About Poland - Practical information
Do you need a reason to visit Poland?
Approximately 350,000 British nationals visited Poland every year and if family connections, business, or university study abroad programs aren't a factor in your decision to visit Poland, consider that Poland will wow you with its castles, tempt you with its food and drink, inspire you with its natural beauty, and woo you with its exciting urban life. And as Poland is a Central European country bordered by Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia, Lithuania, Germany, Czech Republic, and Belarus, making it an ideal for side trips in Europe or as a starting point for a multi-country vacation.
Few facts about Poland:
The total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometres (120,726 sq mi), making it the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. Poland has a population of over 38.5 million people.
Capital: Warszawa (pronunciation: Vashava), in English - Warsaw
Time zone: 1 hour ahead
Driving - right hand drive
Currency: 1 Złoty (pronunciation: Zwotty) = 100 Groszy (pronunciation: Groshy)
In the majority of shops, restaurants, and service outlets in Poland, you can pay only in Polish zlotys. However, in more and more places payments in Euro are also accepted.
Currency Exchange in Poland is freely available, especially in larger cities. In exchange offices you can communicate in English and German.
Traveller’s checks are accepted in Poland and can be exchange in a number of banks for cash or in larger retail and service centres.
Debit/credit cards are widely accepted in Poland and you can pay by them in most shops in larger cities.
Trading days apply to all shops and are from Monday to Saturday, but big shopping malls are open until late at night during the whole week.
Flag of Poland Coat of arms of Poland
The Polish Climate is similar to the rest of mainland Europe, in winter it is generally wet and you can probably expect 4 to 8 weeks of snow starting in December. The temperatures generally hover around -1 to -5 Degrees C, although every four or five years it seems to cycle down to a temperature of -20 or thereabouts. Many of the winter days are bright and crisp. The summers are hot, reaching 30 to 34 degrees in none coastal areas, slightly lower on by the sea. The humidity can make life a little uncomfortable in the centre of the country but it can rain at any time. The spring and autumn appears to be short as the transition between Summer and Winter happens quite quickly.
Very brief history of Poland:
First became a unified entity in the 10th century and was ruled by a series of kings. From the 14th to the 18th centuries, Poland and neighbouring Lithuania were politically united. The constitution established in the late 18th century is a monumental event in European history. The next hundred years saw a Poland divided by those who would control its territory, but Poland was reconstituted during WWI. However 20 years after Poland was heavily affected by WWII, and today it's possible to visit some of the Nazi camps established there for the purpose of mass extermination of groups of unfavourable individuals, including Jews and the disabled. From 1945 a communist regime with close ties to Moscow ruled until the 1990s, when communism's collapse reverberated through East and East Central Europe.
Useful phone numbers and addresses:
If you need to contact the emergency services in Poland call 112
British Embassy, ul. Kawalerii 12, 00-468 Warsaw, phone number: (0048) 22 311 00 00
For British national in distress, and having difficulty reaching the Embassy on the emergency telephone number, please call the FCO Switchboard in London on (0044) 020 7008 1500 for assistance.