All in all, Polish roads are good, and of European standard. However, it is hard to rate a road system as a whole.
All roads in Poland are easily passable and, though some better than others, you do not have to worry. However, if you will be driving through very small village roads, things can turn sour.
Below is a description of the types of Polish roads.
The are not many motorways in Poland - there is the North-South A1, from Gdańsk
and onwards to the Czech Republic, the West-East A2, from the German border
and onwards towards Belarus.
Finally, there is the A4, also West-East, from the German Border
, through Southern Poland and Katowice
, to the Ukrainian border.
Polish motorways are, however, very modern and have all the amenities found on German Autobahns. They are accurately signed and well-paved, and very easy for a foreigner to navigate. To give an example of how new they are, the main stretch of Poland's arguably most important
motorway, the A2, was completed on the 27th
of May 2012 with the opening of the last segment from Grodzisk Mazowiecki to Pruszków (source
A large portion of Polish motorways are toll roads. You do not need to purchase a vignette, however - there are toll gates along the motorways for toll collection. The typical price is 0.2 zł [0.046 EUR] per kilometer.
Polish toll gate
The reason why there are so few motorways in Poland is that the government decided to focus primarily on expressways.
The only noticeable difference between motorways and expressways is that that there are typically more junctions on expressways and
the speed limit is a bit lower. Polish expressways are also very modern and have all the necessary amenities.
All Polish expressways are free.
Below is a map of Polish high-speed road network, namely Polish motorways and expressways.
As you can see on the photos below, there is little difference between motorways and expressways.
National roads are one tier below expressways, typically marked by one or two-digit numbers. They connect large cities that are not connected by expressway or motorway and tend to avoid villages to decrease travel time (but still run through a lot).
However, they have regular intersections, and are therefore still much slower than expressways. They are all free, and
can be a better way of exploring the country than travel by motorway or expressway.
Below is a map of all national roads in Poland.
Now, Polish national roads come in two variations - visibly old and visibly new. Most are new and well-kept, but some are in worse condition.
Old national road
New national road
Poland is divided into 16 administrative regions. Intra-regional roads, or just regional roads, connect smaller cities in the given region to larger or equally small cities inside or outside the region.
They are usually small roads that go through villages and meet many intersections on which they often don't have the right of way.
These roads are varied in quality, and there is a clear distinction between new and old roads.
Old regional road
New regional road
These roads connect villages to each other and run through forests, fields, and are usually (though not always!) paved with concrete.
They often lack any signs or lane divisions, and they almost never have the right of way at intersections.
Please note that local roads are very
varied in quality, but always passable. Only internal roads in small villages can be difficult to cross.
Local road in good condition
Local road in bad condition