Poland is a country steeped in history and rich in culture, with lots of great things to see and do, but make sure that you get health cover before you set out. The best option is to apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) online. An EHIC enables travellers to access state-provided health care at a reduced cost, or even free, should the need arise.
Poland isn’t in Eastern Europe
One of the most interesting facts about Poland is that it isn’t, as most people suppose, in Eastern Europe, although it was once part of the Eastern European Communist Bloc. In fact, geographically speaking, it sits at the centre of Europe.
Poland has had four other capital cities besides Warsaw
The capital of Poland, of course, is Warsaw. But it hasn’t always been. Other cities which have been the capital include Krakow, Poznan, Gniezno and Lublin, the latter on two occasions.
The Pope has his own TV channel
The popularity of the Pope in Poland is well-known. Pope John Paul II was Polish and most of the country’s population are Catholics. But did you know that the pontiff is so popular that there is a TV channel devoted just to him?
As you travel around Poland, making sure you keep your European Insurance Card safe at all times, you will learn more about Poland’s bloody and tragic history.
Poland has been invaded or has rebelled 43 times
Poland has been invaded by countries including Germany and Russia, or has staged uprisings, an amazing 43 times in the years between 1600 and 1945. The invasion by Germany, which led to a declaration of war by Great Britain in 1939, resulted in the death of millions of Jews, many of them Polish citizens. Less well-known is the heroics of Poles in helping Jews escape certain death in camps.
More Jews were saved by Poland during WWII than any other country
In all, 45,000 were rescued, something which was recognised by the state of Israel. Poland has the greatest number of citizens who have been awarded the title of Righteous among the Nations, with 6,135 nominees.
One of Poland’s most popular attractions is a former salt mine
OK, so you’ve sorted out your flight tickets, hotels and travel insurance and you’re planning your itinerary. But before you do that you might want to consider adding one of Poland’s most unusual attractions, Wieliczka Salt Mine.
It doesn’t sound appealing but suspend disbelief for a minute. Dating back to the 13th century, it has 300 km of galleries on nine levels and houses works of art, statues and even altars.
Poland was once home to the world’s tallest structure
One attraction that you won’t be able to see is Warsaw Radio Mast. Did you know that this structure, which stood 2,120ft-high in Konstantynów, was the world’s tallest structure until it collapsed in 1991?
Be careful when using lifts in Poland
When on your travels around Poland with your guidebook and EHIC card (more information and frequently answered questions about the EHIC can be seen here. Be advised that, when using a lift, for the first floor you need to press ‘2’, since the ground floor is regarded as level ‘0’.
Polish pizzas don’t come with tomato sauce
Also, when ordering pizza don’t expect tomato or Napolitano sauce with it. You’ll need to ask for ketchup.
Polish vodka started life as a medicine
Finally, you’re more than likely to sample Polish vodka at some stage. But it actually began life in the eighth century as a medicine. Wine was left to freeze over the winter and the resulting solution was used in medical treatments.
This continued until the 15th century when gorzalka, or burnt wine, was refined to create the drink Poles know and love today.
But despite the ‘medicinal’ properties of its vodka, we’d strongly suggest that you apply for your EHIC card – we can help with EHIC renewal – just in case!