Joint Meeting of ISBRA and ESBRA 2022

GENERAL INFORMATION

POLAND - PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Capital: Warsaw

Language: Polish

Border Countries: Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Russia

Population: 38 million

Area: 322,575 sq km (124,547 sq miles, about size of New Mexico)

Time Zone: CET (UTC+1)

Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Climate: Temperate with mild summers and moderately severe winters

Currency: Zloty (PLN, zł), 1 zloty = 100 groszy

Government type: Republic, parliamentary democracy

Members of: EU, UN, NATO, OECD, WTO and many other

Holidays: 11 days a year

Country Code: PL


Find out more about Poland


MONEY IN POLAND (NOTES AND COINS)

Money in Poland (notes and coins)

Coins in circulation: PLN 1, 2 and 5 and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 groszy coins

Notes in circulation: PLN 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 notes.

To help the blind and partially-sighted, each Polish banknote carries a special mark – a distinctive embossed shape identifying the value of the bank note:

PLN 10 - square

PLN 20 - circle

PLN 50 - diamond

PLN 100 - plus sign

PLN 200 - triangle


Currency exchange

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. Transactions in kantors cannot be reversed. 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.


Travellers Cheques

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

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.


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.


Shopping

Shopping for a bargain may be a great holiday pastime. You will be excited to know that Poland offers a great choice of goods at affordable prices and a wide variety of local specialities and souvenirs to make your holiday even more unforgettable. If you want to bring home from Poland something special for you or your partner, you will not be disappointed - Poland has no shortage of such attractions.


The streets of historic city centres are lined with art galleries and antique shops selling objects of art, souvenirs and hand crafted goods. To buy traditional Polish food delicacies – such real Polish ham, sausages, mushroom or home-baked bread, you should visit a farmers’ market. These markets have a long standing tradition of offering a wide choice of organic products and local specialities. Those who prefer shopping in hypermarkets (including many international chains) will not be disappointed either. These shops stay open until late at night, and offer a wide range of branded goods Polish and imported consumer products. Every major city in Poland has one or more huge shopping centres. Here, all in one place, you can find many boutiques, international chain stores, restaurants, bars and other attractions providing fun for the whole family.



RULES & REGULATIONS


Public transport tickets

Where to buy?

Tickets are sold at newsagent kiosks. One ticket is used for all means of public transport and is valid for buses, trams and the underground. In some towns you can buy tickets from the driver (at a surcharge), from ticket machines on board or at underground stations. Ticket inspections may be frequent and the failure to produce a valid ticket may lead to a fine. The transport company inspectors are ununiformed but they carry an ID card which they are obliged to present to the passenger.

What types of tickets are available?

Not all cities have the same type of tickets. In some, you can buy tickets which are valid for a specific length of time - 15 minutes, 30 minutes, one hour, one day, 24 hours etc. Such tickets can be used to travel by any means of public transport within the allocated time. When the ticket is stamped in the machine on board, the time is printed on the ticket. The ticket should only be stamped once. In some cities also single journey tickets are available.


Rail tickets

The best place to buy rail tickets is the station. Express / IC InterCity / EC EuroCity trains are charged extra for seat booking.Vist the information desk to enquire about timetables, prices and special offers. If you happen to be too late to buy a ticket at the station, you can still board the train and, as soon as possible, ask the guard to sell you a ticket (at a surcharge).

Using your own transport

Headlights - All vehicles are required to use headlights, night day and and all year round.

Seatbelts - The use of seat belts is compulsory for front and rear-seat passengers.

Roads and motorways - The condition of Polish roads could be described as relatively good. In the vicinity of the larger cities road surfaces are improving every month. Secondary roads can be qualified as being in a satisfactory condition.

Conditions on the roads - Apart from these motorways there are many dual carriageways and single-lane roads. The surface of some of these roads has been deformed by ruts cut into the road surface during the summer by TIR trucks. In general drivers have to be a little more vigilant in Poland when driving along the minor roads in this country.


Speed limits

built-up area - 50 km/h

outside built-up area - 90 km/h

dual carriageway - 120 km/h

single-lane road - 100 km/h

twin lane carriageway with at least two lanes per direction - 100 km/h

motorway - 140 km/h


Customs duty

When travelling to Poland from a country outside the EU, you should take note some customs procedures and regulations. This will avoid the disappointment when some of the items you bought during your stay in Poland turn out to be subject to customs restrictions. If you are 17 years of age or over, you may legally bring into Poland goods for your personal use and consumption, free of customs duty, as long as the quantity of the goods does not exceed:

tobacco products:

200 cigarettes

100 cigarillos or 50 cigars

250 g of tobacco

a proportional quantity of all of these various products combined;

spirits and alcoholic drinks:

alcoholic beverages with alcohol volume content of more than 22% and pure ethyl alcohol with alcohol volume content of more than 80% - 1 litre, alcoholic beverages, wine- or alcohol-based aperitifs, taffia, sake or similar drinks with alcohol volume content up to 22%; sparkling wines, liqueurs - 2 litres non-sparkling wines - 2 litres


Import restrictions

You must not bring with you (unless under a special permit) such banned goods as:

unlicensed drugs (e.g. heroin, morphine, cocaine, cannabis, etc),

offensive weapons (e.g. firearms, flick knives, knuckledusters, swords, etc)

indecent and obscene materials featuring children and other pornographic materials which are considered illegal in EU countries.

counterfeit and pirated goods and goods that infringe patents (e.g. watches, CDs, etc)


Protection of national heritage

To export from Poland to any foreign country (both within and outside the EU) an object of historic value, a work of art or an object of Poland’s industrial heritage, you must obtain a suitable permit issued by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. Antique shops or other legitimate sellers offering such objects for sale should be able to offer assistance in obtaining the required permit.

Export permits are not required in case of:

Objects which are not entered in the Inventory of National Heritage and which are not older than 55 years;

Objects of industrial heritage, which are entered in the Inventory of National Heritage and which are not older than 25 years;

Works of are created by living artists;

Library items dated after 31 December 1948;

Other objects of historic value which are not entered in the Inventory of National Heritage.

A certificate stating that an object mentioned above does not require export permit must be obtained. Certificates are issued by the local Curator of National Heritage Monuments. Ask the vendor offering such objects for sale to assist you in obtaining the required certificate.


Avian flu

Because of the danger of avian flu, Poland – like other EU countries – does not allow import of animal products whose country of origin is outside of the EU. This ban does not apply to infant products (on condition that such products do not require refrigeration prior to consumption, and the packaging is intact). Meat and milk can only be imported under a special permit.


Visas - general information

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.

Detailed information on rules covering entry and stay in Poland can be obtained from Polish embassies and consular offices. A list of addresses of embassies and consulates



Alcohol & Cigarettes

Poland has no specific laws regulating alcohol consumption. There are, however, certain restrictions as to the age and venues where people are permitted to drink alcohol. It is also worth remembering that being under the influence of alcohol is not a mitigating factor if an offence has been committed. While smoking tobacco is going out of fashion in Poland, it is not prohibited to smoke in public places.


Drinking in public place

In Poland, it is prohibited to drink alcohol in public places, with the exception of properly licensed designated places, such as bars, restaurants, open air café gardens, etc.


Drinking & driving

In Poland, the legal limit of blood alcohol content is 20 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood. Driving while under the influence of alcohol (between 20 mg and 50 mg) is an offence punishable by a fine. Driving while being above the 50 mg limit is a serious offence which leads to criminal conviction and possible seizure of the vehicle. Offenders face a possibility of immediate arrest and up to two years’ imprisonment.


Smoking in public places

Although in Poland it is not illegal to smoke in many public places, there are also regulations aiming at protecting non-smokers. With an increasing number of Polish people preferring a healthy lifestyle, smoking is no longer generally acceptable. The anti-smoking lobby is gaining popularity not only by promoting a healthy lifestyle for smokers, but mainly by protecting passive smokers. A nationwide campaign has been launched to declare 31 May a ‘Non Smoking Day’. Because of these concerns, smoking is now prohibited in many places. Many such places may have, however, designated smoking areas. Therefore, in restaurants, pubs, on trains, in theatres, colleges, etc. you may only smoke in such designated areas. Smoking is strictly prohibited in places marked with special signs (a cigarette crossed with a red line).


Feel free to ask any questions

Organizers:

ISBRA – International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism

ESBRA – European Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism

Conference Office:

Polish Travel Quo Vadis Sp. z o.o.

Ptasia 2, 00-138 Warsaw, Poland