from one station to another). The boundary is formed by the river Ole/Olza in the city center. The railway stations in Český Těšín and Cieszyn are well connected to other cities.

From Germany

If you located close the Czech-German-Polish border, you may take advantage of the ZVON transportation system’s single fare.

From Lithuania

  • While the major railway linking Lithuania and Poland is now passing via Belarus (where most people cannot visit without a visa), there is still a smaller line that links the two countries directly. The border crossing points are etokai (Lithuania) and Suwaki (Japan) (Poland). Because of the differing rail gauges used between the two nations, there are only a few passenger connections each day, and you must change trains at the border.
  • If you’re traveling a longer distance, using the bus between Vilnius and Warsaw is a popular way to cross the border.

How To Travel Around Poland

The Polish road system is vast but usually in bad condition, and the high-speed highways that are presently in existence are inadequate. However, public transportation is abundant and reasonably priced: buses and trams in towns, and charter buses and trains for long-distance travel.

Get Around - By plane

LOT Polish Airlines has domestic flights from Warsaw Chopin Airport to Kraków, Katowice, Wrocaw, Pozna, Szczecin, Gdask, Bydgoszcz, and Rzeszów. Sprint Air operates the only other regular domestic flight between Warsaw Chopin and Zielona Góra Babimost Airport. There are no domestic flights to or from the airports of Modlin or Lublin.

Every Wednesday, LOT conducts a 24-hour ticket sale for return flights from Warsaw to other Polish airports, as well as certain internal connections. The cheap flights provided are typically a few months out from the date of sale, and the quantity of tickets and available dates are limited, but if you are preparing ahead of time to visit Poland and/or other European countries, this offer may be appealing.

Get Around - By train

The national railway companies in Poland are PKP Intercity (Polskie Koleje Pastwowe) and Przewozy Regionalne. There are just a few local carriers that are owned by municipalities or large cities.

Train tickets are reasonably priced, but travel circumstances reflect the fact that most of the infrastructure is very ancient.

However, on the new IC (InterCity) lines Warsaw-Katowice, Warsaw-Kraków, Warsaw-Pozna, and Pozna-Szczecin or RE, you can anticipate a quick, clean, and contemporary connection (RegioEkspress). Consider purchasing first class tickets, since the price difference between second and first class is not significant. The increase in comfort may be significant, but it is also typical to find trains with 2nd class cars that have just been refurbished and 1st class coaches that are ancient and of poor quality.

Train types

  • EICP (Express Intercity Premium), EIC (ExpressInterCity) / EC (EuroCity) / Ex (Express) – Express trains connect large metropolitan regions as well as important tourist sites. Reservations are often needed. Laptop power outlets are occasionally provided next to the seat. PKP Intercity is the name of the company.
  • TLK (Twoje Linie Kolejowe) – Discount trains are slower but less expensive than the preceding options. There aren’t many routes, but they’re a great option for budget tourists. Reservations are required for first class, however there are typically no reservations for second class. Use older carriages that aren’t always suitable for fast travel. PKP Intercity is the name of the company.
  • RE (RegioEkspress) – cheaper than TLK and of better quality, although only three of these types are in operation: Lublin-Pozna, Warsaw-Szczecin, and Wrocaw-Dresden. Przewozy Regionalne is the name of the company.
  • IR (InterRegio) – Although it is less expensive than TLK and RegioExpress, most routes are supported by low-quality trains. Przewozy Regionalne is the name of the company.
  • REGIO / Osobowy – Ordinary passenger train; generally sluggish, with many stops. A weekend turystyczny ticket or a week-long pass are also available. If you’re not in a rush, they are ideal, but anticipate them to be extremely busy at times.
  • Podmiejski – suburban commuting train Various levels of comfort and amenities. Tickets must be purchased at station ticket booths. Some companies enable you to purchase a ticket from the train management in the first cabin while on board. There will be a fee.
  • Narrow gauge – Poland still has a few small narrow-gauge railroads. Some are geared toward tourists and run just during the summer or on weekends, while others serve as regular municipal rail.


Purchasing InterCity tickets online is definitely the most convenient option (see links below). You may also purchase Regio, RE, IR, and TLK tickets online.

Generally, tickets for any route may be bought at any station. A foreigner purchasing tickets may be a difficult process since only cashiers at international ticket offices (in large cities) can be expected to know several languages. To prevent communication problems and lengthy lines, it is suggested that you purchase your train tickets through a travel agency or online.

During busy seasons (e.g., the conclusion of the Christmas season, New Year’s, etc.), it may be simpler to purchase in advance for trains that need reserved seating.

Please keep in mind that tickets purchased for E-IC/EC/EXpress/etc. trains are not valid for local/regional trains operating on the same routes. If you want to change trains between InterCity and Regional, you must purchase a second ticket.

If you travel with the Regional in a group, you should get a 33 percent discount for the second, third, and fourth passenger (offer Ty I 1,2,3).

If you are planning a weekend trip, consider the weekend deals, which are available from Friday 19:00 to Monday 06:00.

Please keep in mind that if a weekend is prolonged due to a national holiday, the ticket will also be extended.

Travellers under the age of 26 who are studying in Poland are eligible to a 26% discount on Intercity’s TLK, EX, and IC-category trains, discounting the cost of seat reservation.

Early booking (7 days before travel) may result in extra savings. 

You may ride on certain IC trains with the offer Bilet Rewelacyjny – you will get an automatic discount (about 20% ) on selected routes.

Get Around - By bus

Poland has a well-developed network of private charter bus operators, which are often less expensive, quicker, and more pleasant than train travel. For journeys of less than 100 kilometers, charter buses are much more common than railroads. However, due of the language barrier, they are more difficult to utilize for foreigners.

There is a schedule accessible online. It is accessible in English and offers bus and rail alternatives for comparison: Online schedules are helpful for planning, although each bus station has several carriers, and departure times for large cities and popular locations are usually no more than thirty minutes apart.

Each city and municipality has a central bus terminal (previously known as PKS) where different bus routes pick up passengers; their timetables may be seen there. Vehicle routes may also be identified by signage on the front of the bus, which usually indicate the last stop. This is more convenient if you pick up a bus from a roadside stop rather than the central depot. Tickets are typically bought directly from the driver, although they may also be obtained at the station. If you want to buy from the driver, just get on the bus, tell him where you’re going, and he’ll tell you how much it’ll cost. Drivers seldom understand English, therefore he will often issue a receipt with the whole price. Buses are also an option for long-distance and international travel; however, long-distance timetables are often more restricted than those of trains.

In 2011, Polski Bus, a new bus operator in Poland, debuted with a more ‘western’ approach – tickets may only be purchased through the Internet, and prices fluctuate based on the amount of seats previously sold. They offer bus connections between Warsaw and the majority of the larger Polish cities (as well as few neighboring capitals).

Get Around - By car

While Poland’s road network continues to lag behind that of many Western European countries, particularly its western neighbor Germany, significant progress has been made in the 2010s, with the opening of many new motorway segments and the refurbishment of some long-neglected thoroughfares that were used far above capacity.

Traveling East-West is now usually considerably simpler, with the A2 (E30) connecting Berlin, Pozna, and Warsaw, and the A4 connecting the southern main metropoles of Lower Silesia, Silesia, Lesser Poland, and Podkarpackie (which continues as the E40 into Germany all the way to Cologne, and then further to Brussels and terminates in Calais in France).

Traveling from north to south throughout the nation is still inconvenient since the main roads are either under construction or receiving significant repairs and improvements as of 2014. Most big and medium-sized cities have ring roads that enable you to avoid them even on lower-level roads, as do smaller towns that are immediately connected to major highways. Having said that, there are still a number of roads that aren’t fit for the traffic they’re intended to handle and are in disrepair.

Speed limits and traffic code peculiarities

Speed restrictions in the city are 50 km/h (60 km/h 23:00-05:00), 90 km/h outside the city, 100 km/h if lanes are divided, 100 km/h on single carriageway vehicle-only roads (white car on blue sign), 120 km/h on dual carriageway car-only roads, and 140 km/h on motorways / freeways (autostrada).

Driving while under the influence of alcohol is a severe crime. BAC limits are as follows: up to 0.02 percent – not prosecutable under the law, up to 0.05 percent – an offense, and beyond 0.05 percent – a criminal offense (up to 2 years in jail). Despite stringent regulations, drunken driving is a significant issue in Poland, not least because there is anecdotal evidence of police officials taking bribes instead of issuing traffic tickets. Be particularly cautious on tiny rural roads during (and after) national holidays and late at night on weekends, since drunken driving are frequent.

At a red signal, there is no right turn. Except when there is a green arrow light, you must come to a full stop and yield to pedestrians and cross traffic (although the stop rule is seldom respected by Polish drivers). All of the above does not apply if right-turning traffic has its own (red-yellow-green) light.

At a ‘T-junction’ or crossroads without traffic signs, traffic on the right has the right-of-way unless your road is a priority route, which is indicated by a road sign with a yellow diamond with a white outline or a yellow sign with a black outline of the crossing with the priority flow in bold. This may be extremely perplexing, so keep your eyes open since the structure of the crossing does not always make this obvious (i.e. the lower quality, narrower and slower road coming in from the left may have right of way.)

Driving with dipped headlights is required at all times.

A warning triangle is required as part of a car’s equipment and must be shown some distance away from any collision or while, for example, changing a tire. This does not imply that they are always utilized when they should be.

Roads labeled droga szybkiego ruchu (rapid transit road) are often not. The rule that highways should travel through cities rather than around them still applies, and speed restrictions vary quickly from the allowed 90 km/h to 70, down to 40, and back up to 70 within a few hundred yards. Speed cameras (often in dark gray or yellow pole-mounted units with appropriate signage) are widespread (and the income from those goes to the local council or government.) Radar-equipped traffic cops are also present, although it seems that this does nothing to discourage speeding vehicles. CB radio has seen a revival in popularity in recent years. It is used by drivers to alert one other of road dangers and speed traps.

Driving in cities

Poles work long hours, thus peak hours in large cities often extend beyond 20:00. Roadworks are widespread since numerous new road projects are in the works, and roadways need regular upkeep.

Parking on sidewalks is common in cities and towns, unless there is a no-parking notice. There is typically no parking available on the tar-sealed portion of the roadway, therefore do not leave your vehicle parked at the curb unless it is clearly marked as a parking space. Parking meters are commonly utilized in cities and even small villages.

Communicating with other drivers

Some motorists flash their headlights to alert people coming from the other way of a close police station (you are likely to encounter this custom in many other countries). It may also indicate that you need to switch on your lights since dipped headlights must be turned on at all times when driving. A “thank you” between drivers may be communicated by waving your hand or, if the distance is too large, by putting on blinkers or hazard lights – usually, a fast left-right-left sequence for the blinkers and one or two blinks for the hazard light.

Hazard lights may be used to signal problems, but they can also be used to signify that the vehicle is slowing down or has stopped in a traffic congestion on a highway.

Gas and service stations

Pb stands for unleaded gasoline (Pb is the periodic table symbol for plumbum, or lead) and ON stands for diesel fuel (olej napdowy in Polish). Petrol and diesel are approximately the same price and are in line with pricing across the European Union, with Poland being one of the cheapest EU nations in this respect. LPG is readily accessible, both at branded gas stations and via independent distributors, and costs about half the price of gasoline. CNG is not widely used, although CNG filling stations may be found in large cities and other areas where CNG-powered vehicles operate or natural gas is produced or stored. Ethanol-based fuel (E85 or E100), which is popular in Sweden, is nearly impossible to get.

Electric vehicle charging stations are few and far between, and are generally restricted to the largest cities, where they can be found in large shopping malls and other prominent locations where they serve mostly PR purposes, as there are no incentives to own or drive an electric car in Poland, and the electric car fleet is minuscule.

Orlen, Lotos (two Polish oil firms), Shell, Statoil, BP, and Lukoil are the biggest gas station chains in Poland. Some grocery companies, such as Tesco and Auchan, have a network of petrol stations located near their shops. Most gas stations take credit or debit cards, but you may encounter a non-branded local station that does not accept cards. The majority of drivers fill up their cars and assist themselves at petrol stations, but some do have employees. Shell is the only chain that regularly offers attendants at all stations; nevertheless, since many drivers do not want to use their services, you may have to signal that you would for them to assist you. You are expected to tip the gas station attendant with modest change, such as 2 or 5 z depending on the services provided.

Roadside vendors

It is usual for tiny merchants to put up booths along the highways with fruit or wild mushrooms in the autumn or spring. They don’t always remain in locations where vehicles can safely stop, so be wary of drivers who stop suddenly, and be cautious if you wish to stop yourself. If you know how to prepare them, wild mushrooms are a speciality. A word of caution: it’s possible that the individuals who selected the mushrooms aren’t very adept at distinguishing between the edible and the deadly, so consume at your own risk. Small children are especially susceptible to wild mushrooms, so never give them to them. If you believe your Polish friends to be sensible, you may rely on their judgment.

Get Around - By taxi

Only those connected with a “company” should be used (look for phone number and a logo on the side and on the top). In Poland, there are no minicabs in the manner of the United Kingdom. Unaffiliated drivers are more likely to deceive and overcharge you. Be particularly cautious of these cabs near international airports and railway stations, as you should be anywhere. They are known as the “taxi mafia.”

Taxis with false phone numbers may be spotted on the streets as a result of traveler advise like this (and word of mouth), but this has lately reduced – perhaps because the authorities have taken notice. Locals may readily identify fake phone numbers, which cater to the unwary tourist. The best suggestion is to ask your Polish friends or your hotel concierge for the phone number of the taxi company they use and contact them 10–15 minutes ahead of time (there is no extra charge). That is why, unless there is an emergency, residents will only hail cabs on the street.

Phone numbers for cabs in every city may also be found on the Internet, as well as municipal and newspaper websites. Some taxi firms, especially in bigger cities, allow you to book a cab online or by text message. There are also stands, which are often located at railway terminals, where you may call for their specific cab for free.

If you haggle the fare with the driver, you risk paying more than you should. Make certain that the driver activates the meter and sets it to the correct fare (taryfa):

  • Taryfa 1: Daytime within city limits
  • Taryfa 2: Nights, Sundays and holidays within city limits
  • Taryfa 3: Daytime outside city limits
  • Taryfa 4: Nights, Sundays and holidays outside city limits

Prices vary somewhat across taxi companies and between cities, and a modest set beginning charge is imposed on top of the distance cost.

When driving over city boundaries (for example, to an airport situated outside the city), the motorist should change the tariff at the city boundary.

When requested, every taxi driver is required to provide a receipt (at the end of the ride). Before getting inside the taxi, you may ask the driver for a receipt (rachunek or paragon) and quit if his response is suspect or he refuses.

Get Around - By bicycle

Cycling is a great way to get a feel for the landscape in Poland. The roads may be in poor condition at times, and there is typically no hard shoulder or bicycle lane. Car drivers are reckless, but most do not wish to murder bicycles on sight, as seems to be the situation in some other nations.

Rainwater drainage on both city streets is often deplorable, and in the country, it is just non-existent. This implies that puddles are large and frequent, and potholes make them much more dangerous.

Bicycling is popular in the south, particularly along the rivers Dunajec (from Zakopane to Szczawnica), Poprad (from Krynica to Stary Scz), and Lower Silesia (Zotoryja – Swierzawa – Jawor). Specially planned bike routes are beginning to emerge, as are specialist guide books, so contact a cycling club for assistance and you should be OK. Away from main city and large town highways, you should be able to discover some excellent riding, and staying at agroturystyka (room and board at a farmer’s home, for example) may be a fantastic experience.

Bike sharing systems (system roweru miejskiego) are available in all major Polish cities, with a developing network of bicycle segregated cycling facilities (bike lanes and bike paths are the most common). It is a self-service system where you may hire a bike 24 hours a day, seven days a week from early spring to the end of fall, with rental rates based on local tariffs. The first 20 minutes of a rental are typically free. The charge for the following 40 minutes is 1-2 z, followed by 3-4 z per hour. Nextbike is Poland’s largest system operator. You must register online to get an account, make a pre-payment (typically 10 z), and then hire bikes in all locations where this system is available (including towns in Germany and other Central European countries).

Get Around - Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking is (on average) safe in Poland. Yes, it is slower than its Western (Germany) and Eastern (Lithuania) neighbors, but your wait times will be tolerable! The major highways, mainly those linking Gdask, Warsaw, Pozna, and Kraków, are the ideal locations to be picked up.

Make a cardboard sign with the name of the chosen destination city written on it.

Do not attempt to catch a lift where it is prohibited to stop. Look for a dashed line, not a solid one, painted on the road’s edge.

As in any nation, you should use caution; there have been many instances of Polish hitchhiking excursions gone wrong, so take basic measures and you should be OK.

Destinations in Poland

Regions in Poland

  • Central Poland (Łódzkie, Mazowieckie)
    Central Poland is centered around Warsaw, the capital city, and ód, a major city with a strong textile industry history.
  • Southern Poland (Małopolskie, Śląskie)
    The region is home to magnificent mountain ranges, the world’s oldest working salt mines, breathtaking landscapes, caverns, historical sites, and towns. The beautiful medieval city of Kraków is Poland’s most popular tourist attraction, and the Silesian conurbation is the country’s biggest.
  • Southwestern Poland (Dolnośląskie, Opolskie)
    A vibrant mash-up of several sceneries. Wrocaw, Poland’s most populous and vibrant city, is located in one of the country’s hottest areas. This area is home to people of Polish, German, and Czech ancestry.
  • Northwestern Poland (Lubuskie, Wielkopolskie, Zachodniopomorskie)
    A diverse environment, a plethora of animals, a bird-delight, watcher’s and inland dunes For centuries, most of this region of Poland belonged to Germany, which influenced its history.
  • Northern Poland (Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Pomorskie, Warmińsko-Mazurskie)
    Poland’s beautiful coastline, sandy beaches with dunes and cliffs, lakes, rivers, and woods may all be found here.
  • Eastern Poland (Lubelskie, Podkarpackie, Świętokrzyskie, Podlaskie)
    A very lush region with lakes. It provides untouched environment and the opportunity to camp in lovely landscapes. The region’s unique primeval woods and beautiful waterways (such as the Biebrza river) with protected bird species make it more appealing to visitors.

Cities in Poland

  • Warsaw — The capital of Poland and one of the EU’s booming new economic hubs; the old town, which was almost totally destroyed during WWII, has been restored in a style influenced by Canaletto’s classicist paintings.
  • Gdańsk — previously known as Danzig; one of Europe’s oldest and most picturesque cities, restored after World War II. It is a fantastic departure point for the numerous marine resorts along the Baltic shore since it is located in the center of the Baltic coast.
  • Katowice — The core area of the Upper Silesian Metropolis, serving as both an economic and cultural hub.
  • Kraków — Poland’s “culture capital” and historical capital during the Middle Ages; its center is packed with ancient churches, monuments, the biggest European medieval market-place – and, more recently, fashionable bars and art galleries. Its city center is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Lublin — It is the largest city in Eastern Poland and boasts a well-preserved old town with traditional Polish architecture as well as unique Renaissance elements (the so-called Lublin Renaissance).
  • Łódź — Once known for its textile industry, “Polish Manchester” features Europe’s longest strolling street, Piotrkowska Street, which is lined with beautiful 19th-century buildings.
  • Poznań — The merchant city, considered the cradle of the Polish nation and church (together with Gniezno), has a variety of architecture from all epochs.
  • Szczecin — Pomerania’s most significant city, featuring a massive harbor, monuments, ancient gardens, and museums.
  • Wrocław — an ancient Silesian city with a rich history; built on 12 islands, it has more bridges than any other European city other than Venice, Amsterdam, and Hamburg.

Other destinations in Poland

  • Auschwitz-Birkenau — An notorious network of Nazi extermination and slave labor camps in Germany that became the epicenter of the Holocaust against Jews during World War II. World Heritage Site by UNESCO
  • Białowieża National Park — a vast tract of old forest bordering the Belarusian border World Heritage Site by UNESCO
  • Bory Tucholskie National Park — The Tucholskie Forests are protected as a national park.
  • Kalwaria Zebrzydowska — From 1600, a monastery in the Beskids with Mannerist architecture and a Stations of the Cross complex. World Heritage Site by UNESCO
  • Karkonosze National Park — Beautiful waterfalls may be seen in the Sudety National Park, which is centered on the Nieka Mountain.
  • Malbork — Malbork Castle, the biggest Gothic brick castle in Europe, is located here. World Heritage Site by UNESCO
  • Słowiński National Park — The largest dunes in Europe may be found in a national park close to the Baltic Sea.
  • Wieliczka Salt Mine — This salt mine, the world’s oldest continually operating business, has been in operation since the 13th century. World Heritage Site by UNESCO
  • Wielkopolski National Park — Greater Poland’s national park that protects the biodiversity of the Wielkopolskie Lakes.

Accommodation & Hotels in Poland

When it comes to accommodation availability and quality, Poland is catching up with Western Europe. Following the Euro 2012 championships, the situation in Euro host towns is now similar to that of most other cities in Northern and Western Europe. Many smaller cities and places that are less visited by visitors still have a limited selection of accommodations, and the current providers take advantage of this by providing substandard quality rather than charging exorbitant rates. Staff in major cities, both hotels and hostels, should be able to communicate in English and, in many cases, other foreign languages. The language barrier may be an issue in less visited areas.

Prices in Poland

Lodging costs are no longer the bargains they were a few years ago; they are now equivalent to typical European rates. Standard bargain-hunting techniques apply: if hotel rates are too expensive, search the Internet for private rooms, pensions, or flats for rent, which may occasionally be obtained for a very cheap price. The best prices are typically available during the off-season.

Hotels in Poland

Only one large hotel operator, Accor, provides comprehensive coverage of the whole nation, having taken over the previous state-owned supplier Orbis (and still operate several hotels by that name as of 2013). Throughout the nation, hotels ranging from the budget-friendly ibis to the business-oriented Novotel and Mercure and the renowned Sofitels may be found. Please keep in mind that, although nearly all ibis hotels were purpose-built in the 2000s, Novotels and Mercures are often converted old Orbis hotels and may not be the finest hotels that brands have to offer in Europe. Please keep in mind that even Accor has coverage gaps in less tourist-frequented regions.

The most well-known worldwide hotel brands (Intercontinental, Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, and Carlson) have a presence in Poland, although none can claim to cover even the most significant cities completely. There are a few Best Western-affiliated hotels, although they don’t span the whole nation. Another French chain, Campanile, is worth noting for budget-conscious motorized travelers.

Hostels in Poland

Because of enforced curfews, hostels associated with the national hosteling organization are often terrible choices for travelers. Furthermore, Hosteling International (HI) associated hostels are often utilized by big school groups, which means that small children may be shouting and running about the halls. Some private hostels are clean and friendly, but some may be even worse than HI hostels.

Agritourism farms

Rural tourism has grown in popularity in Poland during the past several decades. Many farms in Poland’s countryside have shifted their emphasis from intense food production to tourism as a result of social and economic developments. Under the concept of “agritourism farm” (gospodarstwo agroturystyczne or simply agroturystyka), you may discover a genuine farm where hosts are actual farmers working on their fields and also welcoming visitors, allowing them to peep into their daily rural life. Typically, though, you will come across rural pensions where tourism is the primary source of revenue.

Things To See in Poland

Since Poland’s accession to the European Union, foreign visitors have quickly rediscovered the country’s rich cultural history, magnificent historic monuments, and simply breathtaking variety of landscapes. Whether it’s architecture, urban atmosphere, or a sense of the past, Poland’s busy cities and villages provide something for everyone. If you want to escape the crowds and appreciate nature, the country’s extensive natural regions provide everything from thick woods, high peaks, and green hills to beaches and lake reserves.


Most large cities have beautiful historic centers and a variety of magnificent structures, some of which are World Heritage sites. Many ancient quarters were severely damaged or destroyed by WWII bombs, but were carefully reconstructed after the war, utilizing original bricks and decorations wherever feasible. Although remnants of the Soviet Union and even wounds from World War II can be seen in most of them, Polish towns offer excellent historical sights while still being contemporary, vibrant locations. Warsaw, the capital, boasts one of the finest historic centers, and its numerous attractions include the ancient city walls, palaces, cathedrals, and squares. You may take the Royal Route to view some of the finest sights outside of the old town.

Kraków’s old town is regarded the country’s cultural capital, with another beautiful historic center, many magnificent structures, and a few outstanding museums. Only 50 kilometers away is the sobering Auschwitz concentration camp, which, owing to the horrific events it symbolizes, creates an impact unlike any other World Heritage site. Another excellent day excursion from Kraków is to the historic Wieliczka salt mine.

The harbor city of Gdask, which was formerly a Hanseatic League town, has several magnificent Hanseatic League-era structures. A stroll along the Royal Road provides an excellent overview of significant sites in this city as well. Wrocaw, the historical capital of Silesia, is still less well-known but can certainly rival in terms of magnificent architecture, with Centennial Hall as a great example. Its beautiful position on the Oder River, as well as its many bridges, make this massive metropolis a wonderful destination to visit.

The ancient town of Zamo was designed in accordance with Italian ideas of the “ideal town,” and UNESCO designated it as “a rare example of a Renaissance town in Central Europe.” Toru, a beautiful medieval city, has some excellent and unique Gothic architecture, since it is one of the few Polish towns to have survived WWII destruction. Pozna and Lublin are two more noteworthy cities.

Natural attractions

Natural attractions are never far away with 23 national parks and a handful of landscape parks scattered throughout the country. Biaowiea National Park, on the border with Belarus, is a World Heritage site because it contains the remaining remnants of the primeval forest that originally covered much of Europe. It is the only location in the world where European Bisons may still be found in the wild. Take the hazardous Eagle’s Path (Orla Per) in the Tatra Mountains, where you’ll also discover Poland’s highest peak, if you’re fit and ready for an adventure. The beautiful Dunajec River Gorge may be found in Pieniski National Park, while several spectacular water falls can be seen in Karkonoski National Park.

The hilly Bieszczady National Park offers excellent trekking possibilities and abundant wildlife. Wielkopolski National Park, on the other hand, is extremely flat and encompasses a large portion of the picturesque Pozna Lakeland. The Masurian Landscape Park, in the Masurian Lake District, is at least as lovely, with its 2000 lakes. Bory Tucholskie National Park contains the country’s biggest forest and a number of lakes, making it ideal for bird viewing. The following two national parks on Poland’s shore are likewise quite popular: Wolin National Park is situated on an island in the northwest, while Sowiski National Park has some of Europe’s biggest sand dunes.

Castles & other rural monuments

The Polish landscape is beautiful, even stunning at times, with numerous ancient towns, castles, cathedrals, and other landmarks. As a result, agrotourism is becoming more popular. If you’re interested in cultural heritage, the south western portions of the nation contain some of the finest sites, but there’s also excellent things in other parts of the country. The magnificent Gothic Wawel Castle in Kraków is one of the best examples of Poland’s castles, although the majority of the others are in tiny rural towns. Built in 1406 and now the world’s largest brick Gothic castle, the huge, red brick Malbork castle (in northern Poland) is arguably the most beautiful in the nation. The castle of Ksi in Wabrzych is one of the finest examples in ancient Silesia, which also gave rise to the now-semi-ruined Chojnik castle, which is situated on a hill above the town of Sobieszów and inside the Karkonoski National Park.

After decades of surviving wars and assaults, it was devastated by lightning in 1675 and has since become a famous tourist destination. The beautiful Czocha Castle in Luba dates back to 1329. The remains of Krzytopór castle, in a hamlet near Opatów, are a little off the usual path. UNESCO has designated the Wooden Churches of Southern Lesser Poland as World Heritage, as have the Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica. Famous pilgrimage sites include the Jasna Góra Monastery in Czstochowa and the magnificent, World Heritage-listed Kalwaria Zebrzydowska park. Muskau Park in knica, near the German border, contains beautiful English gardens and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site shared with Germany.


The landscape in Poland is beautiful and largely unspoilt. There are several areas in Poland with stunning scenery and small-scale organic and traditional farms. Travelers may participate in a variety of activities such as bird viewing, cycling, or horseback riding.

Culturally, there are many cathedrals, museums, pottery and traditional basket-making workshops, castle ruins, rural communities, and other attractions to visit and/or experience. A trip to the Polish countryside is an excellent way to appreciate and learn about the country’s scenery and people.

Food & Drinks in Poland

Food in Poland

Poles eat according to the typical continental schedule: a modest breakfast (generally some sandwiches with tea/coffee), a bigger lunch (or historically a “dinner”) at about 13:00-14:00, and a supper at around 19:00.

Many restaurants provide at least one vegetarian meal, making it easy to forgo meat. Most large cities have some vegetarian-only eateries, particularly in the city center. Vegan choices, on the other hand, are very restricted.

Traditional local food

Traditional Polish food is robust and rich in meats, sauces, and vegetables; pickled vegetables are a popular side dish. Modern Polish food, on the other hand, is more varied and emphasizes on healthier options. The quality of “store-bought” food is often extremely excellent, particularly in dairy products, baked goods, veggies, and meat items.

Soup is often served as the first dish at a dinner, followed by the main course. Among soups, probably the most well-known is barszcz czerwony (red beet soup, commonly known as borscht): a spicy and somewhat sour soup eaten hot. It’s often served with dumplings (barszcz z uszkami or barszcz z pierogami) or with a fried pate roll (barszcz z pasztecikiem). Other unusual soups include zupa ogórkowa, a cucumber soup composed of fresh and pickled cucumbers; zupa grzybowa, which is usually prepared with wild mushrooms; and flaki or flaczki, which is well-seasoned tripe. The urek, a sour-rye soup served with traditional Polish sausage and a hard-boiled egg, is the most popular in restaurants.

Pierogi are, of course, a very well-known Polish delicacy. They are often served as an accompaniment to another meal (for example, with barszcz), rather than as the main entrée. They come in a variety of fillings, including cottage cheese and onion, meat, and even wild forest fruits. Gobki are big cabbage rolls filled with a mixture of cereals and meats, steamed or boiled, and served hot with a white sauce or tomato sauce.

Bigos is another distinctive, though lesser-known, Polish dish: a “hunter’s stew” with different meats and vegetables on a pickled cabbage foundation. Bigos is often thick and hearty. Similar components may also be watered down and served as kapuniak, a cabbage soup. Some Austro-Hungarian imports have also gained popularity and been incorporated into Polish cuisine throughout the years. Gulasz, a less spicy form of goulash, and sznycel po wiedesku, a classic schnitzel frequently accompanied with potatoes and a variety of vegetables, are two examples.

When it comes to fast food, foreign imports tend to rule supreme (such as kebab or pizza stands, and fast-food franchises). A zapiekanka, which is an open-faced baguette topped with mushrooms and cheese (or other toppings of choice) and roasted until the cheese melts, is an unusual Polish variation. Zapiekanki is available at a variety of roadside stalls and pubs. Placki ziemniaczane (polish potato pancakes) are also offered in certain pubs. Knysza is a Polish hamburger that is considerably (much) larger and includes meat, a variety of veggies, and sauces. Drodówka is a sweet yeast bread (often in the shape of kolach) or a pie stuffed with filling composed of: poppy seed mass; vanilla, chocolate, coconut, or advocaat pudding; baked apples; cocoa mass; sweet curd cheese or fruits.

Poland is also renowned for two distinct cheeses, both of which are handcrafted in the [Podhale] mountain range in the south. The most well-known is Oscypek, a hard, salty cheese produced from unpasteurized sheep milk and smoked (or not). It pairs nicely with alcoholic drinks like beer. Bryndza is a less frequent soft cheese produced from sheep milk (and therefore salty), with a consistency comparable to spreadable cheeses. It is often served with toast or baked potatoes. Both cheeses are protected by the European Union’s Protected Designation of Origin (like the French Roquefort, or the Italian Parmegiano-Reggiano).

Polish bread is offered at bakeries (piekarnia in Polish) and stores, and it’s a good idea to inquire about the availability of hot bread (in a bakery). Poles are frequently extremely loyal to their favorite bread providers and are willing to wake up very early in the morning to acquire a fresh loaf. The most popular bread (zwyky) is composed of rye or rye and wheat flour with sourdough and is best eaten fresh with butter alone or with a piece of ham. Many different types of breads and bread rolls may be purchased, and their names and recipes differ based on location. Many bakeries sell sweet Challah bread (chaka in Polish).

Polish cake stores (cukiernia) are especially worth noting, since eating cakes is a major custom in Poland. There are located in every city and often offer local specialties. Cheesecake (sernik), applecake (jabecznik), yeast fruit cakes (drodówka) – especially with plums or strawberries, a variety of cream cakes (kremówki), babka which is a plain sweet cake, sometimes with an addition of cocoa, mazurek, fale dunaju, metrowiec, ciasto jogurtowe which is a sponge filled with yoghurt mous

Polish sausages (kiebasy) are available in supermarkets and butcher shops (rzenik). There are dozens of distinct kinds of sausages, and the majority of them may be eaten without additional preparation. As a result, uncooked sausages such as biaa kiebasa (traditionally eaten in urek or barszcz biay soup) must be boiled, fried, or baked before consumption. Some sausages are best fried or grilled over an open fire (which is probably as popular as barbecuing). Local sausages vary by location in Poland (for example, Lisiecka in the Kraków area).

Most cities along the Baltic Sea coast provide Polish fish and chips (smaalnia ryb). On the coast and in the Masuria, you can also locate highly regarded fish smokehouses (wdzarnia ryb), which offer a variety of smoked local fish (mostly marine fish on the coast, freshwater fish in Masuria). Smokehouses may be difficult to discover since they do not typically show advertisements and are often situated in rural locations. It’s a good idea to conduct some research and ask locals for instructions and assistance with your quest. Salmon (oso), cod (dorsz), flounder (fldra), rose fish (karmazyn), herring (led), halibut (halibut), pollock (mintaj), hake (morszczuk), mackerel (makrela), skipper (szprotki, szprot), trout (pstrg), brown trout (tro), eel Smoked butterfish (malana) should be consumed with caution since, although tasty, it may induce diarrhea in some individuals and should not be consumed by youngsters or the elderly.

Smoked fish, the most popular of which is mackerel, can be purchased across Poland (it is advised to buy it in a busy shop for full, fresh flavour as it deteriorates quickly; for example in a local market). You may also purchase herrings marinated in vinegar or oil anyplace in Poland. Batter-fried herring or other fish in a vinegar marinade is a popular Polish dish.

Milk bars

If you want to eat cheaply, go to a milk bar (bar mleczny). A milk bar is a simple fast food restaurant that offers inexpensive Polish cuisine. Nowadays, it is becoming more difficult to locate one. They were developed by the communist authorities of Poland in the mid-1960s as a way to provide inexpensive meals to workers in businesses that did not have an official cafeteria. Its moniker derives from the fact that, until the late 1980s, the majority of the meals provided there were dairy-based and vegetarian (especially during the martial law period of the beginning of the 1980s, when meat was rationed). The milk bars are often sponsored by the government.

It is not unusual to come across individuals from different socioeconomic groups – students, businesspeople, university professors, elderly people, and even the homeless – all dining side by side in a 1970s-style atmosphere. People are probably drawn in by the high quality of the cuisine at an unbelievable price (veggie main dishes start at only a few zoty!). However, a word of caution: total nutjobs do eat in milk bars, so even if you go for the food, you’ll end up with supper and a show. Are you curious about what the program will entail? Each performance is different, but most of them will leave you scratching your head and requiring you to suspend your disbelief.


Generally, gratuity is not included in the amount of the check in Polish restaurants and pubs, so your waiter would appreciate it if you give them a tip together with the payment. You should tip 10% of the entire bill on average. If you leave a 15% or 20% tip, you should have gotten outstanding service. Also, adding “Dzikuj” (“thank you”) after paying indicates that you do not anticipate change, so be cautious if you’re paying for a 10 z coffee with a 100 z note. Having said that, many Poles may not give a tip unless the service was outstanding. Poles do not often tip bartenders.

Drinks in Poland

Poland is located in the nexus of European “vodka” and “beer culture.” Poles love alcoholic beverages, although they consume less than the European average. Beer, vodka, and wine are available for purchase. Although Poland is regarded as the home of vodka, many Poles seem to prefer local beer. Mead is another classic alcoholic beverage. Polish liqueurs and nalewka (alcoholic tincture) are an absolute necessity.

Officially, in order to purchase alcohol, one must be above the age of 18 and be able to verify it with a valid ID (which is strictly enforced).


The brewing history in Poland dates back to the Middle Ages. Today, Poland is one of Europe’s top beer producing nations.

Despite its lack of international recognition, Poland has long produced some of the world’s finest pilsner-style lagers. Among the most well-known major brands are:

  • Żywiec (pronounced ZHIV-y-ets)
  • Tyskie (pronounced TIS-kyeh)
  • Okocim (pronounced oh-KO-cheem)
  • Lech (pronounced LEH)
  • Warka (pronounced VAR-kah)
  • Łomża (pronounced Uom-zha)

Microbreweries and gastropubs are becoming more popular, particularly in bigger cities, and many delicatessens and supermarkets offer smaller brands, including handcrafted beers of various kinds.

Pubs typically serve one or two types of draught beer (draft beer), generally pilsner-style lagers. When ordering a beer, you have the option of choosing a “large one” (due; 0.5 liter) or a “little one” (mae; 0.3 liter). You may also order “beer with juice” (piwo z sokiem), in which case a bartender will add a little of sweet syrup (raspberry or ginger). Potato chips are the most often requested snack with beer.


Poland produces wines in the Lubuskie, Maopolskie, Beskids, and Świętokrzyskie regions of central Poland. They were formerly exclusively accessible at the vineyard or at regional wine festivals like as Zielona Góra. However, thanks to a new legislation enacted in 2008, Polish wines are now accessible in retail shops.

Apart from the typical old and new world standards, good table wines from central and eastern Europe, such as Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, the Balkans, and Georgia, are frequently available.

Many Poles drink grzaniec (mulled wine) in the winter, which is composed of red wine heated with spices such as cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. A comparable cocktail may be prepared using beer, although wine is the preferred way.


Mead – miód pitny – is a traditional and historical Polish alcoholic beverage. Mead is made from honey and has a unique flavor that is comparable to wine. The alcohol content of traditional Polish mead is between 13 and 20 percent. It may be quite sweet at times. Poles nowadays have an odd connection with mead. They’ve all heard of it, but virtually none of them have ever tried it.

Tea and coffee

Toss aside the preconceptions. For Poles, tea and coffee are more essential than wódka or beer when it comes to quenching their thirst. Tea (herbata) is the traditional hot drink, while coffee (kawa), which has been known in Poland since close ties with Turkey in the 17th century, has become increasingly popular in the past twenty-five years. If you go to a friend’s house or start a formal meeting, you will almost always be asked, “coffee or tea?” In this scenario, refusing a hot drink may be considered rude. It’s uncommon to speak or meet with someone who hasn’t had one of those hot beverages.

When you order a coffee, you’ll notice that it’s handled with the utmost care, evocative of Vienna rather than, say, New York. That is, you will be served a fresh cup one at a time, with table service assuming you would sit down for a bit to savor it. Although businesses such as Coffee Heaven have made gains, mass-produced to-go coffee remains unpopular. Surprisingly, there are still just a few Starbucks locations across the nation, which are mainly frequented by adolescents.

In Poland, you will be served four different kinds of coffee. You may select between instant coffee (rozpuszczalna) and Turkish coffee at tiny pubs, quick food restaurants, or at friends’ homes (where there are typically no coffee machines) (kawa po turecku or kawa sypana). The second is a highly distinct Polish style that is unknown outside of Poland. It’s only two tablespoons of ground coffee mixed with hot water. Serving it in glasses is a customary method. You may also request “a coffee from a coffee machine” at restaurants (kawa z ekspresu). It may be a tiny and strong Italian-style espresso or a larger (200 ml) Americano. A waiter or a bartender will always ask you whether you want “black one?” (czarna? ; without milk) or “with milk?” (z mlekiem?).

Ordering a tea, on the other hand, typically results in a cup or kettle of hot water with a tea bag on the side, allowing the client to create a tea that is as strong or weak as they want. This is not unusual in continental Europe, although tourists may need to make some adjustments. Tea with milk is not widely consumed; instead, Poles add a slice of lemon and sugar (herbata z cytryn), unless they drink flavored tea. Tea shops with a wide variety of high-quality teas and a peaceful environment are becoming more popular. In such cases, you will be served a kettle of brewed leaf tea. Surprisingly, drinking tea with milk is widely thought in Poland to improve women’s breastfeeding.

A decent cup of coffee can usually be had for 5 – 10 z, while a cup of tea may be obtained for the same price, unless you request a small kettle, in which case you’ll probably spend between 15 – 30 z.


Water is not traditionally served with meals in Poland; instead, tea or coffee is served afterward. If you want water with your meal, you may have to request it, and you will typically be given a choice of carbonated (gazowana) or still (niegazowana) bottled water rather than a glass of tap water. As a consequence, water isn’t free, and it’s also very costly when compared to the typical meal price (up to 4z for one glass). Be aware that even “still” bottled water may contain some carbon dioxide even if it is not visibly bubbling.

In most places, you may request a drink of tap water or a glass of hot water for free. As a result, drinking tap water is regarded strange in Poland.

Carbonated mineral waters are popular and come in a variety of flavors. In the nineteenth century, Poland was renowned for its mineral water health baths (pijalnia wód), and the tradition continues today – there are numerous carbonated waters that are naturally rich in minerals and salts. You may also visit the baths that are still in operation, such as Szczawnica and Krynica.

Many types of bottled mineral water available for purchase are derived from subterranean sources (since domestic spring waters are almost unavailable). Bottled mineral water often has a neutral flavor, as opposed to mineral water purchased at water health spas, which may have a highly distinct flavor. Because of their high mineral content, certain bottled mineral waters, such as Muszynianka, Kryniczanka, and other mineral waters marketed in brown bottles, are considered extremely healthful.

Opinions on the safety of tap water vary: chances are it’s okay, but most locals boil or filter it nonetheless.


Poland is remains one of the cheapest nations in the European Union, with some of the lowest costs for food, drinks, and cigarettes.

Castles & other rural monuments

The Polish landscape is beautiful, even stunning at times, with numerous ancient towns, castles, cathedrals, and other landmarks. As a result, agrotourism is becoming more popular. If you’re interested in cultural heritage, the south western portions of the nation contain some of the finest sites, but there’s also excellent things in other parts of the country. The magnificent Gothic Wawel Castle in Kraków is one of the best examples of Poland’s castles, although the majority of the others are in tiny rural towns. Built in 1406 and now the world’s largest brick Gothic castle, the huge, red brick Malbork castle (in northern Poland) is arguably the most beautiful in the nation. The castle of Ksi in Wabrzych is one of the finest examples in ancient Silesia, which also gave rise to the now-semi-ruined Chojnik castle, which is situated on a hill above the town of Sobieszów and inside the Karkonoski National Park.

After decades of surviving wars and assaults, it was devastated by lightning in 1675 and has since become a famous tourist destination. The beautiful Czocha Castle in Luba dates back to 1329. The remains of Krzytopór castle, in a hamlet near Opatów, are a little off the usual path. UNESCO has designated the Wooden Churches of Southern Lesser Poland as World Heritage, as have the Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica. Famous pilgrimage sites include the Jasna Góra Monastery in Czstochowa and the magnificent, World Heritage-listed Kalwaria Zebrzydowska park. Muskau Park in knica, near the German border, contains beautiful English gardens and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site shared with Germany.


The landscape in Poland is beautiful and largely unspoilt. There are several areas in Poland with stunning scenery and small-scale organic and traditional farms. Travelers may participate in a variety of activities such as bird viewing, cycling, or horseback riding.

Culturally, there are many cathedrals, museums, pottery and traditional basket-making workshops, castle ruins, rural communities, and other attractions to visit and/or experience. A trip to the Polish countryside is an excellent way to appreciate and learn about the country’s scenery and people.

Money & Shopping in Poland


The Polish zoty (z, international abbreviation: PLN) is the legal currency in Poland. The zoty is split into 100 groszy (check the box to details). Poland was anticipated to adopt the Euro (€) after 2014, but such plans are still in the works.

Private currency exchange offices (Polish: kantor) are extremely prevalent and provide Euro or USD exchanges at rates similar to commercial banks. Exchanges at tourist hotspots, such as railway stations or famous tourist sites, tend to overpay. Avoid “Interchange” Kantor sites, which are readily identified by their orange hue; the rates they give are very low.

There is also a large network of cash machines, commonly known as ATMs (Polish: bankomat). The conversion rate will vary depending on your bank, but it is generally very advantageous and similar to fairly reputable exchange offices; nevertheless, you will most likely discover extremely large “service fees” on your bank account when you return home.

Credit cards are accepted nearly everywhere in major cities. Even single bus rides may be paid for using a card in big cities if the customer purchases them from vending machines at bus stops. Small companies and post offices are the exceptions, since acceptance is not ubiquitous. Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard, and Maestro are all popular credit cards. AmEx and Diners’ Club may be used in a few locations (most notably the large, business-class hotels), but they are not widely accepted and should not be relied on for payment. In certain shops, you will be offered the choice of having the card instantly charge you in Zoty or your home currency. In the first case, your bank will convert the transaction for you (subject to the foreign currency costs it sets), while in the latter case, the rates established are typically worse than what your bank uses; therefore, opt to be charged in zoty.

Cheques were never very popular in Poland, and they are no longer utilized. Customers are not issued check books by local banks, and businesses do not accept them.


When you pay for beverages or a meal at a restaurant or pub and are given a check, offer the amount you need to pay and wait for the change. If you hand over the money and say “thank you,” it will be considered a “keep the change” tip. This also applies to taxis. The typical gratuity is between 10% and 15% of the total bill. Tipping is considered disrespectful in Poland since it implies that you were dissatisfied with the meal or service (unless it was bad).

Don’t forget to tip tour guides and drivers, but only if you’re satisfied with their services.


Super and hypermarkets

Western supermarket companies, such as Carrefour, Tesco, Auchan, and Real, dominate the market. Some are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Typically found at shopping malls or in the suburbs.

However, Poles often buy at local small shops for bread, meat, fresh dairy, veggies, and fruits, all of which need freshness and quality.

Poland has some of the lowest prices in Europe.

Town markets

Many towns and bigger suburbs have traditional weekly markets, comparable to the popular farmers’ markets in the West. Fresh fruit, baker’s goods, dairy, meat and meat products are available, as are flowers and garden plants, as well as Chinese-made clothes and bric-a-brac. Wild mushrooms and forest fruit may also be purchased when they are in season. Markets are hosted on Thursdays/Fridays/Saturdays and are a wonderful opportunity to experience the local flavor. Prices are generally fixed, but if you purchase many things, you may attempt a little good-natured haggling.

Festivals & Holidays in Poland

A variety of holidays, including several (Catholic) religious festivals and many significant anniversaries, have been recognized as public by legislation, as mentioned below. Most service and retail shops, other businesses, museums, galleries, other attractions, and government offices are obliged to shut completely on certain days. Plan ahead of time if you need to go shopping, utilize a service, or do formal business.

These closures exclude restaurants, petrol stations, and pharmacies. Small shops sometimes take use of a legal gap that enables businesses owned by owners to stay open – this applies to virtually all abka neighborhood convenience stores. Having said that, many may have reduced or closed their hours, since there is no legal obligation for them to remain open. In bigger cities, your choices may be restricted, but you should be able to eat and drink, conduct basic shopping, and so on. The local gas station may be your sole option in tiny towns and villages.

On public holidays, most modes of public transportation will operate on a Sunday timetable, which generally implies less frequent operations. Some links, such as peak bus routes, do not run at all on such days (“Sunday service”).

If a public holiday occurs on a Tuesday or Thursday, many Poles use the Monday before or Friday after to enjoy a “long weekend.” Recognizing this, many businesses and government agencies will be closed on certain days as well. Be aware that roads and railways may become very crowded on the days long weekends begin or finish, so plan accordingly. Prices in tourist areas may increase, and accommodations may be sold out months in advance. Large cities, on the other hand, often become relatively empty, which has both benefits and drawbacks for visitors visiting them.

Catholic holy festivals are extensively observed in Poland, and many of them include colorful and fascinating activities as well as local customs. On such days, the majority of the people, particularly in smaller towns and villages, will attend and participate in church services. It is traditional to join one’s family for celebration dinners and gatherings around Christmas and Easter, which frequently bring together family members from far away, thus many Poles will go to their home towns or relatives outside of their place of residence. It is uncommon to spend those holidays abroad (unless visiting relatives) or to have celebration dinners in restaurants, but many hotels and restaurants will provide Christmas and Easter meals.

The following is a list of public holidays and other significant holidays, along with a short explanation of how Poles commemorate them. Please keep in mind that all religious festivals related to Easter are moveable and may occur on a different day each year, as well as within a four-week time period. If you intend to visit Poland between March and June, be sure to verify the precise dates.

  • New Year’s Day (Nowy Rok) – The first of January is a public holiday, with non-official and non-religious festivities taking place between January 1 and December 31 of the previous year, around midnight.
  • Epiphany (Święto Trzech Króli or Objawienie Pańskie) – 6 January – The opening day of the carnival season is January 6th. Many Polish towns have festive parades to honor the biblical Wise Men.
  • Easter (Wielkanoc or Niedziela Wielkanocna), a moveable feast held according to the lunar calendar, typically in March or April. It is mainly a significant Christian festival, similar to Christmas. On the Saturday before Easter, churches have special services, including the blessing of food; children, in particular, like attending these events, bringing little baskets of decorated eggs and sweets to be blessed. On Easter Sunday, devout Catholics attend mass in the morning, followed by a celebration brunch prepared from delicacies consecrated the day before. Shops, malls, and restaurants are often closed on Easter Sunday.
  • Lany Poniedziałek, or Śmigus Dyngus, is the Monday after Easter, and also a holiday. It’s the day of an ancient pagan tradition: groups of youngsters and teenagers roaming about, seeking to soak each other in water. Often, groups of males will attempt to capture groups of girls, and vice versa; however, innocent bystanders are not immune from the game and are encouraged to participate. Water pistols and water balloons are common ‘weapons,’ but youngsters, particularly in the outdoors and in the countryside, prefer to utilize buckets and show no compassion on passers-by. (Drivers, this means keep your windows closed or you’ll be drenched.) It is, in fact, a public holiday, despite its lighthearted character.
  • Labour Day (Święto Pracy) – 1 May is purely secular in character, with no particular religious or national importance, although it is also a public holiday. Politically motivated parades and rallies are common, particularly in bigger cities, and it is better to avoid them since different political groups often clash, and police will generally block off the area where parades and rallies are conducted. When combined with May 3 (see below), this holiday guarantees a long weekend in most years, and many Poles will celebrate a holiday away from home.
  • Constitution Day (Święto Konstytucji Trzeciego Maja) – May 3rd is National Constitution Day, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence on May 3, 1791. The text was Europe’s first constitution (and the world’s second, after the United States), and it was a very progressive effort at democratic reform. Following partition, the original constitution became a powerful emblem of national identity and values.
  • Pentecost (Zesłanie Ducha Świętego or Zielone Świątki) – a moveable feast held 7 weeks after Easter, usually on a Sunday It is a low-key religious festival in comparison to the others mentioned, or to how it is observed in mainly Protestant nations. Because it is a Sunday, it may make little difference in certain instances, and some Poles may be unaware that it is an official holiday, although businesses that are usually open on Sundays may be closed on that day. In many countries, Pentecost is a two-day holiday, however the second day (Monday) is not an official holiday and is not commonly observed in Poland.
  • The Feast of Corpus Christi (Boże Ciało) – Another moveable feast, this one is observed on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, or sixty days after Easter. It is observed across the nation; in smaller towns, practically the whole hamlet or town participates in a parade, and all traffic is halted while the procession weaves its way through the streets.
  • Assumption (Wniebowzięcie Najświętszej Marii Panny) coinciding with Day of the Polish Military (Święto Wojska Polskiego) – 15 August, commemorating the victory of the Polish Army in the Battle of Warsaw against the invading Soviet (Red) Army. The devout ascribed the triumph to the Virgin Mary’s intervention. As a result, the day is celebrated with Catholic religious celebrations and military parades.
  • All Saints Day (Wszystkich Świętych) – 1 November. People light candles and visit their relatives’ graves in the afternoon. Cemeteries shine with hundreds of lights after dark, creating a really beautiful sight. If you have the opportunity, go to a cemetery to observe the occasion. On this holiday, many restaurants, pubs, and cafés will be closed or will shut earlier than normal.
  • Independence Day (Narodowe Święto Niepodległości) – 11 November, is commemorated to commemorate Poland’s freedom from Austria, Prussia, and Russia after 123 years of partitions and domination. There will undoubtedly be some solemn formal celebrations, as well as a spate of politically motivated demonstrations. Neither would be very interesting or easily accessible to the majority of visitors. There are also huge patriotic rallies and marches in bigger cities, particularly Warsaw, which typically result in violence.
  • Christmas Eve (Wigilia Bożego Narodzenia or simply Wigilia) – The 24th of December is not a public holiday, although it may be more significant to Poles to celebrate than Christmas Day. It is without a doubt the most significant feast of the year. Liturgical feasts, according to Catholic tradition, begin in the evening of the previous day (a vigil, thus wigilia). This translates into a special family supper in Polish folklore, which traditionally calls for a twelve-course vegetarian meal (representing the twelve apostles), which is meant to begin in the evening, after the first star can be seen in the night sky. On Christmas Eve, most shops will shut by two or three o’clock in the afternoon, rather than three o’clock in the morning, out of respect for customs rather than the law. It is also a Polish custom not to leave anybody alone on Christmas Eve, therefore Polish people are very friendly on the evening and would often ask their lonely friends to join in the traditional meal (which is disappointing when turned down). If you are alone, it is equally appropriate to ask your friends if you might join them. On that day (Pasterka), there is also a custom of Midnight Mass, during which Christmas songs are performed.
  • Christmas (Boże Narodzenie) – 25 and 26 December. On Christmas Day, most people remain at home and enjoy dinners and gatherings with family and close friends. Except for vital services, everything will be closed, and public transportation will be severely restricted.
  • New Year’s Eve (Sylwester) – Although the 31st of December is not an official holiday, many companies will shut early. Almost all hotels, restaurants, pubs, and clubs will hold special balls or parties, which will need advance bookings and cost a lot of money. Authorities in cities arrange free open-air celebrations with live music and fireworks displays in major squares.

Traditions & Customs in Poland


In terms of gender etiquette, Poles are typically conservative. It is usual for males to hold doors and seats open for ladies. When greeting or saying farewell, some men, especially elderly males, may kiss a woman’s hand. Kissing a woman’s hand is considered gallant by some, although it is becoming more outmoded. Handshakes are allowed; however, males should not extend their hand to a woman; a handshake is only deemed courteous if the lady extends her hand to the man first. Close friends of opposite sex or two ladies may embrace and kiss three times, exchanging cheeks, for a more sincere welcome or farewell.

It is quite usual for individuals to greet one other with a dzie dobry (good day) when entering elevators or, at the absolute least, to say do widzenia (good bye) while leaving elevators. Men should not wear hats indoors, especially while entering a church (quite the opposite in case of synagogues, where men are required to wear headgear). Cloakrooms are common at restaurants, museums, and other public facilities, and patrons are expected to leave their bags and outerwear there.

When welcomed to someone’s house, it is customary to provide a present. Flowers are usually a nice option, and florists’ stalls may be found everywhere. Make an effort to purchase an odd amount of flowers, since an even number is linked with funerals. Poles will often bring vodka or whiskey, but this depends on the degree of acquaintance and the hosts’ drinking preferences, so proceed with caution. People’s views about alcohol vary from cheerful and enthusiastic pleasure in both practice and word to taking offense at the idea that Poles are more likely to use alcohol.

It is preferable to refer to Poland (as well as other nations such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary) as Central Europe rather than Eastern Europe. Although not particularly unpleasant, its usage may indicate outsiders’ ignorance and a certain disdain for the region’s history and obviously Latin cultural heritage. Poles refer to the “old” EU west of its boundaries as “Zachód” (West), and the nations formed following the dissolution of the USSR as “Wschód” (East). Drawing a line from the point of Norway to Greece and from the Urals to the coast of Portugal demonstrates this geographically. For better or worse, Poland stands at Europe’s crossroads, smack dab in the middle of the continent. Poland is politically, culturally, and historically associated with “the West.”

Another minor blunder is mistaking Polish with Russian or German. Poles place a high importance on their language since it was maintained at a premium through a lengthier time of harsh depolonisation during the partitions and WWII. This includes not saying’spasibo’ or ‘danke’ for ‘thank you’ just because you believed it was Polish or because you didn’t care. If you’re unsure if your ‘Polish’ words are really Polish, it’s courteous to inquire. When asking for directions, referring to Polish cities and locations by their previous German names (e.g., Breslau instead of Wrocaw) may create confusion and be seen as insulting and disrespectful to the Polish people.

The open exhibition of the Communist red star and hammer and sickle emblems, as well as the Nazi swastika and SS symbols, is illegal. Even if it’s only a joke, make sure your clothes doesn’t have these symbols on it. It is punishable by a fine.


Poles may be the most devoutly Catholic population in Europe, particularly in rural regions and after religion was reinstated in Poland in 1989. The late Pope John Paul II, in particular, is loved here, and the Church is usually regarded in high regard. This may cause conflicts between Poland and the Czech Republic, and Poles may harbor animosity against Czechs as a result (and vice versa). If religion is brought up in discussion with a Pole, keep this in mind. Also, while entering a church, dress modestly, particularly during services.

The Holocaust

The Holocaust was a genocide against European Jews. It was a particularly difficult period for Poland. Three million of the victims were Polish Jews. Furthermore, at least 1.8 million non-Jewish Poles were killed, mostly by Germans, and many others were enslaved. Among the deceased were members of minority groups, members of the intellectual, Roman Catholic priests, and political opponents of the Nazis. Between the censuses of 1939 and 1945, Poland’s population fell by more than 30 percent, from 35 million to 23 million. Nonetheless, there are still small-minded right-wing organizations that survive, and anti-Semitic graffiti may still be seen in most towns and cities.

Remember that using terms like “Polish death camps” or “Polish concentration camps” in a historical discussion is an absolute no-no. While there is no ill will between Poland and Germany in the twenty-first century, the Poles are very sensitive to deliberate efforts to shift responsibility for atrocities perpetrated by the former Nazi Germany. Highlighting Polish collaborators with the Nazi government is viewed as demeaning the hundreds of thousands of Poles who risked their lives assisting Jews, which resulted in Poland being the country with the highest representation among the Righteous Among the Nations awardees.

Culture Of Poland

Poland’s culture is inextricably linked to its complex 1,000-year history. Its distinct personality arose as a consequence of its geographical location at the crossroads of European civilizations. With its roots in Proto-Slavic civilization, Polish culture has been deeply impacted throughout time by its intertwining connections with the Germanic, Latinate, and Byzantine cultures, as well as in constant dialogue with the numerous other ethnic groups and minorities residing in Poland. The people of Poland have historically been seen as welcoming to foreign artists and ready to adopt cultural and aesthetic trends prevalent in other nations. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Polish emphasis on cultural development often took priority over political and economic activities. These elements have contributed to Polish art’s versatility, with all of its subtle nuances.

Famous people

The list of notable Poles starts with the polymath Mikoaj Kopernik (Nicolaus Copernicus), who studied at the Jagiellonian University, which Casimir the Great established in 1364 with the profits of his Wieliczka Salt Mine. Many notable people were born in Poland, including Fryderyk Chopin, Maria Skodowska Curie, Tadeusz Kociuszko, Kazimierz Puaski, Józef Pisudski, Lech Wasa, and Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtya). Along with the dramatist, painter, and poet Stanisaw Wyspiaski, great Polish painter Jan Matejko dedicated his colossal work to the most important historical events on Polish territories. Stanisaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (Witkacy) was a Polish avant-garde philosopher and theorist of aesthetics. Joseph Conrad was a well-known English novelist. Academy Award winners Roman Polaski, Andrzej Wajda, Zbigniew Rybczyski, Janusz Kamiski, Krzysztof Kielowski, and Agnieszka Holland are among the many world-famous Polish film filmmakers. Helena Modjeska and Pola Negri are two well-known Polish actresses.


Poland has a long history of tolerance for minorities, as well as a lack of discrimination based on religion, nationality, or ethnicity. Prior to WWII, ethnic minorities made up a significant part of the Polish population. Poland maintains a high degree of gender equality, has a well-established disability rights movement, and advocates for peaceful equality.

Poland was the first nation in the world to outlaw all kinds of physical punishment. Throughout much of its lengthy history, Poland has seen only relatively little foreign immigration; this tendency may be ascribed mainly to Poland’s rejection of slavery, a lack of overseas colonies, and occupation of its territory throughout most of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Despite this, the nation has traditionally been recognized as having a highly tolerant culture that provides equal rights to all individuals regardless of ethnic origin. This may be attributed mainly to King Casimir III the Great’s support of Poland’s Jewish population during a period when much of Europe descended into antisemitic attitudes and deeds. The history of Jews in Poland illustrates a nation’s harmonious coexistence with a certain ethnic minority.

Today, as many as 96.7 percent of Poles claim to be Poles, and 97.8 percent claim to speak Polish at home (Census 2002). Poland’s population became one of the world’s most ethnically homogenous as a consequence of drastically changed boundaries after World War II and subsequent immigration. This homogeneity is the consequence of post-World War II deportations conducted by Soviet authorities in order to eliminate significant Polish minorities from Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine, as well as repatriation of Ukrainians from Poland to the Soviet Union (see territorial changes of Poland and historical demography of Poland for details). Unlike in many other nations, ethnic minority rights in Poland are explicitly protected by the Polish Constitution (art. 35), and the country now has sizable German, Ukrainian, and Belarussian minorities.

In 2013, the Polish parliament rejected proposed legislation allowing civil partnerships, which the majority of Polish society opposes, but it granted refuge to a homosexual man from Uganda based on his sexual orientation for the first time. In a 2013 CBOS opinion survey, 60 percent of Poles opposed homosexual civil partnerships, 72 percent opposed same-sex marriage, 88 percent opposed adoption by same-sex couples, and 68 percent opposed homosexuals and lesbians openly displaying their lifestyle. Article 18 of Poland’s Constitution prohibits same-sex marriage.

According to the findings of a 2004 study conducted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Poles worked the second most hours per week of any nationality globally. Poland is one of the world’s safest and most peaceful nations.


Polish artists, including renowned composers such as Chopin and Penderecki, as well as traditional, regionalized folk performers, constitute a vibrant and varied music scene, which even acknowledges its own music genres such as poezja piewana and disco polo. As of 2006, Poland is one of the few nations in Europe where rock and hip hop reign supreme over mainstream music, but all forms of alternative music are welcomed.

The roots of Polish music may be traced back to the 13th century, when manuscripts containing polyphonic works linked to the Parisian Notre Dame School were discovered at Stary Scz. Other early works, such as the tune of Bogurodzica and Bóg si rodzi (a coronation polonaise for Polish monarchs by an unknown composer), may possibly have been written during this time period; however, the earliest known famous composer, Mikoaj z Radomia, was born and lived in the 15th century. During the 16th century, two major musical ensembles centered in Kraków and connected to the King and Archbishop of Wawel accelerated the development of Polish music. During this time, composers such as Wacaw z Szamotu, Mikoaj Zieleski, and Mikoaj Gomóka were active. Diomedes Cato, a native-born Italian who resided in Kraków from the age of five, became a famous lutenist at the court of Sigismund III, not only importing but also blending musical genres from southern Europe.

Polish classical music developed into national genres such as the polonaise by the end of the 18th century. Józef Elsner and his students Fryderyk Chopin and Ignacy Dobrzyski were the most popular composers in the nineteenth century. Karol Kurpiski and Stanisaw Moniuszko were important opera composers of the time, while renowned soloists and composers included Henryk Wieniawski and Juliusz Zarbski. The most famous composers at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century might be considered to be Wadysaw Zeleski and Mieczysaw Karowicz, with Karol Szymanowski attaining popularity prior to World War II. Alexandre Tansman was a Parisian with close ties to Poland. Andrzej Panufnik fled while Witold Lutosawski, Henryk Górecki, and Krzysztof Penderecki composed in Poland.

Traditional Polish folk music has had a significant influence on the works of several well-known Polish composers, none more so than Fryderyk Chopin, a highly regarded national hero of the arts. Chopin’s piano compositions are all technically difficult, emphasizing subtlety and emotional depth. Chopin, as a brilliant composer, created the instrumental ballade and made significant contributions to the piano sonata, mazurka, waltz, nocturne, polonaise, étude, impromptu, and prélude. He was also the creator of a series of polonaises that drew significantly from traditional Polish folk music. It is mainly due to him that such works acquired widespread appeal across Europe throughout the nineteenth century. The most unique folk music may now be heard in the towns and villages in the hilly south, especially in the area around the winter resort town of Zakopane.

Today, Poland has a thriving music scene, with the jazz and metal genres especially popular among the young. Polish jazz artists, like as Krzysztof Komeda, developed a distinct style that was most popular in the 1960s and 1970s and is still popular today. Poland has been a significant site for large-scale music festivals after the collapse of Communism, with the Open’er Festival, Opole Festival, and Sopot Festival among the most notable.

Visual arts

Polish art has always followed European trends while retaining its own identity. Jan Matejko’s Krakówschool of Historicist painting created massive depictions of traditions and important events in Polish history. Stanisaw Witkiewicz was a staunch advocate of realism in Polish painting, whose most prominent representation was Jozef Chemoski. The Moda Polska (Young Poland) movement saw the beginning of contemporary Polish art, and was headed by Jacek Malczewski (Symbolism), Stanisaw Wyspiaski, Józef Mehoffer, and a group of Polish Impressionists. Avant-garde artists of the twentieth century represented a variety of schools and movements. Tadeusz Makowski’s art was inspired by Cubism, while Wadysaw Strzemiski and Henryk Staewski worked in the Constructivist style.

In the younger generation, notable modern painters include Roman Opaka, Leon Tarasewicz, Jerzy Nowosielski, Wojciech Siudmak, Mirosaw Baka, and Katarzyna Kozyra and Zbigniew Wsiel. Xawery Dunikowski, Katarzyna Kobro, Alina Szapocznikow, and Magdalena Abakanowicz are among the most well-known Polish sculptors. Since the interwar years, Polish art and documentary photography has gained international acclaim. The Polish Poster School was founded in the 1960s, led by Henryk Tomaszewski and Waldemar Wierzy. Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts, Cracow School of Art and Fashion Design, Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Art Academy of Szczecin, University of Fine Arts in Pozna, and Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Fine Arts are the top fine art schools in Poland.


Cities and towns in Poland exhibit a wide range of European architectural styles. St. Andrew’s Church in Kraków and St. Mary’s Church in Gdask are examples of Romanesque architecture, while St. Mary’s Church in Gdask is an example of the Brick Gothic style prevalent in Poland. Richly adorned attics and arcade loggias are typical features of Polish Renaissance architecture, as seen in Pozna’s City Hall. For a period, the late Renaissance style known as mannerism coexisted with the early Baroque style, most notably in the Bishop’s Palace in Kielce, and was exemplified by the Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Kraków.

Poland’s architectural monuments have not fared well throughout history. Despite this, a number of historic buildings have survived, including castles, cathedrals, and stately houses, many of which are unique in the regional or European setting. Some have been carefully repaired, such as Wawel Castle, while others, such as Warsaw’s Old Town and Royal Castle and Gdask’s Old Town, have been entirely rebuilt after being devastated during WWII.

Gdask’s architecture is mainly of the Hanseatic type, a Gothic style popular among historic trade towns around the Baltic Sea and in northern Central Europe. Wrocaw’s architectural style is mostly indicative of German architecture, since it was historically situated within German states. Kazimierz Dolny on the Vistula River is an excellent example of a well-preserved medieval town. Kraków, Poland’s historic capital, has some of Europe’s best-preserved Gothic and Renaissance urban structures. Meanwhile, the heritage of Poland’s eastern regions’ KresyMarchlands, where Wilno and Lwów (now Vilnius and Lviv) were recognized as two important artistic centres, had a particular role in the development of Polish architecture, with Catholic church architecture receiving special mention.

Baroque architecture dominated the second part of the 17th century. Side towers, such as those on the Branicki Palace in Biaystok, are characteristic of Polish baroque architecture. The University of Wrocaw represents the traditional Silesian baroque. The lavish decorations of Warsaw’s Branicki Palace are typical of the rococo style. Warsaw was the epicenter of Polish classicism during the reign of Poland’s last monarch, Stanislaw August Poniatowski. The most famous example of Polish neoclassical architecture is the Palace on the Water. The Gothic Revival style is shown in the architecture of Lublin Castle, while the Izrael Poznaski Palace in ód is an example of eclecticism.


Because of Poland’s history, Polish food has developed through the ages to become extremely diverse. Many parallels exist between Polish food and other Central European cuisines, particularly German and Austrian cuisines, as well as Jewish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Russian, French, and Italian culinary traditions. It is high in meat, particularly pig, poultry, and beef (depending on area), as well as winter vegetables (cabbage in the dish bigos) and spices. It is also known for its usage of different types of noodles, the most prominent of which are kluski, as well as cereals like kasha (from the Polish word kasza). Polish food is substantial and rich in cream and eggs. Festive dinners, such as the vegetarian Christmas Eve supper (Wigilia) or Easter brunch, may take many days to prepare.

The main course typically includes a serving of meat, such as roast, chicken, or kotlet schabowy (breaded pork cutlet), as well as vegetables, side dishes, and salads, such as surówka [surufka] – shredded root vegetables with lemon and sugar (carrot, celeriac, seared beetroot) or sauerkraut (Polish: kapusta kiszona, pronounced [kapusta kjina] Potatoes, rice, or kasza are common side dishes (cereals). Desserts like Polish sernik, makowiec (a poppy seed pastry), or drodówka [drdufka] yeast pastry, and tea round off the meal.

Bigos [bi]; pierogi [pjrji]; kielbasa; kotlet schabowy [ktlt sxabv]breaded cutlet; gobki [wpkji] cabbage rolls; zrazy[zraz] roulade; piecze roast [pjt]; sour cucumber soup (zupa ogórkowa, [zupa Sour rye soup, flaki [flakji] tripe soup, barszcz [bart], and chodnik [xwdik] are some of the dishes available.

Honey mead, which has been popular since the 13th century, beer, wine, and vodka (ancient Polish names include okowita and gorzaka) are all traditional alcoholic drinks. The earliest written reference of vodka in the world comes from Poland. Beer and wine are the most common alcoholic beverages now, having surpassed vodka, which was popular from 1980 to 1998. Tea has been popular in Polish society since the 19th century, whereas coffee has been popular since the 18th century. Other popular beverages include mineral waters and juices, soft drinks popularized by fast-food restaurants since the late twentieth century, as well as buttermilk, soured milk, and kefir.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Poland

In Poland, the European unified emergency number 112 is being used. It currently works for all mobile phone calls and the majority of landline calls. In addition, three “ancient” emergency numbers are still in operation. They are as follows:

  • Ambulance: 999 (Pogotowie, dziewięć-dziewięć-dziewięć)
  • Firefighters: 998 (Straż Pożarna, dziewięć-dziewięć-osiem)
  • Police: 997 (Policja, dziewięć-dziewięć-siedem)
  • Municipal Guards: 986 (Straż Miejska, dziewięć-osiem-sześć) It is a kind of auxiliary police force that is only present in major cities. They are not armed, and their primary job is to deal with parking violations and small instances of unsocial conduct.


In general, Poland is a safe nation. In reality, cities like Warsaw and Kraków are much less likely to be crime-ridden than Paris or Rome. Overall, simply apply common sense and pay attention to what you’re doing.

In cities, observe normal city travel rules: don’t leave valuables in plain sight in your vehicle; don’t flaunt money or costly items in public; know where you’re going; and be wary of people asking for money or attempting to sell you anything.

Pickpockets exist; keep an eye on your possessions in crowds, at stations, on packed trains/buses, and in clubs.

In any situation, do not be afraid to ask the Police (Policja) or the Municipal Guards (Stra Miejska) for assistance or guidance.

Train Awareness

Bag thefts occur between major stops on sleeper trains. Request ID from anybody attempting to take your ticket or passport, and secure bags to baggage racks. Keep your belongings close to you and use common sense.


Violent conduct is uncommon, and when it does occur, it is almost always caused by alcohol. While bars and clubs are usually quite secure, the streets outside them may be the site of brawls, particularly late at night. Avoid conflicts as much as possible. Women and girls are less likely to be approached or harassed in general because the Polish code of conduct strongly forbids any kind of aggression (physical or verbal) towards women. Similarly, in the event of a dispute amongst mixed-gender passengers, Polish males are more inclined to interfere on the side of the woman, regardless of the circumstances.


LGBT issues continue to be highly contentious, taboo (albeit less so), and frequently used by conservative politicians. Polish culture also has a long history of chivalry and strict gender norms. However, in bigger cosmopolitan cities, homosexuals and lesbians should have little trouble blending in, but trans tourists will draw a lot of attention.

Driving conditions

The aggressive driving style of Poles is famous, although the reputation is often overblown. While drivers may seem to be too impatient, speed traps have helped to calm the situation since the days when roads were open and vehicles were few. Another issue impeding speeding is the frequently poor condition of side roads, as well as congestion – Poles possess more vehicles per capita than other Western European countries. Always leave additional time for potentially hazardous driving conditions.

Road warriors use CB radio to communicate warnings about traffic conditions and speed traps. A single front light flashing from a vehicle approaching from the other direction is another frequent signal that a speed trap is on the way.

When there are no traffic signals or special signs at a junction, the vehicle on the right always has the right of way. Cars may be parked on sidewalks if traffic signs do not prohibit them. As a result, you should always provide at least 1.5 meters of space for pedestrians and ensure that the vehicle is at least 10 meters away from any pedestrian, railway, or road crossing. If you do not obey the regulations, your vehicle may be towed.

Children under the age of 12 who are shorter than 150 cm (4’11”) must use a kid car seat. Headlights must be used at all times, day and night, all year. Except for hands-free versions, mobile phone usage while driving is banned. Alcohol drinking is often a role in car accidents. Polish laws allow for practically no tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol (defined as having more than 0.2 g of alcohol in one’s blood), and the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol are very harsh. It should be noted that if you are intoxicated and do not drive, your driver’s license may be revoked (e.g., if you cycle drunk).



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