Poland is situated in a very central part of Europe and covers an area of 120,733 square miles – comparable to that of the state of New Mexico. It is the seventh largest country in Europe. Administratively the country is divided into 16 voivodships (as of Jan.1, 1999) and has a population of almost 39 million. Warsaw, the capital and Poland’s largest metropolitan area, has a population of 1,7 million people. The seven other largest cities are: Lodz, Krakow, Wroclaw, Poznan, Gdansk, Lublin and Szczecin.
The Polish President is elected every five years, and elections for Sejm takes place every four years. Poland has been a member of NATO since 1999 and member of European Union since May 2004.
No visas are required for U.S. and Canadian citizens to travel to Poland for stays up to 90 days. Your passport expiration date must be at least three months after your return to the United States or Canada. For further information please visit the website of the Polish Embassy or Consulate in your country.
Poland is in the Central European Time Zone: GMT + 1 and six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Daylight Time (EST). 24 hour clock is used.
LENGTH OF TRIP BY TRAIN:
- Warsaw – Gdansk: 3 hours
- Warsaw – Katowice: 2 h 45 min
- Warsaw – Krakow: 2 h 40 min
- Warsaw – Poznan: 3 hours
- Warsaw – Szczecin: 5 h 32 min
- Warsaw – Berlin: 6 h 10 min
- Warsaw – Budapest: 11 hours
- Warsaw – Prague: 9 h 20 min
- Warsaw – Vienna: 8 h 25 min
- Krakow – Berlin: 8 h 20 min
- Krakow – Prague: 7 h 51 min
- Krakow – Budapest: 10 h 52 min
Poland is situated in a one of moderate climate with a considerable influence of sea climate along the Baltic seacoast belt.
Climate resembles that of U.S.A. New England. Normal seasonal clothing is adequate but a warmer garment should be included in addition to an umbrella and /or rain coat with a hood. Comfortable walking shoes is a must.
The average temperature in July might be 70° – 80° F. There might be some very hot days when temperatures exceed 86°F (30°C) in May to September. Temperatures might differ drastically in different parts of Poland. Always check the weather on the web a week before your trip.
The coldest winter months are January and February, when average temperatures drop to a few degrees below freezing. During cold winters, temperatures as low as -22°F (-30°C) have been recorded. With huge snowfalls, the Polish mountains offer good conditions for winter sports enthusiasts.
The official Polish unit of currency is the Polish Zloty (1 PLN = 100 groszy). If you convert 1 USD into Polish Zloty you will receive about 2.9 PLN. (subject to change) the Polish Zloty exchange rate may fluctuate many times during the day. Major foreign currencies may be exchanged for Polish Zlotys in change places called KANTOR. They are located in many places, especially tourists areas, train and bus stations. The bank notes: 500, 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10 zlotys. The coins: 5, 2, 1 zloty and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 grosz
There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency that may be brought into Poland. If the value exceeds 2,000 Euros it should be declared upon entry.
Exchange can be made at the airport and many private exchange offices called KANTOR located throughout Poland. Exchange rate differs slightly in each Kantor. Bills should not be damaged or marked.
ATM Machines or BANKO-MAT are popular in tourist areas in large cities. Cash sometimes runs out on weekends.
Every visitor can bring ordinary gifts and souvenirs, which cannot be used for commercial purposes. According to the present rates, as listed in the official table of custom fees, souvenirs that exceed the value of 175 EUR are subject to duty. For further information, please contact the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York, tel. (646) 237-2100.
VISA, Master Card, American Express (no Discover) credit cards are accepted in many shops, major restaurants, hotels and nightclubs. American Express is less popular. Lost or stolen cards can be reported to PolCard Ltd. – 24 hour Tel. in Warsaw (022) 515 31 50. AX cardholder can contact AX office in Warsaw at (022) 581 52 52. Cash advance on credit cards (in Polish currency only) can be obtained from major banks. You can use your credit card in Polish ATM machines to get Polish currency.
Tips of 10% to 15% are customary in restaurants, room service or taxis. Tipping in self-service restaurants is not expected. Tips for porter’s services in hotels is expected, but amounts for services rendered are at the traveler’s discretion and hotel category.
The uniform voltage in Poland is 220 Volts / 50 Hertz. European-style two-pin plugs are used. Electrical equipment of 110 Volts / 60 Hertz requires the use of an adapter or a voltage converter.
Your cell phone will work in Poland. Please check with your service provider for plans available. If you need your cell phone for local use only in Poland, it is cheaper to “unlock” your phone and purchase Polish SIM card which will assign a local phone number for your phone.
Every visitor can bring ordinary gifts and souvenirs, which cannot be used for commercial purposes. You must consider their nature and quantity. The total value must be less than 175 EUR. According to the present rates, as listed in the official table of custom fees, souvenirs that exceed the value of 175 EUR are subject to duty. For further information, please contact the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York, tel. (646) 237-2100.