Poland unforgettable memories

Transport

Entering Poland

Visas

Poland is a full member of the European Union and belongs to the Schengen travel area which means that all EU citizens travel without border controls.

Also, citizens from the following countries may travel to Poland for tourism and business purposes with a valid passport and without a visa if their planned stay does not exceed 90 days: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, USA, Uruguay, Vatican and Venezuela.

Citizens of other countries must obtain a visa in order to enter and stay in Poland legally. However, always check with the local Polish Embassy or on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for updates as this can change: http://www.msz.gov.pl/Visa,requirements,2346.html

Regular visas are issued for travelers going to Poland for tourism and business purposes. Regular visas allow for one or multiple entries into Polish territory and stay in Poland for maximum up to 90 days and are issued for the definite time of stay. When applying for a visa, please indicate the number of days you are going to spend in Poland and a date of intended arrival. Holders of regular visas are not authorized to work.

Duty Free

The official limits on duty-free items that can be exported or imported (per person over the age of 18) within the EU's borders for EU citizens are: Alcoholic beverages: 10 litres of spirits, 20 litres of fortified wine, 90 litres of wine and 110 litres of beer; Tobacco products: cigarettes 800 items, cigarillos (cigars weighing not more than 3 g each) 400 items, cigars 200 items, smoking tobacco 1.0 kg.

More: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/common/travellers/within_eu/index_en.htm

Limits in travelling to Poland from third countries (Information from Polish Customs Service website- http://www.mf.gov.pl/dokument.php?const=2&dzial=553&id=156713&typ=news ): alcohol and alcoholic beverages

If you are 17 years old or over, you may bring with you in your personal luggage alcohol and alcoholic beverages free of import duties within the following limits:

  • a total of 1 litre of alcohol and alcoholic beverages of an alcoholic strength exceeding 22% vol, or undenatured ethyl alcohol of 80% vol and over;
  • a total of 2 litres of alcohol and alcoholic beverages of an alcoholic strength not exceeding 22% vol; and
  • a total of 4 litres of still wine, and
  • 16 litres of beer. 

The exemption may be applied to any combination of the types of alcohol and alcoholic beverage referred to in points a) and b), provided that the aggregate of the percentages used up from the individual allowances does not exceed 100 %./.../ 

tobacco products 

If you are 17 years old or over and you travel by air or sea, you may bring with you in your personal luggage free of import duties tobacco products within the following limits:

  • 200 cigarettes;
  • 100 cigarillos;
  • 50 cigars;
  • 250 g of smoking tobacco.

Each amount specified in points (a) to (d) shall represent 100% of the total allowance for tobacco products. 

If you are 17 years old or over and you travel by land, you may bring with you in your personal luggage tobacco products within the following limits:

  • 40 cigarettes;
  • 20 cigarillos;
  • 10 cigars;
  • 50 grams of smoking tobacco.

Each amount specified in points (a) to (d) shall represent 100% of the total allowance for tobacco products.  

other goods 

You may bring with you in your personal luggage medicinal products with relief form import duties, but only the quantity required to meet travelers' personal needs. 

If you are travelling by air or sea, you may bring with you in your personal luggage goods having no commercial nature free of import duties other goods up to a value of 430 Euro. 

If you are travelling by land, you may bring with you in your personal luggage goods having no commercial nature free of import duties other goods up to a value of 300 Euro. 

Non-commercial nature means imports which:

  • are of an occasional nature, and
  • consist exclusively of goods for the personal or family use of the traveler, or of goods intended as presents.

The nature and quantity of the goods must not be such as to indicate that they are being imported for commercial reasons.

NOTICE: There are strict regulations concerning the export of works of art and animals, and limits on the amount of cash.

It is illegal to export from Poland goods older than 55 years that are of ANY historic value. If you intend to do so you need to obtain a permit from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage: http://www.mkidn.gov.pl/english/about_the_ministry.html

By Plane / Airports

Most of Europe's major airlines fly to and from Poland. There are also direct flights from the United States and Canada. Poland's national carriers are LOT Polish Airlines. There are several low cost airlines flying to Poland: WizzAir, Norwegian, Ryanair, EasyJet, or Bmibaby.

International airlines fly mainly to Warsaw's Frederic Chopin Airport (WAW) http://www.lotnisko-chopina.pl/?lang=en in Okęcie. Other major airports in Poland are:

National flights operated by LOT (Eurolot brand) connect Warsaw with:

Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk, Łódź, Katowice, Kraków, Poznan, Rzeszów, Szczecin, Wrocław and Zielona Góra. Other smaller cities don't have airports with facilities that would allow commercial airlines to operate internationally; however, charter flights are often available - of course, they are very expensive.

As the number of flights and passengers is constantly growing, new terminal has been opened at the Warsaw Chopin airport which will significantly increase the airport's capacity. Also airports in Kraków, Poznań, Łódź, Wrocław have been expanded to modify their standards and capacity.

By Car

You can cross Polish border at any time by one of many roads linking Poland with the neighbouring countries. Checkpoints on border crossings with other EU countries have been removed. Still, the queues on the borders with Poland's non-EU neighbours, Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia, are still long and in areas jammed with truck traffic it can take up to several hours or even a day to pass. You can check the current waiting times calling Polish Border Guard ph.: +48 22 500 45 99

driving in Poland
  • traffic is on the right side,
  • maximum speed: 50 km/h in towns from 5 AM to 11 PM and 60 km/h from 11 PM to 5 AM, 90 km/h outside urban areas, 110 km/h on dual carriageways and 130 km/h on motorways
  • driving with lights on is obligatory all year long,
  • driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence. Permitted alcohol content in blood is up to 0.02% - not prosecuted by law, but up to 0.05% is treated as an offence and above 0.05% as criminal offence (up to 2 years in jail).
  • seatbelts must be worn by all passengers and it is prohibited to use hand-held mobiles while driving,
  • children under 12 are bound to sit in special child seats that should be installed on the back seat,
  • cars must be equipped with a hazard-warning reflexive triangle, a fire extinguisher, and a first-aid kit.

CAUTION: Pedestrians often use roads outside inhabited areas, where there is often poor visibility.

Despite the strict law, driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious problem in Poland. Watch out for cyclists and pedestrians on weekends and during national holidays especially on small roads in the countryside.

There are a lot of unguarded railway crossings, which demand the driver's attention.

Trams have the right of way at equivalent intersections.

On crossroads with traffic lights, when there is a green arrow signal you may turn right, but you have to come to a complete stop and give way to pedestrians and cross traffic (although the stop rule is seldom respected by Polish drivers). All this does not apply if right turning traffic has separate (red-yellow-green) signals.

Polish fines range from 50-500 PLN (you may get a 500 PLN ticket for parking in a place reserved for the disabled persons).

For parking in forbidden places (especially in big cities' centres) you may be towed away to a police parking or the city guard may put a blockade on your wheel. Then it is not only expensive, but taking off the blockade is troublesome and time consuming.

There are very few highways in Poland, more standard two-lane roads, which is the reasons of a great amount of traffic jams, especially in big cities.

Poles are fast drivers routinely disrespecting speed limits, they drive aggressively forcing the right-of-way. Poland has one of the worst road accidents statistics in Europe.

LPG

There are a lot of LPG stations in Poland. Gas tanks are filled by the gas station workers - self-service is not allowed. There are also many service stations all over the country, which can easily repair LPG gas powered cars.

Emergency road service

In case of any problems with your car, which might require towing, call your assistance agent in Poland or the nearest police station - phone no 112 (from mobile phones - free of charge) or landline connection - 997 (free of charge) and ask for the nearest towing company.

rent a car

At each airport and in every big city in Poland you can rent a car of any type: from compact cars to campers or limousines with chauffeurs. On Polish market there are a lot of world known rent a car firms, but there are also, usually cheaper, local ones. It is possible to rent a car via internet. Below some useful links:

By Train

Trains are a relatively cheap way of travelling in Poland (if you haven't got your own car). They can get you to all cities and the majority of small towns. They are usually on time, although the travel conditions are not always good. In order to feel more comfortable, use InterCity (IC), EuroCity (EC) or express trains (Ex). They require earlier reservation, stop on very few stations and are the most expensive with the exception of TLK - cheap express trains. They are slower, but cheaper than above. Don't cover many routes, but are very good alternative for budget travellers. They usually require reservation.

There are also:

  • POS (pospieszny) - fast trains, make more stops and have lower standards. They don't require reservation.
  • OSO (osobowy) - local trains, cheap but present the lowest standard, may be a good way to see the country as they stop at every possible station.
  • SKM/SKW (podmiejski) - suburban - suburban commuter trains, function like tubes, but are not underground. There is also metro - underground, but only one short line in Warsaw.

If you buy tickets for trains, there are two classes at your choice: first (pierwsza klasa) marked with 1 with better comfort, and cheaper - second 2 (druga klasa).

To get more information about train connections check:

PKP (Polish Railways) timetable search (in English, but with station names of course in Polish): http://static.rozklad-pkp.pl/bin/query.exe/en or call PKP information: +48 22 19436, international information +48 22 5116003

For reductions, promotions and special offers check: http://www.intercity.pl/?page=reductions

CAUTION: There are sometimes (especially on weekends) long queues to the ticket offices in big cities, so you'd better buy tickets in advance or on the internet https://bilet.intercity.pl/irez/

You can buy a ticket on board from the conductor but only on the fast or local trains and at a higher price. Just before boarding without a ticket, you must seek the conductor on the platform to inform him you intend to buy one, otherwise he could fine you for dodging.

By Ferry

Poland is connected by ferries with Sweden and Denmark. You may use the following ferry companies:

Polferries
Gdańsk-Nynäshamn Polferries Ferry Terminal (Baza Promowa Polferries),
Gdańsk; ul. Przemysłowa 1
Phone no (+48 58) 343 18 87
http://www.polferries.pl

Unity Line Sp. z o.o.
Pl. Rodła 8, 70-419 Szczecin
Phone no.: . +48 (91) 35 95 600
e-mail: info@unityline.pl
http://www.unityline.pl/en/

Stena Line,
Ferry Terminal Gdynia
Eugeniusza Kwiatkowskiego 60
81-156 Gdynia
E-mail: info.pl@stenaline.com
Phone no.: (+48 58) 660 92 00
http://www.stenaline.co.uk/ferry/

Żegluga Gdańska Ltd Sp. z o.o.,
ul. Pończoszników 2
Phone no.: (+48 58) 301 74 26
http://www.zegluga.pl

Connections from Sweden:

  • Ystad - Świnoujście (6,5 -9 hours) by Unity Line
  • Trelleborg - Świnoujście (7 - 7,5 hours) by Unity Line
  • Karlskrona - Gdynia (10,5 hours) by Stena Line
  • Nynäshamn - Gdańsk (18 hours) by Polferries
  • Ystad - Świnoujście (9.5 hours) by Polferries

Connections from Denmark:

  • Copenhagen - - Świnoujście (9-12 hours) by Polferries
  • Bornholm/Ronne - Świnoujście (5 hours) by Polferries
  • Bornholm /Nexo - Darłowo/Ustka/Kołobrzeg (summer charters) by Żegluga Gdańska

By Yacht

Polish borders can also be reached by yacht. Marinas are open here for a whole year, and are mostly cheap. You have to pay extra for toilets and showers. There is also a big advantage of visiting Poland by yacht - the country has very safe coast. That means no rocks and unexpected shallows. The most popular marinas are: Gdynia (http://www.marinagdynia.pl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=14&intro=0 ), Gdańsk (http://www.marinagdansk.pl/ ), Szczecin (http://www.marinapogon.pl/cennik.php ) and Łeba (http://www.port.leba.eu/content/view/16/25/ ). Note that Polish havens are usually located in the beautiful parts of town centres.

Travelling with animals

Travelling with pet animals requires:
  • the pet's passport or a certificate from a vet doctor that the pet's home country transportation rules have been fulfilled,
  • the pet's proof of rabies vaccination and its current health certificate,
  • a microchip or tag for identification purposes; the tag should be labelled with your pet's name, address (also the Polish address) and a phone number.
  • while out side of your car - your dog should be muzzled
  • in city transport pets need tickets

For more information check the website of Polish Vets Inspector : http://www.wetgiw.gov.pl

City transport

In all Polish major cities you can use very efficient and inexpensive city transport. The city transport operates buses and trams. In some cities (e.g.in Gdynia, Lublin) you may use a trolley bus. There is only one metro line in Warsaw. In some cities there are city trains similar to tubes, but on the ground, for example in Tricity, such trains connect Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia (they are called SKM), and SKW in the Warsaw area.

Tickets can be purchased at the newsagents' and for city trains at the station.

There are discounts for children, students, retired and veterans.

Pets need tickets. Your dog should be muzzled.

It is usually useful to buy a daily, 3-days, weekly or a monthly travel card.

For example 24h Warsaw travel card for all means of transport valid 24h from punching the ticket costs 9,00 zł (in 1. zone) and 14,00 zł (zones 1-2). (More: http://www.ztm.waw.pl/taryfa/en/tar.php )

In some cities for a pet or large luggage a separate ticket is required.

All city websites have information concerning transport, and are usually equipped with the local journey planner (but unfortunately not always in English):

Examples:

To avoid being fined and falling into additional trouble take care of your ticket after punching it. Controllers operate very often and in different times of a day.

Taxi

The safest way is to call a taxi instead of hailing it from the street. You can find the phone numbers at the hotel, on the internet (on municipal websites), or on the cabs in the streets. In some taxi corporations, booking a taxi by phone entitles you to a discount.

Use only cabs associated in taxi corporations (with a company logo, usually on the roof).

If possible, get to know the fare before you order a taxi ride (ask your hotel receptionist or a native) and settle the maximum fare (not more than...) with your taxi driver before departing.

Every taxi driver is obliged to give you a receipt when asked (at the end of the ride). You can ask the driver about a receipt (in Polish: rachunek - pronounce it: rah-who-neck) before you get into the cab. If he refuses to do so, you are advised to change the cab.

Make sure that the meter is running and shows an appropriate fare (taryfa):

  • Taryfa 1: Daytime within city limits
  • Taryfa 2: Nights, Sundays and holidays within city limits
  • Taryfa 3: Daytime outside city limits
  • Taryfa 4: Nights, Sundays and holidays outside city limits

Daytime fares for 1 km from 1,40 zł. Nights and weekend from 2,10 zł (depending on company). Below phone numbers of taxi fleets (A-Z) in major cities:

Warsaw: Bayer-Taxi 02219667; City Warsaw Taxi 02219459; Damel-Taxi 02219626; Ele-Sky Taxi 0228111111; Euro Taxi 02219662; Express-Taxi 02219663; Grosik Taxi 0226464646; Halo Taxi 02219623; Korpo-Taxi 02219624; Lux Taxi 02219666; Maxi Taxi 02219456; Me.rc Taxi 0226777777; Nowa Taxi 02219687, 0229627; OK! Taxi 02219628; Partner Taxi 02219669; Radio Taxi 02219191; Sawa Taxi 0226444444; Super Taxi 02219622; Taxi-Plus 02219621; Tele-Taxi 02219627, 0229687; Top Taxi 02219664; Trans Taxi 02219624; Volfra Radio Taxi 02219625; Wawa Taxi 02219644

Gdańsk: Artus MPT 05819633; City Plus Hallo Taxi 0583033535; Dajan-Taxi 0583207978; Komfort Taxi 0583032189; Milano Taxi 0583073030; Super Hallo Taxi 0583057197; Super Neptun 05819192

Kraków: City-Taxi 01219621; Expres-Taxi 01219629; MPT Radio 01219663; Put Euro Taxi 0122666111; Radio Taxi 01219191; Radio Taxi Barbakan 01219661; Radiotaxi Krak 0122676767; Radiotaxi Lajkonik 01219628; Super Radio Taxi 01219686; Tele-Taxi 01219626; Wawel Radio Taxi 01219666

Poznań: ACI Radio Taxi 06119667; Central Taxi STOB 0618773344; Hallo Taxi 0618216216; Radio Taxi 0618670398; Radio Taxi MPT 06119191; Radio Taxi Express 0618480480; Radio Taxi M1 06119669; Radio Taxi Promix 0618515515; Radio Taxi RMI 06119668; Radio Taxi Stop 0618222333; Radio Taxi ZTP 0618324043; Radio TaxiLux 06119662

Wrocław: Basket Radio Taxi 07119624; City Radio Taxi 07119662; Domino-Taxi 07119625; Hallo Radio Taxi 07119621; Lux Radio Taxi S07119623; MPT Radio-Taxi 07119191; Radio Taxi Wuwu 07119668; Radio-Taxi-Express 07119628; SPT Super Taxi 07119663; ZTP Radio Taxi 0713443231

Toruń: City Taxi 0566544422; Copernicus Halo Taxi 0566599192; OK. 0566452901; Tele Taxi Radio Taxi 0566540101