Mobile phones
Getting around

Part 1: Introduction

28.5: Dresden ->Jawor -> Wroclaw -> Krakow
29.5: Krakow
30.5: Krakow -> Wieliczka Salt Mine -> Kalwaria Zebrzydowska -> Krakow
31.5: Krakow -> Auschwitz (Oswiecim) -> Krakow
1.6: Krakow

Overview and overall impression
We visited the southern part of Poland and were wondering how the infrastructure and development level were. More specifically in what state roads and motorways were and how much crime there was in the cities. We found overall a good infrastructure, modern motorways and good roads, making it easy to quickly drive from one place to the next.
Before the trip we were a bit concerned about travelling with a German car to Poland (all those stereotypes etc.). It turns that most people in Poland have mid-range cars like ours and we sort of blend seamlessly with the environment. Why would somebody want to steal our car when our car is nothing so special?
The landscape in the south of Poland is beautiful. It's more wild and original than the often carefuly choreographed landscapes in Germany. There is less agriculture, less civilisation, probably also due to the lower population density in Poland.
Overall Poland makes the impression of a developed country with high living standards, although I have to say that many buildings in the cities are in no good shape. I'm guessing that modernising and tiding up the buildings requires a lot more investment than the one required to buy a nice car and that therefore extensive renovations haven't yet taken place.

Costs seem to be on the same level as in Germany or other western European countries. Hotels are not cheap (in fact we pay less in Dresden) and restaurants neither. I was expecting overall lower costs of living due to the lower salaries in Poland, but it turns out that things in Poland the same as in Germany.

We didn't try out the local cuisine and relied on a mix of fast food places (due to the limited time), cafes and Chinese restaurants.

Several hotels and pension are available in Krakow, a tourist magnet. The Aparthotel Pergamin where we stayed is good, the only issue is that our room was on a busy street and they were not able to move us to a more quiet room.

Money  / Exchange rate (June 2012)
1 Euro = 4.2 zloty
1 Euro = 1.25 USD
For current exchange rates check the Universal Currency Converter.

ATMs are everywhere, so that you can easily get cash with a Cirrus/Maestro ATM card. 

Mobile phones and prepaid cards
We bought prepaid SIM cards in the Galeria Krakowska mall next to the train station (forgot which brand). These offered telephony services as well as 3G data package for use with a smartphone. It was a relatively simple procedure: we bought the SIM cards in a newspaper kiosk.

Internet access
This was availale in the hotel room (WLAN) and via the smartphone. We didn't therefore bother looking for Internet cafes (can't remember having seen any).


Mostly sunny with occasional rainfalls. Temperatures between 20 and 24C.

Health / Vaccinations
None required for Poland.

VISA / Entry requirements
There are no border controls between Germany and Poland and Poland and Czechia. Poland belongs to the Schengen zone.

No issues here. Those stereotypes about the Poles are, well, just stereotypes.

Recommended things
  • The peace church in Jawor
  • Krakow
  • The Galeria Krakowska mall in Krakow: nice and modern mall, with lots of shopping opportunities.

Things to avoid
  • Kalwaria Zebrzydowska may be a UNESCO world heritage site, but it is actually not that impressive.

Getting around
We travelled by car. In Krakow we left the car in a parking (150 zloty for five days), then simply used to walk because the historic centre is relatively small. Driving to the sites in and around Krakow is relatively incomplicated IF you have a navigation system. A navigation system is absolutely essential if you travel by car.


Copyright 2012 Alfred Molon