Practical A to Z
Practical A to Z
- Eating out
- Embassies and consulates
- Public holidays
As a general rule, restaurants are open continuously from 11am-noon until 10pm.
Service is not included and it is customary to add a 10% tip.
Breakfast is generally very filling (eggs, cold meat, dairy products) and will keep you going for a large part of the day. Most people often eat a snack at midday and the second main meal of the day, roughly equivalent to lunch, is eaten in the afternoon, around 4pm. The third meal of the day, dinner, is traditionally a light meal and is eaten around 7pm. In large towns, this tradition is, however, rarely upheld and it is possible to dine quite late.
Where to eat
Mleczny bars (milk bars), authentic Polish institutions left over from the Communist era, are self-service cafeterias that cater to small budgets and serve traditional meals. You will have no problem understanding the menu: everything is displayed behind the counter - just point at what you would like to eat!
The voltage in Poland is 220V, but plugs are standard two-pin continental plugs, so you will probably need an adaptor.
Embassies and consulates
British Embassy –ul. Kawalerii 12, 00-468 Warsaw – t 22 311 0000 – http://ukinpoland.fco.gov.uk/en/
Irish Embassy – ul. Mysia 5, 6th Floor, 00-496 Warsaw – t 22 849 6633 – http://www.embassyofireland.pl/
Also see Know before you go.
Universal European emergency number: t 112.
Police: t 997. Fire brigade: t 998. Medical emergencies: t 999.
Doctors and hospitals
Poland’s doctors are extremely competent, whatever the establishment. However, state hospitals are less well equipped than private clinics.
The currency of Poland is the Złoty (abbreviated locally to ZŁ;international abbreviation PLN).
Banks / exchange
Banks are open Monday-Saturday from 8am to 6pm.
Exchange offices are available more or less everywhere, in post offices, big hotels, airports and shopping streets. They are generally open on weekdays from 9am-6pm and until 12noon on Saturdays. They do not accept traveller’s cheques.
The major international credit cards are accepted in most parts of the country. While you will have no problem paying bills by credit card in large hotels and restaurants, this is less often the case in smaller establishments.
Budget / cost of living
Poland remains a relatively cheap destination for Western tourists. A comfortable double room in a good hotel will cost a minimum of PLN300 per night in Warsaw or another large town and PLN200 in a smaller establishment. Guesthouse accommodation costs around PLN150.
A full meal in a restaurant will cost between PLN15 and 50 and a single dish between PLN6 and 25.
Museums are generally closed on Mondays. Opening hours are often variable, particularly out of season and in less touristy districts. Knock on the door, the caretaker may well open and let you in.
Post offices are open on weekdays from 8am-7pm and on Saturday mornings.
3 May – Anniversary of the Constitution
Corpus Christi – General Prayer Day
15 August – Assumption Day
1 November – All Saints Day
11 November – Independence Day
25 and 26 December
Poland is a safe country and providing you respect a few basic rules, among which, avoid walking around very late at night, particularly outside the city centres, or around railway stations or in parks, you shouldn’t encounter any mishaps. Night trains are relatively notorious in terms of security, so it is advisable to keep an eye on your luggage at all times. Never leave anything of value in your vehicle, because thieves are quick to pick out rental and foreign cars.
Shops are open Monday-Friday 10am-6pm; they generally close earlier on Saturdays.
You can claim a VAT refund for purchases over PLN200 made in “Tax free” shops. The latter will provide you with a purchase certificate in your name that is valid for 3 months.
Calling Poland from abroad
00 + 48 (country code for Poland) + area code + number of the person.
Calling home from Poland
00 + country code. For the United Kingdom: 44; for Ireland: 353.
Dial the full number of the person (including the area code). The first three digits indicate the geographic zone.