Fact file: Poland

Did you know?
Marie Curie, the discoverer of Radium, was born in Warsaw.
Language
Polish
Visas
Britons can stay in Poland without a visa for up to 180 days. You will need a valid passport.
Getting there
Direct flights to the capital Warsaw, Gdansk and Krakow from Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.
Flying time from London
Four hours
Getting around
In Warsaw - get from the airport to the city centre by bus No. 175. Once there you will find 30 tram routes, 100 bus routes and a metro. In Krakow most attractions are in the Old Town or in easy walking distance. But there are also trams and buses. Taxis are reasonable but make sure you use one from a reputable company. Across Poland the train network is pretty good and where they don't go, buses do. Driving your own car is the best option, but car theft is a problem. Fill up at every petrol station you see as they can be few and far between.
Currency
Zloty pronounced zwo-ti and abbreviated to zl.
Costs
Prices vary, but as a rough guide: bottle of lager 70p, moderate meal £8, four-mile taxi ride £2.50.
Weather
Between May to September temperatures range between 15-23C (59-73F) in Krakow, 10-20C (50- 68F) in Gdansk, and 11-24C (52-75F) in Warsaw, peaking in July and August. The best time to go is late spring (mid-May to June) or the turn of summer and autumn (September to mid-October). During winter it's cold and dark, but still good for city visits when the heavy food will be particularly welcome.
Time difference
One hour ahead of GMT
International dialling code from the UK
00 48
Voltage
220V, 50Hz.
Opening hours
Grocery shops 7/8am to 6/7pm. Delis and supermarkets are open longer - until 8/9pm. General stores open 10-11am and close 7pm (2-3pm on Saturday). The office hours are Mon-Friday 9am-5pm. This is a guide only as hours vary greatly from place to place.
Health - Before you go
Get hold of your NHS medical card - you'll need it to get free treatment in Poland. But this is not extensive cover so you should probably also get travel insurance. No vaccinations are needed or recommended. If you're visiting the lakes in summer take insect repellent, as there are mosquitoes galore.
Health - When you are there
You NHS medical card will get you free hospital treatment and some other medical treatment but you will pay for a doctor's visit and 30% of medicines prescribed. Hospital care is poor especially in rural areas. Most minor problems can be solved by going to a pharmacy - apteka. For more serious trouble ring the embassy /consulate to find medical treatment, or ask anybody for the nearest przychodnia (outpatient clinic).
Warnings
Serious risk of robbery, especially at main train stations, money exchange outlets, tourist sights and on trams. In Warsaw don't go into rundown areas, dodgy-looking suburbs and desolate parks, this goes for all the big cities as crime is on the increase in Poland.
Emergency
Police national emergency, Tel. 997; ambulance service, Tel. 999 - in both cases ask a local to call for you, as the operator won't speak English. British Embassy: Aleje Roz No 1, 00-556 Warsaw. Consular/Visa/Consular Section: Emilii Plater 28, 00-688 Warsaw. Tel. 00 48 22 628 1001-5.
Customs
Poles are more conservative and traditional in behaviour and clothing than westerners - more so in the villages which often still adhere to the traditional spiritual culture. Lewd behaviour, overtly sexual behaviour, homosexuality and skimpy clothing will all receive unfavourable responses in most rural areas. However Poles are also friendly, generous and follow the traditional saying 'a guest in the house is God in the house'.
Pets
Don't take your furry friends - Poland is not part of the Pet Travel Scheme so they will have to be quarantined on return to the UK.
Tipping
Tips of around 10% are expected from Westerners.
Tourist office
Polish National Tourist Office, Remo House, 310-312 Regent Street, London W1B 3AX. Tel. 020 7580 6688.


Telephone

+44 (0) 203 696 2870

Mon – Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm

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