Poland has adequate road networks as well as an extensive public transport system that makes getting around a fairly easy task for expats whether they prefer to drive, fly, or go by bus or train. It is also easy to travel to cities outside the country via plane or high-speed train.
Public transport in Poland
Poland’s large cities all have comprehensive and efficient public transport links. There is also an exhaustive system of intercity trains and buses for travelling around the country and to other countries in Europe. Tickets are available for purchase from kiosks, machines at stations and aboard buses and trains.
Trains are one of the most popular ways to get around Poland. Intercity, EuroCity and express trains serve the larger cities in Poland, while the regional and local trains stop in smaller towns and villages. Fares will depend on the type of train, the class and the route.
Poland boasts a far-reaching intercity bus system that covers areas that aren't serviced by train routes. Tickets are reasonably priced and can be bought at kiosks or from the bus driver.
Both PKS Polonus and Flixbus are reputable companies that offer well-priced tickets.
Taxis in Poland
There are many reliable and safe taxi services in Poland, but expats should be wary of unofficial-looking taxis that hang outside train stations and some hotels. These could take advantage of foreigners and overcharge them. Legitimate taxi companies usually mark their cars with logos. Legally, the driver should have a meter and a cash register in the cab and drivers are obligated to give passengers a receipt when they pay the fare.
Taxi fares are largely affordable but increase on Sundays, holidays and late at night. Expats may be able to secure a discounted rate if they phone and book the taxi in advance.
Alternatively, ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Bolt operate in Poland's major cities. Many expats prefer using these apps as they give them more control over routes and prices while eliminating language barrier issues.
Driving in Poland
Expats who wish to travel around Poland by car should find the process rather straightforward and enjoyable. Road conditions are satisfactory, but snow and ice in winter can be hazardous. Expats should take the proper precautions and abide by all road rules to ensure their safety when driving in Poland.
It is required by law that drivers in Poland have their headlights on at all times. Fog lights may only be used when there is fog or heavy rain, and rear fog lights may only be used when visibility is less than 160 feet (50m). It is also advisable that expats fit their cars with winter tyres to ensure safe driving during the frosty months.
EU and EFTA citizens can use their home country’s driving licence in Poland. Other expats, however, will need an International Driving Permit for the first six months they are in Poland, after which they'll need to apply for a Polish driving licence. This involves passing a theoretical driving test and providing medical certificates, although a medical certificate is rarely required unless one's driving licence is near expiration.
Once expats have received their licence, it is important that they keep it in their car, along with their car insurance documents, at all times.
►For an overview of medical care, read Healthcare in Poland
"I absolutely love public transport in Poland and over time it’s gotten better and better. I always buy the monthly ticket. If you live in Krakow and you do your finance settlement (PIT) in Krakow, then you can apply for Krakowska Karta Miejska and get the monthly ticket for around 80 zloty. The trams are the best. They always come on time and run frequently, every five, 10 or 15 minutes during the normal hours or hourly at night. Buses can sometimes be a pain as they do get stuck in traffic during rush hour, but other than that they do come on time."
Learn more about getting around in Poland in our interview with Romanian expat Anda.
Are you an expat living in Poland?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Poland. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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