Poland is effectively closed to tourists until the end of January. This regularly-updated guide includes details on current travel restrictions, flights, outbreak information, and tips for a safe journey
Last update: January 18, 2021 (this page is updated every Monday)
- The Polish government is urging people not to travel. Check this page every Monday for the latest information
- There is a mandatory 10-day self-isolation period for anybody arriving by public transport, unless you can provide a certificate of vaccination. There are certain exceptions
- The national lockdown has been extended until January 31, with museums, galleries, and all hotels closed. Bars and restaurants are for takeaway only
- Essential shops are allowed to open, with restrictions on the number of customers
- The situation with flights is very much subject to change and many airlines have been cancelling services into 2021. At present only Schengen-area countries (which still includes the UK) and flights from Georgia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Thailand, South Korea, Tunisia and Australia are permitted into Poland
- You can check available flights, timings and prices for your chosen dates with one search. It’s also easy and affordable to book your own private Krakow airport transfer to your hotel
- All air passengers must complete a locator form and self-declaration form before travel – see the Flights to Poland section below
- Transport into Poland by road, rail, and sea from other EU countries is largely back to normal. See How To Get To Kraków for full details of how to travel by land
- Auschwitz-Birkenau is currently closed. All museums are also shut. See our Things To Do In Kraków guide and two-, three-, and four-day itineraries for suggestions of where to visit once things re-open again
New ‘Red Zone’ Restrictions In Kraków
On October 17, Kraków was added to the list of ‘Red Zone’ areas by the Polish government and the entire country was declared high risk the following week. The following restrictions now apply:
- People are strongly advised to stay indoors, except for essential shopping
- Children are only allowed outdoors between 8am and 4pm and must be supervised by an adult
- Public restaurants, cafes, and bars are now closed and can only offer takeaway service
- Night clubs are closed
- It is mandatory to cover your nose and mouth in all public spaces. There are fines for not doing so
- Maintain social distance of 1.5m and use hand santiser when entering stores and other public buildings
- Smaller shops are only allowed to admit 1 person per till and larger stores have strict limits on customer entry at any one time
- Public transport can only carry 30% of its usual capacity and only 50% of seats are available
- Groups and public gatherings are limited to 5 people
- Church services have strict attendance limits to ensure social space is maintained
- Public events like weddings are not permitted
- Pools, gyms, and waterparks are closed
- Sporting events can no longer have a live audience
Poland initially introduced a three-week ‘circuit breaker’ on November 6, due to finish on November 29. This was extended to December 27, before the country was put into full quarantine on December 28. In addition to the ‘Red Zone’ measures:
- All museums, art galleries, cinemas and theatres are closed
- Essential shops are allowed to open but with restricted capacity
- Hotels are also closed
- Churches have strict attendance limits
The national quarantine has been extended until January 31.
Travel Restrictions and Visas
You can enter Poland from any country within the Schengen Zone, which still includes the UK, or on a flight from Georgia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Thailand, South Korea, Tunisia and Australia. Most people will be required to self-isolate for 10 days if arriving by public transport. Check with airlines for clarification.
This guide to the Schengen area has full details of which nationalities need a visa for Poland.
Flights from other countries are currently not permitted to travel to Poland.
Be sure to clarify your airline’s policy for rebooking and return flights if circumstances change suddenly. Book accommodation that allows for cancellations.
Kraków Airport – image © Jason Weaver
Poland Travel Restrictions and Visa Pages
Flights to Poland
Although international flights are now permitted to Poland from countries listed in the previous section, many services are now being cancelled into 2021. Budget airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet are running a timetable between key European cities, although these will fluctuate according to demand and the quarantine policies of individual countries, and services are being reduced in light of record infection levels.
Use a service like Skyscanner to check flights for your chosen dates. See also our comprehensive guide to Kraków Airport and how to get from Kraków Airport to Kraków city centre.
- Important! Everyone is required to fill out a passenger locator form before travel
- You will also need to fill in a Passenger Self-Declaration Form which logs some basic information about your health and activities in relation to possible exposure to COVID-19
- You will receive guidance on these forms from your airline and can usually fill them in online
Queen Boutique Hotel – image © Jason Weaver
Poland Coronavirus Information
Poland’s containment of the virus was relatively successful for most of the first wave, but there was a significant rise in new daily cases since the initial lockdown was eased.
The highest Polish infection rates have been in the Katowice / Silesia and the Warsaw / Masovia provinces. Kraków is in the Lesser Poland province, which currently has the third highest infection rate in the country.
The Polish government started to introduce local restrictions on certain areas from August 8. These rules are updated daily, based on where new cases are highest. Kraków was designated a high-risk ‘Red Zone’ on October 17 and the entire country followed a week later. A three-week ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown began on November 6, and has now been extended until December 27, and then expanded to full quarantine on December 28. This will last until January 31.
Here is a useful page for the latest coronavirus numbers in Poland. Note that Kraków is in the Małopolska district:
- Google Translate version of the official Polish government’s Coronavirus infection report
- There are graphs to help you visualise the current status of the virus in Poland at the worldometer Poland Coronovirus page
Forum Przestrzenie – image © Jason Weaver
Tips for Safe Travel in Poland
Here are some useful tips to make your trip to Poland a safe one.
- Visitors to Kraków face a moderate to high risk of exposure to COVID-19, a highly-contagious virus, so individuals should consult a doctor before considering any travel. Similarly, if you display any symptoms of the virus before you leave or are considered at-risk, don’t travel! See the Travel Health Pro COVID-19 Travel Risk Assessment and the UK government Poland travel advice for comprehensive details
- If you start to feel ill while you’re away, contact the Polish National Health Fund on 800 190 590. Press 6 for English language advice on what steps to take if suspect you might have coronavirus
- You are still required to cover your nose and mouth on public transport and, where practical, in any other shared indoor space. Whilst you no longer have to wear a mask outdoors, there’s strong medical evidence that it’s safer for everyone if you do. Although masks should be available from pharmacies, supermarkets, and a number of enterprising vendors, we recommending bringing them with you. After all, you’ll need one to travel
- Hand sanitiser is widely available at hotels, shopping malls, bars and restaurants, public transport, and many other public buildings. All the same, make sure you add a bottle to your packing list
- As a traveller, you’ll have less access to soap and running water than you would at home, so wash your hands at every opportunity
- Respect the 2m social distancing rule in any shared space. You may get fined up to £6,000 if you don’t!
- Kraków is a very walkable city, so consider exploring on foot, instead of via bus and tram. See our guide to Getting Around In Kraków for more details
- Google provides a chart of estimated busy times for popular attractions, so search for what you plan to visit and try to go at quieter times of day
- Provided you meet the criteria for travel to Poland, your visit is no longer considered high risk and you can buy travel insurance to cover the trip. However, things are changing very quickly and not all firms will cover costs incurred by COVID-19. Be sure to check with your provider to clarify what’s on offer. Moneysupermarket has an up-to-date guide on questions relating to the coronavirus and travel insurance. The UK government’s advice on travel insurance is useful for all travellers, regardless of nationality