There are early signs that Poland’s third wave of infections is beginning to ease. The country is back in lockdown, stay at home measures are in place, and the vaccine rollout continues. This regularly-updated guide includes details on current travel restrictions, flights, outbreak information, and tips for a safe journey
Last update: April 12, 2021 (this page is updated every Monday)
- Poland has effectively re-entered lockdown until at least April 18, with all tourist activities prohibited and residents largely subject to stay at home measures. See below for full details
- The rate of new daily cases of COVID appears to have dipped over the last week and is currently around 20,000, although the rate of new deaths per day is still rising and remains at over 700
- The vaccination programme is underway and has, so far, administered just over seven million doses, 9.6% of the entire population (based on two doses each), according to Reuters
- Due to UK lockdown rules, the earliest possible date for British tourists to visit will be May 17, and travellers are advised not to book until the UK government has clarified travel restrictions. Check this page every Monday for the latest updates
- The situation with flights is very much subject to change. 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
- Rail services into Poland from other countries are now suspended. Although transport into Poland by road and sea from other EU countries is possible, only those with a reason, such as work, are supposed to cross the border by boat or car. See How To Get To Kraków for full details of how to travel by land
- As with other historical sites, Auschwitz-Birkenau is currently closed to the public. See our Things To Do In Kraków guide and two-, three-, and four-day itineraries for suggestions of where to visit, but check ahead to book places and clarify opening rules
Current Restrictions In Kraków
A third wave of infections has halted attempts to ease lockdown and restrictions are once again in force until at least April 9. The following rules now apply:
- People are advised to stay indoors where possible. Travel into Poland is discouraged and often requires quarantine on arrival
- 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 with a surgical mask in most 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. Malls are largely closed
- Public transport can only carry 30% of its usual capacity and only 50% of seats are available
- 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
- All indoor cultural spaces, such as museums, theatres, and art galleries are closed to the public
- Hotel use is restricted to permitted business guests
- Health resorts are now allowed to open
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. People may be required to self-isolate for 10 days if arriving by public transport. Check with airlines for clarification.
Flights from other countries are currently not permitted to travel to Poland.
This guide to the Schengen area has full details of which nationalities need a visa for 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
- Polish government official Coronavirus information and recommendations
- Re-open EU
- Schengen Visa Information
Flights to Poland
Although international flights are now permitted to Poland from countries listed in the previous section, many services are still being cancelled, based on events. 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
Accommodation and Social Hygiene in Poland
Most public buildings provide hand sanitiser and ask customers to apply before entering. There are increased hygiene regulations for all public spaces. Covering nose and mouth with a surgical facemask is mandatory in most places. Just using a scarf or face shield is not permitted.
Polish customer service tends to be excellent, with high standards of cleanliness and hygiene. But new legal requirements have been introduced to help tackle coronavirus, some with heavy fines attached. All establishments must ensure that their staff wear gloves and masks, and that customers maintain at least 1.5m distance. Tables and other public areas must be disinfected after use, with signs to display this has been done.
Although you can no longer dine in at public restaurants and bars, your hotel should be able to still offer these services and deliver to your room. Check before travelling.
Most public buildings, including hotels and shopping malls, provide hand sanitiser and ask customers to apply before entering. Hotels are subject to strict rules of hygiene. See our recommendations for the best hotels in Krakow for various budget categories and ideas on the best areas of the city in Where To Stay In Krakow.
Poland Coronavirus Information
Poland’s containment of the virus was relatively successful during the first wave, but there was a significant rise in new daily cases since the lockdown was eased at the end of 2020.
The highest Polish infection rates have been in the Warsaw / Masovia provinces. Kraków is in the Lesser Poland province, which has moved from the third worst hit region of the country to one of the lower risk areas.
The vaccination programme is underway and has, so far, administered just seven million doses, 9.6% of the entire population (based on two doses each). Reuters also estimates that it will take until the end of June to fully vaccinate a further 10% of the population.
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