Tourist Information Centres in Poland are divided into 1*, 2*, 3* and 4* Certified and Non-Certified. All Certified Tourist Centres provide information in one or more foreign languages and have an expanded range of services as compared to the Non-Certified.
IT Centre (1* Certified): Provide information in one foreign language at a basic level and distribute free local promotional literature.
IT Centre (2* Certified): Provide information in one foreign language at a communicative level and distribute free promotional literature relating to the local and regional area. Allow the use of a computer workstation with access to the Internet.
IT Centre (3* Certified): Should be located in the city centre or near a main tourist route. It should provide information in two foreign languages at a good level and distribute free promotional literature about the local, district and regional areas. Allow the use of a computer workstation with access to the Internet.
IT Centre (4* Certified): Should be located in the city centre or near a main tourist route, provide information in three foreign languages, distribute free promotional literature about the local, district and regional areas, also in foreign languages, and thematic material. Allow the use of two computer workstations with access to the Internet and the use of a multimedia kiosk even outside office hours.
List of Tourist Information Centers
Where to Find Information?
Tourist information centres are usually located close to railway stations, at airports or in town centres. They are marked with internationally recognised "I" symbol or sometimes "IT - Informacja Turystyczna".
Their opening times vary depending upon seasonal traffic. The normal opening hours are between 8am and 4pm. During the holiday peak season (June to August) or on weekends they may stay open as late as 9pm. Information can be obtained in person, by telephone, e-mail or by fax.
How Can They Help?
Tourist information centres can help you plan your sightseeing route around town or city or find available overnight accommodation. They will also tell you about applicable public transport fares, organised events or local tourist attractions. Information centres also supply promotional leaflets about the town and the region by supplying relevant street maps, information booklets and guides. Advice is also given, for example, about local Accident & Emergency facilities, specialist shops and current discount price offers for tourists. Visitors can also ask them to call for a taxi, reserve a table at a restaurant or help with hiring a car.
Visitors may require the use of a guide while visiting city centres, national parks or other tourist attractions. Licensed guides will help you get the most from your sightseeing tour and may have information or anecdotes not found in any guidebooks.
Where to Find a Guide?
To hire a guide it is best to enquire at a local tourist information centre, hotel reception or at a travel agency. If they cannot help with finding a guide they will put you in touch with a local agency that can. The most popular languages tend to be English, German and Russian but at major tourist attractions and larger cities, guides speaking other languages are also available, including Japanese and Chinese.
Many historic sites, art galleries and museums also offer personal or audio guided tours in at least one foreign language. Some cities have audio guided tours of their historic centres or as part of their river cruises but usually in English.
The typical cost of hiring a guide for several hours starts from about PLN 150.00 per hour with a minimum charge, usually of 2 hours. The cost could also depend on the number of people in the party.
Maps and Guidebooks
With the great variety of maps and guidebooks available about Poland, finding one that has information about the city or region of your interest should not be too difficult.
Comprehensive travel guidebooks about the whole of Poland can be found by prospective tourists in large newsagents, bookshops or tourist information centres. There is usually a wide selection of books printed by the world's major publishers in either Polish or other foreign languages. They contain reliable and often very detailed information and many of these guides are certainly worth spending a little extra.
Guidebooks about a particular region or city are best purchased or obtained once you get to your destination. Local tourist organisations offer reliable information packs in Polish and other foreign languages. These can be obtained from tourist information desks, hotels, hostels and kiosks.
The most common language in guidebooks is English but they are also available in other major European languages including German, French, Russian and Italian.
A wide variety of tourist maps, road maps and city maps can be bought in the same outlets that sell guidebooks. Large newsagents and bookshops usually carry a good selection of maps from world's leading publishers. Catering for a wide variety of uses, some of the available maps are designed towards a specific activity, such as country walks, cycling, mountain trekking, canoeing or sailing. These usually include legends and descriptions in several languages.
A holiday in Poland does not have to be a major drain on your resources. Visitors can find out what discounts are available to them and get the best value for their Polish money.
You can use your ISIC student card and can take advantage of a wide range of discounts and special services designed exclusively for cardholders which include museums, airlines, restaurants, cinemas and many others. By visiting the "TravelMax" website cardholders can find out which outlets in Poland accept the ISIC card
The "Euro<26" card can be used in Poland to obtain discounts on airline tickets, sports and tourist equipment, clothes, nightclub and disco entrance costs, cinema and theatre tickets, language courses and many other services. Go to the "Euro<26.org" website to find out which outlets in Poland accept the "Euro<26" card.
"Karta Miejska" / City Card
This scheme operates in several Polish cities including Warsaw and Krakow. The cards are designed as a discounted season ticket for public transport within that particular city and also offer discounts on car parking, museum entry and some sport and cultural event tickets.
Signs and Symbols
Although the majority of popular signs, symbols, logos and pictograms that visitors may come across in Poland are used internationally, there are those which are not self-evident and may require some explaining.
There are two signposts often seen in cities or along roads, "IT" or simply "I". Both of these refer to a "Tourist Information" facilities. The former is now being replaced by the internationally recognised "I" symbol.
Another frequently seen sign is "PKP". This acronym stands for Poland's state rail operator, "Polskie Koleje Państwowe". It is often found on signposts and on public transport timetables and is used to direct passengers to railway stations or mark rail stations on maps.
Another commonly seen sign is "PKS". This is the acronym for the nationwide coach operator. Although some routes are now operated by more than one coach company, "PKS", being the oldest and largest player in the market, has become a generic name for public coach transport in general. The "PKS" logo is also used to mark coach stops and stations on maps.
A yellow postal horn with the words "Poczta Polska" is the symbol of the Polish Post Office service.
"NFZ", a dark blue logo, with a two-coloured heart represents Poland's National Health Fund and is used to mark public health facilities.
On The Trail
When touring Poland on foot, visitors will come across different trails markers. These are painted in different colours only to differentiate between trails running close to each other as there is no grading attached to any particular colour. The start of a trail is usually marked with a circle of a particular colour within a white ring. Further along the trail, the characteristic trail marker is made up of three stripes; the top and bottom are white and the middle stripe is the colour of the particular trail.
Travelling with Your Pet
If visitors would like to bring their pets with them on their holiday in Poland, there are some useful tips they should follow.
EU Visitors - Pet Passports
For travel within the EU, a dog or cat must be micro-chipped and issued with the standard EU Pet Passport. Please enquire at your local veterinary inspector (LVI) for further information.
The pet may be brought into Poland but will be subject to the following conditions:
- The pet must be micro-chipped or tattooed
- An International Health Certificate should be obtained which has been issued no more than 10 days prior to arrival on an EU compliant form
- An anti-rabies vaccination record should be issued at least 30 days prior to arrival but it should not be more than 9 months old
Tourists should seek information from the Polish Consulate in their country of residence about any latest updates on these requirements.
Pets on Holiday
Many hotels now accept pets in their rooms but it is worth finding about the house rules at the time of booking. The hotel may charge extra for a pet but this is usually no more than about PLN 50.00.
Every pet requires a ticket on public transport. Whilst using public transport pet owners are required to ensure the safety of other passengers by keeping their dog muzzled and on a leash at all times.