Warsaw's Frederic Chopin airport (WAW) is the major air gateway into Poland, with extensive connections throughout Europe and some nonstop flights to North America. Warsaw is well served by the major European flag carriers, including Poland's LOT, British Airways, Czech Airlines (CSA), Air France, KLM, and Lufthansa, as well as a growing number of budget carriers. See Warsaw's "Getting There" for more details. Kraków's Jan Pawe II Airport (KRK) is the country's second-most-important airport and is also easy to reach from nearly any large city in Europe and includes at least one nonstop to North America. The advent of low-cost budget carriers in Europe in recent years has opened up several other major cities to regular and convenient air travel, including Lódz (LCJ), Poznan (POZ), Wrocaw (WRO), and Gdansk (GDN).
Immigration & Customs Clearance -- Immigrations and customs clearance is relatively straightforward and shouldn't take too long. Incoming passengers will be divided into two groups for passport control: "EU" and "All Others," the latter being where travelers from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand must go. Customs is a breeze. If you're an ordinary traveler with nothing to declare, simply sail through the green-marked line (if you need to declare something, you'll have to go through the red line). You'll rarely even be asked to open your suitcase.
Poland is easily accessible by car, and Polish highways are well integrated into the larger EU highway grid. If entering from an EU country (Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, or Lithuania), you no longer have to stop to show a passport. Standard border controls are still in effect if traveling to or from Ukraine, Belarus, or the Russian Federation.
Car rental agencies are ubiquitous in Poland and include most of the major international agencies, such as Hertz, as well as locally owned companies. Spot rental rates can be high -- much higher than in the United States. It's often cheaper to rent in advance over the Internet. Rentals will usually include the legally required third-party liability insurance but will not include things like vehicle theft or damage. Be sure to ask what is covered. Most cars will have standard transmissions, but some agencies may offer cars with automatic transmission at a much higher price. The minimum age to rent a car is usually 21, though it can be higher at some agencies.
Before setting off, be sure to buy a good Polish road atlas (the excellent Polska Atlas Samochodowy is available at large service stations). Better yet, car satellite navigation systems, such as Garmin, have become very popular in the past few years. If you have one and plan on driving during your trip, certainly consider bringing it along with you. Make sure that you have the proper maps installed. Most GPS systems include Poland in their "European maps," but be sure to check. If you don't have a sat-nav system but are renting a car, ask the rental agency to include one with the car. A functioning satellite navigation system will spare you hours of frustration behind the wheel.
Poland is easy to get to by train. The Polish national rail network, PKP (www.pkp.pl), is well integrated into the Europe-wide rail system. Poznan and Warsaw lie on the main east-west line running from Berlin to Moscow. Kraków is easily accessible from Prague, Vienna, and points south, though many connections will require you to change trains at Katowice.
International bus travel has become less popular in recent years due to the arrival of the budget air carriers, which often match bus ticket prices but get you there much more quickly. Nevertheless, the Polish national bus carrier works in cooperation with the trans-European carrier Eurolines, and large Polish cities are easy to reach by bus.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.