The heart of Poland is in a town’s rynek – the central market square where locals converge and travellers can take the temperature of this European gem. Beyond city limits, it’s a country blessed by Mother Nature; of forest and lakes, snow-capped peaks and rolling hills changing colour with each season. There’s a melting pot of traditional cuisines, hearty and heartfelt food that is being reinvented for a new audience. Wander through Poland’s living history: cultural Krakow, maritime mecca Gdansk and the post-war rebuilt capital of Warsaw. Every adventure here is distinct, but one thing remains the same – this under-discovered nation that’s eager to be explored.
Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport – which usually have less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.
Depending on which trip you're on while in Poland, you may find yourself travelling by:
Cruise the Masurian Lakes on a morning boat ride along Niegocin Lake – only the seventh-largest lake in the country! You’ll pass by Wyspa Milosci, or Love Island, but unlike the other of the same name, this one is full of attractive and (intelligent) wildlife.
Poland offers travellers different experiences depending on the season, so pack sensibly and choose your adventure.
Late June to August offers the warmest temperatures and long days but tourist numbers are high, the heat can sometimes be quite intense, and thunderstorms are surprisingly common in the mountainous areas.
The shoulder season of April-May is a great time to visit Poland – long hours of sunlight, cooler temperatures and spring flowers in full bloom. The autumn months of September and October offer beautiful scenery, leaves changing colour and average temperatures around 12°C during the day.
If snow sports are your thing, head to southern Poland, particularly Zakopane, in late December and early January for a winter wonderland and mountain resorts in full swing. Poland is a charming place to visit in Christmas, with winter markets, decorations along the city streets, outdoor nativity scenes and carollers singing at night.
Generally, you will not need a visa to travel to Poland for a period of up to 90 days. Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Japan and many other countries can spend 90 days in the wider Schengen area, including Poland and other countries in the EU. EU citizens can travel around the Schengen area indefinitely.
Other nationalities should check with their local Polish embassy or on the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Check the Essential Trip Information section of your tour itinerary for more information.
While not mandatory, a tip of around 10–15% is considered a polite recognition of good service in Polish restaurants and cafes. Tipping service workers in high-end establishments such as luxury hotels is also encouraged.
At smaller establishments or when taking a taxi it’s acceptable to round up to the nearest PLN 5 or 10.
Poland is very well connected – most hotels, hostels and some public spaces offer wi-fi (pronounced ‘vee-fee’), usually free of charge but sometimes for a small fee. Many bars, cafes and restaurants also offer wi-fi, so keep a look out for the international symbol for wi-fi.
Major cities like Warsaw have many wi-fi hotspots and cyber cafes to choose from, while rural areas will generally have less reliable options to get online.
Mobile phone coverage is generally very good in Poland. Poland uses the GSM 900/1800 system, which is the same as Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Mobile networks are usually not compatible with cellphones from North America or Japan; however, if you’ve got a multiband GSM system, it should work.
If your mobile phone is unlocked, your cheapest option to call and text on the go is probably with a local SIM card. These can be picked up from a phone shop, which are located all throughout the country. This is also likely the cheapest option for a mobile data plan in Poland.
If you wish to use your current SIM and phone plan in Poland, ensure global roaming is activated before you arrive, and be sure to check in with your service provider for costs, as often this can be extremely expensive.
Flushable toilets are the standard in Poland, although public toilets are quite scarce. Public toilets are labelled with ‘dla panow’ or ‘meski’ and a downward-pointing triangle symbol for men, and ‘dla pan’ or ‘damski’ and a circle symbol for women.
Expect to pay a small fee when visiting public toilets (around PLN 2) and carry small denominations with you, as change is often not available.
Poland’s unit of currency is the zloty (PLN). Prices here are approximate and shown in US dollars for ease of comparison.
Tap water is considered safe to drink in Poland unless marked otherwise.
For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.
Major credit cards are widely accepted by stores and hotels in Poland. Smaller cafes and shops may not accept credit cards, so ensure you carry enough cash to cover minor purchases. It’s also a good idea to carry small change to make tipping easier and to cover public toilet charges.
ATMs that accept international cards are common in Poland, so finding one won't be a problem in most towns and cities. Our tip is to go for internationally recognised banks and avoid ATMs labelled ‘Euronet’, as these often give a much poorer rate of exchange than other banks’ machines.
Poland’s climate is mostly temperate, with some slight weather differences between the oceanic north and the landlocked south. July is Poland’s hottest month, averaging around 22°C throughout the country, with some temperatures rising to the mid-30s Celsius, especially in Lower Silesia (southwest Poland).
Winters are often drier than summer, and range between -6°C and 1°C, with the northeast of the country near the borders with Belarus and Lithuania experiencing the coldest temperatures. Snow can be found around Poland in the depths of winter, usually in January.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
For a current list of public holidays in Poland, including the movable dates above and other religious holidays, go to worldtravelguide.net
Homosexuality is legal in Poland, and in major cities like Warsaw and Krakow there is generally a liberal attitude towards LGBTQIA+ communities. That being said, the wider LGBTQIA+ scene in Poland is fairly discreet. Warsaw and Krakow are the best places to experience Poland’s gay scene, with a small number of bars and clubs dotted around the city. The seaside resort city of Sopot also has a number of gay bars and clubs. Same-sex marriage is not officially recognised in Poland.
Recently, with the rise of the ruling far-right Law & Justice (PiS) party in the Polish political system, anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiments in Poland have grown. Many Polish residents hold conservative and religious views, which are reflected in much of the current political discourse. While in most contexts there’s equality of legal rights for all residents regardless of sexuality or gender identity, there are still no protections against discrimination in education and health, hate crimes and hate speech.
Around 30 symbolic ‘LGBT-free’ zones have been declared in the south-eastern reaches of the country, and although unenforceable, these zones are said to represent a move to stigmatise and exclude LGBTQIA+ residents in rural parts of Poland.
If you are travelling solo on an Intrepid group tour, you will share accommodation with a passenger of the same gender as per your passport information. If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. A single supplement is available on some tours for travellers who do not wish to share a room.
As Poland has many medieval towns and cobbled lanes, travellers with mobility issues may find travelling difficult, but doable. Newer buildings are designed with accessibility in mind, and many popular older buildings are retrofitted with ramps, lifts and wider entrances. Poland’s public transport system is designed to accommodate wheelchairs.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.
If you do live with a visual, hearing or other impairment, let your booking agent or group leader know early on so they’re aware and suitable arrangements can be made. As a general rule, knowing some common words in the local language, carrying a written itinerary with you and taking to the streets in a group, rather than solo, can help make your travel experience the best it can be.
What you should wear in Poland will depend on what season you decide to travel! Poland’s mild climate and distinct seasons make it a little bit easier to know what to wear, so check out the weather in advance to get an idea of what to pack.
In summer, be sure to stay cool with looser clothing and some short sleeve t-shirts and shorts, plus a light sweater or jacket for cooler evenings. In winter (as well as the shoulder seasons), pack some extra warmth, long pants and wind-breaking outer layers. If you’re travelling to Poland in snow season, pack thermal layers and insulated jackets. Gloves (or mittens) and a beanie will also come in handy.
Depending on the adventure you’re after, you’re likely to do a lot of walking, so a pair of sturdy walking shoes is a must. You might also like to pack a smaller backpack or satchel to use as a day pack when travelling around Krakow or Warsaw.
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
In Poland, we stay in locally run accommodation including smaller-scale hotels in an effort to support the local economies. We also visit locally-run restaurants and markets where travellers will have opportunities to support local businesses and purchase handicrafts created by local artisans. Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to being the best travel company for the world.