The zloty is the official currency in use in Poland. As a decimal currency it is divided into 100 groszy. This is spoken of as one grosz for the singular and groszy is used as the plural. You may also hear grosze used as the plural. There is always a chance that the currency will disappear if the country eventually adopts the Euro, but while this looked likely at one stage it has not yet happened. Poland is one of the member states of the European Union, having joined in 2004, but at present it still uses the zloty. Only time will tell if or when the country will say goodbye to it in favour of the newer currency.
There are nine coins currently in use in the country, six of which are in grosz or groszy denominations and the other three of which are zlotys. The first six are in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 groszy denominations. The other three are the 1, 2 and 5 zloty denomination coins.
Polish banknotes are quite colourful and there are five of them available in total. These are the 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 zloty notes.
The word zloty means golden, and the currency itself can be traced back as far as the Middle Ages. This must surely make it one of the oldest currencies in the world that is still in use, even though it has gone through a fair few changes since then. In times gone by a variety of different coins were in use in various parts of Poland and as such they all went under the name zloty.
Officially the currency was properly adopted as Poland’s national currency in 1496. However there was a period of almost 75 years from 1850 until 1924 when the country ended up using the Russian rouble. This is because Russia governed the country at this stage and imposed its own currency on it as a result. From 1924 onwards the country went back to its own zloty once more.
The one thing you should remember when needing your Polish zloty when going to Poland is to allow plenty of time for your chosen bureau de change to acquire them for you. It is not one of the most popular currencies that is ordered and therefore they may not have it in stock when you need it. By ordering it in advance you will give them time to get it if they need it.
While commission is also charged on traveller’s cheques you may find it useful to take some of these with you as well. Ideally you should get them in either US dollars, British pounds or Euros. Any of these currencies can easily be exchange for Polish zlotys once you arrive in Poland.
When you go to Poland and you need to change more or traveller’s cheques, watch out for centres called kantor. These will exchange your cheques or foreign cash into zloty for you. Always check the rate you will get before opting for a particular centre, to make sure you get a good deal. Remember though that banks tend to offer the worst deal – in common with many other countries around the world in this sense.
The good news is you can use your own bank cards in various cash points in major cities in Poland. Just be sure to let your bank know before you go away so they know it is you using your card in another country.
Finally you can also pay for goods and services using your credit card if you wish. Debit cards are also usually welcome but make sure your specific card is accepted at an outlet before you expect to use it.
This is very easy to do thanks to the prevalence of online currency converters nowadays. You can look for your own home currency on the converter and then search for the Polish zloty to convert it into. You can either do this with one unit of your currency or with another amount, if you know how much spending money you wish to take with you. Just remember this will only give you the precise conversion between the two. When you use a bureau de change they will charge you commission even if they say they do not. In the latter case they usually build the commission into the rates they charge, making them slightly less preferential to you as a result.
Those wishing to find out more about travelling to Poland may find this site helpful - http://www.london.mfa.gov.pl/en/. This is the official website for the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in London; there are embassies in other UK cities as well.
You can access the government website to find out the latest travel information about Poland, but for the most part travellers visit the country with no problems at all. Terrorism is not an issue in the country really, but you may want to be careful with regard to your belongings. This is because petty crime can rear its ugly head in some areas of Poland, particularly where there are lots of tourists around. Again this is much the same as in other countries and tourist hot spots, but if you know what the risks are in advance you can reduce the chances of being affected.
While it makes sense to keep your cash safely tucked away (split it between pockets and purses or wallets if you can) this is not the main target in Poland by the look of things. Instead people who do try to steal tend to go for expensive objects. Try not to keep your mobile phone on show for example, as this is a popular item to be stolen when tourists do have things taken. Expensive watches are another item that can be snatched, as can other items of jewellery if they look expensive. It might be best not to wear such items at all while you are out and about. You can always lock them in the hotel safe if possible.
You might be surprised at how affordable Poland is compared to some other European countries. Since it does not use the Euro the zloty can provide reasonably good value for money. Poland has recently become a more popular destination for many tourists to visit, as they start to discover what the country has to offer.
Poland is bordered by several other countries including Ukraine and Germany. Its northern reaches border the Baltic Sea, so it is not a landlocked country. Its capital is Warsaw and this is one of the highlights for many people wanting to visit the country.
So let’s start there, shall we? Warsaw is a great place to go for a long weekend, but it can also be visited as part of a longer holiday. It has a river location, sitting on the banks of the Vistula River, and boasts a modern skyline with tall buildings rising up among the surroundings. Among the sights to explore here are the Royal Castle, a large building that was first constructed in the late 16th century. It has been demolished more than once during its history, the last time being in the Second World War. Today it stands once again though, and it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the finest sights in Warsaw is surely the historic Old Town, where the market place is the oldest feature you will see. This too is protected as part of the same World Heritage Site that includes the Royal Castle. It too did not survive the Second World War, but it was rebuilt carefully and considerately to ensure it replicated the previous appearance almost exactly.
Another place worthy of a visit is a town called Marienberg, although it is also known as Malbork locally. This boasts a castle too, but this one happens to be the biggest one of its kind anywhere in the world. Restoration after World War II brought it to the fine condition it is in today.
One destination you may have heard of already – even if you didn’t realise it was in Poland – is Gdansk. This can be found on the northern border of the country where it meets the Baltic Sea. This too has an Old Town and many who have seen it say it is just as good as Warsaw’s version, which is probably better known. Once again the history of Poland can be seen in abundance here, and where rebuilding was necessary at various points and for various reasons, those in charge have been careful to ensure the job has been done admirably.
When it comes to spending your zloty on Polish food, you will be spoilt for choice for some amazing dishes. Sausages of various kinds are made and enjoyed here, some of which are spicy and some of which are smoked. It is not unusual to enjoy a plate of several different types along with some mustard.
Some of the most popular dishes include potato pancakes, rosol (a noodle soup that looks simply amazing and is very light, even with chicken included), and traditional desserts such as makowiec, which is a poppy seed cake. As you can see, wherever you go in Poland there will be some tasty local cuisine to tuck into.
Poland has far more to offer than you might think initially. Once you have your zloty currency in your pocket and you have decided whereabouts in Poland you wish to visit, you can look forward to exploring this country. Indeed you might find it is full of more surprises than you would think.