About Poland

Name of Poland
The Polish words for a Pole are Polak (masculine) and Polka (feminine), Polacy being the plural form. The adjective “Polish” translates to Polish as polski (masculine), polska (feminine) and polskie (neuter). The common Polish name for Poland is Polska. The latter Polish word is an adjectival form which has developed into a substantive noun, most probably originating in the phrase polska ziemia, meaning “Polish land”. The full official name of the Polish state is Rzeczpospolita Polska which loosely translates as “Polish Republic”


Territory and population
The total area of Poland is 312,679 km² (120,728 sq mi), making it the 69th largest country in the world and 9th in Europe. Poland has a population of over 38.5 million people, which makes it the 33rd most populous country in the world.Poland’s territory accounts for 1.4 percent of Europe’s total surface area, and for 0.23 percent of the world’s land masses. Poland is 120 times bigger than Liechtenstein and 520 times bigger than Singapore. The Voivodeship of Greater Poland (Wielkopolska) is exactly the size of Belgium. Poland lies in the central part of the European continent, the geometrical centre of which is near Warsaw. Before the Partitions (late 18th century) it was about 733,000 sq km. Partitioned and annexed by Russia, Prussia and Austria, in 1795 Poland disappeared from the map of Europe for the next 123 years. On the restoration of independence in 1918 it covered 388,000 sq km.
Polish (język polski, polszczyzna) is the official language of Poland. It is the West Slavic language spoken in a uniform manner through most of Poland. The Polish alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet but uses diacritics (ć, ń, ó, ś, ź, ż, ą, ę, ł). There are 32 letters in the Polish alphabet, including 9 vowels and 23 consonants. There are also 7 digraphs (ch, cz, dz, dź, dż, rz, sz). The letters q, v and x do not belong to the Polish alphabet, but are used in some foreign words and commercial names

Say “chrząszcz” – Polish language challenge!

UNESCO sites in Poland
more info about tourist regions of Poland > see the presentation by clicking here
Currency and Payments
The Poland’s currency is zloty. 1 zloty equals 100 groszy (gro-sh-ee). In circulation there are 1-, 2-, 5-, 10-, 20-, and 50 groszy coins as well as 1-, 2-, and 5 zloty coins. The banknotes have 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 zloty nominal. Banks work usually Monday to Friday between 8 am and 5 pm; on Saturdays only some of the banks work, and those are open between 9 am and 1 pm. Eurocheques and credit cards can be cashed there. There is a well-developed network of cash machines and the instructions are provided also in English. Money can best be changed at banks or exchange counters. Credit cards are accepted in shops, travel offices, airlines agencies, fuel stations, etc. There is no time limit on the use of credit cards they can be used round the clock. Loss of a credit card should be reported: tel. + 48 22 5153150 or 5153000 (open 24 hrs).
Time zone
Poland is in the Central European Time Zone. Central European Standard Time (CET) is 1 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+1). Like most states in Europe, Summer (Daylight-Saving) Time is observed in Poland, where the time is shifted forward by 1 hour; 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).
After the Summer months the time in Poland is shifted back by 1 hour to Central European Time (CET) or (GMT+1).
Emergency phones:
The following emergency numbers can be dialled from any phone booth free of charge and are the same countrywide:
·         To call in emergency from your mobile, dial 112.
·         To call in emergency from a stationary phone, dial:  Police – 997  / Fire brigade – 998  / Ambulance – 999  / Breakdown assistance – 981
The general emergency phone for foreign tourists: 0 800 200 300, +48 608 599 999
Electricity in Poland is 230volts, 50 Hz AC. You will need a European plug adapter (with round pins) plug into electric sockets.
Public Toilets
Public toilets for ladies are marked with a small circle, gents with a small triangle. For using a public toilet a fee (e.g. 1 or 2 zloty) is usually collected. At some gas stations, restaurants etc. are toilets with door automatically opening after inserting a 1 zloty coin.
Post Offices:
Post offices are open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 8 pm. In cities there are post offices on duty, which work 24 hours daily. At the post office you can use a phone-card telephone and buy a phone-cards.
Transportation in Poland
Airports: 8 airports operate in the following cities: Warsaw, Gdansk, Katowice, Krakow, Poznań, Rzeszow, Szczecin, Wrocław. Trains: Poland has a well developed rail network. Major Polish cities are interconnected by Intercity express trains running between European cities. Buses: Any place in Poland can be easily reached by an extensive network of national and local roads. Coach services are operated by the state and private bus companies throughout the whole country. Taxis: Taxi stands are marked with TAXI sign. Taxis can best be booked by phone. Higher rates are charged for travel out of city limits, on Sundays and holidays; a special night fare is applied between 10 pm and 6 am.
Driver’s license
Driver’s licenses issued by other EU member states are recognized by Poland and remain valid until the expiry date indicated in the document. While driving a vehicle on the territory of the Poland the driver is obliged to have with him a driver’s license and civil liability insurance. Seat belts must be used in both front and back seats, with children up to the age of 12 and up to 150 cm tall using special certified seats. Using a mobile phone while driving is banned, though a loud-speaking phone system is permitted.
Speed limits in Poland

Passenger cars withtrailer Passenger cars /Motorbikes / Trucks up to 3.5 t
One lane roads 70km/h 90km/h
One lane expressways 70km/h 110km/h
Two lane expressways 70km/h 120km/h
Highways 80km/h 130km/h
Built-up areas (5am-11pm) 50km/h 50km/h
Built-up areas (11pm-5am) 50km/h 60km/h
Driving rules
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence. BAC limits are: up to 0.02% – not prosecuted by law, up to 0.05% – an offence, above 0.05%criminal offence (up to 2 years in jail).
  • There is no right turn at a red light. Exception is when there is green arrow signal in which case you still have to come to a complete stop and yield to pedestrians and cross traffic (although the stop rule is seldom respected by Polish drivers).
  • On T-crossing or crossroads without traffic signs, traffic at the right always has right-of-way unless your road is a priority route, shown by a road sign displaying a yellow diamond with a white outline.
  • After turning into a crossing street, driver can select any lane.
  • Driving with lights on is obligatory at all times. Front fog lights may be used only during fog or heavy rain. Rear fog lights may be used only when visibility is under 50 meters. The vehicle must be equipped with a reflector triangle.
  • Some drivers flash their headlights to warn those approaching from the opposite direction of a police control nearby (you are likely to encounter this custom in many other countries). So if you see somebody flashing their headlights, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong with your car.
  • In Poland you can encourage three ways of saying “thank you”. More common, and what may be misleading for foreigners is using hazard lights (all indicators simultaneously) once or twice. It is beeing slowly phased out by flashing right/left/right indicator sequence or similar. Third way of saying “thank you” mainly used when letting someone do a left turn is by showing right hand.
  • Be aware about hazard lights – Drivers also use them as a way of showing, that vehicle is rapidly slowing down, or alredy stopped in a traffic jam on a highway.
  • Radar-warning systems are banned. Effective May 1 2004, the „green card” is not required upon entry by car into Poland. However, it may be used as international proof of insurance, facilitating the obtainment of compensation in the event of an accident. Tourists travelling by car may enter Poland through designated border crossings. Polish roads are used by transit traffic from the west to the east and from the north to the south of Europe.
Petrol in Poland
Poland has a dense network of fuel station owned by Polish companies such as Orlen, and Rafineria Gdanska, as well as authorised stations belonging to such foreign companies as Aral, Esso, Jet, Neste, Shell, and Statoil. There are also many private petrol stations along. Most fuel stations located along international routes and some selected stations in large cities are open 24 hours. Other stations are usually open from 6 a.m. to 8 or 10 p.m. A majority of petrol stations sell all popular grades of petrol, including 94 octane leaded, 95 and 98 octane unleaded, U95 octane unleaded for vehicles without catalyctic converter, as well as diesel fuel. Many stations offer LPG and Auto gas fuel. In addition to fuels, most petrol stations sell automotive accessories, snacks, beverages, foodstuffs, cosmetics, etc.

and, above all … 27 Reasons You Should Never Visit Poland

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