YOU CAN EDIT THIS PAGE! Just click any blue "Edit" link and start writing!

Editing Poland

Jump to: navigation, search

Warning: You are not logged in. Your IP address will be publicly visible if you make any edits. If you log in or create an account, your edits will be attributed to your username, along with other benefits.

The edit can be undone. Please check the comparison below to verify that this is what you want to do, and then save the changes below to finish undoing the edit.
Latest revision Your text
Line 20: Line 20:
 
|emergencies=dial '''112'''
 
|emergencies=dial '''112'''
 
}}
 
}}
[http://www.polska.travel/en '''Poland'''] (Polish: ''Polska''), is a country located in [[Central Europe]], bordering the [[Baltic Sea]] coastline in the north, the [[Czech Republic]] and [[Slovakia]] to the south, [[Germany]] to the west, and [[Lithuania]], [[Russia]] (the [[Kaliningrad Oblast]] exclave), [[Ukraine]], and [[Belarus]] to the east.  
+
[http://www.polska.travel/en '''Poland'''] (Polish: ''Polska''), is one of the larger countries in [[Central Europe]]. It has a long [[Baltic Sea]] coastline and is bordered by [[Belarus]], the [[Czech Republic]], [[Germany]], [[Lithuania]], [[Russia]] (the [[Kaliningrad Oblast]] exclave), [[Slovakia]], and [[Ukraine]].
  
 
==Understand==
 
==Understand==
 
===History===
 
===History===
One of the first recognized permanent settlements within contemporary Polish borders is the Iron Age fort of [[Biskupin]], dating to 700 BC. Centuries later, Roman writers recalled the existence of the towns [[Kalisz]] and [[Elbląg]] along the Amber Road, a trade route linking the Baltic and Mediterranean seas originating back to prehistoric times. At the time, the Polish lands were inhabited by an assortment of Celtic, Samartian, Germanic, Baltic, and scattered Slavic tribes.
+
The first cities in today's Poland, [[Kalisz]] and [[Elbląg]]. located on the Amber Trail to the Baltic Sea, were mentioned by Roman writers in the first century AD, yet the first Polish settlement in [[Biskupin]] dates even further back to the 7th century BC.
  
Following increased Slavic migration from the east and the consolidation of these tribes into larger political units during the Dark Ages, Poland became a unified kingdom under the reign of Mieszko I, who officially adopted Catholicism in 966. Major settlements in the infant kingdom at the time were [[Poznań]], [[Gniezno]], [[Giecz]], and [[Ostrów Lednicki]], with Gniezno the center of royal politics in its first decades. In 1038, the royal capital was moved to [[Kraków]], where it remained for half a millennium. After the death of King Bolesław III Wrymouth in 1138, the Polish kingdom fragmented into smaller, bickering units, with Bolesław's sons (and their descendants) competing for the Kraków throne for nearly 200 years. The kingdom's fragmentation and loss of central authority could not have come at a worse time, with the Mongol Empire invading and wreaking havoc on the realm repeatedly in 1240-1241, 1259-1260, and lastly between 1287-1288.
+
Poland became a unified kingdom in the first half of the 10th century, and officially adopted Catholicism in 966. The first major settlements were [[Poznań]], [[Gniezno]], [[Giecz]], and [[Ostrów Lednicki]]. Gniezno was probably the most important city at that time, as the first king's coronation, of Bolesław the Brave, took place there in 1025. A decade later in 1038, the capital was moved to [[Kraków]], where it remained for half a millennium. The kingdom fragmented after the death of King Bolesław III Wrymouth in 1138, with his sons (and their descendants) competing for the Kraków throne for nearly 200 years. The fragmentation and loss of central authority could not have come at a worse time, with the Mongol Empire invading and wreaking havoc on the realm repeatedly in 1240-1241, 1259-1260, and lastly between 1287-1288.
  
Following Poland's reunification in the 14th century, the kingdom experienced a golden age lasting into the 17th century, under the competent reigns of King Casimir III the Great and the monarchs of the Jagiellonian dynasty, whose rule extended from the Baltic to the Black and Adriatic seas. After politically uniting with Lithuania in 1569, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth stood as the largest country in Europe, and became an immigration magnet for Germans, Jews, Armenians, and Dutch. The Commonwealth's freedom of confession, guaranteed by the state, and its general atmosphere of tolerance made the country rather exceptional for early modern Europe. At the same time, the Commonwealth became one of the centers of the European Renaissance, as Italian architects, craftsman, and thinkers came to Poland-Lithuania to share their knowledge. Their legacy remains largely evident, especially in the architecture of [[Kraków]] and [[Zamość]].
+
Following its reunification, Poland experienced its golden age from the 14th till the 16th century, under the reigns of King Casimir III the Great and the monarchs of the Jagiellonian dynasty, whose rule extended from the Baltic to the Black and Adriatic seas. After uniting with Lithuania in 1569, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth became the largest country in Europe. During this era, the commonwealth attracted significant immigration from Germans, Jews, Armenians, and Dutch, due in part to the freedom of confession guaranteed by the state, and the commonwealth's atmosphere of tolerance (a rather exceptional feat at the time of the Holy Inquisition).  
  
Under the rule of the Vasa dynasty, the capital moved to more centrally-located [[Warsaw]] in 1596. The Commonwealth's golden era came to an abrupt end in the 17th century. A disastrous war with Russia between 1654-1667 coincided with an even more destructive five-year invasion and occupation by Sweden, known today as the Deluge (''pоtор''), an event that arguably rivals World War II in its widespread destruction. Economically devastated by these events, the Commonwealth's power dramatically declined in the 18th century. Weak in foreign affairs and internally divided by its nobility (''szlachta''), Russia, Prussia, and Austria seized on Poland-Lithuania's weakness and coordinated three partitions in 1772, 1793, and 1795. Responding to these partitions and a drastic need for political reform, Poland became the first country in Europe (and the second in the world after the United States) to pass a written constitution in 1791, a highly progressive and strong document for its time. Despite the constitution, the Commonwealth ceased to exist after 1795, with its lands annexed by the three competing imperial powers.
+
Under the rule of the Vasa dynasty, the capital moved to [[Warsaw]] in 1596. The commonwealth's golden era came to an end in the 1650s, after a disastrous war with Russia coincided with an even more destructive five-year invasion and occupation by Sweden, an event known today as the Deluge (''pоtор''). Economically devastated by these events, the commonwealth's power dramatically declined in the 18th century. Weak in foreign affairs and internally divided by its nobility (''szlachta''), Russia, Prussia, and Austria seized on Poland-Lithuania's weakness and coordinated three partitions in 1772, 1793, and 1795. Responding to these partitions and a drastic need for political reform, Poland became the first country in Europe (and the second in the world after the United States) to pass a written constitution in 1791, a highly progressive and strong document for its time. Despite the constitution, the commonwealth ceased to exist after 1795, with its lands annexed by the three competing imperial powers.
  
 
The following period of foreign domination was met with fierce resistance. During the Napoleonic Wars, a French-backed semi-autonomous Duchy of Warsaw arose, before being erased from the map in 1813. Further uprisings ensued, including the 29 November uprising of 1830-1831 (in Russian Poland), the 1848 Revolution (in Austrian and Prussian Poland), and the January Uprising between 1863-1864 (also in Russian Poland). Throughout the occupation, Poles retained their sense of national identity and defied the three occupying powers with armed struggle or passive resistance.
 
The following period of foreign domination was met with fierce resistance. During the Napoleonic Wars, a French-backed semi-autonomous Duchy of Warsaw arose, before being erased from the map in 1813. Further uprisings ensued, including the 29 November uprising of 1830-1831 (in Russian Poland), the 1848 Revolution (in Austrian and Prussian Poland), and the January Uprising between 1863-1864 (also in Russian Poland). Throughout the occupation, Poles retained their sense of national identity and defied the three occupying powers with armed struggle or passive resistance.
  
 
[[Image:Warsaw-Pilsudski-Square-1900s.jpg|thumb|Warsaw in the 1900s.]]
 
[[Image:Warsaw-Pilsudski-Square-1900s.jpg|thumb|Warsaw in the 1900s.]]
Poland returned to the European map at the end of World War I, with a declaration of independence from the defeated German and Austro-Hungarian empires on 11 November 1918. From their ashes, the infant Second Polish Republic quickly became embroiled in violent border disputes with other new post-war states, including Czechoslovakia to the south, Lithuania to the northeast, and revolutionary Soviet Russia to the east. In particular, the Soviet-Polish War of 1919-1921 became the most serious of these conflicts, when the Soviets unsuccessfully pushed to reincorporate Poland back into Russia. International relations were further complicated by a hostile Weimar Germany to the west, which strongly resented a series of post-war Polish ethnic nationalist rebellions, Poland's annexations of eastern Prussian territories, and the detachment of German-speaking Danzig (contemporary [[Gdańsk]]) as a free city overseen by the League of Nations. Diplomatic difficulties were further compounded by domestic political chaos throughout the 1920s, with the republic's infant, fragile, and often rowdy parliamentary democracy undermined by a military coup in May 1926. The May Coup brought about the semi-authoritarian junta of Marshal Józef Piłsudski, a highly-revered WWI and Polish-Soviet War commander.  
+
Poland returned to the European map at the end of World War I, with a declaration of independence from the defeated German and Austro-Hungarian empires on 11 November 1918. From their ashes, the infant Second Polish Republic quickly became embroiled in violent territorial disputes with other new post-war states, including Czechoslovakia to the south, and revolutionary Soviet Russia to the east, which it fought a bloody war against between 1919-1921 to retain independence. This was further complicated by a hostile Weimar Germany to the west, which strongly resented a series of post-war Polish ethnic nationalist rebellions, Poland's annexations of eastern Prussian territories, and the detachment of German-speaking Danzig (contemporary [[Gdańsk]]) as a free city overseen by the League of Nations. Diplomatic difficulties were further compounded by domestic political chaos in the 1920s, as the republic's infant and fragile parliamentary democracy was undermined by a military coup in 1926, which brought about a semi-authoritarian regime under Marshal Józef Piłsudski, a highly-revered WWI and Polish-Soviet War leader.  
  
All of these factors placed Poland in a precarious position of having potential enemies facing her from all sides by the end of the 1930s.  
+
All of these factors placed Poland in a precarious position of having potential enemies facing her from all sides.  
  
 
====World War II====
 
====World War II====
Line 53: Line 53:
 
After World War II, Poland became a Soviet satellite within the Eastern Bloc. Between 1945-1953, Stalinist leaders conducted periodic purges of the governing Communist Party. After Stalin's death in 1953, Poland became comparatively tolerant and progressive in comparison to other Eastern Bloc states. Strong economic growth in the post-war period alternated with serious recessions in 1956, 1970, and 1976, resulting in labour turmoil over dramatic inflation, as well as massive goods shortages.  
 
After World War II, Poland became a Soviet satellite within the Eastern Bloc. Between 1945-1953, Stalinist leaders conducted periodic purges of the governing Communist Party. After Stalin's death in 1953, Poland became comparatively tolerant and progressive in comparison to other Eastern Bloc states. Strong economic growth in the post-war period alternated with serious recessions in 1956, 1970, and 1976, resulting in labour turmoil over dramatic inflation, as well as massive goods shortages.  
  
A brief reprieve in this period occurred in 1978 when then-archbishop of Kraków, Karol Wojtyla, was elected as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, taking the name John Paul II. This had a profound impact on Poland's largely Catholic population, and to this day John Paul II is widely revered throughout the country.
+
A brief reprieve in this period occurred in 1978. The then-archbishop of Kraków, Karol Wojtyla, was elected as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, taking the name John Paul II. This had a profound impact on Poland's largely Catholic population, and to this day John Paul II is widely revered throughout the country.
  
 
In 1980, the anti-communist trade union [http://www.solidarnosc.org.pl/en/ "Solidarity"] (''Solidarność'') was founded by disgruntled [[Gdańsk]] shipyard workers and quickly became a strong opposition force to the communist government, organizing labour strikes while demanding freedom of the press, religion, and democratic representation. The communists responded by organizing a military junta, led by General Wojciech Jaruzelski as prime minister, who imposed martial law in December 1981. Lasting until July 1983, this crackdown period witnessed tens of thousands of people being detained. Martial law reached into all facets of life: phone calls were actively monitored by the government, independent organizations not aligned with the communists became illegal, access to roads was restricted, international borders were sealed, ordinary industries were placed under military management, and workers who failed to follow orders faced the threat of military courts. Solidarity members were particularly targeted with imprisonment or unemployment, a serious charge in the socialist world. Atop draconian military measures to stop political dissent, the Polish economy entered free fall.  
 
In 1980, the anti-communist trade union [http://www.solidarnosc.org.pl/en/ "Solidarity"] (''Solidarność'') was founded by disgruntled [[Gdańsk]] shipyard workers and quickly became a strong opposition force to the communist government, organizing labour strikes while demanding freedom of the press, religion, and democratic representation. The communists responded by organizing a military junta, led by General Wojciech Jaruzelski as prime minister, who imposed martial law in December 1981. Lasting until July 1983, this crackdown period witnessed tens of thousands of people being detained. Martial law reached into all facets of life: phone calls were actively monitored by the government, independent organizations not aligned with the communists became illegal, access to roads was restricted, international borders were sealed, ordinary industries were placed under military management, and workers who failed to follow orders faced the threat of military courts. Solidarity members were particularly targeted with imprisonment or unemployment, a serious charge in the socialist world. Atop draconian military measures to stop political dissent, the Polish economy entered free fall.  
Line 77: Line 77:
 
[[Image:Preparation to Parade of Independence in Gdańsk during Independence Day 2010 - 30.jpg|thumb|185px|Children in [[Gdańsk]] dressed in white and red celebrating National Independence Day.]]
 
[[Image:Preparation to Parade of Independence in Gdańsk during Independence Day 2010 - 30.jpg|thumb|185px|Children in [[Gdańsk]] dressed in white and red celebrating National Independence Day.]]
 
* '''Day of the Assumption''' (''Wniebowzięcie Najświętszej Maryi Panny''), 15 August, celebrates the passing of the Virgin Mary to heaven, and marked with Catholic morning religious services. The day also coincides with '''Armed Forces Day''' (''Święto Wojska Polskiego''), celebrating the defeat of the Soviet Army at Warsaw in 1920, with military parades and equipment reviews across the country, with [[Warsaw]] holding the largest event. A public holiday with most businesses closed.
 
* '''Day of the Assumption''' (''Wniebowzięcie Najświętszej Maryi Panny''), 15 August, celebrates the passing of the Virgin Mary to heaven, and marked with Catholic morning religious services. The day also coincides with '''Armed Forces Day''' (''Święto Wojska Polskiego''), celebrating the defeat of the Soviet Army at Warsaw in 1920, with military parades and equipment reviews across the country, with [[Warsaw]] holding the largest event. A public holiday with most businesses closed.
*'''Harvest End Day''' (''Dożynki''). Traditional holiday celebrated in rural areas in August or September. People use to make decoration from crops. It's associated with religious part but mostly with fun and live music.
 
 
* '''All Saints Day''' (''Wszystkich Świętych''), 1 November. In the afternoon people visit the graves of their relatives to light candles. After dusk, cemeteries picturesquely glow with thousands of lights. If you have the chance, be sure to visit a cemetery to witness this holiday. Many restaurants, malls, and stores will either be closed or close earlier than usual on this holiday.
 
* '''All Saints Day''' (''Wszystkich Świętych''), 1 November. In the afternoon people visit the graves of their relatives to light candles. After dusk, cemeteries picturesquely glow with thousands of lights. If you have the chance, be sure to visit a cemetery to witness this holiday. Many restaurants, malls, and stores will either be closed or close earlier than usual on this holiday.
 
* '''National Independence Day''' (''Narodowe Święto Niepodległości''), 11 November, commemorating Poland's 1918 declaration of independence, after 123 years of foreign rule by the Austro-Hungarian, German and Russian empires. Since the 2000s, the day has become one of heated nationalist protests in [[Warsaw]] that have turned violent on several occasions. In the rest of the country, the holiday is normal, marked with parades and flags. As with other holidays, most businesses will be closed on this day.
 
* '''National Independence Day''' (''Narodowe Święto Niepodległości''), 11 November, commemorating Poland's 1918 declaration of independence, after 123 years of foreign rule by the Austro-Hungarian, German and Russian empires. Since the 2000s, the day has become one of heated nationalist protests in [[Warsaw]] that have turned violent on several occasions. In the rest of the country, the holiday is normal, marked with parades and flags. As with other holidays, most businesses will be closed on this day.
Line 190: Line 189:
 
Most of Europe's major airlines fly to and from Poland. Poland's national carrier is [http://www.lot.com LOT Polish Airlines]. There are also a number of [[Discount airlines in Europe|low cost airlines]] that fly to Poland including [http://wizzair.com WizzAir], [http://easyjet.com EasyJet], [http://www.germanwings.com Germanwings], [http://www.norwegian.no/sw22123.asp Norwegian] and [http://www.ryanair.com Ryanair].
 
Most of Europe's major airlines fly to and from Poland. Poland's national carrier is [http://www.lot.com LOT Polish Airlines]. There are also a number of [[Discount airlines in Europe|low cost airlines]] that fly to Poland including [http://wizzair.com WizzAir], [http://easyjet.com EasyJet], [http://www.germanwings.com Germanwings], [http://www.norwegian.no/sw22123.asp Norwegian] and [http://www.ryanair.com Ryanair].
  
Apart from direct air connections from many European cities, there are also intercontinental flights from the United States, Canada, Japan, Korea, Kazakhstan, India, Singapore and China operated by LOT with direct flights from [[Beijing]], [[Seoul]], [[Tokyo]], [[Singapore]], [[New Delhi]], [[Nursultan]], [[Toronto]], [[New York City|New York]], [[Newark]], [[Miami]], [[Los Angeles]] and [[Chicago]]. In terms of long haul flights, [http://www.emirates.com Emirates], and [http://www.qatarairways.com Qatar Airways] flights operate to and from [[Dubai]] and [[Doha]] respectively, as well as non-direct flights from other cities throughout the Star Alliance program. Flydubai offers flights from Dubai to Cracow. Flights from Dubai- Al Maktoum airport are flown to Katowice by Wizzair.  
+
Apart from direct air connections from many European cities, there are also intercontinental flights from the United States, Canada and China operated by LOT with direct flights from [[Beijing]], [[Toronto]], [[New York City|New York]] and [[Chicago]]. In terms of long haul flights, [http://www.emirates.com Emirates] and [http://www.qatarairways.com Qatar Airways] flights operate to and from [[Dubai]] and [[Doha]] respectively, as well as non-direct flights from other cities throughout the Star Alliance program.
  
 
International airlines fly mainly into [http://www.lotnisko-chopina.pl/?lang=en Warsaw (WAW)], the country's largest gateway. Other major airports offering passenger service include: [http://en.modlinairport.pl/ Warsaw-Modlin (WMI)], [http://www.lotnisko-balice.pl Kraków (KRK)], [https://www.katowice-airport.com/en Katowice (KTW)], [http://www.airport.gdansk.pl Gdańsk (GDN)], [http://www.airport-poznan.com.pl Poznań (POZ)], [http://www.airport.wroclaw.pl Wrocław (WRO)], [http://www.airport.com.pl/en Szczecin (SZZ)], [http://www.rzeszowairport.pl Rzeszów (RZE)], [http://plb.pl/en Bydgoszcz (BZG)], [http://www.airport.lodz.pl Łódź (LCJ)], [http://www.portlotniczy.lublin.pl/ Lublin (LUZ)], [http://mazuryairport.pl/ Olsztyn (SZY)], [http://lotnisko-radom.eu/en/ Radom (RDO)], and [http://lotnisko.lubuskie.pl/ Zielona Góra (IEG)],  
 
International airlines fly mainly into [http://www.lotnisko-chopina.pl/?lang=en Warsaw (WAW)], the country's largest gateway. Other major airports offering passenger service include: [http://en.modlinairport.pl/ Warsaw-Modlin (WMI)], [http://www.lotnisko-balice.pl Kraków (KRK)], [https://www.katowice-airport.com/en Katowice (KTW)], [http://www.airport.gdansk.pl Gdańsk (GDN)], [http://www.airport-poznan.com.pl Poznań (POZ)], [http://www.airport.wroclaw.pl Wrocław (WRO)], [http://www.airport.com.pl/en Szczecin (SZZ)], [http://www.rzeszowairport.pl Rzeszów (RZE)], [http://plb.pl/en Bydgoszcz (BZG)], [http://www.airport.lodz.pl Łódź (LCJ)], [http://www.portlotniczy.lublin.pl/ Lublin (LUZ)], [http://mazuryairport.pl/ Olsztyn (SZY)], [http://lotnisko-radom.eu/en/ Radom (RDO)], and [http://lotnisko.lubuskie.pl/ Zielona Góra (IEG)],  
Line 217: Line 216:
 
There are many international bus lines that connect to major Polish cities from most major European locations.
 
There are many international bus lines that connect to major Polish cities from most major European locations.
  
* '''[http://www.voyager.pl Voyager]''' — website allows you to find most international bus connections (Eurolines, Ecolines, PPKS, Visitor, Inter-bus and more)  
+
* '''[http://www.voyager.pl/portal/a_bus_en.html Voyager]''' — website allows you to find most international bus connections (Eurolines, Ecolines, PPKS, Visitor, Inter-bus and more)  
 
* '''[http://www.eurolines.com Eurolines]''' — biggest European bus network (from: [[Austria|A]], [[Belarus|BY]],  [[Belgium|B]], [[Croatia|HR]], [[Czech Republic|CZ]], [[Denmark|DK]], [[United Kingdom|GB]], [[Estonia|EST]], [[France|F]], [[Germany|D]], [[Greece|GR]], [[The Netherlands|NL]], [[Italy|I]], [[Latvia|LV]], [[Lithuania|LT]], [[Norway|N]], [[Russia|RUS]], [[Spain|E]], [[Sweden|S]], [[Switzerland|CH]], [[Ukraine|UA]]).
 
* '''[http://www.eurolines.com Eurolines]''' — biggest European bus network (from: [[Austria|A]], [[Belarus|BY]],  [[Belgium|B]], [[Croatia|HR]], [[Czech Republic|CZ]], [[Denmark|DK]], [[United Kingdom|GB]], [[Estonia|EST]], [[France|F]], [[Germany|D]], [[Greece|GR]], [[The Netherlands|NL]], [[Italy|I]], [[Latvia|LV]], [[Lithuania|LT]], [[Norway|N]], [[Russia|RUS]], [[Spain|E]], [[Sweden|S]], [[Switzerland|CH]], [[Ukraine|UA]]).
 
* '''[https://ecolines.net Ecolines]''' — Latvian-based carrier, provides routes between Central Europe, the Baltic states, and Russia.  
 
* '''[https://ecolines.net Ecolines]''' — Latvian-based carrier, provides routes between Central Europe, the Baltic states, and Russia.  
Line 223: Line 222:
 
* '''[https://www.regiojet.cz RegioJet]''' — Czech-based carrier, offers comfortable transport from the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
 
* '''[https://www.regiojet.cz RegioJet]''' — Czech-based carrier, offers comfortable transport from the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
 
* '''[https://www.flixbus.com Flixbus]''' — German-based carrier, offers travel from Berlin to a number of Poland's larger cities.  
 
* '''[https://www.flixbus.com Flixbus]''' — German-based carrier, offers travel from Berlin to a number of Poland's larger cities.  
 +
* '''[http://www.tigerexpress.eu/en/ Tiger Express]''' — Polish minibus carrier, offering transport from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, and Ukraine between cities in southern Poland and Warsaw.
 
* '''[http://leoexpress.cz LEO Express]''' — Czech-based carrier with stops in several major southern and central Polish cities, offering bus connections to Ukraine, Austira and the Czech Republic, with rail transfers also available within Czech borders.
 
* '''[http://leoexpress.cz LEO Express]''' — Czech-based carrier with stops in several major southern and central Polish cities, offering bus connections to Ukraine, Austira and the Czech Republic, with rail transfers also available within Czech borders.
 
* '''[https://vlc.pl Van Line Connect]''' — Polish mninbus offering transports from Poland to England.
 
* '''[https://vlc.pl Van Line Connect]''' — Polish mninbus offering transports from Poland to England.
Line 343: Line 343:
 
[[Image:DK9-PL.svg|150px|thumb|A standard national road-level road sign.]]
 
[[Image:DK9-PL.svg|150px|thumb|A standard national road-level road sign.]]
 
[[Image:DW938-PL.svg|150px|thumb|A provincial voivodeship road-level road sign.]]
 
[[Image:DW938-PL.svg|150px|thumb|A provincial voivodeship road-level road sign.]]
In the past, driving in Poland was often described as stressful, frustrating and often time-consuming, due to the poor quality of roads, a lack of motorway-level routes, and the aggressive driving style of the locals. Thankfully, much has changed since the early 2000s, and today, a majority of all the republic's major cities are connected by motorways and expressways thanks to an ongoing construction boom fueled by Poland's strong economy and generous EU development funds. As of 2019, there are nearly 3,700 km (2,300 mi) of completed motorways and expressways throughout the country. However, much still needs to be done, as will be evidenced by many construction detours or finding yourself traveling on roads far above capacity for the volume of traffic they are carrying for.
+
In the past, driving in Poland was often described as stressful, frustrating and often time-consuming, due to the poor quality of roads, a lack of motorway-level routes, and the aggressive driving style of the locals. Thankfully, much has changed since the early 2000s, and today, a majority of all the republic's major cities are connected by motorways and expressways thanks to an ongoing construction boom fueled by Poland's strong economy and generous EU development funds. As of 2018, there are nearly 3,320 km (2,063 mi) of completed motorways and expressways throughout the country. However, much still needs to be done, as will be evidenced by many construction detours or finding yourself traveling on roads far above capacity for the volume of traffic they are carrying for.
  
Roads in Poland can be divided into several categories. Red and white-numbered roads are known as national roads (''droga krajowa''), which handle the bulk of the republic's traffic. A subcategory of national roads are '''motorway-class A roads''', which are signed with an A followed by a number. The motorway speed limit is typically '''140 km/h (87 mph)'''. A second high speed subcategory are '''expressway-class S roads''', whose speed limits range from '''100 km/h (62 mph) to 120 km/h (75 mph)'''. Confusingly, many S-class roads often look and feel like motorways, although there are several S-class roads that are limited to one lane in each direction. Finally there are the '''standard national roads''' without an A or S, and are often limited to two lanes between '''90 (56 mph) to 100 km/h'''. A separate category of roads are the '''voivodeship roads''' (''droga wojewódzka''), which are roads maintained by the provinces. They are typically lower in importance than national roads, and will be signed on a yellow background with black letters, involving three digits. Voivodeship roads are often smaller than their national road counterparts.   
+
Roads in Poland can be divided into several categories. Red and white-numbered roads are known as national roads (''droga krajowa''), which handle the bulk of the republic's traffic. A subcategory of national roads are '''motorway-class A roads''', which are signed with an A followed by a number. The motorway speed limit is typically '''140 km/h (87 mph)'''. A second high speed subcategory are '''expressway-class S roads''', whose speed limits range from  
 +
'''100 km/h (62 mph) to 120 km/h (75 mph)'''. Confusingly, many S-class roads often look and feel like motorways, although there are several S-class roads that are limited to one lane in each direction. Finally there are the '''standard national roads''' without an A or S, and are often limited to two lanes between '''90 (56 mph) to 100 km/h'''. A separate category of roads are the '''voivodeship roads''' (''droga wojewódzka''), which are roads maintained by the provinces. They are typically lower in importance than national roads, and will be signed on a yellow background with black letters, involving three digits. Voivodeship roads are often smaller than their national road counterparts.   
  
 
If you are not travelling on A or S-class roads, generally assume two hours for each 100 km of travel. If you're driving through larger cities, you can safely double that. When travelling between smaller cities or towns (usually on voivodeship roads), you will routinely encounter slow moving vehicles, such as farm vehicles and tractors, and sometimes bicycles. Drunks, on foot or on bicycles, are a common sight. This includes having them weave through fast moving traffic at night, although this activity is considered highly illegal.
 
If you are not travelling on A or S-class roads, generally assume two hours for each 100 km of travel. If you're driving through larger cities, you can safely double that. When travelling between smaller cities or towns (usually on voivodeship roads), you will routinely encounter slow moving vehicles, such as farm vehicles and tractors, and sometimes bicycles. Drunks, on foot or on bicycles, are a common sight. This includes having them weave through fast moving traffic at night, although this activity is considered highly illegal.
Line 351: Line 352:
 
'''Be aware that the A1, A2 and A4 motorways are tolled in certain locations'''. Toll rates vary from station to station, and are rather high, on par with a 10-day vignette in other European countries. Currently 10-30PLN for most sections -- A2, however, has 3 separate toll sections, totaling 72zł if you're going from Germany to central Poland.  Expect long waits at the toll booths before/after weekends in high season. The A2 section linking Warsaw an Łódź has dense traffic at most times. Tolls can be paid with cash or card at a tollbooth. At the current time, other motorways, expressways, national and voivodeship roads '''are not tolled'''. [http://www.viatoll.pl/en viaToll] provides greater information regarding tolling locations, rates, and electronic payments.
 
'''Be aware that the A1, A2 and A4 motorways are tolled in certain locations'''. Toll rates vary from station to station, and are rather high, on par with a 10-day vignette in other European countries. Currently 10-30PLN for most sections -- A2, however, has 3 separate toll sections, totaling 72zł if you're going from Germany to central Poland.  Expect long waits at the toll booths before/after weekends in high season. The A2 section linking Warsaw an Łódź has dense traffic at most times. Tolls can be paid with cash or card at a tollbooth. At the current time, other motorways, expressways, national and voivodeship roads '''are not tolled'''. [http://www.viatoll.pl/en viaToll] provides greater information regarding tolling locations, rates, and electronic payments.
  
Polish road death statistics are statistically higher than the European average, although rates have significantly dropped since the early 2010s. While driving etiquette on major routes is similar to other European states, visitors may confront a "dynamic driving style" in certain rural areas. In practice this means that some drivers can  drive aggressively and recklessly, push in, "meander" through surrounding cars, routinely disrespect speed limits (frequently by a large margin) and overtake at less-than-safe distances. Overtaking is a critical and potentially dangerous manoeuvre that is commonly done in a hazardous way in rural Poland. In heavier traffic it's common to overtake "on 3rd" meaning that at some point during the manoeuvre there will be three cars (the overtaken, the overtaking, and the vehicle approaching from the opposite direction) next to each other side to side (or close to that). An unwritten code is followed to make this possible and "safe". The driver that is driving behind a slower vehicle and preparing to overtake expects that the slower vehicle will move to the right as far as feels comfortable also using the half-lane if it is separated with a dashed line and completely sure to be free of bicycles or pedestrians. The vehicle approaching from the opposite direction is advised or sometimes forced to also slightly move to the side. '''Such style of overtaking is illegal and unsafe. The above information is intended to explain the reality on the ground and help understand the traffic.''' Don't do it. If you hit someone or something on the shoulder, you get penalised and the driver who caused you to do it has long since driven off. Particularly reckless drivers will attempt to overtake "on four", when overtaking in both directions is taking place in roughly the same space, but this is rare.
+
Polish road death statistics are statistically higher than the European average, although rates have significantly fallen since the 2010s. While driving etiquette on major routes is similar to other European states, visitors may confront a "dynamic driving style" in certain rural areas. In practice this means that some drivers can  drive aggressively and recklessly, push in, "meander" through surrounding cars, routinely disrespect speed limits (frequently by a large margin) and overtake at less-than-safe distances. Overtaking is a critical and potentially dangerous manoeuvre that is commonly done in a hazardous way in rural Poland. In heavier traffic it's common to overtake "on 3rd" meaning that at some point during the manoeuvre there will be three cars (the overtaken, the overtaking, and the vehicle approaching from the opposite direction) next to each other side to side (or close to that). An unwritten code is followed to make this possible and "safe". The driver that is driving behind a slower vehicle and preparing to overtake expects that the slower vehicle will move to the right as far as feels comfortable also using the half-lane if it is separated with a dashed line and completely sure to be free of bicycles or pedestrians. The vehicle approaching from the opposite direction is advised or sometimes forced to also slightly move to the side. '''Such style of overtaking is illegal and unsafe. The above information is intended to explain the reality on the ground and help understand the traffic.''' Don't do it. If you hit someone or something on the shoulder, you get penalised and the driver who caused you to do it has long since driven off. Particularly reckless drivers will attempt to overtake "on four", when overtaking in both directions is taking place in roughly the same space, but this is rare.
  
 
[[Image:Speedlimits Poland.PNG|thumb|Various speed limits in Poland.]]
 
[[Image:Speedlimits Poland.PNG|thumb|Various speed limits in Poland.]]
 
Tailgating can rarely happen. Aggressive driving up from behind you and flashing of headlights means "get out of my way". Non-aggressive driving up from behind means "would you please make some space" :) If you're driving on a two-lane road, which will be most of the time, and you are under slight obligation to do so, the law states you should keep to the right most lane whenever possible. Rather don't expect that the driver may throw something out of his window or suddenly step on his brakes once he has passed you, but better let the faster people drive.
 
Tailgating can rarely happen. Aggressive driving up from behind you and flashing of headlights means "get out of my way". Non-aggressive driving up from behind means "would you please make some space" :) If you're driving on a two-lane road, which will be most of the time, and you are under slight obligation to do so, the law states you should keep to the right most lane whenever possible. Rather don't expect that the driver may throw something out of his window or suddenly step on his brakes once he has passed you, but better let the faster people drive.
  
If you leave a safety gap in front of your car, it will be filled by another driver as they are trying to push through traffic, which can be really irritating. Another issue is lane merging -- while the ''zipper method'' is gaining popularity, it's happening rather slowly. In many cases drivers change lane very soon, others try to pass the jam on either side and aggressively push in at the front, which leads to rare cases of "self-appointed sheriffs" blocking one of the lanes "so everybody has to wait equally". Luckily, the Police recognizes this as a traffic hazard and can give them a fine.
+
If you leave a safety gap in front of your car, it will be filled by another driver as they are trying to push through traffic, which can be really irritating. Another issue is lane merging -- while the ''zipper method'' is gaining popularity, it's happening rather slowly. In many cases drivers change lane very soon, others try to pass the jam on either side and aggresively push in at the front, which leads to rare cases of "self-appointed sheriffs" blocking one of the lanes "so everybody has to wait equally". Luckily, the Police recognizes this as a traffic hazard and can give them a fine.
  
 
Poles work long, so peak time in major cities frequently last till 7 or 8pm. Roadworks are common as many new road developments are under way and roads require frequent maintenance due to damage inflicted by winter conditions and with older roads built with sub par quality.
 
Poles work long, so peak time in major cities frequently last till 7 or 8pm. Roadworks are common as many new road developments are under way and roads require frequent maintenance due to damage inflicted by winter conditions and with older roads built with sub par quality.
Line 366: Line 367:
 
* Speed limits are: '''50km/h''' in city ('''60 km/h''' 23:00-05:00), '''90 km/h''' outside city,  '''100 km/h ''' if lanes are separated, '''100 km/h''' on single carriageway car-only roads (''white car on the blue'' sign), '''120 km/h''' on dual carriageway car-only roads, and '''140 km/h''' on motorways/freeways (''autostrada'').  
 
* Speed limits are: '''50km/h''' in city ('''60 km/h''' 23:00-05:00), '''90 km/h''' outside city,  '''100 km/h ''' if lanes are separated, '''100 km/h''' on single carriageway car-only roads (''white car on the blue'' sign), '''120 km/h''' on dual carriageway car-only roads, and '''140 km/h''' on motorways/freeways (''autostrada'').  
 
* '''Important:''' if there is a speed limit posted together with an ''urban zone'' or city name sign, the limit '''is in force until the corresponding zone/city end sign'''.
 
* '''Important:''' if there is a speed limit posted together with an ''urban zone'' or city name sign, the limit '''is in force until the corresponding zone/city end sign'''.
* 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). ''Despite the strict laws, DUIs are a serious problem in Poland, not least as there is ample anecdotal evidence of police officers accepting bribes instead of handing out traffic offence notices. Be especially careful during (and after) national holidays and late night on weekends on the small roads in the countryside as drivers commonly take to the road inebriated.''
+
* 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). ''Despite the strict laws, DUI's are a serious problem in Poland, not least as there is ample anecdotal evidence of police officers accepting bribes instead of handing out traffic offence notices. Be especially careful during (and after) national holidays and late night on weekends on the small roads in the countryside as drivers commonly take to the road inebriated.''
 
* 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). All above does not apply if right turning traffic has '''separate''' (red-yellow-green) signals.
 
* 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). All above does not apply if right turning traffic has '''separate''' (red-yellow-green) signals.
 
* At a 'T-crossing' or crossroads without traffic signs traffic at the right  has right-of-way unless your road is a priority route, shown by a road sign displaying a yellow diamond with a white outline or a yellow sign with a black outline of the crossing with the priority flow in bold. This can be very confusing so keep your eyes open as this isn't always clear from the structure of the crossing (ie. the lower quality, narrower and slower road coming in from the left may have right of way.)
 
* At a 'T-crossing' or crossroads without traffic signs traffic at the right  has right-of-way unless your road is a priority route, shown by a road sign displaying a yellow diamond with a white outline or a yellow sign with a black outline of the crossing with the priority flow in bold. This can be very confusing so keep your eyes open as this isn't always clear from the structure of the crossing (ie. the lower quality, narrower and slower road coming in from the left may have right of way.)
Line 382: Line 383:
 
At the gas stations <strike>PB</strike> means unleaded gasoline and ON means diesel. Petrol and diesel are roughly the same price. LPG is widely available, both at 'branded' gas stations and independent distributors and is about half the price of petrol. Credit or debit cards can be used to pay almost at all stations, but less so at independent distributors. Most gas stations have free toilets for clients.
 
At the gas stations <strike>PB</strike> means unleaded gasoline and ON means diesel. Petrol and diesel are roughly the same price. LPG is widely available, both at 'branded' gas stations and independent distributors and is about half the price of petrol. Credit or debit cards can be used to pay almost at all stations, but less so at independent distributors. Most gas stations have free toilets for clients.
  
In Autumn or in Spring it is common for small traders to set up their stands with fruit or wild mushrooms along the roads. They don't always stay in places where it's safe for cars to stop and you should be careful of drivers stopping abruptly and be watchful if you want to stop yourself. Wild mushrooms are a specialty if you know how to cook them. A cautionary note: There is a slight possibility that the people who picked the mushrooms are not very good at telling the good ones from the poisonous, so eat at your own responsibility. Never feed wild mushrooms to small children as they are particularly vulnerable. Rely on the judgement of your Polish friends if you consider them reasonable people. In Summer strawberries or blueberries are usually sold at these stands.
+
In Autumn or in Spring it is common for small traders to set up their stands with fruit or wild mushrooms along the roads. They don't always stay in places where it's safe for cars to stop and you should be careful of drivers stopping abruptly and be watchful if you want to stop yourself. Wild mushrooms are a speciality if you know how to cook them. A cautionary note: There is a slight possibility that the people who picked the mushrooms are not very good at telling the good ones from the poisonous, so eat at your own responsibility. Never feed wild mushrooms to small children as they are particularly vulnerable. Rely on the judgement of your Polish friends if you consider them reasonable people. In Summer strawberries or blueberries are usually sold at these stands.
  
 
===By taxi===
 
===By taxi===
Line 388: Line 389:
 
Use only those that are associated in a "corporation" (look for phone number and a logo on the side and on the top). There are no British style minicabs in Poland. Unaffiliated drivers are likely to cheat and charge you much more. Like everywhere, be especially wary of these taxis near international airports and train stations. They are called the "taxi mafia", and it is generally best to ignore them.
 
Use only those that are associated in a "corporation" (look for phone number and a logo on the side and on the top). There are no British style minicabs in Poland. Unaffiliated drivers are likely to cheat and charge you much more. Like everywhere, be especially wary of these taxis near international airports and train stations. They are called the "taxi mafia", and it is generally best to ignore them.
  
Because of travelers advice like this (and word of mouth), taxis with ''fake'' phone numbers can be seen on the streets, although this has dramatically decreased since the 2000s thanks to police and government intervention. Fake phone numbers are easily detected by locals and cater for the unsuspecting traveler. The best advice is to ask your Polish friends or your hotel concierge for the number of the taxi company they use and call them 10-15 minutes in advance (there's no additional cost). That's why locals will only hail taxis on the street in case of an emergency.  
+
Because of travellers advice like this (and word of mouth), taxis with ''fake'' phone numbers can be seen on the streets, although this has dramatically decreased since the 2000s thanks to police and government intervention. Fake phone numbers are easily detected by locals and cater for the unsuspecting traveller. The best advice is to ask your Polish friends or your hotel concierge for the number of the taxi company they use and call them 10-15 minutes in advance (there's no additional cost). That's why locals will only hail taxis on the street in case of an emergency.  
  
 
You can also find phone numbers for taxis in any city on the Internet, on municipal and newspaper websites. Some taxi companies, particularly in larger towns provide for a cab to be ordered online or with a text message. There are also stands, where you can call for their particular taxi for free, often found at train stations. US-based international taxi company [https://www.uber.com Uber] also operates throughout Poland, though currently is concentrated in the larger cities.   
 
You can also find phone numbers for taxis in any city on the Internet, on municipal and newspaper websites. Some taxi companies, particularly in larger towns provide for a cab to be ordered online or with a text message. There are also stands, where you can call for their particular taxi for free, often found at train stations. US-based international taxi company [https://www.uber.com Uber] also operates throughout Poland, though currently is concentrated in the larger cities.   
Line 420: Line 421:
 
[[Hitchhiking]] in Poland is (on average) safe and reliable. It's slower than its Western (Germany) and Eastern (Lithuania) neighbors, yet waiting times will be quite acceptable. The best places to be picked up at are on standard national roads, mostly on routes between Gdansk, Warsaw, Poznań and Kraków. Use a cardboard sign and write the desired destination city name on it, and stay on the edge of the road where there should be a dashed line painted there, not a solid one. '''Under no circumstances''' try to hitchhike on the sides of A or S-class high-speed motorways or expressways, unless it is at petrol stations, rest stops or on-ramps.  
 
[[Hitchhiking]] in Poland is (on average) safe and reliable. It's slower than its Western (Germany) and Eastern (Lithuania) neighbors, yet waiting times will be quite acceptable. The best places to be picked up at are on standard national roads, mostly on routes between Gdansk, Warsaw, Poznań and Kraków. Use a cardboard sign and write the desired destination city name on it, and stay on the edge of the road where there should be a dashed line painted there, not a solid one. '''Under no circumstances''' try to hitchhike on the sides of A or S-class high-speed motorways or expressways, unless it is at petrol stations, rest stops or on-ramps.  
  
As in any country, always be on alert, as there are several reports of hitchhiking trips gone awry, so take basic precautions and you should be as right as rain.
+
As in any country, you should be careful, there are several reports of hitchhiking trips gone awry, so take basic precautions and you should be as right as rain.
 +
 
  
 
===By public transportation===
 
===By public transportation===
In many cities, you have an excellent network of public transportation. Tramways operate in [[Szczecin]], [[Gdańsk]], [[Gorzów Wielkopolski]], [[Elbląg]], [[Olsztyn]], [[Bydgoszcz]], [[Toruń]], [[Warsaw]], [[Poznań]], [[Wrocław]], [[Łódź]], [[Częstochowa]], [[Kraków]] and in and around [[Katowice]] (Upper Silesia), trolleybus networks exist in [[Gdynia]], [[Lublin]] and [[Tychy]], in all other towns you have only busses. Warsaw has a metro, too. In Warsaw, Silesia and the Tricity region you will find an extensive suburban railway network. In many cities, tickets are sold from vending machines at the bus/tram stops, at the kiosk or at the driver. In larger cities, there are tickets for a single ride (losing its validity as you alight) as well as for special period (e.g. 60 minutes; 24 hours) with unlimited rides permitted within this period. They have to be validated upon boarding unless otherwise indicated. Tickets are offered with standard fare ''(normalny)'' or reduced fare ''(ulgowy)'', usually half-fare for children (4-11 years), seniors, students (only Polish), war invalids etc. Sometimes, vendors at the kiosk are run out of the ''normalny'' tickets and give you instead two ''ulgowy'' tickets. In this case you just have to validate both tickets one after another.
+
In many cities, you have an excellent network of public transportation. Tramways operate in [[Szczecin]], [[Gdańsk]], [[Gorzów Wielkopolski]], [[Elbląg]], [[Olsztyn]], [[Bydgoszcz]], [[Toruń]], [[Warsaw]], [[Poznań]], [[Wrocław]], [[Łódź]], [[Częstochowa]], [[Kraków]] and in and around [[Katowice]] (Upper Silesia), trolleybus networks exist in [[Gdynia]], [[Lublin]] and [[Tychy]], in all other towns you have only busses. Warsaw has a metro, too. In Warsaw, Silesia and the Tricity region you will find an extensive suburban railway network. In many cities, tickets are sold from vending machines at the bus/tram stops, at the kiosk or at the driver. In larger cities, there are tickets for a single ride (losing its validity as you alight) as well as for special period (e.g. 60 minutes; 24 hours) with unlimited rides permitted within this period. They have to be validated upon boarding unless otherwise indicated. Tickets are offered with standard fare ''(normalny)'' or reduced fare ''(ulgowy)'', usually half-fare for children (4-11 years), seniors, students (only Polish), war invalids etc. Sometimes, vendors at the kiosk are run out of the ''normalny''-tickets and give you instead two ''ulgowy''-tickets. In this case you just have to validate both tickets one after another.
  
 
==Talk==  
 
==Talk==  
Line 444: Line 446:
  
 
==See==
 
==See==
Ever since Poland joined the [[European Union]], international travelers have rapidly rediscovered the country's rich cultural heritage, stunning historic sites and just gorgeous array of landscapes. Whether you're looking for architecture, urban vibes or a taste of the past: Poland's bustling cities and towns offer something for everyone. If you'd rather get away from the crowds and enjoy nature, the country's vast natural areas provide anything from dense forests, high peaks and lush hills to beaches and lake reserves.
+
Ever since Poland joined the [[European Union]], international travellers have rapidly rediscovered the country's rich cultural heritage, stunning historic sites and just gorgeous array of landscapes. Whether you're looking for architecture, urban vibes or a taste of the past: Poland's bustling cities and towns offer something for everyone. If you'd rather get away from the crowds and enjoy nature, the country's vast natural areas provide anything from dense forests, high peaks and lush hills to beaches and lake reserves.
 
[[Image:Wawel castle.jpg|thumb|Wawel Castle and Cathedral in [[Kraków]].]]
 
[[Image:Wawel castle.jpg|thumb|Wawel Castle and Cathedral in [[Kraków]].]]
 
===Cities===
 
===Cities===
Most of the major cities boast lovely old centres and a range of splendid buildings, some of them World Heritage sites. Many old quarters were heavily damaged or even destroyed in WWII bombings, but were meticulously rebuilt after the war, using the original bricks and ornaments where possible. Although remains of the Soviet Union and even scars of the Second World War are visible in most of them, the Polish cities offer great historic sight seeing while at the same time they have become modern, lively places.  The capital, '''[[Warsaw]]''', has one of the best historical centers in Central Europe; its meticulously reconstructed '''Old Town''' (''Stare Miasto'') includes ancient city walls, royal palaces, churches, and scenic market squares. You can follow the '''Royal Route''' to see some of the best landmarks outside the old centre. Alternatively, you can explore Warsaw's '''Śródmieście''' district, a collection of ultra-modern high-rises and fashionable streets mixed with reminders of the Stalinist past. Even further, cross the Vistula to the city's east bank and explore trendy '''Praga''', Warsaw's equivalent to London's Camden Town or New York's Brooklyn, known in the past for its working-class roots yet now is an epicenter of Polish hipsterdom. To the south, the old city of '''[[Kraków]]''', ancient and grand, is largely considered the country's cultural capital, with another gorgeous historic centre, countless monumental buildings, and a slew of excellent museums to choose from. Just 50 km from there is the humbling '''[[Auschwitz]]''' concentration camp which, due to the horrible events it represents, leaves an impression like no other World Heritage Site does. The ancient '''[[Wieliczka|Wieliczka Salt Mine]]''', also a World Heritage Site, is another great day trip from Kraków.  
+
Most of the major cities boast lovely old centres and a range of splendid buildings, some of them World Heritage sites. Many old quarters were heavily damaged or even destroyed in WWII bombings, but were meticulously rebuilt after the war, using the original bricks and ornaments where possible. Although remains of the Soviet Union and even scars of the Second World War are visible in most of them, the Polish cities offer great historic sight seeing while at the same time they have become modern, lively places.  The capital, '''[[Warsaw]]''', has one of the best '''old centres''' and its many sights include the ancient city walls, palaces, churches and squares. You can follow the '''Royal Route''' to see some of the best landmarks outside the old centre. The old city of '''[[Kraków]]''' is considered the country's cultural capital, with another gorgeous historic centre, countless monumental buildings and a few excellent museums. Just 50 km from there is the humbling '''[[Auschwitz]]''' concentration camp which, due to the horrible events it represents, leaves an impression like no other World Heritage Site does. The ancient '''[[Wieliczka|Wieliczka Salt Mine]]''', also a World Heritage Site, is another great daytrip from Kraków.  
  
 
The provincial capital of '''[[Poznań]]''' is an underestimated city, but definitely worth a visit. With the oldest cathedral in the country and also the second biggest necropolis in the country for kings and rulers, a beautiful Renaissance town hall with two battling billy goats (seen only around noon), and an impressive 20th century imperial palace built for the German kaiser (just to mention a few attractions) makes a great impression on most visitors.  
 
The provincial capital of '''[[Poznań]]''' is an underestimated city, but definitely worth a visit. With the oldest cathedral in the country and also the second biggest necropolis in the country for kings and rulers, a beautiful Renaissance town hall with two battling billy goats (seen only around noon), and an impressive 20th century imperial palace built for the German kaiser (just to mention a few attractions) makes a great impression on most visitors.  
Line 656: Line 658:
 
The quality of Polish roads has greatly improved in the recent years and it is now generally safe and comfortable to travel across the country. At the same time, there is still room for improvement, so be careful and watch out for potholes, especially in the country-side. Polish drivers often tend to ignore speeding restrictions (despite great numbers of speed cameras and hefty fines), do not feel compelled to do the same, as penalties for speeding are quite severe. Non-EU drivers are obliged by law to pay their fines on the spot and the EU ones can get their fines posted to their home countries.  
 
The quality of Polish roads has greatly improved in the recent years and it is now generally safe and comfortable to travel across the country. At the same time, there is still room for improvement, so be careful and watch out for potholes, especially in the country-side. Polish drivers often tend to ignore speeding restrictions (despite great numbers of speed cameras and hefty fines), do not feel compelled to do the same, as penalties for speeding are quite severe. Non-EU drivers are obliged by law to pay their fines on the spot and the EU ones can get their fines posted to their home countries.  
  
Children who are shorter than 150 cm (4’11”), with some exceptions, must ride in a child car seat. You must use headlights year round, at all times, day and night. The use of cellular phones while driving is prohibited except for hands-free models.
+
Children younger than 12 years old and who are shorter than 150 cm (4’11”) must ride in a child car seat. You must use headlights year round, at all times, day and night. The use of cellular phones while driving is prohibited except for hands-free models.
  
 
Alcohol consumption is frequently a contributing factor in accidents. Polish laws provide virtually zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol (defined as above 0.2‰ of alcohol in blood), and penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol are extremely severe.
 
Alcohol consumption is frequently a contributing factor in accidents. Polish laws provide virtually zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol (defined as above 0.2‰ of alcohol in blood), and penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol are extremely severe.

You may have to refresh your browser window in order to view the most recent changes to an article.

All contributions to Wikitravel must be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. By clicking "Save" below, you acknowledge that you agree to the site license as well as the following:

  • If you do not want your work to be re-used on other web sites and modified by other users please do not submit!
  • All contributions must be your own original work or work that is explicitly licensed under a CC-BY-SA compatible license.
  • Text and/or images published on another web site or in a book are likely copyrighted and should not be submitted here!
  • Wikitravel has strong guidelines on links to external web sites. Links to booking engines, hotel and restaurant aggregator sites, or other third-party sites will be deleted.
  • Contributions that appear to be marketing or advertising will be deleted.

To protect the wiki against automated edit spam, we kindly ask you to solve the following CAPTCHA:

Cancel | Editing help (opens in new window)