Buying Property in Poland
The Definitive Guide to
Buying Polish Property

Visiting Poland

This is a preview to the chapter Visiting Poland from the book Buying Property in Poland by Tim Hill.
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Introduction


Although some foreign buyers choose to purchase without ever viewing a property in person many do decide to visit and among them a great many get bogged down in unexpected difficulties such as transport, finding accommodation and working out what advice to take.

A decade ago you would certainly be on your own but today companies exist that can provide you with drivers, interpreters, consultants and advisors. They can pre-arrange viewings and take you from place to place (see Who is an Estate Agent? in Chapter 11 to understand the differences between the various service providers). If you are short on time these are recommended but if you would prefer to go it alone the following guidance will help and should be read in conjunction with Part One: About Poland so you know what to expect.

Things to Know Before Your Visit


Money and Banks — There is little need to exchange money in advance or bring travellers cheques on your trip as ATMs are widespread even in the smaller towns. You will get a better level of exchange however if you bring cash and exchange it in Poland at any ‘kantor’. Avoid money exchanges at hotels and banks as the rate is usually the worst available.

Credit and Debit Cards — In cities these are accepted in most shops, restaurants and hotels with Visa slightly more widespread than Maestro. Elsewhere however they should not be relied upon and carrying a few hundred zlotys in cash is recommended. The exception to this are petrol stations which, even in the most remote locations, take cards.

Driving — If you decide to drive to Poland or rent a car on arrival remember to consider the state of the Polish network which can be of varying quality from modern motorways to rutted and potholed trunk roads. Leave plenty of time for your journey and expect to cover about 50 kilometres every hour off motorways and express routes during the day, with a slightly faster average at night when most of the trucks take a break. The Poles drive aggressively so be very wary when over taking trucks as someone might be overtaking you at the same time and as some drive at speeds of 150 km/h on single carriageway routes it does feel that they have quite literally come out of nowhere.

Do not drink at all before driving, there is almost zero tolerance to this and one pint of beer or glass of wine will put you over the limit. Ensure you always have your passport, driving licence, a spare set of bulbs, a first aid kit, a flourescent jacket and a warning triangle before you set out. A mobile phone is also a good idea in case of breakdowns or accidents. In the case of the latter the police must by law be called to record the incident.

The speed limit in towns is 50 km/h and these are signposted by black and white rectangular signs depicting the skyline of some imaginary buildings. On trunk roads you can drive at 90 km/h, 110 km/h on dual carriageways and 130 km/h on motorways. Do not make the mistake of simply following the speed of the car in front. The police may decide to stop you instead as foreign drivers are required to pay fines on the spot.

In the winter you are expected to have snow tyres. If you bring your own car from abroad this is not checked on the border but should you have an accident the police could find you to blame for inappropriate tyres. Snow tyres are required on all cars between November and March.
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In Poland many bank holidays are treated seriously with shops closed and only skeleton services available. The most prominent are as follows: ...

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