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Poland Travel Guide

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Full country name: Republic of Poland
Area: 312,685 sq km
Population: 38,48 million (July 2010 est.)
Capital City: Warsaw (pop 1.72 million)
Language: Polish 97.8%, other and unspecified 2.2%
Religion: Roman Catholic 89.8% (about 75% practicing), Eastern Orthodox 1.3%, Protestant 0.3%, other 0.3%, unspecified 8.3%
Government: Parliamentary republic
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +1 (Central European Time)
Dialling Code: 48
Electricity: 230V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric

Money & Costs:
Currency: Zloty
Average Yearly Salary: USD 17,900

Budget: zl10-20
Mid-range: zl20-35
High: zl35-55
Top: zl55+
Budget: zl30-70
Mid-range: zl70-140
High: zl140-360
Top: zl360+

Poland is still an inexpensive country for travellers and the Polish people are very welcoming. A budget traveller should easily get by on around €25 - 30 a day.  Cheques are reasonably easy to exchange wherever you go, but you'll get a slightly better rate with cash. Credit cards are becoming more useful. You can use them to pay for up-market hotels and restaurants, car rentals and long-distance transport. You can also get cash advances with the major cards.

Geography: Poland is one of the largest countries in Central Europe, bordering Russia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Germany. Its northern frontier on the Baltic Sea gives it easy access to Scandinavian and North Sea ports. Poland`s shape is roughly square, measuring 400-440 miles across.

The capital, Warsaw, is situated in the center of the country. Poland`s surface area of 120,727 sq. miles ranks eighth in Europe. The country lies almost entirely on the North European Plain and is a land of gentle relief, rarely rising above 350 feet except along the southern border with the Sudety and Carpathian mountain ranges. Rysy is the highest mountain peak, 8200 feet above sea level.

Approximately one-fifth of the land is maintained as pasture and meadows. About 27% of the total area is covered by forest. The longest rivers which cross the country northward are the Vistula (667 miles in length) in the center, and the Odra (530 miles) which flows along Poland`s western border.

Climate: Temperate with warm summers, crisp, sunny autumns and cold winters. Snow covers the mountainous area in the south of Poland (mid-December to April). Rain falls throughout the year.

Recommended clothing: Light- to mediumweights are worn during warmer months. Medium- to heavyweights are needed during winter. Rainwear is advisable all year.

Social conventions: Poles are usually friendly and hospitable people. There are vast contrasts between the rural and urban style of life, and since the Polish peasantry is very religious, criticism or jokes about religion are not appreciated. Normal courtesies should be observed when invited to someone's home. Flowers in odd numbers are appreciated as a small gift.

Health: Travel health insurance is advised to all foreign travelers going to Poland. 24/7 chemists can be found in each major city. Call 999 for ambulance. Vaccinations against tick-borne encephalitis, tuberculosis and hepatitis B are advised.

Food & Drink: Polish cuisine is a mixture of Lithuanian, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Russian, Belorussian, and traditional local cuisines. Polish cuisine is rich in meat, beef, chicken and pork being the most popular, winter vegetables, such as cabbage and potatoes, spices and noodles. Generally, Polish use a lot of cream and eggs for their local dishes preparation. The most popular traditional dishes are: Kotlet schabowy (breaded pork cutlet), chłodnik (a chilled beet or fruit soup), kołduny (meat dumplings), golonka (pork knuckles cooked with vegetables), salceson and flaki (tripe), and zrazy (stuffed slices of beef). Vodka is considered to be the number one alcoholic drink, and it comes in various tastes. However, beer is also widely consumed by the locals, since Polish beers are considered to be among the best of the European beers. Poland also abounds in quality mineral waters, whereas its excellent fruit crops produce tasty juices.

Public Holidays:
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Varies between Mar 22 & Apr 25 Good Friday
Aug 15 Assumption
May 1 Labor Day
May 3 National Day
May 9 Victory Day
Nov 1 All Saints' Day
Dec 25-26 Christmas

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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