While Poland is increasingly becoming less discernible from other western European countries (in a good way, that is), there certain local traditions and laws which the foreign visitor should be aware of. This is In Your Pocket's run-down of the helpful things everyone should know when visiting Poland.
ClimatePoland has a temperate climate with hot summers and cold winters. Seasons tend to be more pronounced than in the west and temperatures can get down as low as -20 C in winter and as high as +30 C in summer. The coldest weather tends to hit around February.
CustomsIf you are travelling within the EU those over 18 can now take 10 litres of spirits, 90 litres of wine and 110 litres of beer. Most countries will not allow more than 800 cigarettes from Poland. If purchasing art or books, you need to consider their age and value. In order to leave the country, art must be both less than 50 years old and under a certain value (varies depending by type; photos under 6,000zł, other art under 16,000zł, for example); if these conditions are met, the gallery curator then can (and should) provide you with a 'zaświadczenie' (permission document) describing the artwork's price and when and where it was created. If the work exceeds the permitted age or value, you must get permission from the 'Wojewódzki Konserwator Zabytków' (Regional Curator's Office) to take it out of Poland; bear in mind that this process will likely take 2-3 months. Books must be less than 100 years old and under 6,000zł in value in order to leave the country; otherwise, permission must be obtained from the National Library. Obviously, problems arise when purchases are made at bazaars or flea markets where vendors cannot provide the necessary documents; if there is any doubt about the value or age of your purchase, we suggest you visit an 'Antykwariat' (antiques dealer – see Shopping) for advice.
ElectricityElectricity in Poland is 230V, 50Hz AC. Plug sockets are round with two round-pin sockets. Therefore if you are coming from the US, UK or Ireland you are definitely going to need a plug converter. The best place to pick these up is at home though if you do arrive without a converter try your luck with your hotel reception; they should be able to point you to an electrical store if they can't provide a converter themselves.
Facts & Figures
Poland covers an area of 312,685 square kilometres and is the ninth biggest country in Europe. It borders the Baltic Sea (528km) and seven countries, namely Belarus (416km), Czech Republic (790km), Germany (467km), Lithuania (103km), the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad (210km), Slovakia (539km) and Ukraine (529km).
Kraków is split by the Vistula (Wisła) River. At 1,047km it is Poland’s longest river, flowing through Warsaw and into the Bay of Gdańsk.
The highest peak is Rysy (2,499m) in the nearby Tatra Mountains. By comparison Kraków’s landscape is flat and the city lies 219m above sea level.
Poland - 38,478,602
Warsaw - 1,735,442
Kraków - 761,873
Łódź - 706,004
Wrocław - 634,487
Poznań - 545,680
Gdańsk - 461,489
Katowice - 301,834.
Poland is in the Central European (CET) time zone (GMT+1hr). When it’s 12:00 in Kraków it’s 6:00 am in New York City, 11:00 in London, 12:00 in Paris and Berlin and 19:00 in Tokyo. Polish summer time (GMT+2hrs) starts and ends on the last Sundays of March and October.