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Driving through Poland and across Europe


cmartinez518
11 Jan 2012 #1
Hi, me and a friend will be taking a mini journey to Chernobyl in a few weeks time and wondered what sort of advice anyone could give us? Our route is uk, netherlands, Germany, Poland, Ukraine and return.

We are going in a UK registered car and have all documents we need. We both have fully comprehensive insurance with my friend being insured on this vehicle I am insured to drive any vehicle. I only just found out from a previous post on here that you need car insurance to enter Ukraine, which is purchased at the border, is this true?? Is there anything else I should know about??

We are planning on spending most of out time in Poland/Germany but are wanting to visit Ukraine/Chernobyl for maybe 2-3 days only.

Also whilst im here, i've never been to Poland only have many polish friends in the UK but it has always interested me about the country. I want to see some real Polish lifestyle, I dont go abroad to go to capital cities as i believe they dont represent a country very well at all. We want to be out of the way a little and see the real Poland. We are planning in sleeping in the vehicle for the majority of the trip so campsite/ truck stops are gonna be our best bet although hostels and guesthouses are a definate option for the odd night.

Any advice anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again
Chris
teflcat 5 | 1,029
11 Jan 2012 #2
a mini journey to Chernobyl

What, like A long weekend in Fukushima?

I dont go abroad to go to capital cities as i believe they dont represent a country very well at all.

Very true. As you'll be coming east why not visit beautiful Białowieża and its surrounding forest?
The villages around Podlasie and well worth driving through.
Harry
11 Jan 2012 #3
Hi, me and a friend will be taking a mini journey to Chernobyl in a few weeks time and wondered what sort of advice anyone could give us?

You cannot just drive to Chernobyl: it is in a closed zone. If you want to go there, you will need to either get a pass (very difficult and/or very expensive) or join an organised tour (those are almost all run from Kiev).
OP cmartinez518
11 Jan 2012 #4
Hi, yeah i know about not being able to drive there. We are going to drive to Kyiv hopefully find somewhere to stay there, pay the ridiculous fee to visit there (about £150 i read) have the day trip also to pripryat i think its spelled then return for a few nights in kyiv. Then i think were getting outta there.

And yeah i guess so, unusual tourism i know but so sick of beaches and bars and meeting people who are from the same countries/areas as people ive met before, want to do something with a little excitement and have only seen Chernobyl from games (S.T.A.L.K.E.R) and films so want to go experience it for real. Plus they give you a geiger counter to walk around with and that is scary as ****. If it helps at all we are also gonna visit Auschwitz and maybe Berlin.

And Thanks Teflcat, gonna have a quick google of those places now/
Harry
11 Jan 2012 #5
pay the ridiculous fee to visit there (about £150 i read)

EUR 125 if you look around.

Instead of Auschwitz, I'd suggest Belzec: no tourists and it'll be on your way (assuming you go Warsaw to Lvov).
Wroclaw 44 | 5,369
11 Jan 2012 #6
and maybe Berlin.

if you like the unusual. go here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teufelsberg

it would be the last place on most folks list. however, my wife and kids loved it and it is a tourist attraction of sorts.
wildrover 98 | 4,438
11 Jan 2012 #7
The biggest danger in Chernobyl is walking into an abandoned house to find you have cornered a wild boar...!

Guess how i know this....?

There is a whole thread on the forum devoted to travelling to Ukraine...but in short....the roads are not so good , the food , beer and people are great...The police do like to make a bit of money from stopping you for not so much reason...

I have been to Ukraine several times , and i have been to Chernobyl too... I went in the days when it was not allowed to go there , but it was a simple matter in a 4 x 4 to drive around the barriers and go there through the forest...

These days there are organised tours , but i don,t know how you go about booking one...
OP cmartinez518
13 Jan 2012 #8
Thanks for all your replies, will look at those threads now WR, preparing to be stopped by police lots just not sure what theyre gonna do us for?? Or how well theyre going to try and find something wrong with our car etc.

And yes the devils mountain i'd never heard of this, this is a definate must on this trip now.

Does anyone have any idea how easy it is to find somewhere to stay in Poland / Ukraine? Whether its a truck stop so we can sleep in the car or a hostel. If hostel tho I imagine the car would be ok overnight on the streets, just read up lots on foreign car thefts all the time. Not like were in a steal'able car really but still.

And WR you are a mad man for just driving into Chernobyl, I bet that was awesome, would so love to do it that way. But pretty certain that is not possible now. I guess there will be booking tour agents in Kyiv so may have to just cough up the tourists prices...
Harry
13 Jan 2012 #9
In eastern Poland you can find reasonable hoteliks in most medium sized Towns with double rooms for about £20 per night, usually with secured parking
teflcat 5 | 1,029
13 Jan 2012 #10
Chris. The weather here has been unseasonably mild up to now, but snow is forecast. In fact it's falling right now where I am in the east. If you don't want to spend your hard-earned on winter tyres, ffs take it easy when driving here. Slow, slow, slow. And make sure you have a shovel in the back.
OP cmartinez518
13 Jan 2012 #11
Thanks teflcat, were not leaving for another 2 weeks and be in Poland in 3 weeks if we do end up coming. Can the snow fall get pretty bad over there then? I was looking at some snow chains the other day which were pretty cheap so i may have to invest in those if thats the case, they usually see thru most things. We both have great experience in driving in snow but as you know expect anything in those conditions. Guessing from the weather that would put a stop to staying in the car, although could bare thru it.

Good price for the hotels, thought they would have been cheaper to be honest, i pay £20 per night in the UK haha. Not that were on a tiny budget, i think we have enough between us to last 3 weeks, just were heading to a lot of places so lots of fuel going in.
Smok Wawelski
13 Jan 2012 #12
I was looking at some snow chains the other day which were pretty cheap so i may have to invest in those if thats the case, they usually see thru most things.

You can not drive with chains unless in certain mountain areas.It's illegal.You going to need winter tires dude if you want to drive in Poland in February.
wildrover 98 | 4,438
13 Jan 2012 #13
preparing to be stopped by police lots just not sure what theyre gonna do us for??

The cops in Ukraine are not so bad.... but if they can make a few dollars out of you , they will... just smile lots, they are friendly enough...

Yes...it was a bit mad , just driving into Chernobyl... but there were no guards on the barrier , so we drove into the forest and went round them... we got caught coming back out , but they just told us not to be naughty again...

when i went there the place was totally deserted , but i did find some old lady that was living in a village nearby...she was the only person living there...

don,t worry about parking....its possible to find secure guarded car parks in both Poland and Ukraine...does not cost much , and is definatly safer than parking on the streets.....
OP cmartinez518
13 Jan 2012 #14
Hi smok, Not to doubt your knowledge of Polish laws at all but every website i have read has said that snow chains are strongly recommended all over Poland??? Could you back up why you say theyre illegal??

Thanks
Richfilth 6 | 415
13 Jan 2012 #15
You can't use snow chains to traverse Poland, absolutely. You can use them to get you a few kilometres in a freak blizzard, but as a system they were never designed for serious driving.

Winter tyres are not the same as Snow tyres. Snow tyres are the ones with rubber or steel studs to bite into the compressed ice. Winter tyres are a different compound that is still soft at sub-zero temperatures to provide good grip on cold tarmac; your usual summer tyres will feel like solid plastic in comparison, and you'll have trouble cornering at even the lowest speeds.

For the worst conditions, keep some old t-shirts with you that you can stretch over the tyres if you're caught in the snow; that's a cheap traction system.

You'll get a friendly welcome anywhere you choose to stop, but don't take winter lightly here. February is the harshest month of all, and even though this one's been mild, it could turn nasty at any time. But pace yourself, don't plan to go anywhere at more than 50km/h, and you'll have an awesome trip; it's beautiful terrain you'll be going through.
Smok Wawelski
14 Jan 2012 #16
Hi smok, Not to doubt your knowledge of Polish laws at all but every website i have read has said that snow chains are strongly recommended all over Poland???

Don't believe these websites.It's illegal in Poland to use chains on clear surface and roads are usually clear.Over 30 years in Poland I only saw people driving with chains in mountain areas,the rest of Poland use winter tires.In any case forget chains and get winter tires.
OP cmartinez518
14 Jan 2012 #17
Right, nice one for that, dont perticularly plan on driving with the chains on permanently, dont think anyone is unless you live in Alaska, its just always there for the back up when going gets a little too rough. But i think having said that well manage on what we got, were living in -5 conditions daily at the minute as winters are now much harsher, plus were only gonna be in poland for a few days. Already got the chains and dont wanna pay 200Euro for winter tyres unless theyre much cheaper out there

Thanks for the advice tho Smok


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