You’ve heard about the beauty of Polish cities, the wealth of Polish history and the beauty of Polish landscapes. You’re already convinced that you’d like to visit this country (and if you’re still not sure, browsing the What To See In Poland section may help you make up your mind). But there’s a number of questions, big and small, that you want to find answers to. Here’s a selection of frequently asked questions.
Q: What’s the best time to visit Poland?
A: That depends on your expectations and traveling style. Group tours usually take place between May and September, because the days are longer then. But April (when nature wakes up to life) and October (the famous “golden Polish autumn”) are also great months to go to Poland, the weather can be quite pleasant. If you like visiting Christmas markets, then December is the obvious time to choose. January and February may be good months for visiting the Polish mountains, especially if you like skiing.
Q: How do I get to Poland?
A: If you’re an overseas traveler, the best way to get to Poland is by plane. There are direct flights to Warsaw from New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and Toronto. Starting in August 2020, there’s also going to be a direct connection between San Francisco and Warsaw. You can also take a direct flight to Kraków from Chicago. There are no direct flights from Australia, but you can find a convenient connection via Dubai, Doha, Singapur (or even London, if you’re starting your journey in Perth).
Q: I’m arriving to Warsaw a day or two before my tour starts. What should I see?
A: Warsaw has a lot to offer. You can visit the Warsaw Rising Museum, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews , explore the Praga district on the right bank of the Vistula river, enjoy the view from the top of the Palace of Culture and Science, relax in Wilanów, take a walk to the Constitution Square and see socialist-realist style buildings or visit the Life Under Communism Museum and many more! The public transportation in Warsaw is very efficient and you can get around easily.
Q: How do I pay in Poland?
A: First of all, bear in mind that the currency in Poland is the Polish zloty (PLN). The accepted methods of payment in Poland include cash, credit/debit card (make sure that you remember your PIN code!) or bank transfer. Bank checks are not accepted. Before you go to Poland, contact your bank and ask about the exchange rate and fees. For more information, here’s All You’ve Wanted to Know About Paying in Poland.
Q: Do people speak English in Poland?
A: English is an obligatory subject at Polish schools, so young people speak at least basic English (although they may be a bit shy when talking to a native speaker). People that work in the tourist industry speak English, so you shouldn’t have much trouble communicating. However, Polish people are very impressed at every effort taken by foreigners to learn some Polish words and phrases, so if you want your interlocutor to be extra nice, you know what to do 🙂 If you would like to learn some Polish, you might enjoy watching the “In Plain Polish” videos on YouTube.
Q: What’s the weather like in Poland?
A: That’s a very difficult question. In general, the winters are quite cold and the summers warm, but the weather likes to play tricks. It’s good to be prepared for different weather conditions, especially when doing a tour of Poland. The weather will be differ from region to region. For more information about weather and ideas on what to pack for your trip to Poland, see the article on the Moodiness of the Polish Weather.
Q: Can I drink tap water in Poland safely?
A: In Polish cities it’s safe to drink municipal tap water and people are encouraged to do so. The standards that have to be met with regard to water quality are regulated by the law of Poland and the European Union. If you would like to read why some people still advise against drinking tap water, read the article on Tap Water in Poland. We wouldn’t recommend drinking tap water in places that are not connected to the water pipe network and use their own water intake.
Q: What do you recommend eating in Poland?
A: You’ll find all kinds of restaurants and cafes that serve food from different parts of the world, but isn’t traveling about tasting local food? The Polish must-have food is definitely pierogi, you can’t leave Poland without trying them. Other typical Polish dishes include gołąbki (cabbage with minced meat filling), rosół (chicken broth), barszcz (beetroot soup), żurek (sour rye soup), grzybowa (mushroom soup) kotlet schabowy (breaded pork cutlet) or kotlet mielony (minced meat cutlet), just to name a few. There are a lot of excellent restaurants that serve traditional Polish food, especially in the touristic areas. But if you’re open for a little adventure, you can step into a so-called “milk bar”. It’s probably not the best-looking place you’ll ever visit, but the food served there is good, local and inexpensive. To learn more about typical Polish food , sweets and fruit, see the Taste of Poland.
Q: Is it safe in Poland?
A: The overall crime rate in Poland is quite low, especially when it comes to serious crimes. It is a safe place for tourists. Of course you should always use your common sense. Beware of pickpockets in crowded areas.
Q: Are there any things that I should avoid doing?
A: If you’re a smoker, remember that smoking in public places is prohibited. Drinking alcohol in the streets or parks is not allowed either. What is more, you can get a fine for swearing in public places, so if you’ve already picked up some Polish swear words, don’t brag of that in public. For more examples of some dos and don’ts in Poland, read 20 Surprising Facts About Poland and Things That Might Surprise You in Poland .
Q: What should I wear when visiting a church?
A: Out of respect, when you enter a church, you should be wearing something that keeps your cleavage, shoulders and knees covered. Men are also expected to take off their hats.