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Preparing to Move

Readying yourself to move will be a process of mental as well as practical preparation. Equip yourself for the experience by understanding more about the culture of this wonderful city.

When You Arrive

Making a home in a new country with all the cultural, culinary and social differences is an exciting, but at the same time stressful, undertaking. Give yourself and your family time to settle in and adapt to the new environment.

Before you start embracing all that the Polish capital has to offer, you first need to take care of official matters and familiarise yourself with the logistics and intricacies of everyday living.


Constantly evolving and expanding, Warsaw may be a big city to explore and get to know, but most sights are located within a manageable distance of each other. The Wisła (Vistula) River bisects the city. To the west lies the historic Old Town and Sródmieście (city centre) with all the essential tourist sights. On the eastern bank of the river is Praga, an up and coming industrial borough with pre-war architecture, as well as outlying districts covered with communist era blocks of flats.

Central Warsaw is defined by its two longest boulevards, Aleje Jerozolimskie (Jerusalem Avenue) and Ulica Marszalkowska, each lined with a myriad of shops, banks, restaurants and other business establishments. The Royal route encompasses the oldest and arguably most historically representative arteries of the city, stretching from the Royal Castle along ulica Krakowskie Przedmieście and ulica Nowy Świat, down Aleje Ujazdowskie, Warsaw's embassy row, all the way to Wilanów.

Getting Around

Taxis are a comfortable and convenient means of travelling around the city. Stands are marked with taxi signs and are located around train stations, shopping centres and the various high-traffic points throughout the city.

Public Transport

Most places around Warsaw can be reached via public transport, which is inexpensive and fairly efficient. The system consists of buses, trams, local trains and underground, all run by ZTM, the Warsaw Transport Authority. Lines run from about 4.30am to 11.20pm, after which night buses marked 'N' take over.

Walking and Cycling

Warsaw is a great city for strolling, whether around the compact Old Town, along the restaurant-and shop-filled Royal route or through the many grand gardens and beautifully landscaped parks.

Warsaw is not yet a fully bike-friendly city, but a system of bike paths has been recently created along a few major streets, especially in the leafy neighbourhood of Mokotow and along the banks of the Vistula River. Riders are not required by law to wear a helmet, but considering the heavy traffic, it is highly recommended.


With such an extensive public transport system, there's little incentive to drive in the centre of Warsaw. A car, however, does give you the most flexibility and freedom in travelling further afield.

Make sure to learn the local traffic rules and customs before renting or purchasing a car. In Poland, the maximum speed allowed in built-up areas is 50 km/ h between 5am and 11pm and 60km/h at night; this rises to 90km/ h on main roads, to 110 km/ h on dual carriageways and to 130km/h on motorways. Seatbelts are compulsory for everyone in the car and the use of handheld mobile phones is prohibited. A word of caution: Poland has one of the highest road accident rates in Europe, so be extra careful and vigilant when driving.

An International Drivers Licence (IDL) or a licence issued in any EU country authorises you to drive in Poland for six months from the date you arrive. After this time, you need to take a medical examination and a written test in Polish to determine how well you know your traffic rules. Alternatively, you can obtain a new international licence on your occasional visits home, which will extend the grace period for another six months.

For more detailed information regarding exams and driving courses in English and German, visit Nauka Jazdy driver training website.


Poland's healthcare infrastructure is a mix of public and private healthcare institutions. The Ministry of Health regulates the national healthcare policy and oversees the state finances system, The National Health Fund (NFZ), which provides free medical treatment countrywide to all citizens and legal residents.

The standard of public care is adequate, though hospitals (szpital) are often cramped and resources, both human and material, are limited. For convenience and ease of communication, expatriates and affluent locals tend to use private medical facilities when possible.


While Warsaw is a safe city, petty theft does occur and crime against expatriates is not unheard of. To be on the safe side, it is advisable to take the same security precautions as you would in your home country and to pay close attention to your surroundings.