Hints for foreigners visiting Wroclaw
Welcome to Institute of Computer Science, University of Wroclaw!
This file contains some remarks concerning visits in Wroclaw. If you
have not been in Poland recently, these are to help you to organize your
trip to Wroclaw. Please read this file carefully, your host may forget
to advice you on something that might seem too obvious for him.
You may bring any amount of foreign currency to Poland and take it back.
We advice you to declare what are you bringing with you to avoid
potential problems when you are going out. Any major foreign currency
(US $, DM, British pounds, French franks) may be exchanged into zlotys
in Poland in most banks and exchange offices, so called "Kantor wymiany
walut". Czech, Slovakian and Hungarian currencies are also widely
accepted. If you are exchanging foreign currencies keep you receipt - it
is necessary if you wish to convert it back as a foreigner.
It was forbidden for a foreigner to bring Polish currency to Poland, there were
limitations of taking it out. However, there are moves to make Polish
currency fully convertible, so may be at the time you read it is legal
Anyway, the rate at which you can get Polish Zloty in West Europe
is not good for you. Do not be afraid, I have experience that you can
exchange your money at Polish border almost every time. Exchange rates at
the border are worse (for you) than in Wroclaw.
Eurochecks are accepted in major banks, where you can
get Polish currency for them.
forget to take your ID card. There are usual limits on the amount you
can get for one check and some fees.
- Credit cards
seem to become useful. During my last visit in Wroclaw I noticed
that most better shops, restaurants, bars, department stores
accept credit cards. Among local ones
the standard cards such as Mastercard/Eurocard, Visa, Dinners Club International, American Express are accepted.
I even tried to pay for something and it worked without any problem.
are accepted at least in the banks (I have not tried to pay
a hotel bill). In a bank I have seen the signs of
American Express and Mastercard travelers checks.
are rare and still it seems that they have no connections to
foreign banks. So probably they cannot be used to withdraw your money from
your account in EC or USA. But the times are changing ... .
During my last visit in Wroclaw (July 1996)
I have seen an ATM accepting VISA credit cards
(Wielkopolski Bank Kredytowy, pl. Kosciuszki). May be there are other such
At January 1, 1995, there was an operation called
"denomination" in Poland.
Since this time every "new zloty" is worth 10.000 "old zlotys". The problem is
that the old notes are still in use and remain there till the end of 1997
(afterwards you have to exchange them in a bank, till 2010 or so). Even worse,
there are new notes and coins in use. BE CAREFUL! There have been cases
that foreigners exchanged a lot of money at "extra rates" somewhere on the
street. The point is that they exchanged hundreds of German marks for
hundreds of "old zlotys", which was a few pfennig. Look for scanned pictures
of new and old notes coins at this server. Print them on a color printer
and make few exercises in "image recognition".
The good news is that the prices in Poland are easier to follow.
1 German mark is roughly 1.80 new zloty.
There is an airport
(here is the time
table) in Wroclaw with flights to Warsaw, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt
Railway tickets are still relatively cheap in Poland. But there is a
trick. It is true for domestic tickets. Some use international trains,
change the train on the border and then buy ticket for the rest (much cheaper).
is the timetable of trains coming to and departing from Wroclaw.
There are many bus services from many European cities. Most big towns in
West Germany have such direct connections to Wroclaw operating at least
weekly. They are cheap (about 130DM) and quite comfortable but
overnight. Check local travel agencies or "Polish shops". I would
recommend this art of transportation unless you are able to take a
If you come with your own car beware of the holes on the roads. Driving
is sometimes very difficult because of reconstruction of the roads and
the fact that some of them are closed. It is recommendable not to leave
anything in the car, when you park it in Wroclaw -- the most dangerous
think is to have foreign plates and something indicating that you might
have money and valuable things in the car. Very fancy cars might be
stolen -- the situation resembles this of for instance Berlin. There is
no big chance to get the car back, the newspapers say that the cars are
in few hours already out of Poland.
Do not drink any alcohol before and while driving.
Even if you are not drunk, it is
prohibited. The limit is "0.0", and if it is above some level you loose
your driving license immediately. Do not drink even a beer
(as one is used to do in the US).
Unleaded fuel is available (octane number 95 and 98).
I would recommend CPN company (state own).
Private stations sometimes offer fuel of low quality even if they look
very good and are expensive.
Most cars can be repaired, spare parts
are available or can be ordered. Personally, I have better experience
with repairing my car in Wroclaw than in Germany.
Be careful when using a cab. There are no fixed prices. You have to
Domestic good might be good and cheap. Some electrical and electronic
goods might have different standards as in your country (radio FM,
plugs, filters for radio noise are most important). I avoid very elegant
shops, they sell mostly imported goods for much money. Nice cloth can be
found, ask somebody of your hosts for hints.
My personal experience is that nice cloth can be bought much easier
(and for less money) than in Germany where I live. Domestic food products
seem to contain less chemicals than in Germany so I enjoy it.
The bills are much smaller than in the EC countries. Make sure that your
insurance covers travels to Poland (for instance German gesetzliche
Krankenversicherungen do not, but at least some German "private Versicherungen" do)
Hopefully somebody in Wroclaw will fill this part. Definitely old part
of the city is worth of seeing (Ratusz - City Hall, Rynek - the old market,
cathedral and the surrounding places - a place with many old churches,
so called Ostrow Tumski, once an island between branches of Odra river).
And much more. Some hints can be found
here (but in Polish).
Back to Information for Visitors
Mirek Kutylowski, mail to:
Last change: 14.10.96