TRAVELLING IN POLAND
Polish road infrastructure is extensive but local routes may be poorly maintained, and high speed motorways currently in place are insufficient. However, public transport is quite plentiful and inexpensive: buses and trams in cities, and charter buses and trains for long distance travel.
On the internet you can find many useful clues how to travel
Polish national carrier LOT has daily connections between the biggest cities with a hub in Warsaw. Other option is Eurolot and other small airlines which connect other bigger cities directly.
Official website: http://www.lotnisko-chopina.pl/
Chopin Airport handles scheduled, charter and cargo traffic. In 2013, it served over 10 millions passengers, i.e. about 40% of the total air passenger traffic in Poland. The airport’s infrastructure is continuously being developed in order to increase the airport’s capacity and improve the quality of passenger service. Other planned development projects include the modernization of the old part of the Terminal building, construction of a new hotel and development of Chopin Airport City – a modern multipurpose venue with business, commercial and recreational facilities and a total area of over 150 thousand sq. m.
Warsaw Chopin Airport (IATA: WAW, ICAO: EPWA) is an international airport located in the Włochy district of Warsaw, Poland. As Poland’s busiest airport, Warsaw Chopin handles just under 40% of the country’s air passenger traffic. Warsaw Chopin handles approximately 300 scheduled flights daily and an ever rising number of charters. London, Chicago, Frankfurt, Paris, and Amsterdam are the busiest international connections, while Kraków, Wrocław, and Gdańsk are the most popular domestic ones.
Formerly Warsaw-Okecie Airport (Port lotniczy Warszawa-Okęcie) or Okecie International Airport, the airport bore the name of its Okęcie neighborhood throughout its history, until its renaming for Polish composer and former Warsaw resident Frédéric Chopin in 2001. Despite the official change, “Okecie” (“Lotnisko Okęcie”) remains in popular and industry use, including air traffic and aerodrome references.
Polish Airports’ State Enterprise
Address: 00-906 Warsaw, Żwirki i Wigury 1 Street
Airport Information – phone.: +48 22 650 4220
Airport Telephone Exchange -phone.: +48 22 650 1111
WARSAW (WARSZAWA) – MODLIN
Official website: http://en.modlinairport.pl/
Warsaw–Modlin Mazovia Airport (IATA: WMI, ICAO: EPMO) is an international passenger airport, formerly a disused military airfield, which opened in July 2012, intended for low-cost carriers serving the Warsaw, Poland, market. On 8 February 2010, the airport was registered officially as a civil airport by the Polish Aviation Authority (Urząd Lotnictwa Cywilnego). It is located 40 km (25 miles) north of Warsaw’s city centre in Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki.
Address: Mazowiecki Port Lotniczy Warszawa-Modlin Sp. z o.o.
ul. gen. Wiktora Thommee 1a
05-102 Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki
+48 801 80 18 80
+48 22 315 18 80
Official website: http://www.lotnisko-chopina.pl/
Lech Walesa Airport, is one of three most important international airports in Poland (Warsaw and Cracow being the other two). Its position is owed to connection network, well developed in response to fast growing demand for business and economy carriage.
Gdansk Airport satisfy requirements and recommendations of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and execute practices described in Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP). Main advantages of the airport are favorable topographical and microclimatic conditions and possibilities of spatial expansion. High standard of the airport makes it a spare airport for Okecie Airport in Warsaw. The key significance for the airport is its location. The airport in Rebiechowo is just 10 km away from Gdansk city center, similar distance from Sopot and 23 km from Gdynia city center. Constantly expanded roads between the airport and city centres makes it possible to cover this distance in 15-20 min.
Proximity to Tricity ring-road and intersection of national roads number 1, 6 and 7 enables commute from grounds outside Tricity. Thanks to location of the airport, conversion from airway transport to road, train or sea transport is possible for passengers and cargo operators. Lech Walesa Airport has its own train siding, which can be used to service larger cargo transported by airway.
Lech Walesa Airport is situated in the heart of Pomeranian region and service mainly pomorskie province (approx. 2,2 million habitants, , 18 293 km2 – 5,9 % area of Poland). Almost half of habitants of the province (Tricity agglomeration) live in direct proximity of the airport. Due to a large number of airway connections and convenient access, Gdanks Airport service not only Tricity but also other cities like Elbląg, Toruń, Szczecin and Koszalin.
ADDRESS: GDANSK LECH WALESA AIRPORT
ul. Słowackiego 200, 80-298 Gdańsk
phone +48 525 673 531
fax +48 58 345 22 83
Official website: https://www.katowice-airport.com/en/
Katowice International Airport (Polish: Międzynarodowy Port Lotniczy Katowice) (IATA: KTW, ICAO: EPKT) is an international airport, located in Pyrzowice, 30 km (19 mi) north of center of Katowice, Poland. The airport has the fourth biggest passenger flow in Poland.
The airport features two passenger terminals A and B and a cargo terminal. Operations at terminal B, much bigger than A, started on 30 July 2007. Terminals are capable of handling about 3.6 million passengers annually. Terminal A handles all non-Schengen flights, while Terminal B handles all Schengen flights. The longest airport observation deck in Poland can be found inside Terminal B.
The airports concrete runway is 2,800 by 60 m (9,186 by 197 ft) and can accommodate aircraft as large as Boeing 747 or Boeing 777, albeit not at Maximum Takeoff Weight. Heavy transports such as Antonov An-124 or An-225 have been noticed to land there. The airport uses new generation Instrument Landing System – Thales 420.
Katowice Airport (Międzynarodowy Port Lotniczy Katowice)
ul. Wolności 90
ph: +48 32 39 27 200
fax: +48 32 39 27 376
Airport information: +48 32 39 27 000
Secretariat: +48 32 39 27 202
Official website: http://airport.wroclaw.pl/
The Wrocław Nicolaus Copernicus Airport is located in the south-west part of Wrocław, about 10 km away from the city centre, near Wrocław motorway bypass, which makes the airport easily accessible for passengers driving from Warsaw along the S8 road, from Poznań along the national road no. 5, as well as for those driving to the airport from the south, along the national road no. 8 and for the passengers driving along the A4 motorway.
Since 2003 the airport has recorded rapid increase in passenger traffic. Within 5 years the number of passengers increased five times.The airport provides its services to network carriers which offer flights to the major hubs in Europe, low-cost carriers, like Ryanair and Wizz Air, which have their operational bases at the Wrocław Airport, and also charter airlines hired by tour operators as a part of a package deal which includes accommodation, rentals, and other activities for an entire holiday. On 11th March 2012 a new passenger terminal was opened. Its capacity is almost 4 million passengers per year and in the future it will reach as much as 7 million.
Port Lotniczy Wrocław S.A.
54-530 Wrocław, ul. Graniczna 190
tel. (+48 71) 35-81-100
fax. (+48 71) 35-73-973
Information about departures and arrivals: tel. (+48 71) 35 81 381
Information about lost baggage: tel. (+48 71) 35 81 387
Official website: http://www.airport.lodz.pl/en/
Lodz Airport is at a phase of intensive development. The development of an airport is essential for the residents of Lodz and the region. Poland is, after China, the second fastest developing market for air-traffic services, at the moment. As seen by the example of other regional airports, such dynamics have a truly great significance. Airports have a strong positive impact on the economic development of a region. When making decisions about investment locations, the existence of an airport is an important factor.
The airport has many advantages, such as its central location in the country, the proximity of a junction of main transport routes, a dense population area (approx. 3.9 Million people are residing within 100 km, and within 150 km – 11 Million). 31 European capitals are within the range of regional flights from Lodz Airport. The present terminal is modern and ensures a high standard of passenger services (including services for disabled persons) in terms of national and international traffic. It has a bar, car rental point , air service companies, restrooms for pilots, the Airport Meteorological Office, Border Guards and Police. Shortly, the building of Terminal II, which will service passengers using cheap airline services, will commence.
A taxi stand and a municipal transport stop (service 55, 65) is in the direct neighbourhood. There is also line L which conect airport with train stations. Airport customers have 450 parking spaces at their disposal.
Gen. S. Maczka 35 Street
Phone: +48 42 683 52 10
Fax: +48 42 688 83 84
Information: +48 42 683 52 55
In Poland, the national railway carriers are PKP InterCity and Przewozy Regionalne. There are some local carriers that belong to voivodships and Fast Urban Rail systems. The schedule of every train can be found in this official route planner. Train tickets are quite cheap, but travel conditions (especially on most cheaper long-distance trains) reflect the fact that much of the infrastructure is rather old. However, you can expect a fast, clean and modern connection on the new PKP IC’s routes, such as Warsaw – Katowice, Warsaw – Kraków, Warsaw – Poznań and Warsaw – Szczecin. Price difference between the second and first class is not so big, same as the quality difference.
- EIC (ExpressInterCity) / EC (EuroCity) – express PKP IC’s trains between main cities, as well as major tourist destinations. Seat reservation included for free. Power points for laptops are usually available next to the seat.
- TLK (Twoje Linie Kolejowe) – discount PKP IC’s trains, they are slower but cheaper than those above. Most long-distance trains are of this standard. Seat reservation included for free. Usually older carriages are in use.
- iR (interRegio) – a bit cheaper than TLK, and slightly less quality trains. Run by Przewozy Regionalne.
- REGIO / Osobowy – ordinary passenger train; usually slow, stops everywhere. You can also buy a weekend turystyczny ticket, or a week-long pass. Great if you are not in rush, but expect these to be very crowded at times. Run by Przewozy Regionalne, or other local carriers (like Koleje Mazowieckie, Koleje Wielkopolskie, Arriva RP, etc.). This depends on the voivodeship.
Narrow gauge – Poland still retains a number of local narrow-gauged railways. Most of them are oriented towards tourism and operate only in summer or on weekends, while some remain active as everyday municipal rail. See Polish narrow gauge railways.Tickets for any route can generally be purchased at any station. As only international personnel is expected to speak other than Polish languages, it is recommended that you buy your train tickets on-line to avoid communication difficulties and long queues.
Poland has a very well developed network of private charter bus companies, which tend to be cheaper, faster, and more comfortable than travel by rail. For trips under 100 km, charter buses are far more popular than trains. However, they are more difficult to use for foreigners, because of language barrier. There is an on-line timetable available. It available in English and includes bus and train options so you can compare: On-line timetables are useful for planning, however, there are multiple carriers at each bus station and departure times for major cities and popular destinations are typically no longer then thirty minutes in-between.
Each city and town has a central bus station (formerly known as PKS), where the various bus routes pick up passengers; you can find their schedules there. Bus routes can also be recognized by signs on the front of the bus that typically state the terminating stop. This is easier if picking up a bus from a roadside stop, rather than the central depot. Tickets are usually purchased directly from the driver, but sometimes it’s also possible to buy them at the station. If purchasing from the driver, simply board the bus, tell the driver your destination and he will inform you of the price. Drivers rarely speak English, so often he will print a receipt showing the amount. Buses are also a viable choice for long-distance and international travel; however, be aware that long-distance schedules are usually more limited than for trains.
In 2011 a new bus company called Polski Bus appeared in Poland with more ‘western’ approach – you can only buy tickets through the internet and the prices vary depending on the number of seats already sold. They have bus links between Warsaw and most of bigger Polish cities (as well as few neighboring capitals).
Driving in Poland may be stressful, frustrating and time-consuming, due to the poor quality of roads, lack of motorways and the driving style of the locals. Polish road network contains fewer highways and more ordinary two-lane roads than in western countries. A lot of these roads are far below capacity for the volume of traffic they are carrying and the average quality of the road surface is poor (Conditions have, however, greatly improved in the wake of the 2012 UEFA European Cup). Motorways are being constructed but Poland is still the bottom of motorway km rankings in Europe.
As a rule of thumb, assume 2 hr for each 100km of travel (allowing for unexpected delays). If you’re driving through large cities, you can safely double that. Due to lack of motorways you will be passing through lots of smaller and bigger towns and often big cities which will significantly slow you down. When travelling between smaller cities or towns you will also routinely encounter slow moving vehicles, such as farm vehicles and tractors, and sometimes bicycles. Drunks, on foot or on bicycles, are a common sight. This includes having them weave through fast moving traffic at night.
Polish road death statistics are high for European standards and driver behaviour is sometimes very poor in terms of impatience, rudeness and absence of ordinary common sense or foresight. “Dynamic driving style” is expected. In practice this means that Poles often drive aggressively and recklessly, push in, “meander” through surrounding cars, routinely disrespect speed limits (frequently by a large margin) and overtake at less-than-safe distances. Overtaking is a critical and potentially dangerous manoeuvre that is commonly done in a hazardous way in Poland. In heavier traffic it’s common to overtake “on 3rd” meaning that at some point during the manoeuvre there will be three cars (the overtaken, the overtaking, and the vehicle approaching from the opposite direction) next to each other side to side (or close to that). An unwritten code is followed to make this possible and “safe”. The driver that is driving behind a slower vehicle and preparing to overtake expects that the slower vehicle will move to the right as far as feels comfortable also using the half-lane if it is separated with a dashed line and completely sure to be free of bicycles or pedestrians. The vehicle approaching from the opposite direction is advised or sometimes forced to also slightly move to the side. Such style of overtaking is illegal and unsafe. The above information is intended to explain the reality on the ground and help understand the traffic. Don’t do it. If you hit someone or something on the shoulder, you get penalised and the driver who caused you to do it has long since driven off. Particularly reckless drivers will attempt to overtake “on four”, when overtaking in both directions is taking place in roughly the same space, but this is rare.
However, what seems to be dangerous is not always so. As nowhere else in Europe large number of polish drivers use cb-radios and share information about trafic conditions so what seem to be i.e. dangerous overtaking other vehicle is often an action, that has been previously arranged by radio. The information obtained by them this way let them also to drive safer and to avoid traffic jams and other unexpected situations
Tailgating can rarely happen. Aggressive driving up behind you and flashing of headlights means “get out of my way”. If you’re driving on a two-lane road, which will be most of the time, you are under no obligation to do so. Rather don’t expect that the driver may throw something out of his window or suddenly step on his brakes once he has passed you, but better let drive faster people, who know aera better than you. If you leave a safety gap in front of your car, it will be filled by another driver as he is trying to push through the traffic.
Poles work long, so peak time in major cities frequently last till 8pm. Roadworks are common as many new road developments are under way and roads require frequent maintenance due to damage inflicted by winter conditions and as the roads are often built to subpar quality to start with.
Parking in cities and towns is often allowed on sidewalks, unless of course there is a no-parking sign. There is usually no provision for parking on the tar-sealed part of the street so do not leave your car parked at the curb, unless it is clearly a parking bay. Parking meters in cities and even smaller towns are widely used.
Use only those that are associated in a “corporation” (look for phone number and a logo on the side and on the top). Unaffiliated drivers are likely to cheat and charge you much more. Like everywhere, be especially wary of these taxis near international airports and train stations. They are called the “taxi mafia”. The best advice is to ask your Polish friends or your hotel concierge for the number of the taxi company they use and call them 10-15 minutes in advance (there’s no additional cost). That’s why locals will only hail taxis on the street in an emergency. You can also find phone numbers for taxis in any city on the Internet, on municipal and newspaper websites. Some taxi companies, particularly in larger towns provide for a cab to be ordered online or with a text message. There are also stands, where you can call for their particular taxi for free, often found at train stations.
If you negotiate the fare with the driver you risk ending up paying more than you should. Better make sure that the driver turns the meter on and sets it to the appropriate fare (taryfa):
- Taryfa 1: Daytime within city limits
- Taryfa 2: Nights, Sundays and holidays within city limits
- Taryfa 3: Daytime outside city limits
- Taryfa 4: Nights, Sundays and holidays outside city limits
The prices would vary slightly between the taxi companies and between different cities, and there is a small fixed starting fee added on top of the mileage fare. When crossing city limits (for example, when travelling to an airport located outside the city), the driver should change the tariff at the city limit. Every taxi driver is obliged to issue a receipt when asked (at the end of the ride). You can inquire driver about a receipt (rachunek) before you get into cab, and resign if his reaction seems suspicious or if he refuses.
Cycling is a good method to get a good impression of the scenery in Poland. The roads can sometimes be in quite a bad condition and there is usually no bicycle lane. Car drivers are careless but most do not necessarily want to kill cyclists on sight which seems to be the case in some other countries. Rainwater drainage of both city streets is usually in dreadful condition and in the country it is simply non-existent. This means that puddles are huge and common, plus pot-holes make them doubly hazardous.
Especially in the south you can find some nice places for bicycling; eg: along the rivers Dunajec (from Zakopane to Szczawnica) or Poprad (Krynica to Stary Sacz) or Lower Silesia (Zlotoryja – Swierzawa – Jawor). Specially mapped bike routes are starting to appear and there are specialised guide books available so ask a bicycle club for help and you should be just fine. Away from roads which join major cities and large towns you should be able to find some great riding and staying at agroturystyka (room with board at a farmer’s house, for example) can be a great experience.
Hitchhiking in Poland is (on average) OK. Yes, it’s slower than its Western (Germany) and Eastern (Lithuania) neighbors, but your waiting times will be quite acceptable! The best places to be picked up at are the main roads, mostly routes between Gdansk – Warsaw – Poznan and Krakow. Use a cardboard sign and write the desired destination city name on it. Do not try to catch a lift where it is forbidden to stop. Look on the verge of the road and there should be a dashed line painted there, not a solid one. As in any country, you should be careful, there are several reports of Polish hitchhiking trips gone awry, so take basic precautions and you should be as right as rain.