Local laws and customs

Polish police take a strict approach to public drunkenness. You are not allowed to consume alcohol in public places and fines may be imposed. If you are found to be drunk in a public place you may be taken to a drying out clinic where a doctor or nurse will medically assess you. You will not be released until you have sobered up and this may require an overnight stay. You will have to pay for the cost of the stay.

The drink-drive limit in Poland is 20 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood – which is lower than in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (80milligrammes) and Scotland (50milligrammes). Driving a car under the influence of alcohol or drugs is strictly prohibited and is punishable by up to 2 years in prison. Likewise cycling on public roads under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in prosecution.

Jay-walking is an offence. You should cross only at recognised crossing points. If caught by the police you will be fined.

Most Poles are fairly traditional in their outlook on social issues, but people in urban areas are generally more open-minded regarding LGBT issues. There is an active gay scene in Warsaw with a number of gay clubs and bars. Homosexuality and cohabitation by same sex partners is legal and there is parity in the age of consent (16), but civil partnerships are not formally recognised and there is no civil marriage. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.