Passport? Check. Plane tickets? Check. Suitcase? Check.
What else do you need to know before you leave for your trip to Poland? We're happy to share with you...
The Best Travel Tips for Visiting Poland!
1. Getting around Poland can be tricky.
Are you planning to visit more places than just Warsaw and Krakow on your trip to Poland? If so, you might want to put some extra thought in to transportation. If you are planning to rent a car, be aware that driving in Polish cities can be very challenging.
It is possible to drive yourself around Poland, but be aware that road signs are only in Polish, that your navigation system might not work accurately, and there are additional challenges like trams, bikers, and other specific rules of the road. It is also required to have an international drivers license while driving in Poland. Your average American driver's license will not suffice. We highly recommend traveling by train or using local tour operators to avoid the hassle.
2. Don’t refer to Poland as Eastern Europe.
This is something that people in Poland are very particular about. Poland is located in the center of Europe geographically and Poles prefer to be considered part of Western Europe than Eastern Europe. Also, as much as you might think it, don't say that Polish sounds like the Russian language.
3. There is MUCH more to Poland than Warsaw and Krakow.
Warsaw and Krakow are two incredible cities in Poland. As amazing as they are, if you really want to experience Poland, we highly recommend visiting some of the smaller cities or even villages. Life in these places is very different from in the giant cities. People might not speak English, but these differences might just make your experiences and travels a little more authentic.
4. Poland has incredible nature.
When travelers think about visiting Poland, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the difficult history and historic cities. Many people have no idea that Poland is an awesome destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Poland has giant mountains, thousands of lakes, sand dunes, rivers, the Baltic Sea, wildlife and magical forests. What do you want to see first?
5. Learn some basic Polish phrases when visiting Poland!
We know Polish is not an easy language, but we recommend trying to learn a couple of words before your trip. (This is actually a great travel tip for anywhere you visit in the world!) Using a word or two in Polish is a great way to break the ice with Polish locals, and trust me, they will appreciate it a lot! A simple word might open some unexpected doors for travelers. And don't feel offended if they smile or laugh when you try to speak - this is actually a really good sign!
6. Don’t drink alcohol in public places in Poland.
This might come as a surprise to you, but drinking alcohol in the streets in Poland is illegal. If the police see you doing this, you will end up with a large fine. The same goes for drinking and driving. It is completely illegal to even have one drink and then drive a car in Poland. If this happens, the consequences are higher than a monetary fine...
7. People do speak English in Poland.
Obviously, not everyone in Poland speak English, but the majority of people in their 20's and 30's do speak English. Poles are very shy about their language skills. If you ask if they speak English they will probably answer with "a little." This usually means that they understand quite a lot.
8. Poland doesn’t use the Euro €.
You can not pay in Euros when you are in Poland. In Poland, the currency used is called the Polish Złoty (PLN). If you don't feel like exchanging money, you can use a credit card almost everywhere. Read more about money in Poland.
9. Tipping in Poland is different than in the United States.
To find out more about tipping in Poland, head on over to our detailed article to find everything you need to know about tipping in Poland.
10. Poland is NOT a cold destination.
Many people are under the impression that Poland is always cold. This couldn't be further from the truth. Yes, Poland is cold in the winter (many places are right?), though each year the winters are becoming more and more mild. The majority of the year Poland has rather agreeable weather. Spring is usually warm, summer can be very hot, and autumn is simply beautiful! Winter in Poland is also incredible, just make sure to pack some warm clothes!
What else would you like to know before visiting Poland? Feel free to send us an email with your questions!
We are Damian and Elizabeth, a Polish-American couple, and we are excited to share Poland with you! We have traveled around the world and seen many places but find ourselves most inspired by our home countries.
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