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Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Violent crime is rare in Poland, but petty crime is common.
Muggings, carjackings and theft from vehicles happen in large cities, including Warsaw.
Take care in the tourist areas of large cities. Pickpocketing is common. Thieves often work in small groups.
Watch your belongings:
Regularly check your bank card statement. Report any suspicious items to your bank.
Thieves target central railway stations at:
Thieves can target passengers on:
Ask the price of drinks before you order in bars and nightclubs. Check the bill amount and currency carefully. Some bars overcharge.
Be careful of drink spiking and theft. To stay safe:
There's an increasing number of reports where travellers are being scammed with drink spiking and credit card overcharging in venues frequented by tourists. People have been lured in and overcharged for drinks on credit cards while under the influence.
Don't leave drinks unattended. If you're a victim, report the incident to police, and contact your bank immediately.
Public protests and events can draw large groups of people. Avoid protests and large public gatherings as they may turn violent. Monitor local media and follow instructions of local authorities.
Terrorists have staged attacks in European cities.
While there have been no recent terrorist attacks in Poland, they can still happen.
To stay safe:
If there's an attack, leave the area as soon as it's safe. Avoid the affected area in case of secondary attacks.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Poland can experience very low winter temperatures. Snow and ice can be dangers.
In the cities, roads are quickly cleared of snow, but black ice is hazardous.
Snow can block highways and roads in rural areas for extended periods.
Heavy snowfalls can disrupt train travel.
Severe flooding can occur in Poland, particularly in spring. If there's flooding or severe weather:
Register with the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System to receive alerts on major disasters.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least eight weeks before you leave.
Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Poland. Take enough legal medication for your trip.
Tick-borne encephalitis is a risk in forested areas.
Ticks are common in country areas. They're active from spring to autumn.
Regularly check your body for ticks during and after visits to forest areas.
If a tick bites you:
Measles cases can routinely occur in Poland, with the country currently experiencing an increase in measles activity. Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date before you travel.
Air pollution levels can be very high.
Get medical advice if you have a pre-existing heart or lung condition.
H1NI (swine flu) (World Health Organization) has been reported. Get the annual seasonal flu shot to lower your risk.
Public hospitals are reasonable in large cities. Services are limited in rural and border regions.
Most doctors and hospitals will need payment up-front or evidence of medical insurance before treating you, even in an emergency. If you're a dual citizen, don't presume you're covered for medical costs. Check with the Polish Social Insurance (ZUS).
If you're seriously ill or injured, you'll need medical evacuation to a place with better facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties for drug offences are severe. They include mandatory prison sentences.
There are strict alcohol laws in Poland. They are stricter than in Australia.
There's zero tolerance for drink driving. The blood alcohol limit is 0.02%.
If you drink and drive, you face up to two years in jail. Drink drivers involved in accidents face up to eight years in jail.
It's illegal to be drunk in public. You may be arrested or taken to a facility to sober up. Expect to pay for the cost of your stay.
Drinking alcohol in public places is illegal. This includes parks and picnic areas.
It's illegal to take photos of some buildings.
Look for signs on buildings that forbid photos. If you're not sure, check with local authorities.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
Poland is a part of the Schengen area. This means you can enter Poland without a visa in some cases.
In other situations, you'll need a visa.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Poland for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
If you'll stay longer than 14 days, you must register your place of residence. Do this within four days of arrival. Check if your hotel does this as part of the check-in process.
If you're staying in private accommodation, you must register with the local registration office.
You'll need proof of registration if you apply for a visa extension.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than six months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The currency of Poland is the Zloty (PLN).
You can easily change all major currencies.
If you're travelling between Poland and any non-EU country, declare currency amounts equivalent to 10,000 euros or more. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.
If you don't declare currency or give incorrect information, you'll be fined.
You should check with local authorities in the countries you are leaving, entering or passing through whether you must declare higher amounts of currency.
If you're travelling by road or train, allow extra time for any disruptions. Expect delays.
Make plans in case crossing the border is not possible.
Carry your passport when crossing borders, even within the Schengen area. Be prepared to show your passport to authorities at any time, so ensure it is accessible.
You can drive in Poland for six months if you have both:
Get your IDP before you leave Australia.
If you want to drive for longer than six months, you must get a Polish licence.
Poland has one of the highest road fatality rates in the EU.
There is a high rate of motor vehicle accidents in Poland.
Drink driving is a major cause of road accidents. Stay below the legal blood alcohol limit of 0.02%.
Hazards for drivers and pedestrians include:
Many highways are not dual-carriageway or are under construction. Overtaking lanes are rare.
Severe weather in winter can make driving more dangerous. Some roads are closed in winter.
If you drive in winter in mountain or rural areas:
By law, you must always have your headlights on when driving.
Children shorter than 150cm must use a safety seat. Check with your car rental company or the police.
Poland's road rules are different from Australia. Know the rules to avoid fines and insurance issues.
Check the vehicle rental company rules before hiring a car or motorbike. You must meet both Polish and Australian vehicle operating and licence laws (eg. hold the appropriate licence for the vehicle you drive).
Only use official taxis. They have the name and number of the taxi company on the door and on top of the taxi, next to the light.
Taxis with a crest but no company name are not official taxis.
Unofficial taxis often overcharge passengers.
Pre-book taxis using a reputable taxi company or an English-speaking app, such as My Taxi.
You can also ask staff at hotels, hostels or tourist areas to book you an official taxi.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Poland's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
If you need consular assistance, contact the Australian Embassy in Warsaw.
3rd Floor, Nautilus Building
ul. Nowogrodzka 11
00-513 Warsaw, Poland
Phone: (+48 22) 521 3444
Fax: (+48 22) 627 3500
Facebook: Australia in Poland, Czech Republic and Lithuania
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
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