Australian, Canadian, Japanese, New Zealand and US citizens can stay for a period of up to ninety days with a valid passport without a visa, as can residents of EU countries. If you intend staying for over ninety days you will need to obtain a visa before travelling.
If you are in any doubt as to whether or not you may need a visa to enter the country, you should contact the Polish Embassy in your home country.
The currency used in Poland is the Polish Zloty (PLN). Notes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200, and the coins in use come in 1, 2 and 5 zlotys. The zloty is further divided into the groszy. This comes in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50.
The official language in Warsaw is Polish.
Warsaw has a humid continental climate, with high temperatures in winter and low temperatures in summer. In January and February, temperatures can drop below freezing to around -3ºC, and during the summer the city can experience highs of around 20ºC in July. This is also the wettest month. May and June tend to be the sunniest months of the year.
Visitors from EU countries are entitled to medical treatment under the EU Reciprocal Medical Treatment agreement. Before you travel you should collect an E111 form from your local social security office. This form may also be obtained in post offices also.
Warsaw is located in the Central European Time (CET) zone which is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST).
Shops in Warsaw generally open between 10am and 7pm from Monday to Saturday. Lots of places also open on Sunday. Many clothes shops are open until 9pm. Some supermarkets now open 24 hours.
Warsaw's main tourist offices can be found at ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 39. Opening hours are 9am-8pm from May to September, and 9am-6pm from October to April. Other tourist offices can be found in the Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport and Warsaw’s Central Railway Station.
In Poland, value added tax is calculated at three different rates. These are 22%, 7% and 0%. For example, VAT on alcohol served in restaurants is 22%, while VAT on taxi charges is 0%. Tax free shopping is available at some locations. To avail of ask for a Global Refund Cheque where you see the Global Refund Tax Free Shopping Sign. Upon leaving Poland, present both the item and the cheque at customs, the officials will stamp it for you and you can then cash your cheque at any of the booths with the Tax-Free logo and Cash Refund sign. This is only applicable where you are leaving the country within three months.
Banks and currency exchange offices will change your currency into Polish Zloty when you arrive. Please note they will charge a commission fee. Travellers cheques can also be used in a lot of places, but not everywhere.
Electric current in Poland is 220 volts AC, 50 cycles.
The country code for Poland is 48 so if you are calling from abroad you need to dial 00, followed by 48, the local area code and the local number. The local area code for Warsaw is 022.
Post offices in Warsaw are usually open from around 8.30am to 9pm. Some close for an hour at lunch time.
Because the service charge is normally included in most bills, tipping is not compulsory. If the service you receive is particularly good, however, it is customary to leave a small additional amount. With regard to taxi drivers, it is usual to round the payment up to include ten per cent of the fare
It is worth noting what the public holidays are before you travel to a country as the majority of businesses, banks and shops usually shut for the day. In Poland they take place on January 1st and 31st, Easter Sunday and Monday, May 1st, 3rd, and 22nd, August 15th, November 1st and 11th, and December 25th and 26th. It is a good idea to check the particular area too as certain towns and cities also shut down during special events.