Last updated: 10 Dec 2018

Poland

About

Poland offers something for every traveller - with the wild scenery of its mountainous south , and its great skiing and hiking , to the stunning old towns of Krakow, Zamosc and Gdansk and the wilderness of the Bialowieza National Park and the Great Malsurian Lakes in the country's north.

There's little more inspiring than a hike in some of Poland's national parks and nature reserves. Nature enthusiasts can visit the Kampinos National Park, wear Warsaw, while the Bieszczady National Park, part of the Carpathian mountain range, contains the surviving fragments of the Great Bieszczady Forest, home to the brown bear, lynx,wolf and wildcat.

A horse-drawn sleigh ride is a magical experience, though be sure to have either warmed beer or heated honey vodka afterwards. Snow falls throughout Poland during winter months so these types of rides are on offer all over the country.

The perfect escape from the crowds can be found in a trip to the Hel Peninsula in the country's north east, a perfect place to escape by bike or on foot that also has some good beaches and camp sites.
Capital:  Warsaw (WAW)
Currency:  Zloty (PLN)
Language:  Polish. German, English, Russian and French may also be spoken. 
Dialling code from SA:  + 48
Time Zones: UTC / GMT +1 (1 hour behind South Africa) 
Daylight Savings Time: From last Sunday March to last Sunday October: UTC / GMT +2 (same time as South Africa)  
Public Holidays 2018: 

Jan 1, 6; Apr 1, 2; May 1, 3, 20, 31; Aug 15; Nov 1, 11; Dec 25, 26

Side of the Road: Right
Best Time to Go: May - September
Best for: Medieval Architecture, Religious Sites, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Historical Sites
Plugs: 230 volts AC, 50Hz; continental plugs with two round pins
Drinking Water: Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink. 
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities in the main towns, however visitors are required to pay for these services. Doctors and nurses may not speak English. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended. Outside of the main towns, medical facilities may be more limited. If you take prescription medication on your travels it is best to bring it with you, in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is and why you need it.
Customs: If visiting the rural areas, not that the locals are very conservative and religious. Respect to religion should be shown.  
Local Offences / Law: Jay walking is punishable with a fine.  If caught by the police being drunk in public, you will be taken to a drying out clinic and charged for the stay. Driving under the influence of alcohol is punishable. Military installations should not be photographed. Smoking is banned in public areas.    
Duty Free: If you are arriving from a non-EU country, the following goods may be imported into Poland by persons over 17 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco (if arriving by air or sea).
• 40 cigarettes or 20 cigarillos or 10 cigars or 50g of tobacco (if arriving by land or rail).
• 4L of wine and 16L of beer and 1L of spirits over 22% or 2L of alcoholic beverages less than 22%.
• Other goods up to the value of €430 for air and sea travellers and €300 for other travellers.
Prohibited Imports: Unlicensed firearms and ammunition, narcotics, meat and dairy products from outside the EU. Endangered species require a permit. You may only import small quantities of plants, fruit and vegetables for personal use; otherwise they require a phytosanitary certificate.
Prohibited Exports: Certain arts and antiquities require an export licence, e.g. archaeological artefacts more than 100 years old or paintings more than 50 years old. Endangered species also require a permit.

Issuing Authorities

Embassy of Republic of Poland
14 Amos Street, Colbyn, 0081, Pretoria
Tel: (012) 430-2631/2 Fax: 0867650421
P.O Box 12277, Queenswood, 0121
E-mail:konsulat.pretoria@msz.gov.pl and lukasz.nowak@msz.gov.pl
Website: http://www.pretoria.msz.gov.pl/en/consular_information /visa_requirements/
Consular hours: Mon 1200-1800 and Tue-Fri 09h00-12h00
Only biometric visas are issued. Every applicant is to apply IN PERSON. Fingerprints will be scanned into the system.

Visa Requirements

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Visa Processing Time

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Visa Cost

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SA Representative

SA Embassy
54 Koszykowa,Trade Center, 6th Floor Warsaw 00675,
Poland
Tel: (0048-22) 6221031
E-mail: warsaw.consular@dirco.gov.za

Travel Health

Compulsory:  None
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Polio