Climate & weather
Poland in general isn’t as cold as people may think. Central Poland where you find Bydgoszcz and Torun is a region with real seasons. The summer averages out the mid-twenties with the maximum temperatures regularly hitting above 30 degrees Celsius in July through to September. During the winter it does go negative and there is a guarantee of snow.
Crime in Polish cities
Polish cities do have a much lower crime rate than other western European cities however petty theft and pick pocketing will always be a problem in especially in busy public places for tourists so we always say be smart and be weary of your possessions. Don’t leave things unattended.
Poland’s culture is a rich history of traditions. There is the strong Catholic upbringing, which is still very important today. People are conservative, sometimes and closed especially with regards to privacy and personal space, so loud outlandish behaviour just isn’t seen as cool.
Currency & prices
Luckily Poland has yet to converted to the Euro currency and still uses its own Polish denomination, the Złote (PLN). At the moment there are around 5.50 PLN to 1 GBP and around 4.30 PLN to 1 EUR. The Polish Złote PLN is readily available for exchange in most major banks, post offices and airport exchange bureaus across Europe.
In terms of prices, Bydgoszcz and Torun are cheap. It’s like happy hour when we compare food and drink prices. Durable goods and imported products would be more on par if not higher than the rest of Europe. Average earning in 25’000 to 32’000 PLN (after tax)
Healthcare in Poland
As a member of the E.U., Poland provides reciprocal free healthcare on provision of a valid European Health Insurance Card, for further information visit your Post Office or tourism information office. However, the public healthcare system in Poland is not of the same standard as in other Western European countries and so it may be prudent to take out private medical insurance before your visit.
Language & foreign languages
Polish is a Slavic language and pronunciation is notoriously tough but the locals will certainly appreciate you making the effort. So don’t be afraid to give it a go.
With regards to foreign languages, English, German and in many cases Russian are spoken. Younger people tend to have a decent command of English because it is now a compulsory part of the school curriculum.
Poland joined the growing list of countries that adopted a no smoking policy in public places. All restaurants, cafes and bars follow this rules, however some venues will offer a special smoking section.
Up until a few years ago tipping wasn’t popular in Poland, today however it is seen as normal to tip in bars and restaurants – 10 or 15 %, but be sure to check the bill first as some places add service charge.
Traveling around Bydgoszcz and Torun
Both Bydgoszcz and Torun have a very cheap and effective public transport system, comprising of buses and trams (MZK) Travelling within both cities should cost around 3 PLN per journey.
There are also plenty of taxis, very cheap in comparison with Scandinavia and Western Europe, but you should always be wary of overcharging and it makes sense to check the price before getting in. A 20 min taxi ride from the centre of Bydgoszcz or Torun should generally cost no more than 35PLN.
Wi-Fi internet connection
In both city centres and main streets of Bydgoszcz and Torun there are points with a decent free WIFI connection. Many bars, cafes and hotels also offer customers a connection to their networks.
*Travel tip. If you do need a connection on the move, why not buy a local sim and data pack and get one of the friends to tether everyone.