Poland is a country that is often misunderstood.
Believed by many to be much further to the east of Europe than it actually is, people wrongly associate the weather in Poland to be cold all year round. It is true that Polish winters are usually very cold with snow guaranteed but you are also guaranteed several heat waves throughout the rest of the year.
So let’s start with the worst season of the year……
It’s a pity that one season can shape people’s perceptions of a country. Polish winters are well known for their freezing temperatures and inches of snowfall and people wrongly believe that this type of weather continues throughout the rest of the year.
Cold winters in Poland are not however, a myth. Snowfall and frost can start as early as October and when it snows then expect heavy snowfall. All cars are required by law to change into winter tyres which gives an indication as to the conditions throughout this season. As with many other countries who suffer from harsh weather you will find how well prepared the Poles are and the country doesn’t come to a standstill after the first few snow flakes have fallen.
Winter in Poland can be achingly beautiful with clear blue skies and snow covered forests. Bars and restaurants serve hot, mulled wine, mead and even warm, spiced beer. Horse drawn sledges can take you through forest trails and end with a winter barbecue accompanied by a few shots of vodka. Lakes are often frozen solid and locals usually know if they’re safe enough to skate on. In the north of Poland the Baltic can freeze over and it can be a novel experience walking along the beach as the waters edge is completely frozen over.
Special mention should be given to Krakow as this is the most popular destination in Poland for tourists. Krakow is located deep in the south of Poland, not far from the Tatry mountain range and the winter resort of Zakopane. This means that Krakow can often receive some of the first snowfall in the country. If you’re visiting Krakow any time from October to February then be prepared for snow.
Early Spring in Poland can be difficult to predict. Winter may still have a firm grip on the weather and snowfall is not completely unexpected in early March but by the time you get towards the end of March then it’s equally not unusual to enjoy much warmer temperatures. It’s fair to say that anytime from March through to May you can expect one of the country’s many heat waves and don’t be surprised if you find the thermometer already nudging 25 degrees Celsius+ in early Spring. Although days can be very hot the evenings can still be a little chilly so it may be worthwhile packing an extra jacket or top.
Summertime in Poland is glorious. Heatwaves can stretch for weeks on end with temperatures often hitting 30 degrees Celsius and more. The country is blessed with thousands of lakes of varying sizes and for many Poles spending leisure time on the sandy banks of a local lake has become a tradition. Water sports are very popular in Poland especially in the Mazury lake area and on the Baltic coastline.
The arts scene is alive and thriving in Poland and you can expect even small towns to lay on summer festivals with free entertainment.
Autumn can be a little unpredictable but generally speaking September is a great time to visit. The hot weather cools down a little by this time but temperatures can still be pleasantly warm and it’s not unusual for summer heat waves to extend well into September. Day time temperatures can be very hot but nights can start to feel a little chilly as you move into the latter part of the month.
September is also ideal for “leaf peeping” when you can witness the firework display of autumn foliage on trees very similar to the New England Fall.
The deeper you get into Autumn the more likely you are to sample the first touch of Winter and it isn’t too uncommon for the first snowfall to sometimes start as early as October !