One of the larger countries in Central Europe, Poland offers a variety of landscapes, the main of which is the long Baltic Sea coastline, its great pride, along with picturesque countryside and an abundance of cultural attractions. Poland shares borders with by Belarus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine. This country is so large in size that its natural regions can be divided in five major belts: coastal, northern lake districts, central plains, south-eastern highlands and southern mountains.
Apart from the coastline, another natural attraction in Poland is its picturesque countryside which is still unspoiled to some extent. You can go through Poland and encounter breathtaking primeval forests, mountain ranges, secluded valleys, meadows, lakes and organic and traditional farms. Surrounded by this abundance of nature, visitors have many options when it comes to activities such as bird watching, cycling or horseback riding. As for culture, Poland (and especially its countryside) is filled with churches, museums, ruins, palaces and adorable traditional ceramic and basket-making workshops.
Warnings & Dangers in Poland
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Generally, Poland is a very safe country to travel to. Still, never let your guard down, and be wary of pickpockets and scammers since their activities increased in the past couple of years.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Public transport and taxis are safe and reliable, but it is recommended that you be very careful with your valuables in public transport, since that's where organized pickpockets operate. Also, be careful with taxi drivers using numerous tricks and scams to try and overcharge you.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
Pickpocketing and bag snatching are common in tourist landmarks and crowded areas. Be vigilant at all times and never leave your belongings in plain sight. Be careful in crowded areas, in railway and bus stations and especially in public transport, since pickpockets often work in teams, and make artificial crowds around tourists in order to steal from them, or try to distract people as a trick to pick their pockets.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
There are no threats of natural disasters in Poland. During spring there are occasional floods and during winter there are snowstorms and heavy snowfall. Be cautious when driving during the winter period.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
You shouldn't worry about being mugged or kidnapped in Poland, since it rarely, if ever occurs.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Even though there haven't been any terrorist attacks in Poland's recent history, they shouldn't be ruled out, so remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Scams are very common in Poland. There are credit card scams with someone calling you on the phone in your hotel room claiming they're the receptionist asking to confirm your credit card details; also be wary of taxi drivers trying to charge you double or convince you that you haven't paid enough (showing you smaller bills instead of the one's you paid with). Be wary of people claiming they're the police, and get familiar with Polish police uniforms.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women traveling solo are completely safe in Poland. If you have your wits with you and follow your common sense, avoid dark and desert alleys or walking alone with strange people at night, your trip should go smoothly.
So... How Safe Is Poland Really?
Poland is a safe country to travel to. It is getting more and more visitors each year, and its tourism has generally increased especially after joining the European Union in 2004. However, petty crime has also increased with the influx of tourists. Be wary of pickpockets bumping into you on the streets, or at the beach, and generally be careful with your valuables, especially in crowded places. Pickpockets usually work in organization, so they either create a distraction while someone else steals something from you, or they create artificial crowds on public transport.
Apart from pickpockets, you can easily get scammed in Poland. There is a number of scams to watch out for like credit card scams where someone wakes you up early in the morning by calling you on your hotel room phone, claiming they’re the receptionist calling to verify your credit card information. After you read out your credit card number and other details and return back to sleep, they steal everything from your card. Also, be careful when taking a taxi, since taxi drivers have been known to cheat by insisting you didn’t pay enough, in the meantime having hidden the money you actually paid and showing you smaller bills. Some might agree on one price and then charge you double once you arrive at your destination.
Also, watch out for “fake officers” claiming to be police and trying to extort money from you. Get familiar with real uniforms of Polish police, because it’s easy to be tricked when you don’t know how the real police officers look like.
- Visas - Most countries do not need a visa for any stays shorter than 90 days. Any longer than that, you might have to obtain a visa. Your passport needs to be valid for at least six months from your planned date of return. However, if you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Zloty is the official currency in Poland. ATMs are widely available throughout the country and credit cards are accepted in most establishments such as hotels and restaurants.
- Weather - Poland's has a temperate climate which is characterized by relatively cold winters and warm summers. The climate in Poland is greatly influenced by cold polar air from Scandinavia and Russia, as well as warmer, sub-tropical air from the south.
- Airports - Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport is Poland's busiest and biggest airport, located in the Włochy district of Warsaw, Poland's capital.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Poland, since it covers not only medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.