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Poland - Country Guide

Summary

Poland is a big country, stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Carpathian Mountains. This varied landscape has been fought over for centuries, culminating in almost total destruction of some of the major cities during the Second World War. However Wroclaw the old towns of Warsaw have been rebuilt to the original plans meaning they still retain their charm.

Krakow is another major draw - the stunning cental square is only matched by Wroclaw's. Krakow forms part of the gateway to the mountains - further south rise the Carpathian mountains bordering Slovakia which are popular all year round for hiking and winter sports.

Highlights

  • Krakow
  • Wieliczka Salt Mine

Weather and times to visit

Poland has a continental climate with cold winters and warm summers. Rainfall is unpredictable with July being both the hottest and wettest month. Snow arrives in December and lasts until March or as late as May in the mountains. July and August are the most crowded with months either side a good time to visit.

Language

The official language is Polish, a Slavic language. English is widely spoken in tourist areas, although outside of these the second language is often German.

Currency and money matters

The official currency is the zloty (PLN). Exchange booths are everywhere in tourist areas - the quoted rate of signs is often the buying rather than selling rate. ATMs are found in most towns.

Business Hours

Most shops and banks open 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday and sometimes on Saturday mornings. In tourist areas shops can be open much later, depending on the season.

Visas

EU citizens don't need visas to visit Poland indefinitely and some other nationalities are allowed 90 day visa-free stays.

General Campsite Conditions

Campsites are not as well equipped as those in Western Europe. Facilities can be older and crowded at peak times. However things are changing and standards are improving generally.

Destinations