Top tips

  • Consider a package deal so all the details are sorted before you go.
  • Take all your ski kit with you. Many of the resorts lack the sort of facilities that might be taken for granted elsewhere.
  • Learn some local phrases. People won’t expect you to speak their language, but they’ll be delighted that you bothered to try. A little effort goes a long way.

getting there

The nearest airport to Zakopane is Krakow, and carriers include Lot (, Lufthansa (, British Airways (, Swiss ( and Alitalia (

red tape

British nationals do not require a visa to enter Poland.


Comprehensive medical and travel insurance is recommended. British nationals are entitled to emergency medical treatment in Poland – obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. The EHIC is available free of charge through most UK post offices or through the UK Department of Health.


Polish cuisine is a mixture of Slavic and foreign influences. On the whole, it's hearty and relatively high in fat, protein and starch. Staples include red meat, potatoes, cheese and bread as well as various pies and dumplings. There are a lot of ingredients that foreigners will find unusual, such as sour cabbage, dried mushrooms, curdled milk and sour rye. Pickling is a very common practice in Poland – vegetables and fish such as herring from the Black Sea are all fair game, the latter being a massively popular national dish. The famous kielbasa sausages are also very popular.

crime & safety

Petty crime does occur, with pickpockets, robbery and mugging being a threat in Poland. Pay particular attention in busy railway stations.Driving in Poland can be hazardous. Most roads are narrow and poorly surfaced. The rate of deaths is 2½ times as high as it is in Britain.


Polish is the national language. Poland is actively trying to develop its tourism industry so English is quite widely spoken.

getting around

If driving, note that there's a zero tolerance policy on drink driving in Poland. It's also a legal requirement that you carry original vehicle registration papers, ownership documents and insurance papers at all times (this also applies to rental cars).

car hire

Most major hire car companies (,, have offices in airports and cities in Poland. Usual age restrictions apply.

public transport

Poland has a decent public transport network. Make sure you validate tickets for buses, trams and the metro before travelling (punch them at the yellow machines in the entrance to metro stations or on board buses and trams). If you're caught without a valid ticket you'll be fined around PLN 120. Tickets can be bought at most newspaper stands and kiosks.

opening hours

Polish offices run on a slightly earlier programme of 0800-1600

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