There is no denying the fact that the Polish people are some of the most enthusiastic beings on Planet Earth and their perseverance and love for their nation shines through everything that they do. Besides the fact that they are extremely friendly and talkative (speaking their language is a big plus), their country is a picturesque and enchanting land on its own. So, without further ado, let us hop right into the top five things to know before visiting Poland!
Here is the thing with most travel agencies and their options: they are going to want to take you to either Warsaw or Krakow. While those are excellent places to visit with countless sights to bask in, Poland is so much more than that. When you are done with the UNESCO-protected sites of Krakow and the tumultuous nightlife of Warsaw, consider visiting the more rural areas. While they may seem a bit ancient, they are culturally regarded as traditional. No matter where you might tread, you are going to run into people who will be willing to share their food with you or to harbour you even. If one was to read the history of Poland, one would find that they are some of the most perseverant and inherently strong people in the world. And such strength and will to live can only translate into empathy and compassion. By all means, go past the places that most people visit and get to know the real foundations of one of the most beautiful and serene countries in the world!
2. Meat heaven:
This might not exactly translate as good news to vegetarians and vegans but Poland is quite a meat-heavy country when it comes to cuisine. Their sausage culture can be compared to that of Hungary and Germany whilst they will include a little chopped or ground meat in just about anything. While this may sound overwhelming for people who do not particularly enjoy that side of the menu, it is not impossible to find things that will appeal to you. There is one thing that you should do though: ask specifically if a dish contains meat or not. If you do not ask, there is an 85% chance that it does (wink). Meat lovers, on the other hand, we recommend that you try all sorts of sausages while in Poland, for you will not find two that taste the same – if you’ve been to Hungary, you might have an idea as to how good they can really get!
There are two basic rules when it comes to tourist conduct: help the people in need and know the tipping rules of the countries that you are visiting. Tipping in Poland is customary (and especially so in touristy areas such as Krakow and Warsaw) since bartenders and waiters usually get minimal wage (they are expected to make up for the “loss” via tips). Leaving a 10% extra is the bare minimum if the service was good but you can go up to 15-20% if it was exceptionally so. Know that your tipping directly influences the future service that you are going to receive at the establishments in question.
There is no denying the fact that countless tourists flock to Warsaw and Krakow because they want to indulge in the nightlife offered by them. While this is entirely possible, you are soon going to arrive at the conclusion that going out in Poland without drinking vodka is as impossible as licking your elbow (alright, we know that there are people around the world who can actually do that, but still). Vodka is such a national drink in Poland that if you get drunk enough, you are going to think that you are in Russia (wink). Yet in spite of the exquisite vodka-roster that you can choose from, people (and yes, this includes tourists as well) are not allowed to drink on the streets, in parks, etc. You have to consume your liquid love in a bar, a club or at home. Getting caught outside with booze can lend you nasty fines (which can reach the equivalent of 25 Euros in some cases) and we are saying this because it is the number-one inconvenience that tends to catch up with tourists in Poland.
While there is a lot of background noise that revolves around how cheap Poland is, we can tell you that it is neither too cheap, nor too expensive. Poland is the incarnational example of a mid-range country and everything will depend on how well you manage your budget. Food can get from 1-2 Euros to 15-20 in an instant and there is room for anything in-between as well. Housing is also fairly ok but if you are on a tight budget, you might want to opt for fringe-accommodation (in the suburbs, for example). Public transportation is fairly cheap and you can buy tickets just about anywhere (including on the vehicles themselves in some cases).
Did you enjoy our list? What experiences have you had in Poland and what aftertaste have they left you with? Tell us all about it in the comment section below and be sure to check back for some exciting updates soon! Safe travels!