Poland has many visitors throughout the year - from students inside and outside of the European Union, to families who just wish to see a new country, to people from Ukraine whom think of staying here may be better for them, to hen and stag parties from the UK that flock here as there are plenty fun options with cheaper alcohol than back home... everyone finds something in Poland that they like/love and many end up coming again and again. But many are misinformed about many subjects, so I thought... why not give you a helping hand and let you know about 10 Things You Should Know Before Coming To Poland:
- The official name of Poland is actually the Republic of Poland (just like the Republic of Ireland). In polish that would be: Rzeczpospolita Polska. The official language is, of course, Polish but in the big cities people do speak English - in hotels, restaurants, big shopping malls. They also know Russian but they would rather not speak it, due to the dark history with the Communistic times.
- Poland is located dead centre on the map of Europe. It borders Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and (Mother) Russia (the Kaliningrad exclave). The North border runs along the Baltic Sea Coast. #DidYouKnow that previously Poland also had borders with Romania? :)
- The capital city is Warsaw (Warszawa). Krakow was the capital for a very long while and it is still considered the City of Kings, the Cultural Capital of Poland, it's beating artistic heart. Warsaw was about 90% grazed to the ground during the Second World War and rebuilt. Almost everything you see there nowdays, in the Old Town, is remade after old sketches and photos of what used to be...
View of Warsaw from the top of the Palace of Culture
- Climate in Poland: moderate continental, with relatively cold winters (December to March/April - they do tend to be quite windy...). There are hot summers from June to August but usually July is quite a rainy month and it can rain heavily several days in a row. The highest temperature can reach up to 35 degrees Celsius.
- Polish Currency is not EURO! Even if Poland is part of the European Union, that does not mean we use EURO. Zloty is the currency: 1 zloty (PLN) = 100 groszy. Don't worry, in most places you can pay by card and if not, you can always find an exchange office (they are named here KANTOR).
- How to call a Polish number? The calling code is +48 and all you need to do is add it before the number you were given. The mobile phone numbers have 9 digits so that would be: +48 xxx xxx xxx and you're there! :)
- Polish law related to drinking in public - you can drink in a bar, you can drink in a restaurant, you can have a pint in your hotel room, but you cannot drink on the streets. Some people try to "fake it" and put the bottles in brown paper bags, but if you are found you will pay quite a large sum for your behaviour.
- Public transport - I just love it in Poland! Especially the tram rides! They are always fast, on time and they have connections throughout the city. Trams are the best way to get around. You don't need to stand in a line and buy a ticket from the ticket machines in the stations, just jump abroad and buy a ticket from the vending machines that are available in each public transport machine. But make sure you have change for that as machines take only coins or you can pay with paypass (contactless).
Wroclaw main train station
- Poland cuisine is not quite made for vegetarians... the food here comes in large portions, carbohydrates heavy and rich with meat! Blood sausages, but is, golabki ("pidgeons"), pork knuckles and dozen upon dozen of pierogi types (dumplings that can be fried or boiled) - doesn't sound vegetarian, does it?!
- Vodka is a must!? If you will be invited by any local to their homes, you will for sure be served with either some hot tea or some vodka (or both). It is the "national beverage" and there are different flavours to satisfy each taste: sour cherries, walnut, quince, lemon... you name it, Poland probably has it ;)
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Poland