||1 złoty = 100 groszy
||312,685 sq. m.
Poland lies in the heart of Europe - the geometric centre of the continent is right here. Warsaw is not far from other European cities: Paris and London are 2 hours away by plane, Vienna and Berlin not much more than an hour. You can get here quickly by international roads and railway connections. Half a million places to stay, thousands of restaurants, hundreds of forms of leisure and entertainment - they're all waiting for visitors. Poland is a country that is safe and friendly for visitors from abroad, a statement confirmed by official international statistics. In figures concerning access to cash machines, for instance, Poland is 8th in Europe. Mobile phone networks cover 94% of the country.
Poland's total surface area is 322,500 sq km (312,600 sq km of land, 1,200 sq km of inland waters, and 8,700 sq km of territorial waters). This makes it the ninth largest country in Europe, after Russia, Ukraine, France, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Finland and Norway, and the 63rd largest in the world.
On May 1st 2004 Poland became a member state of the European Union (EU) and thanks to its location occupies a specific place within it. Poland's border on the river Bug became the EU's eastern border. In the wider geographical and geopolitical sense Poland occupies a central position. Accepting its responsible role connected with the regulation of people and goods across its borders, Poland is also open to visitors from all over the world.
Poland has a moderate climate with both maritime and continental elements. This is due to humid Atlantic air which collides over its territory with dry air from the Eurasian interior. As a result, the weather tends to be capricious and the seasons may look quite different in consecutive years. This is particularly true for winters, which are either wet, of the oceanic type, or - less often - sunny, of the continental type. Generally, in north and west Poland the climate is predominantly maritime, with gentle, humid winters and cool, rainy summers, while the eastern part of the country has distinctly continental climate with harsh winters and hotter, drier summers.
The summer, with temperatures above 20°C, begins in May and is about four months long. The hottest month is July with the average temperature standing at 16-19°C. The coldest area in July is the mountains, where the air temperature drops as the altitude increases (on average by 0.6°C for every 100 metres). In the summit areas of the Tatras and Sudetes, the average air temperature in July is just about 9°C. July is also cooler in areas adjacent to the Baltic (about 16°C), which is caused by the cold sea waters. The hottest area is central Poland, with the temperatures exceeding 18°C. Hot days, when the temperature exceeds 25°C, occur from May to September. Their number increases the further you go from the sea. On average, there are only five such days at the Rozewie Cape and over 40 in the Sandomierz Basin and Lublin Upland.
Polish monetary unit is called złoty (zł, PLN). 1 złoty is divided into 100 groszy (gr.) The banknotes come at 200, 100, 50 and 10 zloty, and coins in 5, 2 and 1 zloty, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 groszy. The pictures of polish currency are available here.
Currency can be exchanged in banks or exchange points ("kantor"). Credit cards are widely accepted in Poland, but small shops and newsagents in smaller localities accept cash only. Travelers cheques are not popular in Poland.
Zloty has a floating exchange rate, which has fluctuated in the last few years, and especially at the beginning of this year. These fluctuations were influenced by the relations between other currencies. Now the exchange rate is approximately 1 EUR ~= 4.5 zloty, 1 USD ~= 3.5 zloty.
The prices in Poland are relatively low, especially as compared to other OECD members. Prices, lower that the EU average, combined with the high quality of products, are one of the main reasons for a dynamic increase in exports - especially after the trade barriers have disappeared as Poland has joined the EU. Lower production costs, notably for the EU average, are an opportunity for companies which would consider investing in Poland.
Poland uses metric system, in accordance with the International System of Units (SI), whose basic units are: 1 meter (unit of length - 1 m), 1 kilogram (unit of mass - 1 kg), 1 second (unit of time - 1 s).
The general way to measure temperature is by using the Celsius scale (centigrade, °C).
The atmospheric pressure is measured in hectoPascals (hPa) or in torrs (millimeters of mercury) (mmHg). Speed is measured in kilometers per hour (km/h).
Poland uses the same power supply standard as most of EU countries. The standard voltage is 230 V,
and the frequency is 50 Hz (cycles per second). The plug and socket types used are pictured here.
Shops with regional souvenirs, local handcrafts, contemporary and antique art are found all over the country. Foreign visitors willingly buy amber and silver jewelery, paintings on glass by folk artists, laces and tablecloths from Koniakow and Bobow, articles made of natural color leather, Polish contemporary paintings and graphic art, artistic furniture and pottery, polish vodka.
An excellent source of information about Poland, Poles and Polish culture, with lots
of travel data, is the following page.