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Country Reports

Poland Country Report

Overview

INTRODUCTION

Poland (population 38.5 million), offers generally good travel conditions. Nonetheless, the country does possess certain risks that should be considered.

CRIME

Visitors should be aware that crime rates are higher in urban areas than in the rest of the country. Cases of pickpocketing and purse-snatching are common at tourist sites, train stations, and airports, particularly Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW). Individuals are particularly vulnerable when boarding or leaving trains; there have been reports of groups of criminals robbing passengers in the narrow aisles of the train as they pretend to get around the victim. 

Rates of violent crime, such as muggings and carjackings, are generally low throughout the country. However, visitors should take common sense precautions to protect themselves (e.g. keep an eye on belongings, store valuable objects and important papers in a safe place, and be particularly vigilant after nightfall). There have been isolated cases of drinks being spiked; as such food or drinks should never be left unattended and drinks offered by strangers politely refused.

POLITICS

Following the 2015 parliamentary elections, in which the Law and Justice (PiS) party won a majority, large-scale protests took place in the country, particularly in Warsaw, over changes made to the Constitutional Tribunal by the PiS. Tensions remain high in mid-2017 after the PiS attempted to push through judicial reforms that would replace the Supreme Court judges with government appointees. President Andrezej Duda vetoed the controversial law on July 24, 2017, after mass protests broke out in Warsaw.

The next presidential election is scheduled for 2020, while the next legislation elections are due to take place in 2019.

TRANSPORTATION

The poor state of some roads, in combination with the often-risky driving habits of locals and an abundance of tractor-trailers, often leads to serious road accidents; 3026 people died from such incidents in 2016. Drivers are urged to remain vigilant; it may be preferable to travel by train in winter months due to hazardous road conditions caused by ice and snow.

Visitors are also advised to take only officially-sanctioned taxis with a company name and/or telephone number printed on the light bar. Public transportation is generally reliable and safe. Individuals must have a valid ticket before boarding a bus or a train.

HEALTH

Decent quality medical care is generally available in major cities. Nevertheless, emergency services are often less than ideal in smaller cities and rural areas. Prior to departure, travelers should purchase a health insurance plan covering overseas care and medical repatriation.

Travelers should be aware of the presence of certain diseases (tick-borne encephalitis, Lyme disease, tuberculosis) in the country. Health risks are greater in remote and/or forested areas.

OTHER

Although a member of the European Union since 2004 and the visa- and border checkpoint-free Schengen Area, Poland still uses the zloty as its currency instead of the euro.

Climate

Polish winters (December to February) are very cold (-5°C to -15°C) and snowy. Springs are mild and sunny with nighttime frost until mid-May. Summers are mild any rainy and thunderstorms are common in July. Autumn (September to October) is dry and sunny.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: 48 Police: 997 or 112 Fire Dept.: 998 Ambulance: 999

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

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