Warsaw Travel Information
GMT +1 (GMT +2, Apr - Oct).
Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. The standard two-pin European style plugs are used.
The national language is Polish; however, English is widely understood in tourist areas.
There are few health risks associated with travel to Poland. Those visiting forested areas are advised to seek medical advice about inoculations for tick borne encephalitis, and take tick bite prevention measures due to the presence of Lyme disease. Vaccinations may be recommended for hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid, although those eating only in restaurants and hotels can safely disregard the typhoid vaccination.
Poland has a reciprocal health agreement with the UK and most EU countries, whose citizens are entitled to low-cost emergency medical treatment on presentation of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), but full health insurance cover is still advised. Medical facilities and standards of health care are good, but not many nurses or doctors speak English. If you take prescription medication along, be sure to bring a signed and dated letter from a doctor detailing what it is and why it is needed.
Tipping is expected in restaurants in Poland and 15 percent is the standard for good service. In restaurants, when your bill is collected, saying 'thank you' signals to the waiter/waitress that they can keep the change. Tipping is not the norm in hotels across Poland, but taxis, tours and spas generally expect no less than 10 percent tip for good service.
Tourists should be alert to the risk of robbery in tourist areas in large cities in Poland, particularly in the vicinity of hotels, markets and banks. Vigilance against theft should also be exercised at central railway stations, as well as on overnight long distance trains, and when travelling on public transport between Warsaw's Frederic Chopin Airport and central Warsaw.
Avoid walking alone at night. Tourist sites, areas near big hotels, money exchange facilities and ATMs are popular with thieves. Having said that, visits to Poland are usually trouble free, and the precautions travellers should take are merely the safety measures advised for cities all over the world.
Family is incredibly important and Polish people may often rely very heavily on their close-knit inner circles - as a result, outsiders may often be treated at first with caution. Jay-walking is an offence in Poland, and is punishable with a fine. Public drunkenness is frowned upon: police will take drunk people to drying out clinics until sober and the person will be charged for the stay.
Poland has an interesting mix of the old and the new, and this is apparent in the business world too. Women can expect a kiss on the hand rather than a handshake from the older generation and one can expect to be warmly offered drinks during meetings; it is impolite to refuse. Although the Polish are hospitable and friendly, business is still conducted formally. Punctuality is important, dress should be formal and conservative (a suit and tie are the norm) and business cards are exchanged. Use titles and last names unless otherwise indicated. English is widely spoken, though attempting some basic Polish phrases will be appreciated. Business hours in Poland are traditionally 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday, and lunch breaks are not a given as they are often unpaid.
The international access code for Poland is +48. Mobile phones work throughout the country; local operators use GSM and 3G networks. Internet cafes and wifi are available in most towns.
Travellers to Poland over 17 years, arriving from non-EU countries, do not have to pay duty on 250 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco; 1 litre wine and 1 litre spirits; cosmetics and medicines for personal use; gifts up to the value of €175. Travellers to Poland arriving from within the EU do not have to pay duty on 800 cigarettes or 200 cigars or 1kg smoking tobacco; 10 litres spirits, 90 litres wine and 110 litres beer. Prohibited items include birds and poultry arriving from countries infected with avian influenza. The export of all articles of artistic, historic or cultural value are subject to special regulations.
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