Transport

Transport by plane

planeMost of Europe's major airlines fly to and from Poland. Poland's national carriers are LOT Polish Airlines, and a low cost airline Centralwings (owned by LOT). There are several low cost airlines that fly to Poland including WizzAir, SkyEurope, EasyJet, Germanwings, Norwegian and Ryanair.

Apart from direct air connections from many European cities there are also direct flights from United States and Canada. LOT operates direct flights from Toronto, New York and Chicago, however tickets for those flights are far from cheap and most people with limited budgets fly with other airlines which stopover in major European airports.

International airlines fly mainly to Warsaw's Frederic Chopin Airport (WAW) in Okęcie. Other major airports in Poland are: Kraków-Balice (KRK), Katowice-Pyrzowice (KTW), Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport (GDN), Poznań-Ławica (POZ), Wrocław Copernicus Airport (WRO), Szczecin-Goleniów (SZZ), Rzeszów-Jasionka (RZE), Bydgoszcz Ignacy Jan Paderewski Airport (BZG) and Łódź-Lublinek (LCJ).

Domestic flights operated by LOT (under Eurolot brand) connect Warsaw with Bydgoszcz, Katowice, Kraków, Gdańsk, Poznan, Łódź, Szczecin Wrocław and Zielona Góra. Other smaller cities don't have airports with facilities that would allow commercial airlines to operate internationally, however there are often charter flights available - of course, these are for people with thick wallets.

Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport (International Airport)
An international airport located in the Okęcie district of Warsaw, Poland.Warsaw Airport handles approximately 100 scheduled flights daily and an ever rising number of charters. London, Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam are the busiest international connections, while Kraków, Wrocław and Gdańsk are the most popular domestic ones.

Katowice International Airport
An international airport located in Pyrzowice, 30 km north of the Katowice city centre, in Poland. The airport features two passenger terminals A and B (completed in 2007) and a cargo terminal.

John Paul II International Airport Kraków-Balice
International airport located near Kraków, in the village of Balice, 11 km west of the city centre, in southern Poland.

Gdansk Lech Walensa Airport
An international airport located in Gdańsk, Poland, not far from the city centres of the Tricity metropolitan area: Gdańsk (6.25 miles/10 km), Sopot (6.25 miles/10 km) and Gdynia (14.4 miles/23 km).

Łódź Władysław Reymont Airport
A regional airport in central Poland, located approximately 6 km southwest of the Łódź city center. The airport has been in operation since 13 September 1925 and has recently undergone a number of upgrades enabling it to handle services by low cost airlines to destinations in Europe.

Poznań-Ławica Airport
Built in 1913, is one of the oldest airports in Poland. It is located 7 km west of Poznań city centre.

Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport
An international airport located in southeastern Poland, in Jasionka, a village 10 km from the center of the city of Rzeszów.

Szczecin-Goleniów "Solidarność" Airport
main domestic and international airport serving the city of Szczecin in Poland and is located 45 km northeast of the city, near the town of Goleniów, in the village of Glewice.

Copernicus Airport Wrocław
An international commercial airport in Wrocław in southwestern Poland. The airport is located 10 km southwest of the city centre. It has one runway, one passenger terminal (with separate domestic and international sections) and one cargo terminal.

Zielona Góra-Babimost Airport
A regional airport located within the greater Zielona Góra agglomeration (the so-called Lubusian Tri-city) in western Poland.

Transport by Bus

busThere are many international bus lines that connect major Polish cities, with most of major European ones.

  • PEKAES part of Eurolines
  • Orbis
  • Polka Service
  • Gullivers
  • Visitor
  • PPKS Warszawa

Certain routes are operated under the EuroLines brand

Transport by Train

trainIn Poland, the national railway carrier PKP has recently been divided into several different companies, among them are: PKP InterCity (Intercity, Express, Night Express, TLK), PKP Przewozy Regionalne (pospieszny and osobowy) and PKP Cargo (which incidentally owns all the locomotives). There are also some local competitors emerging (KM Koleje Mazowieckie). Tickets are valid for trains operated by the issuing company only.

You can expect a fast connection on modernized routes, such as the Warszawa - Katowice, the Warszawa - Kraków and the Warszawa - Poznań lines.

Train types

  • Express / IC InterCity / EC EuroCity - express trains. usually compulsory reservation 25PLN in IC, 10 PLN in EX(paid); popular routes include:Warsaw-Katowice,(298 km, 2 hours 40 minutes, 81 zł) Warsaw-Poznan (306 km, 2 hours 50 minutes, 84 zł);Warsaw-Kraków (290 km, 2 hours 45 minutes, 81 zł); Warsaw-Zakopane (430 km, 7 hours, 84 zł) You can buy a weekend ticket (99/149 zl).
  • TLK - express trains, held by same company. Not many routes, but very good alternative for budget travellers. Check www.tlk.pl usually compulsory reservation but very cheap (3PLN)
  • Pospieszny - long distance, priority trains, stop only in larger cities; popular routes include Warsaw-Kraków (320 km, 5 hours, 46 zł), Warsaw-Zakopane (460 km, 7.5 hours, 50 zł), Warsaw-Łowicz (80 km, 50 minutes, 20 zł). You can buy a weekend turystyczny ticket (60/80 zl) or a weekly one (160/240 zl)

Transport by Car

carSome peculiarities of driving in Poland include:

  • Speed limits are: 50km/h in city (60km/h at night), 90km/h outside city, 10km/h more if directions are separated, 100km/h on car-only roads (white car on the blue sign), 110km/h more if directions are separated, and 130km/h on highways.
  • 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 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.

Be aware about hazard lights - Drivers also use them as a way of showing, that vehicle is rapidly slowing down, or already stopped in a traffic jam on a highway.