Poland Travel Planner Logo with striped outline of Poland

car

cars are great if you have one; and road trips can be the best if you also know how to drive

- what are the roads like?
- how fast can I go?
- how do I rent a car?



contents

roads

roads

laws

laws

travel times

travel times

car rental

car rental

roads


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.

Motorways (A)

The are not many motorways in Poland - there is the North-South A1, from Gdańsk to Katowice and onwards to the Czech Republic, the West-East A2, from the German border to Warsaw 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.

Motorway segment

Motorway sign

Typical junction

Polish toll gate


Expressways (S)

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.

expressway segment

Expressway junction


National roads

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


Regional roads

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


Local roads

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


laws


Though driving laws in Poland will likely be no surprise, in this chapter you will find everything you need to know about driving in Poland.

Speed limits

Speed limits are best described in an infographic. See below.



For the purposes of clarification, for regular vehicles, in all cities, towns, and villages, the speed limit is 50 km/h during the day and 60 km/h between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. On roads outside of residential areas, the speed limit is 90 km/h for one-lane roads and 100 km/h for two-lane roads and one-lane expressways. On two-lane expressways, the limit is 120 km/h, and on motorways, it is 140 km/h.

Your lights must be on no matter the time of day.

As for the police's tolerance on those speed limits, it is approximately 10%.

Car equipment

As of 2018, the necessary equipment in all cars in Poland is only a fire extinguisher and a warning triangle.

Fire extinguisher

Warning triangle

Documentation

The documentation you will need largely depends on your nationality.
Driver's license
If you have an EU driver's license, you are good to go. If you have a driver's license from another country, you must apply for and receive an International Driving Permit before your departure in your country.

EU driver's license

International Driving Permit sample

Insurance
You are required to always posess standard third-party accident insurance when driving in Poland. If you are insured in an EU country, you can visit Poland with full coverage. However, when arriving from a non-EU country, contact your insurance company or inspect your insurance policy to see whether you are covered in Poland.
ID/Passport
While driving your car, it is required that you hold an EU-issued identification document or a passport.


travel times


international travel

Driving to Poland can be a good experience, but you should really know what you're getting yourself into beforehand. Below is a map of countries from which Poland is reachable within 9 hours by car.

countries reachable within 9 hours by car



domestic travel

To explore travel times domestically, click on the major city of interest to see a map of cities reachable within 3 and 5 hours by car.


Warsaw - travel times by car




Cracow - travel times by car




Gdańsk - travel times by car




Wrocław - travel times by car




car rental


Renting a car in Poland is exactly as it is anywhere else in Europe. Most car rental locations are in large cities and at airports, but you can sometimes find car rental companies in smaller cities as well - this is something you will need to check for yourself or on the given city's article on our website.

The rental car companies in Poland include internationally known companies, such as Avis and Hertz, but also some obscure ones - however, you do not need to worry about safety, as all the necessary regulations are in place and there are no issues on the Polish car rental market.

Hertz at Warsaw Airport

Local rental company in Wrocław



Car rental prices in Poland are not bad - Poland is generally a very cheap country. At Hertz, a small city car can start at 200 zł/day [47 EUR], while at a smaller company, for example the before-mentioned Your Car Rental Company, you can rent a car for as little as 130 zł/day [30 EUR].

orientational daily car rental prices