What's the Deal With Poland's Weather?

A weather check is especially a great idea before heading to Poland.

Photo © iStock/Imgorthand

Before leaving for anywhere - the local shops, a distant city or a far off country it's always a good idea to check the weather, because no one likes being caught out in the wrong clothes.

From the warm Silesian Lowland and Sandomierska Upland, to the "coldest pole" of Poland; the town of Suwalki on the north-eastern border, Poland's weather is varied and notoriously unpredictable... but we'll make a couple of predictions anyway.

Summertime Heat

Summer temperatures are usually around 20-25 ºC and the best time to take a holiday is July or August. But some summer days can get stifling, with temperatures rising up to 35 ºC and a thunderstorm thrown in for good measure. Most residences and some hotels don't have air conditioning, so stand-by for an uncomfortable night or two.

Summer is not always dry, it can rain quite heavily and floods occur. There was severe flooding in May and June 2010. Many people in the Southern part of Poland are still suffering, as they lost virtually everything, their homes, schools, shops, the lot.

Winter Chills

At the other end of the scale, winter can be really cold, with the chance of snow from November till March.

Winter 2010/2011 was extremely cold with temperatures falling down to -25 ºC and enormous amounts of snow which started falling in early December. Public transportation was chaotic with buses and trams running late. On the first day of snow in 2010, a 30-45 minute trip from Wola district to Mokotow in Warsaw (a typical commute) took 3 hours!

Spring & Autumn

Many people consider the spring and autumn to be the most beautiful seasons to visit Poland. They are good for travelling, less tiring than trudging through snow and more enjoyable than sweltering heat.

But this is when Polish weather is at its craziest. You might enjoy moderately warm temperatures from April to June and from September to October, but it is also possible to see snow in April or people wearing short-sleeves in October.

These changes in weather makes packing for Poland a nightmare, but take the lot: rain coat and umbrella and sunglasses, as well as bring light, summer clothes for the day, but an extra jacket for evenings, and avoid soggy feet with a pair of luggage-unfriendly heavy, water-resistant shoes.

Travel Health

If you haven't frozen to death, been washed away or suffered heat stroke there are just a couple of other health risks to watch out for.

Tick borne encephalitis and Lyme disease.

High risk season is from March to November and particularly in the northern part of the country extending from the forested areas around Gdansk, south and eastward to the Russian border, including the areas around Bialystok. Other areas of risk include forested lands around Warsaw, Lodz, and Lukow, and along the border with the Czech Republic and Slovakia south of Wroclaw.

All travelers who engage in hiking, camping, or similar outdoor activities in rural wooded regions of endemic areas should take measures to prevent tick bites.

Medical facilities and standards of health care are good, but not many nurses or doctors speak English. You could try pronouncing this:

Bylem ukaszony przez kleszcza.

(Bye-lem Uck-on-sharny prez ka-led-shar)

"I have been bitten by a tick"

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