Travel Tips

Avoid changing your money at the Bureaux de Change in the town centre unless you want to hand a complete stranger an early Christmas present - the rates can be awful.

Don't hail your taxis from the rank - ask someone to phone for one - it's 30 percent cheaper.

During winter temperatures make it more difficult to move around the city on foot. Taxis are great, unless you're watching your wallet. Why not invest in an unlimited public transport pass: 24-hours for 7.20 PLN, 3-day for 12 PLN; 1-week for 24 PLN.

Coin-operated phone boxes are almost non-existent. You'll need to buy a telephone card (karta telefoniczna) from a Post Office or roadside kiosk.

Take care when buying antiques. It's illegal to export certain items, particularly old paintings, produced before 1945.

Tipping is not expected. No self-respecting waiter will turn away a few extra zloty, but you won't get the customary grimace if you don't. You're not guaranteed a smile if you do either.

If you haven't booked ahead, feel free to bargain for your accommodation, particularly in the low season. This probably won't work in the Radisson however.

Unlike in the UK, pubs don't close at 11. Most just about get going then. Poles are famous for their vodkas, beers, and have a healthy capacity for drink!

Bring warm clothes and a hat. You may just end up blessing that ridiculous old balaclava.

Poles are passionate about their food. Throw away your preconceptions about miserable Eastern Bloc stews, and be prepared for a great surprise.

Poland has adopted its own uniquely confusing symbols for differentiating public toilets for men and women. Remember, too, that you may well have to pay. Oh, and by the way, the circle is for women, the triangle for men! (Or is it the other way around?)

Above: It's all mapped out!

Below: Bedtime reading

Since 2006 making a phone call from a Polish landline to another Polish landline has changed. You now have to dial a zero and the appropriate area code before the number. So in Warsaw you now dial '0' then '22' and then the number. If you are making a call from abroad nothing has changed. You simply dial +48 and then the city code and then the number!

Comments

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Jack from Canada
Canada

So where is the best place in Warsaw to change your money if you really have to?

Reply Nov 9th, 2011
Judith Gayton
Australia

I visited Warsaw last month and had no problem in making a withdrawal (1000PLN) with my Visa d/card from an ATM (Pekao). My husband did likewise from another ATM in the city. We really enjoyed Warsaw in the 3 days we were there and it is definitely a city to be revisited. We attended a concert by the Warsaw Philharmonic orchestra which was a highlight of our visit.

Reply Feb 4th, 2009
Spliff
United Kingdom

The ATM stuff is interesting. I been living here for a few years and never had a prob using my UK card until the beginning of this year. Have tried to sort this out via Polish banks and my own bank in UK. Nobody can help or knows why this suddenly started happening in Jan 2008. Only bank I can find that accepts my card now is the new HSBC at Plac Trzech Krzyzy and the PKO at Rotunda although other Pko banks still don't work! I'm very interested to know that others have this prob too as the banks are being very unhelpfull.

Reply Nov 26th, 2008
Mike
United Kingdom

I also had trouble using ATMs Visa Debit cards, but there was one bank that worked with my cards (Nationwide and Lloyds TSB) - any of the Bank Pekao SA ones (The bank with a white bull as it's symbol) One other thing is it seemed I could only take out 300zl a day (not sure if it was a one off as only tried once, or to do with my account, but it is normally £300) Hope this helps someone.

Reply Sep 14th, 2008
kat
United Kingdom

warsaw is wonderful, but i too had the experience of not being able to withdraw money anywhere in the city... except... in the cashpoint at zloty terasy! it is the one to the right at the main entrance (opposite palace of culture and science)i even found out that its because most of the british cards dont have the "cirrus" sign on the back! like my flaming nationwide, hence that was the only ATM i could use! so please bare this in mind before you go to warsaw! (also, if you have a visa/mastercard, you can do an advance withdrawal from any big bank) :-)

Reply May 26th, 2008
Charles
United Kingdom

There is a distinct difference in attitude to tourist between those who work during the day and night. I found every one very friendly and welcoming to wards our group during the day wherever we went. However the evening was a different story and was mainly due to the anti-British feeling we got from the doorman and most of the nightlife venues, Paparazzi and ZOO being the worst two. The only other issue I had was not being able to withdraw money from any of the ATM’s that I tried in the city. I have no desire to make a return visit in the near future because of the experiences from this weekend.

Reply May 6th, 2008