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Useful Information on Poland
LOCATION:Poland is located in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Russia to the north. The total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometers (120,726 sq mi).
POPULATION:Poland has a population of over 38 million people. The capital of Poland – Warsaw – has 1.7 million citizens. There are several other major cities, such as Krakow (Cracow), Wroclaw, Poznan, Gdansk, Szczecin, Lodz, Katowice, Lublin, Rzeszow.
LANGUAGE:The official language is Polish. English and German are widely spoken in hotels and the tourist industry.
TIME:Poland is in the Central European Time Zone: GMT + 1. Summertime is applicable from the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday in October when they set the clock back one hour.
CURRENCY:The official Polish unit of currency is the Polish Zloty (1 PLN = 100 groszy). If you convert 1 USD into Polish Zloty you will receive about 3 PLN. In fact, the Polish Zloty exchange rate may fluctuate many times during the day. Major foreign currencies may be exchanged for Polish Zlotys at banks or exchange counters, identified by the name KANTOR. They are located in many places like hotels, train and bus stations as well as main streets in cities. The bank notes: 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10 zlotys. The coins: 5, 2, 1 zloty and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 grosz
CREDIT CARDS:An increasing number of establishments in Poland accept credit cards. Among the most popular are American Express, VISA, MasterCard, Carte Blanche, Diner’s Club, Eurocard. Special information stickers are put on the doors and windows of business offices which accept payment with credit cards. Holders of credit cards can obtain cash from banks or ATMs.
TRAVELER’S CHECKS:Major traveler’s checks can be exchanged for zlotys. When traveling to smaller towns, it is better to have some cash in reserve. Eurochecks are accepted in accordance with standard international tourism agreements.
CUSTOMS FEES:Every visitor can bring ordinary gifts and souvenirs, which cannot be used for commercial purposes. You must consider their nature and quantity. The total value must be less than 175 EUR. According to the present rates, as listed in the official table of custom fees, souvenirs that exceed the value of 175 EUR are subject to duty. For further information, please contact the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York, tel. (646) 237-2100.
TELEPHONE:Major cities and towns in Poland can be reached directly from the United States by dialing 0-11-48 followed by the city code and the telephone number. To connect directly from Poland with most European countries, U.S.A. and Canada, one has to dial “0”, listen for a steady tone, then dial “0” again, followed by the country code, area code and the number.
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MOTOR VEHICLES & DRIVING:U.S. and Canadian driver’s licenses are honored in Poland only in conjunction with an International Driver’s License, available at any AAA office for a fee. For more information visit the website: www.AAA.com
TAXI:Taxi stands are marked with the TAXI sign. Taxi can 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 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM.
RAILROAD:Utilizing an extensive network of routes and connections, rail is by far the most common and convenient way to get around Poland. Furthermore, rail is an excellent way for a traveler to reach major cities and capitals of Europe. The EuroCity (EC) and the InterCity (IC) trains offer rapid and regular service between major points of interest for the domestic and foreign traveler alike. Complimentary snacks are served on all IC trains.
TIPPING:Tips of 10% to 15% are customary in restaurants and cafes. Tipping in self-service restaurants is not expected. Tips for porter’s services in hotels and train stations are expected, but amounts for services rendered are at the traveler’s discretion.
ELECTRICITY:The uniform voltage in Poland is 220 Volts / 50 Hertz, since round, European-style two-pin plugs are used. Electrical equipment of 110 Volts / 60 Hertz requires the use of an adapter or a voltage converter.
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS:U.S. and Canadian citizens do not need a visa for leisure or business travel to Poland, and they can stay for up to 90 days without a visa. Your passport expiration date must be at least six months after your return to the United States or Canada. For further information please visit the website of the Polish Embassy or Consulate in your country.
CLIMATE:Poland has a moderate climate. The average temperature in July is 67°F (19°C). There are, of course, very hot days when temperatures exceed 86°F (30°C). The coldest winter months are January and February, when average temperatures drop to a few degrees below freezing. During exceptionally cold winters, temperatures as low as -22°F (-30°C) have been recorded. With huge snowfalls, the Polish mountains offer good conditions for winter sports enthusiasts.
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