Border Countries: Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Russia
Population: 38 million
Time Zone: CET (UTC+1)
Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Climate: Temperate with mild summers and moderately severe winters
Members of: EU, UN, NATO, OECD, WTO and many other
Country Code: PL
Border crossing formalities:
Since December 21, 2007, Poland has been part of the Schengen Area, a zone with no internal borders which comprises the territories of 25 countries. Third-country nationals may cross Poland’s external borders if they are in possession of a valid travel document and a visa (if required). Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 includes a list of third countries whose nationals must possess valid visas to cross external borders and of countries whose nationals are exempt from this obligation.
Currency: Zloty (PLN, zł), 1 zloty = 100 groszy
Banknotes with the following denominations 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 zł and coins with the following denominations 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 gr and 1, 2, 5 zł are in the circulation.
Currencies may be exchanged in numerous bureaux de change (KANTOR in Polish) or in banks.
Currency exchange points are usually located in city centres, at railway stations, airports.
ATMs of various networks and banks are popular and easily accessible in larger towns and cities. Cash may be taken out of them, usually 24h per day, in denominations constituting the multiple of PLN 50 or PLN 20.
A bank card constitutes a very popular, safe and convenient means of payment in Poland. It may be used without any problem in supermarkets, at filling stations, in restaurants or hotels.
Bargaining over the price is not a very well developed custom in Poland. In shopping centres and chain stores the customers almost never negotiate prices with the sales personnel. Only in the case of purchasing an expensive product (e.g. electronic equipment) you may try to negotiate a better price. However, buyers may negotiate prices at bazaars, markets or fairs. Particularly if they want to buy handicraft products or antiques. With some effort, you may “reach an agreement” and get a really good price.
Tips are not mandatory in Poland and there is no obligation to give them. It should only be done when you are satisfied with the service. The usual amount of tips reaches 10% of the bill, in some better restaurants it is automatically added to the bill as the payment for service. Tips for hotel service personnel may be between PLN 5 and 20, depending on the standard of the hotel in which we stay. There is no custom of tipping taxi drivers in Poland.
- the biggest Polish airport is Warsaw Chopin Airport http://www.lotnisko-chopina.pl/en in Warsaw
other important airports:
- Krakow (Balice) – John Paul II International Airport Kraków - Balice http://www.krakowairport.pl/en
- Katowice (Pyrzowice) – Katowice Airport http://www.katowice-airport.com/en
- Gdańsk (Rębiechowo) - Gdansk Lech Wałęsa Airport http://www.airport.gdansk.pl/en
- Wrocław (Strachowice) – Wrocław Nicolaus Copernicus Airport http://airport.wroclaw.pl/en
- Łódź – Władysław Reymont Airport http://www.airport.lodz.pl/en
- Poznań (Ławica) – Poznań Airport http://www.airport-poznan.com.pl/en
- Szczecin (Goleniów) – NSZZ Solidarność Szczecin Goleniów Airport http://www.airport.com.pl/en
- Bydgoszcz (Szwederowo) - Bydgoszcz Airport http://www.plb.pl/en
The Polish railway company called Polskie Koleje Państwowe (PKP) http://www.pkp.pl/ is main provider of railway services. Fast trains, operated by PKP Intercity, are divided into the categories: EuroNight, EuroCity, Express InterCity (faster and more expensive), TLK (interregional trains, slower, but cheaper) and international fast trains.There are also other companies which operate local passangers train.
Information about the timetables of all operators may be found at the Website http://rozklad-pkp.pl/bin/query.exe/en?.
Poland has right-hand traffic.
The following speed limits are in force on roads:
- built-up area – up to 50 km/h
- outside built-up area – up to 90 km/h
- residential area – up to 20 km/h
- dual express carriageway – up to 120 km/h
- single express carriageway – up to 100 km/h
- dual carriageway with at least two lanes in each direction – up to 100 km/h
- motorway – up to 140 km/h
Fastened seatbelts are compulsory for drivers and passengers both in front and back seats. Children up to 12 years of age must travel in special certified child seats.
Compulsory dipped headlights (day and night) all year round.
Citizens of other states must pay when making use of medical care services within the territory of Poland. That is why it is recommended that you acquire insurance for the time of travel in the insurance company in your own country.
Persons authorised to receive healthcare under Community coordination regulations are entitled to free medical services during their stay in Poland. Such services may be obtained from service providers who have concluded agreements for the provision of healthcare with the National Health Fund (NFZ). Such persons should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before travelling.
Emergency ambulance service:
from landlines 999
from mobile phones 112
Holidays and customs
List of public holidays in 2013 when offices do not operate and there is a trade prohibition:
- January 01 New Year
- January 06 Epiphany
- March 31 Easter
- April 01 Easter Monday
- May 01 Labour Day
- May 03 Constitution Day
- May 19 Pentecost (Whitsun)
- May 30 Holiday of Corpus Christi
- August 15 Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- November 01 All Saints Day
- November 11 Independence Day
- December 25 Christmas Day
- December 26 Christmas (second day)
From the ancient custom of greeting visitors with bread and salt, Poland’s system of social graces has developed into one that is unmatched in the world, and will often put a smile on your face. You can expect to be spoilt - every Pole wants to be the host with the most, no money and effort spared.
When visiting a traditional Polish home, be prepared to be confronted with situations described described below:
- Even on the first visit do not be surprised to be offered by your host a pair of slippers for your comfort.
- If you are invited for dinner, better go on an empty stomach because otherwise you will find it difficult to feast on a generous helping of soup with noodles, pork cutlet with cabbage and potatoes, topped with a cheesecake and washed with a bottle of home distilled flavoured liquor.
- If you travel on public transport, be prepared for a display of old fashioned courtesy: young people give up their places to the elderly, while gentlemen make way for ladies.
- It is considered exceptionally courteous to kiss a woman’s hand as a way of greeting. This practice is particularly popular among the older generation.
- While dining in a restaurant, you will be expected to leave a tip. Tipping is similar to the rest of Europe, i.e. at least 10% of the value of the bill.
There are, of course, many more specifically Polish customs. It is also worth knowing that the Poles are a particularly friendly and supportive people, who cultivate a sense of duty towards each other and their families and friends.
Since 95% of the population are Roman Catholics, all major church holidays are strictly observed, particularly Christmas and Easter. On such occasion, Polish families come together to enjoy good food and drink.
Source of information: http://en.poland.gov.pl/Practical,Information,1614.html and http://www.poland.travel/en/about-poland/