Republic of Poland
Poland uses Central European Time (CET). Hence, clocks are one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST).
Currency: Poland joined the European Union in May of 2004. However,
while negotiations continue to finalize the agreements, the currency remains
based on the zloty and not the euro. . 1 zloty = 100 groszy
The Arctic wind and Southern Sahara wind converge over Poland, allowing sudden shifts in weather from day to day. Spring and autumn illustrate this phenomenon best. Often a rainy day is followed by sun, and later even by snow. Never fear, though. Temperatures rarely dip into the 40s during these seasons. Blue skies and warm nights characterize summer, and besides the occasional afternoon shower, are very consistent. Expect high 70s to high 80s. Winter usually brings snow in late November, with thicker drifts to the South. Temperatures hang around 15 degrees, but can be much colder in the mountains. Contrary to popular belief, Poland rarely has "Russian" winters.
Everyone entering Poland must have a valid passport. US citizens do not need visas for stays up to three months.
Banks are generally open between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Some are open to 6 p.m.
Poland uses 220 volts AC and the continental-style plug. If your appliance has a 120/240-volt switch, all you will need is a plug adapter. Otherwise a current converter is required.
Tipping is a new and undefined custom in Poland. Unless you agreed with the driver on a price earlier, taxi fairs should be rounded up. Bartenders and waiters in cafes and don't expect a tip, but some people choose to leave the change. Not all Poles do it, but waiters in restaurants would appreciate 10-15%.
Poles drive on the right. American licenses are valid for one year.
All cities have well-planned public transit systems, and Krakow takes the lead. Get a city map for current routes. Poland works on a punch-ticket system. Get tickets at kiosks or from the bus/tram driver for a small fee. Punch the ticket immediately upon boarding in one of the several machines near the doors. A ticket must be punched for each item of luggage, even large backpacks.
Taxi ranks are packed, and Krakow has some of the cheapest rates in all of Poland.
Trains While the main train station in Krak√≥w (Krak√≥w Gl√≥wny) is one of the most elegant and clean stations in Poland, it has an unusual layout. In order to reach the tracks from the ticket windows it is necessary to exit the building and walk north. Remember that the access through to the tracks is via an underground tunnel.
Buses generally run between the same places as trains, but are slower. Exception: while the train requires 4 hours between Krak√≥w and Zakopane, the bus ride lasts only two. It may be necessary to take a bus in order to visit some towns in the East.
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