The name '' Poland '' comes from the Polanian tribe who lived in the early Middle Ages in the central part of the Warta river basin ( today called ''Wielkopolska'' or '' Great Poland'' ) Full name : The Republic of Poland





312 685 km2 ( 9th largest in Europe )


39 million ( 7th in Europe )


white eagle looking to the right , with a gold crown  , beak and claws , on a red background

Administrative system

16 Voivodships

Political system

Constitutional democracy


Roman Catholic ( 97 % ) , Orthodox (1.5%) , Greek Catholic (1%) , others (0.5 % )


The Polish zloty , made up of 100 grosze. Coins come  in 1.2 and 5 złoty , and 10 , 20 and 50 grosze pieces , and the bank notes equivalent to 10,20,50,100 and 200 złotys

Poland lies in the heart of Europe - the geometric centre of the continent is right here. Warsaw is not far from other European cities: Paris and London are 2 hours away by plane, Vienna and Berlin not much more than an hour. You can get here quickly by international roads and railway connections. Half a million places to stay, thousands of restaurants, hundreds of forms of leisure and entertainment - they're all waiting for visitors. Poland is a country that is safe and friendly for visitors from abroad, a statement confirmed by official international statistics. In figures concerning access to cash machines, for instance, Poland is 8th in Europe. Mobile phone networks cover 94% of the country.

You can find more or less everything in Poland: alpine mountains, wide beaches, clean lakes, deep forests, world-class historic monuments, and friendly people. The climate is temperate, and the people warm and hospitable. Polish cities with a thousand-year history invite their visitors to encounters with culture, and Poland's villages and small-time towns offer the opportunity to get away from the bustle of modern life. And all this comes with a backdrop of breathtaking natural landscapes, because Poland's greatest attraction is nature. Wild, untouched, more diverse than in most countries either in Europe or the world and, what's more, easily accessible. Tourists value this greatly and their number is constantly increasing.


Food and Acommodation

Moszna Castle Hotel

Poland's range of accommodation is extremely varied. There are over half a million places waiting for tourists, both typical and, sometimes, extremely original.
Hotels belonging to the global chains are present in every city. In addition to modern buildings, there's no shortage of small hotels in historic town houses, sometimes with 600 year-old beams and rafters, and heated swimming pools, saunas, and health clubs  located in Gothic vaults. Hotels like this, whose history goes back to the 18th century, are a speciality in Cracow, Poznań, Toruń and Gdańsk, and also in the smaller historic towns.
In the tourist centres there are comfortable pensions and large hotels with tennis courts, golf courses, fitness centres, sports equipment rental outlets and private marinas waiting for visitors with bigger wallets. You can treat yourself to a night in a Renaissance castle, an old country house, or a hunting lodge. These buildings have usually kept their original interiors, with priceless antiques, original fireplaces, animal skin rugs, and antique candelabras in the chambers now reserved for guests. Usually, there are picturesque French- or English-style landscape gardens around the residence, as well as dendrological gardens, private stables and riding precincts.
Tourists on a more modest budget also have a wide range of accommodation available to them. It's worth recommending Polish campsites, which are at a decent standard and  beautifully situated: on the lakeside, in the shadow of sand dunes, or in forest clearings, far away from the hustle and bustle of busy roads. In the south of the country, you can stay in wooden chalets reminiscent of highlanders' cottages. Less picturesque but more practical campsites are also located on the outskirts of cities - useful information for tourists who don't want to spend the night in a modern hotel.

A rural landscape


Then there are the agrotourist farms. You stay on a farm and watch its everyday affairs. You can learn how to chop wood, drive a cart and perhaps discover the secrets of making home-made jam. The food is another undoubted asset: fresh milk, eggs, cheese and meat, vegetables straight from the garden, fruit from the orchard, and sometimes honey direct from the hive - there are some farms which offer apitherapy,  the treatment of illness by means of bees' products. The farms are clean and tidy, and you can be assured of comfortable living arrangements. Nearby there are often bathing areas and riding schools.


Mushroom picking



As well as the charms of the countryside, Poland is well-known for its tasty and original cuisine. Gourmets will find numerous restaurants, bars and inns serving Polish and Old Polish dishes, in addition to regional specialities. The abundance of eating-places means that their proprietors are always trying to outdo each other in creative decoration. It's possible to eat dinner in a restaurant styled like a mediaeval knights' dining hall, a wooden country inn, a Greek temple, a rocky cave, or a carriage on the Orient Express. And there's no shortage of good restaurants serving French, Italian, Jewish, or Russian cuisine, not to mention Chinese, Arabic or Mexican eateries. Most of all, however, you should try typically Polish dishes.





The Polish cuisine is extremely varied. For hors-d'oeuvre, there is usually a plate of Polish cold meats, some smoked. The best known is probably kiełbasa, which comes in many kinds and styles. Every region has its own speciality: dried krakowska and also myśliwska, smoked using juniper wood, are considered the best. Ham is another Polish speciality.


Oscypki smoked cheeses from the Tatras


One regional delicacy is the oscypek, the best-known Polish cheese, produced in the mountains from ewe's milk. In restaurants serving Polish cuisine, bread and dripping or Baltic herring in cream are also often served as starters. Wonderful bread is another Polish forte, and dark wholemeal bread is one of the fundamental elements of health food, ever more popular around the world.
The oldest Polish dish, and one which cannot be found anywhere else in the world, is the sour żur, a fermented soup made from rye flour and dried bread, served with kiełbasa and a boiled egg. There is also barszcz,  fermented beetroot soup served with uszka (little pasta shells stuffed with meat or mushrooms), which is healthy as well as tasty. Another dish worthy of recommendation is the Polish variety of tomato soup with noodles or rice.




The main dishes - poultry, fish, meat or game - are usually served with boiled or roast potatoes, buckwheat, or maybe the characteristically Polish pasta - kluski, and also raw, cooked or marinated vegetables. Regional cuisines offer dishes like placki (potato pancakes, fried from grated potatoes with added sweet or spicy sauces), and pierogi with a filling of cheese, meat, cabbage, mushrooms, or fruit. For dessert, you simply have to try some Polish cake - piernik (dark gingerbread), kruche (crumbly shortbread), makowiec (poppyseed cake) or sernik (cheesecake with dried fruit and nuts).
After a hearty meal, as an aid to digestion, you could always try a little alcohol. Beer drinkers will not be disappointed - Polish beer, like German or Czech, has a good name and many of the breweries have been in business for centuries. Of the stronger drinks, the fruit and herbal liqueurs are worthy of mention. There are numerous varieties, and each has different advantages - from the curative and warming to the exclusively taste-oriented. On their own or as part of a dessert, we use sweet cremes of egg yolk, vanilla or chocolate, liqueurs and mead. And of course there's Polish vodka, which comes in many varieties. Of the high-quality vodkas, the most original is Żubrówka. In every bottle, you'll find a blade of grass from the Białowieża Forest. Goldwasser, from Gdańsk, on the other hand, is enriched with flecks of 22-carat gold.


© 2012 Ministry of Foreign Affairs