Know Before You Go: Poland
Know Before You Go: Poland
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Wherever you go in Poland, you will always be able to send a postcard or phone your loved ones back home to say greetings from Poland.
The number of Internet users in Poland is rising at an ever-increasing rate. When setting off for Poland, you can confidently promise your friends that you will keep in touch by e-mail or blog regardless of whether you are carrying a laptop with you or not.
The easiest way for tourists to gain net access is through Internet cafés. Some of these are open 24 hours a day. In smaller towns, there are far fewer of such cafés, but in general there should be no problem gaining access to the Internet. Prices at Internet cafés vary – an hour of surfing might cost between 2 and 7 zloty. It is also possible to pay for just 15 minutes (normally around 1 zloty) or half an hour.
If you have a laptop, things are even easier. You can gain free net access at hot spots in the centres of large towns and in some hotels. Remember, though, that Internet use is not always included in the nightly rate – you may have to pay an additional charge. More and more often, Internet connections are offered almost free of charge by pubs and cafés in large towns. Just buy a drink, sit down at an appropriate table and you can surf with no time limit.
Wireless Internet access is also offered by cell phone operators. You just need to order the relevant service.
When travelling, if you have no cell phone with you, it may sometimes be necessary to make use of a public phone. You can make a call from a public phone using special cards with 15, 30 or 60 units, sold at all post offices, kiosks and many food stores. They can be bought for as little as 9 zloty. There are also SMS cards available, which cost 5 zloty and allow you to send 20 text messages. Less common are coin-operated phones.
In large towns, it is also possible to make cheap international calls from some Internet cafés. At post offices and some kiosks you can also buy special phone cards which reduce the cost of international calls (from public or landline phones).
The international code for Poland is (00)48
You can exchange money everywhere in Poland, in big cities and small towns. You can use an ATM machine or visit a bank, currency exchange counter in town or at a hotel reception desk.
All major foreign currencies may be exchanged for Polish money at a bank or exchange counter, (identified by the name Kantor). Over the counter exchange is available at larger hotels, at border crossings or in dedicated outlets across towns and cities.
Banks in larger cities are usually open from 9 am to 4 pm on weekdays and until 1 pm on Saturdays. In smaller towns or villages they have more limited business hours, usually from 5 am to 1 pm.
Kantors are usually open from 9 am to 7 pm weekdays and until 2 pm on Saturdays. 24-hour services are usually available in larger major tourist centres such as train stations, border crossings and airports.
Major travellers cheques can be exchanged (for a commission) at most of the locations above, with the exception of Kantors. Eurocheques are accepted in accordance with the standard international practice.
If you want to know about the current exchange rate of the Polish zloty, use our money calculator.
Banks & cash dispensers
Visitors to Poland may be assured of easy access to banks and cash dispensers, particularly in larger towns.
Banks are normally open on working days between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., sometimes even up to 6 p.m. Banks offer money exchange, collection of money transfers or cashing traveller’s cheques.
Cash dispensers (ATM)
In Poland, ATM’s, which operate 24 hours a day, offer far easier access to your money than banks. They can normally be found near such places as banks, rail stations, airports, supermarkets, town centres and other places popular with visitors.
What are traveller’s cheques and will banks cash them?
Traveller’s cheques are a means of carrying money which is safer than cash. Their advantage is that if they are lost or stolen the money is not lost, and the cheque can be re-issued within a very short time. On arrival at your destination, you can exchange the cheque for cash. This can be done at most Polish banks. However in many cases it is not necessary to cash your traveller’s cheques, as they are often accepted as a means of payment, particularly in large stores.
Payment by credit card
It is hard these days to get by without a piece of plastic in your wallet, particularly while travelling abroad, when it is neither necessary nor convenient to carry travellers cheques or cash. In Poland, the use of credit cards is widely accepted, particularly in major towns and tourist attractions.
Where can I pay by credit card, and what are the advantages of doing so?
Virtually everywhere. In supermarkets and most shops credit cards are a standard form of payment. For foreign visitors they have an added bonus, because they eliminate the need to exchange money before coming to Poland.
Which cards are most widely accepted in Poland?
The most widely used cards are Europay International, MasterCard International, Visa International, and American Express, both embossed and electronic versions.
Electronic cards (Maestro, Visa Electron) can be used only in cash dispensers and at points of sale equipped with electronic card readers. Embossed cards (Eurocard/Mastercard, VISA) are not subject to such restrictions.
Using ATM’s in Poland.
Poland has a dense network of ATM’s (called bankomat), which are connected to all international networks. There are almost ten thousand ATM’s in the whole of Poland, of which over a thousand are located in Warsaw alone.
Please consult your bank or card issuer about the charges incurred while using your card abroad.
Euro – €
Please note that Poland is not a member of the Euro currency system and that Poland’s legal tender is złoty.
Passports and Visas
There are many countries whose citizens can visit Poland as tourists without visas. These include all European Union countries.
Visa free travel to Poland is available to citizens of many countries outside the European Union.
Countries whose citizens can travel to Poland for up to 90 days without a visa:
Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong (SAR), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao (SAR), Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vatican, Venezuela.