Basics: money, language, food


Currency: The official currency in Poland is Polish Zloty (PLN). Złoty literarlly means ‘gold’ and divides in 100 Grosz. Officially in all the museums, institutions, shops paying in cash you can pay only in PLN. It is better to have some Polish money with you traveling in Poland. Apart from it remember about having some coins or the notes of a smaller value (e.g 10 PLN, 20 PLN) – paying 3 PLN for a bottle of water and giving 100 PLN you may expect that the seller will have difficulties with giving you exchange. It makes the shop keepers really nervous...

Exchange: You can exchange money in the hotels (exchange rate is usually higher), banks, but the easiest way is to do it in an exchange office (Kantor in Polish), where the rate is very considerable. You can find them easily in the city center e.g along the Royal Way. It is better to compare the rate in the several exchange offices first to choose the best one and not to be cheated.
Cash is available from the numerous ATM’s, 3 of them in the Main Square.

Credit cards: are acceptable in the hotels, restaurants, most of the shops. Entrance tickets in the museums paid with cash. Travellers Cheques are not popular in Poland and you can have some difficulties exchanging them. In Krakow you can do it only in the bank (it can take up to one week!), a few hotels and the Tourist Information Office.


Polish language is a Slavonic one. With Czech, Slovakian, and some local dialects, it forms a group of the Western Slavonic languages which is a part of the Indo - European language family. To most of the foreign visitors, our language seems to be very difficult. No wonder – even for Poles it is not so easy to pronounce such words as Szczebrzeszyn or Rzeszowszczyzna… But it is still worth learning, as more than 46 mln people speak this language! Do not worry – in Poland you can easily communicate in English, German, or Russian. In small villages, though, or places that are not among the regular tourist destinations, it will be easier just to use the reliable sign language.


A visit to the traditional Polish inn is a must for everyone who would like to feel the real spirit of this country. On the menu, dumplings, golabki (stuffed cabbage), golonko (knuckle), and pork chops are obligatory. Plus, of course, some delicious soups that the Poles eat very frequently - white borsch, beetroot soup, or flaki (tripe). Another specialite de la maison is fried or marinated mushrooms, and cabbage – the taste of cabbage with beans, or dumplings with cabbage, is simply unforgettable! Typical Polish dinner is always accompanied by kompot – a kind of juice prepared of stewed fruits. For the dessert, the home-made apple cake, cheese cake, or doughnuts would be best (those from Krakow have the filling of jam made of wild rose fruits!).
Every pub in Poland offers a wide range of good Polish beer and vodka. Most popular is the pure vodka, or Zubrowka – ‘bison vodka’, with a blade of the bison grass in each bottle that gives the special flavour and yellowish colour. This species of grass comes from the Bialowieza forest, where the national park and reserve of the bison is. If you are not a fan of pure vodka, taste some flavoured drinks, such as the Krupnik or cherry vodka.
Poland is also famous for its mead.
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