Printable travel guide for Poland
Travel Guide

Here you will find travel information and insider tips about Poland that has been cooperatively contributed by other friendly Hospitality Club members. Please become active as well, and share your vast budget travel and backpacking knowledge with other members and the internet community - it is very easy to edit any information here (more info in the Help File). We hope that these Travel Guides will quickly become a great and fun resource. If you want to print this guide out to take with you, we have prepared this Printer Friendly Travel Guide for you. Enjoy!
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Basic Facts

Official Country Name: Republic of Poland/Rzeczpospolita Polska
Capital: Warsaw/Warszawa
Population: about 38,6 mln
Religion:Catholic 90,7%
Telephone Code: 0048
Time Zone: GMT+1 (Middle European Time)or GMT+2
Area: about 312.685 sq km
Language(s): Polish/polski
Ethnic Groups: Poles/Polacy (98,7%), Ukrainians/Ukraincy, Belarusians/Bialorusini
Highest Mountain: Rysy 2449 m above the sea level
President/Head of State: President Lech Kaczyński
Government: Right-wing party Law And Justice and Jarosław Kaczyński as the PM
Currency: Zloty/złoty/PLN
Exchange Rate: 1USD=3,3zl; 1EUR=3,8zl; 1GBP=5,6zl (december 2005)
Health Risks:
Electricity: 230V, 50Hz, outlet: 2 round holes and a round ground pin
Weights & Measures: SI
Country Name in other languages:Polen (German) Pologne (French) Poland (English) Польша (RU)

Attractions and Things to See and Do

A lot of pictures from all regions of Poland

No trip to the Krakow (crakow) area can be complete without a sobering visit to the death camps of Auschwitz I (Oswiecim) and Auschwitz II, better known as Birkenau (Brzezinka). Getting there however can be confusing or some work, neither of which it has to be. You can take the train from Krakow to Oswiecim, then a bus (or walk 1.6km) or you could simply take a bus from Krakow. The bus form Krakow is my favorite; it is more frequent, cheap and doesn't take hardly any longer than the train/bus combo. The trick is knowing where to catch the bus. Outside the main train station in Krakow there are two bus parks one right out in front (off to the side) and one on the back side of the stations. The one on the back side is the one you want. Go through the under ground tunnel beneath the train station and right on the other side is the small bus park where you catch the bus. No need for a ticket, pay as you board. This bus stops directly at the back gate of Auschwitz I where the main museum is located. Pay for both camps here. Go through the museum, see the movie, tour the grounds (guided or unguided) then catch the shuttle bus from the museum parking lot to Birkenau. Auschwitz I is small and prepackaged and give a glimpse of the Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals, etc. who were "privileged" versus those who went to Birkenau. Auschwitz I was for workers, Birkenau was solely for death. Birkenau can not be described, only experienced. It is huge, 95% torn down. Climb the main gate tower and look around. Almost as far as you can see are the remains of over 300 barrack buildings. Imagine 50,000 humans a month going in the gates on the railroad track beneath you, never to come out again. Catch the bus back to the museum and then go back to where the Krakow bus dropped you off. The ride back to Krakow is almost always silent.


I'd say that trip to Krakow is incomplete without visiting Wieliczka and it's underground salt mine. There are scupltures made of salt; there is even a chapel. I've heard that someone did a bungee-jumping there- so you can imagine the height! You can get there from Krakow by bus or by train, but as far as I remember- bus is cheaper and more frequent. In mine there are only guided tours for IMO obvious reasons- it is (well, at least was a few years ago) still working mine. http://www.wroclaw.pl/ms/english/


and if you already visited Krakow you can check on the map - we have three main geografic regions:
the seaside (dont go to big cities if you dont like holidays in American style, go if you like exclusive shops, drinks and many people around you) and treat Gdansk as an exception - is beautiful historical city, from smaller I could recomend to see area of Jastrzebia Gora (high clifs), Hel - to go to naturist beach or to see the Sea from both sides, around Leba to see natural park.....
land of 1000 lakes - Mazury - in smaller places lot of beautiful wild nature, bigger other attractions - many possibility to swim, sail, surf... and meet positive crazy Polish sailors
mountains - from little, delicate like Beskidy, to high and sometimes dangerous like Tatry (many youth hostels on hils and trails, people with guitars, bonefires,...)
we also have many interesting cities - Wroclaw, Poznan, Gdansk, Zakopane - lot of fun for each kind of people
during holidays we have dozens of festivals - reggae, sea songs, country, punk, rock... if you need information please write me, for this moment I dont know good English side (you could try with Polish www.independent.pl)
and main attraction - meeting of East and West Europe, future and past at the same time - can you imagine? /samocha/ WARSAW Warsaw, a place of rich history, is a capital city of Poland. Completely destroyed during World War II it has been rebuilt by hands of it's inhabitants. One of the most interesting reflectons of Warsaw's history is the Museum of Warsaw's Uprising (which took place in 1944)- great and modern exhibition. You can visit Ujazdowski Castle with modern art exhibition , Palace in Lazienki and Wilanow. See also Old Town with nice castle and much more. Have nnice time!! Joanna Urbanek Wroclaw Is also place with great history it used to be german city , after II World War it becamed Polish . This is one of the this multicultural cities with the most beautyful marketplace in poland. add by shadowmaker

Maps

http://www.pilot.pl/ -interactive online map.

Here you can include references to maps that are somewhere on the internet. Two conditions apply: they cannot be protected by copyright, (or you have to make sure that we are allowed to use them), and you have to make sure that it is ok if we call them up from here. If that is a problem, you can also send us the image file and we will upload it to our server.

Off the Beaten Path and Insider Tips

Suggested Itineraries

1 Day, 1 Week, 2 Weeks, 1 Month ...

Transport

Getting there and away: to most of the biggest cities u can get by plane Polish Airports http://www.polish-airports.com/ • Gdansk, Poland (Rebiechowo)
• Poznan, Poland (Lawica) http://www.poznan-airport.com.pl
• Krakow, Poland (Balice/John Paul II Intl.)
• Szczecin, Poland (Goleniow)
• Warsaw {Warszawa}, Poland (Okecie)
• Wroclaw {Breslau}, Poland (Strachowice)
, Getting around by Air, Train, Bus, Car, Motorcycle, Boat, Hitchhiking, Bicycle ...

Accommodation

If you do not want to stay with other HC members, or noone is available, here is what other members suggest. Hostels Hotels Camping Other Options

Food and Drinks and Local Specialties

Restaurants, Supermarkets, Street Food, Local Specialties ...

food in Poland.....

first of all - if you dont have lot of money and you want to check our traditional food (just little bit worse than at home, but it is normal), go to ´Bar Mleczny´ - milk bar. you can meet many interesting people there, but be ready to meet also people who could ask you to buy them something to eat :(

typical food:
“Bigos” - cabbage&sauerkraut with sausages and mushrooms
“Pierogi” – sort of stuffed dumplings (“leniwe”or “z serem”=with cream and sugar; ”ruskie”=with a mixture of potatoes and cottage cheese;“z kapusta”=with cabbage)
soups - barszcz (red beet soup), pomidorowa (tomato soup), ogorkowa (cucumber soup), krupnik (porridge soup), zurek (good one but I cannot explain)
“Nalesniki” – Pancakes with all sorts of fillings (“jagodami”=blueberries;”truskawkowe”=strawberries; ”pikantne”=with onions,meat and tomato sauce; “malinowe”= raspberries; “z miesem”=with meat;“z lody”=with icecream;”z serem”=with cottage cheese, sugar and cream-sweet!)
“Placki ziemniaczane” – Small “pankaces” made from potatoes. Usually served with cream and sugar
“Pyzy” – Rolls made from something like pizza-dough. Served with different sauces, spicy or sweet
“Surowka” – mainly cabbage salad but there are many combinations but always from fresh vegetables
“zapiekanka” - which is called by foreigners ´pizza bread´ and this is our typical fast food, but you also can buy kebap, pizza, hamburger - especially during the weekend nights.
and dont forget about ´oscypki´ - sheep cheese made by our high landers - to buy mainly on street in mountains region or in big cities.
smacznego (bon apetit).

drinks: in general we drink lot of tea and coffee (most popular is instant and ´turkish´)
from alcohol most usual is beer and we have many many good beers, but not as in Belgium with some very specific tastes. good beer could be Zywiec, Lech, Fortuna (dark - similar to beer with coca-cola), Redds (apple beer), in pubs you can also order beer with concentrat-juice.
oryginaly from Poland you can find Zubrowka, which is very special Polish vodka and some honey-alcohol.

Money and Costs

Currency:złoty (abbrev. zł) consists of 100 groszy (abbrev. gr); coins: yellow(more copper-like) 1, 2, 5 gr; nickel: 10, 20, 50 gr, 1zł; yellow ring with nickel center: 2zł and reversed, bigger: 5zł; banknotes: 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 zł, to see them, External Links is your friend, Exchanging Money in every bigger town you may find money exchange or bank, ATM's may be of some use here, especially in big tourist centers and near the border,
Credit Cards EuroCard/MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted in towns, usually of no use in villages or small towns not on crowdy tourist routes,
Tipping, Bargaining, Costs...

Visa and Documents and Embassies

http://www.learn4good.com/travel/poland_visa.htm yo will find there useful information also adress of polish embassies add by shadowmaker schuba@wp.pl

Borders and Customs

Post and Communications and Internet

Post,
Telephone: You'll find mainly TP's phone booths (de facto monopoly). You buy 'pulses'; one pulse is:
  • local:
    • 8-22: 3min.
    • 22-8: 6min.
  • countrywide:
    • 8-18, Mon-Fri: 43.5sec.
    • 8-18 weekends: 58sec.
    • 18-8: 87sec.
  • international (there are 9 zones):
    1. 14.5sec. (mainly EU)
    2. 12.5sec. (Eastern Europe)
    3. 11.2sec.
    4. 10.3sec. (Russia)
    5. 9.32sec.
    6. 8.7sec. (USA)
    7. 8.3sec.
    8. 5.4sec.
    9. 2.8sec. (far East)
    Regardless of 'pulse' time, in international calls you are charged for 3 minutes initially and then for every started minute.
To use payphones you need cards:
  • chip types:
    • 15 pulses: 9zł,
    • 30 pulses: 15zł,
    • 60 pulses: 24zł.
  • Magnetic stripe- there is only one, 15 pulses type as they are being withdrawn.
Every card has expiry date printed; if it hasn't, expiry date is 2005-01-01.
I wish they made it easier... :-)
, Fax, Internet Access ...

Questions and Answers or Forum

Here anything goes, you can post questions you have, and other members will answer you. If you do answer, please send the reply directly to the asking member as well, and try to integrate the information into the categories above. If too difficult to do, just answer right here and a volunteer will integrate in the future. Also, you can put thanks notes in here. Add new questions on top so they show up on the Travel Guide page. Please post messages not related to traveling or the aim of the Hospitality Club into the category Offtopic Messages.

Hospitality Club Meetings

Use this section to add more info if you organize meetings and events (you can add a short note on the main country page). You can also invite other members to parties, sports events, whenever you would like to meet up with someone.

Travelogues

Have you written a story about a trip to this country? Just paste your text in here and share your experience with other members.

Photos

Photos of Tatra mountains:
http://kongresonkol.io.gliwice.pl/piotr/poltw.html
Photos of Warsaw:
http://www.warsaw.prv.pl/
Photos of Gdansk:
http://www.trojmiasto.pl/galeria/

Activities and Sports

Football - national sport :) our national team is not very good and we have few jokes ( hmm we have jokes abou every popular sport .. ) about them we are really excited when they win, but when they loose we say "as usual" "i knew it"if you like to play you wil always find somebody to the game. Sky jumping - we reallly love this sport cuz we have great champion Adam Malysz Golf - in poland there is more golf fields than gamers :) not very popular Baseball - what a hell is this ??? :) Rugby - the same :)

Nightlife and Entertainment

Bars, Cafes, Discos, Cinemas... Best place to have fun in Poland is Kraków
  • in polish - site of pubs/clubs: http://knajpy.krakow.pl/
  • in english - site for tourist looking for fun: http://knajpy.krakow.pl/
and Gdańsk/Gdynia/Sopot on coast! (People from Warsaw will kill me for not mention about Warsaw :) )

Population and People

38,6 million people (data for year 2000)

Culture and Conduct or Local Customs

some info about our culture/dont miss

movies: Agnieszka Holland (Europe Europe), Krzysztof Kieslowski (Three Colours), Andrzej Wajda (Man of Marble, Man of Iron), Roman Polanski (Rosemary´s Babe, the Pianist), Stanislaw Bareja (all cult movies like ´Rejs´, ´Mis´)

music:
- classic: Fryderyk Chopin, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Krzysztof Penderecki
- movie: Zbigniew Preisner, Marcin Pospieszalski
- rock: Kult, Hey, Maanam,
- poem-rock: Swietliki,
- mountains-poem music: Stare Dobre Malzenstwo
- punk rock/ska: Pidzama Porno, Akurat,
- reggae: RAP (reggae anti politics), DAAB, Bakshish
- jazz: Krzysztof Komeda (also for movie music)
- hip hop: Kaliber44,
- metal: Kat
- other (with atmosphere): Myslovitz, Smolik, Snowman

writers:
- poems: Czeslaw Milosz, Tadeusz Rozewicz, Rafal Wojaczek, Halina Poswiatowska, Wislawa Szymborska, Zbigniew Herbert
- literature: Ryszard Kapuscinski (!)(reports, para-dokuments about Africa, some other places in world), Marek Hlasko, Slawomir Mrozek (drama), Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (paranoi-drama, but also pictures), Stefan Zeromski (serious), Stanislaw Lem (science-fiction), Janusz Leon Wisniewski, Dorota Maslowska (modern), Andrzej Sapkowski (fantasy)

pictures/drawings:
- Beksinski (dark fantasy, sometimes close to S. Dali) (!)(http://www.beksinski.pl/)
- Matejko (traditional/historical)
- Dariusz Twardoch (!) (http://www.galeriaradwan.pl/artysci/twardoch.htm)

Language and Useful Phrases

Polish language is very difficult to pronounce, anyway we'll be very, very happy to hear you trying.
  • Good morning - Dzień dobry
  • Hi - Cześć
  • Sorry/Excuse me - Przepraszam
  • Please - Proszę
  • Beer - Piwo
  • Thank you - Dziękuję
  • Thanks - Dzięki
  • Good bye - Do widzenia
  • Bye - Cześć
  • See you - Na razie

Here are some hints how to pronounce Polish words, without getting a knot in the tongue:
· all vocals (a, e, i, o, u) are spoken very open like the English after, Jen, in, often
· o with sign on top is the same as u, pronounced like the English „oo” in school
· w is like in the English word or like in valid; before t pronounce it like f
· s is very sharp, like in same
· z is very soft, like zebra
· c sounds similar to the an English ts or c in circumstances
· si, ci, zi and ś, ć, ż : Find a Pole!!!
· h, ch: try to cough! It’s stronger than the English h
· sz is like English
· cz is like in football-match
· ą, ę: Try to sound very French!
· j like in yellow
· ź is the same as rz, similar to the English giraffe, but softer
· ł similar to the English w

Events and Holidays

Festivals, Sports, Concerts, Public Holidays...

National Holidays
  • 1 May - National Holiday of people of work
  • 3 May - National Holiday of 3rd May - the anniversary of the proclamation of Constitution of 3rd May
  • 11 November - Natinal Holiday of Independence - The anniversary of regaining independance by Poland
  • 15 August - The Virgin Mary Assumption
  • 1 November - All Saints' Day
  • 11 November - Natinal Holiday of Independence
  • 25 December - Christmas Day
  • 26 December - Boxing Day

Festivals
  • Rock Music festival in Wegorzewo[Warminsko-Mazurskie]
    8-10 july
  • International Warsaw Jazz Jamboree Festival
    23-29 october
  • Castle Party in Castle in Bolkow [dolnoslaskie, near Wroclaw] (gothic music)

Climate and When to Go

For information about climate visit:
http://www.polandembassychina.net/en/climete.htm

if you are from worm countries dont come first time or for longer in Autumn or Winter - it is really cold and days are short - you could get depressed. only if you love snow or somebody in Poland it can help you to survive ;)But we have beautiful Spring and hot Summer.

Geography

Environment and Flora and Fauna

Dangers and Warnings

Tourist Traps

WASHING YOUR CLOTHES This is not a real tourist trap but you should know it as a tourist. If you look for a place where you can wash your clothes: there is none! Apart from private people's washing machines. Students normally go home to their parents on weekends so there is no need to have public laundromats.

Health

History

Try to read "Gods playground" written by Norman Davies there is almost everything :) our history is quite dramatick so this could be quite interesting added by shadowmaker schuba@wp.pl

Government and Politics

Some resarcher claims that our coutry is still intransition peroid (it is time when one regime is changing to another ) in late 80ties there were revolution that (provided by "Solidarnosc" - SOLIDARITY ) overturned comunism and now we have democracy. We have republick with bicameral parlament (460 deputies )and president ( actually Aleksander Kwasnieski ). Parlament is quite strong but president is also very important ( like in all postcomunism coutries ). Most known parties SLD (postcomunist )SDPL (socialist) PO (hmm conservative ) PiS (same like PO but harder ) LPR (extreme catholics ) Samoobrona (populistick) PSL (agrocultural) demokraci.pl (liberal) UPR (higly liberal ) Zieloni (Greens) added by : shadowmaker schuba@wp.pl

Economy

Ministry of Economy Web page in english:
http://www.mpips.gov.pl/english/index.php?dzial=28
and economy report for 2003 (in pdf):
http://www.mpips.gov.pl/pliki_do_pobrania/reporteconomy2003.pdf http://www.mpips.gov.pl/pliki_do_pobrania/reporteconomy2003.pdf

Arts

Music, Literature, Theater, Movies ...

you will find everything in Culture... probably I putted my info in wrong place, but let it stay there....

Media

Newspapers gazeta wyborcza (www.gazeta.pl), rzeczypospolita (www.rzeczypospolita.pl) tabloids - Fakt.Super Expres Magazines Polityka, Wprost,Newsweek it is no problem to get The Times, Financial Times. Guardian added by :shadowmaker schuba@wp.pl

Religion

Roman-catholic at large.

Volunteer Opportunities and Work

Service Civil International - Polish branch - One World Association (www.jedenswiat.org.pl), (workcamps, long term projects, human rights education, refugees, street campaings against racism, intolerance)
you have also many possibilities to become EVS volunteer in Poland - check internet for Youth Program. ask me for more details.

Organized Tours

What to Bring or Packing List

Shopping

Books and Further Reading

Important books for traveler :) 1. if you are going to visit my great coutry :) and if you want to know more about Poles read Xenophobe's Guide to the Poles by Ewa Lipniacka this book is quite funny but you wiil find there lots of important informations about poles , culture customs svoir vivre etc . 2.To better understand Poles you should know a little bit abot their history the best book for foreinger is God's playgroun by Norman Davies. added by :shadowmaker schuba@wp.pl

Other Information

You can find lot of information you need about Poland like small dictionary, prononciation, info about food, travel and so on Polish branch of Service Civil International www.jedenswiat.org.pl - 'welcome to Poland' guide, which is prepared for volunteers coming to Poland

External Links

Official Country Website: Poland (eng) or Polska (pl)

More currency information: Banknotes

http://www.what-where-when.pl/

Database of polish milk bars (bary mleczne): http://smupo.achjoj.info/bary_mleczne

Only add really valuable resources here. Also, please ask the webmaster of the site you link here to add a link back to the Hospitality Club. If the link exists, please add (L) behind the URL of the link.
Poland- National Travel Portal:http://www.poland.travel/en/

Offtopic Messages

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