Climate & weather
The Weather in Poland isn’t as cold as people may think. Katowice is in the South of Poland where it’s less humid. The seasons are more pronounced so expect some scorching weather in the summer – upper 20s and early 30s. The winters can be harsh, expect minus 10 and below and snow is guaranteed.
Crime in Polish cities
Polish cities have a lower crime rate than other major western European cities but petty theft and pick pocketing can be a problem especially in well populated public places. Always be smart and weary of your possessions.
Poland’s culture consists of a wonderful 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, Katowice 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.
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 difficult 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 good command of English so because it is now a compulsory part of the school curriculum.
Smoking in Katowice
Poland joined the growing list of countries that adopted a no smoking policy in public places. In Katowice all restaurants, cafes and bars follow this rules. Some places do offer a special smoking section.
Up until a few years ago tipping wasn’t popular in Poland, today however it is seen as normal. When tipping in Katowice 10-15% is fine.
Katowice have a very reasonably priced for the public transport system with comprises of buses and trams (MZK). Travelling within the city should cost around 3 PLN for a 20 minute journey up to 12 PLN for a 24 hour ticket
There are also plenty of taxis, cheap in comparison to prices in Western Europe. Always be wary of overcharging and check the price before getting in. A 20 min taxi ride from the centre of Katowice should generally cost no more than 35 PLN.
Wi-Fi internet connection
In both city centres and main streets of Katowice 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, then get one of the friends to tether the group.