Polish Climate – Best Times to Visit Poland
Generally speaking the climate of Poland can be described as Moderate Continental with pretty cold winters (usually with temperatures just under freezing) and warm summers.
The best time to visit Poland depends on what you are looking to experience. For the main sights and cities then a late Spring visit (May-June) or an early Autumn visit (September-October) are generally best. If you’re looking to enjoy winter sports then, late November to February are when the southern mountains are in their snow season.
Bear in mind that the Easter weekend in Poland can be extremely busy, as can the height of summer.
The People & Culture of Poland
The Polish people are a proud and kind sort, with relationships dotted with kindness and humour and a sharp sense of wit.
Historically scarred, the Polish tend to be stoic but with a keen energy and verve for tireless renovation, as well as hour and pride in their Jewish heritage. Poland can be somewhat bureaucratic, don’t necessarily expect official things to happen fast! However, Poland is immensely warm and welcoming as a nation.
The Culture of Poland is in line with much of the rest of Europe, however, family ties are strong and religion (Christianity) still plays a central role in the nation. Don’t expect the 24/7 opening of Britain, but do expect modern conveniences along with excellent internet and Wi-Fi!
It’s customary for the Polish people to greet one another frequently, for example when entering or leaving a shop, although it is generally accepted that foreigners may not. However, if you want to fit in them greet people with a cheerful “dzień dobry” (pronounced jyen do-bri), and leave with “do widzenia” (do vee-dze-nya).
Do ensure that you treat sights of religious and historical significance with due respect. For example in churches and monasteries you should be quiet and if male, wear trousers, and if female cover shoulders and wear longer skirts or trousers (no shorts). It is all customary to leave a donation in the box usually located by the door. At historic sites such as Auschwitz you should also act respectfully remembering that these sites are part of the living history, and often grave sites, of people today.
Visiting Poland with Children
You can expect a warm welcome if travelling with children, and Poland is very much focussed on young children and family life. Children are often admitted free to various places, including public transport and even meals. The cities and towns of Poland are generally pushchair-friendly and you can expect to be able to take your stroller on public transport with minimal difficulties.
For Britons travelling in Poland, do expect the older generation to fuss and interact with your children. Children are valued fully as part of the Polish culture but this interaction may seem intrusive to, typically, more reserved Brits.
Polish Healthcare & Medical Facilities
You can expect the same standards of healthcare and medical facilities in Poland as you find elsewhere in Europe – generally a very high standard. In addition, private healthcare facilities are comparatively inexpensive in comparison with other European states.
As a member of the EU you should ensure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card which will entitle you to free or reduced-cost medical (and dental) care in Poland. However, do bear in mind that you will still need to obtain separate travel insurance as the EHIC system does not cover repatriation, ongoing treatment, or non-urgent treatment.
Public health facilities can be identified by the NFZ sign. Check that the medical care you are receiving is under the NFZ or you will be required to pay for your treatment. If in doubt, ask at the nearest tourist information (usually near train stations), or your hotel reception.
Depending on the type of prescription given to you, you will be required to pay either between 30-50% of the price, the full amount, or alternatively a fixed fee.
Prescribed medication can be obtained from pharmacies (marked ‘Apteka’) and you can find over the counter medications being sold not only in pharmacies but also in supermarkets and convenience shops.
Public Transport & Traveling Around Poland: Trains, Buses, Uber and Taxi etc.
Many visitors to Poland either travel by car or opt to hire a car once here. This will allow you the freedom to travel around the country as you wish. Vehicles in Poland drive on the right.
However, not having a car is not an issue in Poland as there is an extensive network of trains and buses, particularly linking the larger cities. It should be noted that these services are not always the most efficient or speedy services.
Useful Tips before Visiting Poland – Some Facts & Stats
Officially Poland is the Republic of Poland, casually referred to as ‘Polska’ by the locals.
Population: 38 million
Government: Parliamentary Democracy
Language: Polish is the official language, and is the most popularly spoken Slavic language. However, it’s a tricky one to learn, and has additional alphabet letters to English, making it hard at times to ‘have a go’. In tourist areas you will increasingly find English speakers, and younger Polish people tend to have a reasonable knowledge of English. German is more widely understood than English in some areas.
Time Zone: Central European Time Zone. This is GMT + 1 hour. Poland carries out Daylight Saving from the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday in October.
Passports & Visas: EU citizens don’t require their passport, simply identification. Additionally EU visitors don’t need a visa and can stay indefinitely.
Electricity: Polish electricity is a standard European dual pin. 230v/50hz AC.
Internet: Increasingly, there is Wi-Fi in many places although strength and reliability may vary depending on where you are.
National Colours: White and Red
National Emblem: A white eagle with a golden crown.
Currency: The currency of Poland is the Złoty (Z/) which translates as ‘golden’. Each Złoty is divided in to 100 Groszy (gr.). Banknotes come in the following denominations: 200, 100, 50 and 10. Coins are available in 5, 2 and 1 Złoty, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1 Groszy.
1st January: New Year’s Day
1st May: May Day
3rd May: Constitution Day – the anniversary of the passing of Poland’s first constitution back in 1791.
15th August: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
11th November: Independence Day – the anniversary of the restoration of Poland’s independence in 1918.
25th December & 26th December: Christmas
Also note that in Poland Public Holidays are held on variable dates for Easter, Ascension, and Corpus Christi.
Imports: For visitors arriving to Poland from within the EU, they may import up to 800 cigarettes, 200 cigars, or 1kg of pipe tobacco. EU visitors can also bring in up to 100l of beer, 90l of wine, and 10l of spirits. However, these are rarely checked and verified.
Exports: It should be noted that the exportation of items manufactured before 9th May 1945 is prohibited without an export permit. Bear in mind this is a bureaucratic and time-consuming process.
Public Toilets: Public conveniences are often a bit thin on the ground in Poland, so head to a café or bar if in needed.
Drinking Water: The water from taps has been deemed safe to drink; however most Polish people choose to boil it before drinking, or alternatively to use bottled water. You can buy bottled water in a huge range of stores and locations and there is an abundant supply.
Useful Telephone Numbers:
Emergency from a mobile phone: 112
Poland’s Telephone Country Code: 48