Did you know?
- In Poland, most Poles consider their name day (in Polish “imieniny”) more important than their birthdays!
- Polish surnames that end in ski/ska or cki/cka are like adjectives and tend to match the gender. For example, if your father’s surname is Kowalski, as a daughter, your surname would be Kowalska.
- Poland’s capitals have been Gniezno, Poznan, Krakow and Warsaw. Lublin has twice served as Poland’s temporary capital, after both the First and Second World Wars.
- It shares its borders with Russia, Lithuania, Belarus, Slovakia, Ukraine, Czech Republic and Germany.
- The name Poland originates from the tribe of the Polanie, which literally translates to ‘peple living in open fields’.
- Poland has fought for it’s freedom from oppressors over 40 times throughout its history.
- Malbork Castle is recognised as the biggest castle in the world, measured by area.
- Apparently, foreign TV shows and movies are dubbed over into Polish by just one man. He reads all the different parts, including female.
- The highest mountain in Australia, Mount Kosciuszko, was named after Polish general Tadeusz Kosciuszko.
Visas & Passports
Australian passport holders travelling to Poland do not need a visa at this time.
We require that your passport is valid for travel for at least six months from the date you are planning to return to Australia. Your passport must be valid to travel internationally and must be machine-readable. You also need to carry a valid return ticket on you.
Whether travelling on an Australian passport or the passport of another country, all travellers require visas for a number of countries, and it is your responsibility to secure what may be required before departing Australia. You can consult with your travel agent, but it is also recommended that you check the foreign embassy website for your respective destination as it can also provide you with useful information.
Australian Embassy in Poland:
3rd Floor, Nautilus Building
ul. Nowogrodzka 11
00 513, Warsaw
Ph: +4822 521 3444
Fax: +4822 627 3500
The official currency of Poland is the Zloty. Notes come in denominations of zł200, 100, 50, 20 and 10.
The recommended currency to take to Poland is the Zloty or the Euro. Ensure you change a small amount into small denominations.
Advise your bank of your travel plans so that they can make a note of it, otherwise they may cancel your credit card as a safety measure due to the overseas transactions. Also make a note of the 24-hour emergency contact number of the bank or building society which issued your credit card in the unlikely event that your card is lost or stolen.
Whenever possible use ATMs when the banks are open (Mon – Fri) so that if a machine ‘eats’ your card you can then deal with it straight away. It is always advisable to carry a supply of cash in addition to your credit card.
If you don’t have Zloty’s or Euro’s with you on arrival, we advise you to exchange some money into the local currency at the airport even if the exchange rate is not the best, this way you’ll have money to get a drink, snack or give a tip during those first few hours of arrival. Your guide will be able to advise you on the best places to exchange money.
Small change is also useful for paying for toilets while on tour which is customary in many places outside of Australia.
- The price of a cappuccino in Warsaw is approximately €2.50 - €3.
- The price of an inexpensive lunch is approximately €10.
- The price dinner in a moderate restaurant is approximately €25.
- The price of a beer in a local pub is approximately €4.50 - €5.
Food eaten in Poland has been influenced by the cuisine of neighbouring countries Austria, Germany, Hungary and Russia. Meat, especially pork, ham and sausage, is eaten with vegetables, dumplings, noodles, buckwheat and rye bread. Beetroot and cabbage are used in salads, soups and stews. Sour cream is often used in cooking. Pickled foods such as vegetables and fish are popular. Hunter’s stew, made with five or six types of wild game, is a national dish. Desserts include honey cake, strudel, pancakes and donuts.
Important: When dining at buffets (i.e. breakfast) please refrain from taking food away with you to ‘save’ for later! If you feel that you’ll need snacks between meals, pack some dried fruit, nuts, muesli bars etc.
If you have specific food allergies and/or preferences, we highly recommend you take every precaution before your tour, including carrying a small card with your food allergy listed in each language of every country you are travelling to show to table staff when ordering. Whilst we take all dietary requirements seriously, due to the serious nature of potential allergic reactions, it is your responsibility to be as prepared as possible.
Poland has a moderate climate with warm summers, crisp, sunny autumns and cold winters. Snow covers the mountainous area in the south of Poland from mid-December to April. Rainfall is distributed throughout the year. The most pleasant times to visit Poland are May to June and September, when it’s still warm but unlikely to be too hot.
Want to get out and explore on your own?
Bikes are a fun and interesting way to see Polish cities. Both Warsaw and Krakow have dedicated bike lanes and hiring a bike is relatively easy. And, of course, walking is a must in Europe’s finest cities. Krakow is a particularly wonderful city to walk around and most attractions are within walking distance of the old town centre.
When catching taxis, have small change on you and choose one with a meter, if it doesn’t have one then negotiate the price before getting in. Also, ask your guide or hotel staff the names of reputable taxi companies.
So, you’d love to bring home a special souvenir from Poland…
In Poland, special purchases include glass and enamelware, hand-woven rugs and embroidered linen items, silverware, handmade jewellery with amber and silver, dolls in regional costumes, woodcarvings and clay and metal sculptures. Wooden, hand painted keepsake boxes are also a lovely idea to bring home as a souvenir.
Many Polish people can appear quite formal on first introduction, this often stems from the fact that the Polish language itself is quite formal.
Cover up in churches and monasteries.
Celebrations & Public Holidays
Proud of its rich cultural heritage, Poland has many festivals happening throughout the year. Some of these include the Wianki festival, to celebrate the summer solstice; the Jewish Culture festival, a huge festival of music and theatre performances, held in late June/early July and Saint Dominic’s Fair, a huge outdoor market, held in Gdansk.
Other national public holidays to be aware of include:
- New Year’s Day
- Three Kings Day (January 6th)
- Easter Friday and Easter Monday
- Labour Day (May 1st)
- Whit Monday (50 days after Easter)
- Assumption Day (August 15th)
- All Saints Day (November 1st)
- Independence Day (November 11th)
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
You’ll hear the phrase “it’s a ravaged beauty, destroyed and rebuilt,” everywhere in Warsaw. It’s applied to palaces and churches, to entire neighbourhoods, even to individual cobblestoned streets. In order to fully appreciate this one-time “Paris of the North,” remember that during World War II, most of it was razed to the ground and its people decimated. You’ll come across monuments documenting atrocities and memorialising acts of resistance. Warsaw has survived the stranglehold of Soviet terror and the upheaval of capitalism. It has moved rapidly into a new phase of economic restructuring within the European Union. As it continues to rebuild and reinvent itself, the city is becoming more beautiful. Its balance of preservation and renewal is a testament to its resilience.
Krakow, the 1,000-year-old former capital, is the only large urban area that escaped World War II without serious damage. Coupled with Krakow’s physical beauty is its standing as the country’s cultural centre. In the centre of Krakow is the largest medieval square in all of Europe. It’s lined with historic buildings, and in the centre of the square are two important structures. The 13th century Cloth Hall, now home to souvenir and crafts stalls, and the Town Hall Tower, which hosts a summertime tavern in the cellar, a vast improvement over its original use as a torture chamber. To the west is Auschwitz, the grim Nazi concentration camp, commemorated by a museum and memorial. You’ll also find the Wieliczka Salt Mines, which run about 150 kilometres underground, founded between the 10th and 13th centuries.
Small Group Tours
Through verdant forests and past rolling hills, we wind our way between the grand cities of Eastern Europe.