Foreign travel advice

Poland

Important COVID-19 travel guidance

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.

This advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice, so check our travel guidance.

Safety and security

Crime

Most visitors to Poland experience no difficulties. Serious crime against foreigners is rare, but crimes do occur and in some cases attacks have been racially motivated. You should be alert to the possibility of street crime and petty theft, and that foreigners may appear to be easy targets. Keep valuables and cash out of sight, especially in crowded areas and tourist spots where pickpockets and bag snatchers operate.

There is a higher risk of robbery at main rail stations and on all train services, especially overnight sleeper trains. You are most at risk while boarding and leaving trains.

Unregulated taxi drivers operate at Warsaw airports and elsewhere. They often overcharge. Only use official taxis, which have the name and telephone number of the taxi company on the side of the door and on the top of the taxi. They will also show a rate card on the window of the vehicle. Taxis with a crest but no company name are not official taxis.

Don’t leave drinks or food unattended and beware of accepting drinks from strangers. There have been a small number of reports of drinks being spiked and visitors having their valuables stolen.

Check your bill carefully when buying drinks in bars and nightclubs. There have been some reports of overcharging and of large amounts of money being charged to debit or credit cards.

Local travel

Walkers and cyclists must wear a reflective item during darkness when outside a built-up area. Anyone hit by a car or a bike when not wearing a reflective item may be held responsible for the accident. You may get a 100PLN (around £20) police fine for not wearing reflective items.

Public transport

You must validate a public transport ticket at the start of a journey. You will be fined on the spot if you’re travelling with an invalid ticket, usually 266PLN (around £54). You can buy tickets at most newspaper stands and kiosks with a sign reading ‘Bilety’ or ticket machines found in cities.

If you think you may qualify for a cheaper fare (e.g. you are a student or an older person) always double-check the rules as some cheaper fares may only be available to Polish nationals. You’ll be fined if you travel with a cheaper fare ticket that you’re not entitled to.

Road travel

Licences and documents

You can drive in Poland with your UK photocard driving licence without the need for an international driving permit.

If you’re living in Poland, check the Living in Guide for information on the rules for residents.

You must carry a driving licence, ID, original vehicle-registration papers, ownership documents and insurance papers when you drive. You will need to show these documents if you are stopped by the police or if you cross non-Schengen borders. This includes rental vehicles. If you do not have these papers the police may take your vehicle and charge you for this. If you drive a vehicle in Poland it must meet local technical requirements.

Driving regulations

If you drive and have been drinking (even a single unit of alcohol) you can be charged. If you break Polish driving laws you should be prepared to pay an on the spot fine of between 100 and 500 PLN (around £20-100) in cash in Polish currency to the police. If you live in Poland and have a permanent address you may be given a fine that can be paid later.

If you turn right on a traffic light flashing green arrow look out for people on the zebra crossing. They have priority before you.

You must at all times have your headlights on, at least dipped beam.

You must wear a seatbelt in both the front and back seats, even in taxis.

You must not use a mobile phone while driving (unless ‘hands free’).

See the European Commission,AA and RAC guides to driving in Poland.

Tolls

You may need to pay a road toll on some parts of motorways, expressways and national roads. More information is available on the toll operator website.

Road safety

Poland ranks high among European Union countries for road fatalities. Poland is a major east-west transit route for heavy vehicles. The road network is being constantly upgraded, and roadworks are frequent, particularly in summer. Even some main roads between major towns and cities can be narrow and poorly surfaced, making driving after dark particularly challenging.

Dual nationals

If you are a dual Polish-British national and are arrested or detained in Poland, you will be treated as a Polish national by the Polish authorities. You will have the same rights as any other Polish citizen in these circumstances (including the right to legal representation).