Ulica Sloneczna 13a
Nowe Miasto nad Warta
Boguszyn, Greater Poland
Al. Gen. J. Hallera 240,
ADA Campsite in Mielno-Unieście
ul. Świerczewskiego 29
ADA Campsite in Sarbinowo
ul. Nadmorska 128
Mielno, West Pomerania
Poznań, Greater Poland
Poland is a large country in Central Europe. It has a Baltic Sea coastline and is bordered by Belarus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast), Slovakia, and the Ukraine. Historically, it has been an area of conflict because of flat terrain and the lack of natural barriers on the North European Plain.
- Pomerania - attractive seaside, sandy beaches with dunes and cliffs; lakes, rivers and forests for loners.
- Masuria and the Suwalki region - a land of a thousand lakes, great for boating or kayaking.
- Greater Poland - quiet countryside, historic cities.
- Silesia - scenic mountains both for hikers and winter sport lovers, tranquil villages and little towns with a traditional architecture, spas.
- Lesser Poland - spectacular mountains, the world's oldest operating salt mines, fantastic landforms in jurassic limestone, caves, historical monuments and cities.
- Sub-Carpathia - wilderness, charming wooded mountains, extremely rich flora and fauna, historic cities and villages.
- Masovia and Podlachia - Europe's largest natural forest, profusion of wildlife, bird-watcher's paradise, inland dunes, Warsaw.
There's a lot of big cities in Poland that are worth seeing. Most of them have a flourishing medieval history.
- Gdańsk - one of the most beautiful European cities. Although it was destroyed in World War II, it has been perfectly rebuilt.
- Kraków - historical center, countless ancient monuments, the largest European mediaeval market-place; plenty of magic pubs and cafes; Nowa Huta district - unique entirely planned and built socialist-realist city; great starting point for trips of any kind.
- Łódź - once renowned for its textile industries, the Polish Manchester has the longest walking street in Europe, the Piotrkowska Street is full of picturesque 19th-century architecture.
- Poznań - a merchant town and a host city of the famous international trade shows. The Town Hall is one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings worldwide.
- Toruń - the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus has hundreds of fine buildings from the Middle Ages in its Old Town. There is a beautiful panorama of Toruń from the left side of the Vistula river.
- Warsaw - Poland's capital city is one of the most historical and important cities in Europe and has become one of the EU's thriving new business centers.
- Wrocław - a perfect mixture of gothic and baroque architecture, it was also destroyed and successfully rebuilt. It has more bridges than any other European town except Hamburg (2500), Venice, Amsterdam, Berlin and St. Petersburg.
- Zakopane - Poland's winter capital with outstanding atmosphere, the best starting point for hiking trips.
- Zamość Old Town - built in the late Polish Renaissance style. Jan Zamojski, the founder, invited people from the whole Europe to settle there. It is one of the most beautiful Renaissance cities in Europe.
The Polish coast is nearly 500km long and has fine, sandy beaches as well as the highest European dunes.
- Sopot - has the longest wooden pier in Europe and fine Art Nouveau architecture
- Gdynia - is the biggest haven at the Baltic Sea. It has a very interesting naval museum
- Hel - surrounded by water, situated on the top of the Hel Peninsula
- Kołobrzeg - is the biggest Polish spa at the Baltic Sea with many hotels
- Świnoujście - is the most western Polish sea town on the Uznam island
- Other famous seaside towns from west to east: Międzyzdroje, Dziwnów, Kamień Pomorski, Trzęsacz, Ustronie Morskie, Mielno, Darłowo, Ustka, Rowy, Łeba, Jastrzębia Góra, Rozewie, Władysławowo, Chałupy, Jastarnia, Jurata, Puck, Krynica Morska, Kadyny and Frombork.
Just after Finland, Poland has the biggest number of lakes relative to its area worldwide. The lakes of glacial origin are in the north of the country.
- Masuria is probably the most famous lake district in Central Europe with more than 3000 lakes. The most important cities around the Great Masurian Lakes are: Olsztyn, Iława, Ostróda, Lidzbark Warmiński, Reszel, Kętrzyn, Giżycko, Węgorzewo, Sztynort, Ryn, Mrągowo, Mikołajki, Krutyń, Ruciane Nida, Pisz and Ełk.
- Suwalki in the east is considered by many Poles to be the most beatiful lake district, with cities: Augustów, Suwałki (town), Sejny and Wigry (town)
- Kashubia is also called the Cashubian Switzerland due to the hilly landscape around the lakes; the cities nearby are: Bytów, Kartuzy, Kościerzyna, Chojnice, Wdzydze Kiszewskie and Człuchów
- Pomerania lake district has many lakes connected by rivers and creeks, ideal for canoeing, like the Pope John Paul II trace in: Czaplinek, Szczecinek, Połczyn Zdrój and Świdwin.
- Greater Poland has many historically important lakes, as on their islands big settlements like Biskupin were built even before Romulus founded Rome. Also the first Polish rulers built their capitals at such places in the early Middle Ages; the cities nearby are: Gniezno, Ostrów Lednicki, Kruszwica, Strzelno, Mogilno and Żnin
Polish road network is below par by Western European standards, but quite functional and dense. The biggest problem is that there is no intercity highway system and most of the country is linked only with single-carriageway roads, which are not suitable for the traffic volume they are experiencing. The roads are generally well-signed but various surface defects, most notably ruts, are commonplace.
As long as you keep by the main roads, you should get to where you want fairly easy. But estimate twice as much time and exhaustion compared with driving in countries like Germany or France. When travelling between cities or towns, you should always add about 30 minutes for every 100 km that you travel to leave time for getting stuck behind slow moving vehicles.
Poles drive aggressively, which means that they usually disrespect the speed limits and overtake recklessly. Scenes seen on the Polish roads are sometimes described as shocking by the foreigners not accustomed to the way locals handle their machines. Drunk driving is a problem, especially in the countryside, despite heavy penalties. Poland has more deaths on the roads per capita than most Western European countries.
Some peculiarities of driving in Poland include:
- Speed limits are: 90km/h outside city, 110km/h on car-only roads (white car on the blue sign), 10km/h more if directions are separated, 130km/h on highways and 50km/h in city (60km/h at night).
- Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence. BAC limits are: up to 0.02% - not prosecuted by law, up to 0.05% - an offence, above 0.05% - criminal offence (up to 2 years in jail). Despite the strict laws, DUI's are a serious problem in Poland. Be especially careful during (and after) national holidays and on the small roads in the countryside.
- There is no right turn at a red light. Exception is when there is green arrow signal in which case you still have to come to a complete stop and yield to pedestrians and cross traffic (although the stop rule is seldom respected by Polish drivers). All above does not apply if right turning traffic has separate (red-yellow-green) signals.
- On T-crossing or crossroads without traffic signs, traffic at the right always has right-of-way unless your road is a priority route, shown by a road sign displaying a yellow diamond with a white outline.
- After turning into a crossing street, driver can select any lane.
- Driving with lights on is obligatory during precipitation or reduced visibility and between October 1st and March 1st at all times.
- When driving in the countryside, other drivers (sometimes those approaching from the opposite direction too) may expect you to evade to the verge of the road to facilitate overtaking. This is a custom, not a law so you are not obliged to follow it. Before you do it, make sure there is a hard shoulder and it is safe to do so.
Some drivers flash their headlights to warn those approaching from the opposite direction of a police control nearby (you are likely to encounter this custom in many other countries). So if you see somebody flashing their headlights, it doesn't necessarily mean there is something wrong with your car or sth.
Historically, some people also used to flash the warning lights (all indicators simultaneously) once or twice as a way of saying "thank you". This is now outdated, the proper/modern way of saying "thank you" being a right/left/right indicator sequence, or similar. The usage of warning lights is the same as in Western Europe nowadays.
Poland is on the border of European "vodka" and "beer culture". Poles enjoy alcoholic drinks at least as much as other Europeans. You can buy beer, vodka and wine. Although Poland is known as the birth place of vodka, local beer seems to have much more appeal to many Poles. Another traditional alcoholic beverage is mead.
Officially, in order to buy alcohol one should be over 18 years old and be able to prove it with a valid ID.
- Żubrówka - vodka with flavors derived from Bison Grass, from eastern Poland.
- Żytnia - rye vodka
- Żołądkowa - bitter vodka
- Biała Dama
Deluxe (more expensive) brands include Chopin and Belvedere. Expect to pay about 70 złoty a bottle (2004 prices). Most Poles consider these brands to be "export brands", and usually don't drink them.
Modified: 2007-02-14 10:37:33+01