Return PolishForums LIVE
  PolishForums Archive :
Archives - 2005-2009 / Travel  % width 11

Driving from the UK to Krakow

Doughnuts 3 | 4  
6 Sep 2008 /  #1
I would just like to say a quick hello to everyone as this is my 1st post as I only discoverd this site the night before I drove to Poland.

My wife is polish and from the time she fell pregnant we have been driving to Poland. We decided that this would be more comfortable and with the birth of our son the extra room and freedom more than made up for the time it takes.

I recommend avoiding the ferries and only use the channel tunnel as like the ferry the crossing time is reasonably flexible if you turn up early/late but it is very fast.

Driving through France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany is fantastic and a pleasure as you do not need to place your foot on the brake for 800 miles except to pull over into a parking area to change a nappy. Parking areas and fuel stations appear to be dotted along the motorways every 5km's and is a welcome change from the UK's sparse service stations. Lorries/TIR's are not allowed to overtake along many stretches of road and they all appear to respect this. The biggest problem for me is the lack of street lighting which in itself would not be a problem if their were cat's eyes in the road. Driving in Germany at 3am can be a bit hairy as the motorways have a habit of twisting sharply around, especially where East and West are joined.

Then when you cross into Poland at Gorlitz it all changes. There is no motorway between here and the middle of nowhere if you want to travel towards Wroclaw and Krakow. The middle of nowhere is where you pick up the new (free) A4 motorway which is a joy to drive on however in about 5 years I should imagine that it will be a slightly different experience. Driving near Opole this time was an exerience as well, a tonado had not long ripped through and the traffic all slammed on thiere brakes as I do not beleive any of the other drivers had seen a broken tree before. When you get to Katowice you then have to pay a toll for the motorway which is surprisingly poorly maintained for a toll road. It appears that at any point on the stretch between here and krakow only one side is open at anytime as it is all contaflow controlled.

The problem I have with driving in Poland is that unlike Germany where faster drivers flash there lights as a warning that they are travelling faster, Polish drivers do this just to be aggresive. They also enjoy tailgating and speeding up when you move to overtake them. I also do not understand when I forget to turn my lights on during daytime driving as this is now a year round safety law, many drivers will speed past a 100+ mph flashing there lights ecause mine are off. I also can not comprehend why I see so many brand new motors being driven so carelessly across some of the poorest road surfaces in Europe.

As a side note I have driven to Poland 4 times now in 18 months and the difference in this time is remarkable. The Polish government is making a lot of improvments to the road network, at least on the roads I use. Driving on the right is as natural an experince as driving on the left and only once have I found myself starting out on the left when leaving the in-laws. Driving in Krakow is easier than it looks and the new 1 way system is going to make it even easier. The best piece of advice I can offer for a foreigner driving in Poland in a foreign car is that if your not sure, just go for it as speed cameras etc might catch you but no one is going to go to the trouble of pursuing you into another country. I found the traffic police are less likely to pull me for a random check as they do often as it is too much trouble for them to try to communicate. Another tip would be to be carefull where you take fuel from as I found that many village stations do not offer the ability to pay by card.

Anyway I hope that this post may have been of use to someone.
wireless 1 | 34  
9 Aug 2009 /  #2

i just wanted to say thanks for a great post, very informative, it will be very helpful.

i just wanted to ask did you have any trouble at border crossing into and out of germany.

i have read on some sites that taking an english car into poland means a high possibility that it will get stolen.

as long as i stick to the motoways, is it safe to stop for petrol and stuff.

i want to make sure my partner and i are safe while doing this trip, im planning to drive to poland to katowice around easter next year to pick up our dog.

any advice or information would be awesome.

delphiandomine 88 | 18,163  
9 Aug 2009 /  #3
i just wanted to ask did you have any trouble at border crossing into and out of germany.

What border crossing? As long as you have all your documents in case of a spot check by random Europeans, there's no borders and no hassle.

As for Poland - a British plated car is no more nor more less likely to be stolen here. In fact, I'd suggest that a British plated car is more hassle than it's worth to steal, as RHD vehicles can't be registered here.

Sticking to motorways is silly when it comes to fuel - you can save quite a bit of money just by going two minutes off the road.
wireless 1 | 34  
9 Aug 2009 /  #4
oh right i just had the impression that when you go from country to country you had to go through passport control.

well i assumed sticking to the motorways will make the trip quicker?
Matowy - | 294  
9 Aug 2009 /  #5
Why would you drive from UK to Kraków anyway? Isn't it more expensive/more hassle?
wireless 1 | 34  
9 Aug 2009 /  #6
im going near katowice

cause im picking up our dog

and i thought it would be a good drive
LwowskaKrakow 28 | 431  
11 Aug 2009 /  #7
Yes I agree , it seems so long and stressful but maybe it is just more convenient when there with family and kid.
Don't you also have to have a special car insurance which covers problems in Poland?
wozzy 8 | 206  
11 Aug 2009 /  #8
I.m taking a motorhome from Manchester to Gorlice in southeast Poland via the eurotunel 21st of this month. Going to a wedding 3000 miles round trip. Taking my time got a month to play with.


Not so bad realy having driven in Poland several times in the past in hire cars from the airport......this time it's a right hand drive and it's mine. :0)
18 Sep 2009 /  #9
taking a ferry from Dover to Dukierka
try this website
MareGaea 29 | 2,751  
18 Sep 2009 /  #10

Just take a freaking plane...


Were exactly is Dukierka? Or did you mean Dunkirk?

M-G (wishes ppl were more clear)
Wroclaw Boy  
18 Sep 2009 /  #11
Ive done Southampton, UK to Wroclaw in around 12 hours drive time, left at 8:00 and arrived at my home about 22:00 just a few short stops, as long as you pick up the A2 the huge German autobhann for about 250 miles you can really get a move on.

Archives - 2005-2009 / Travel / Driving from the UK to KrakowArchived