Poland Driving Advice and Car Hire Info

Driving in Poland-

You may need an International driving permit if you’re not from an EU Country.  Roads are generally in a satisfactory state though there are few dual carriageways and even main roads between major towns and cities can be narrow and have the odd pot hole. Streetlighting even in major cities can be poor. You must drive with your headlights on at all times.. Local driving standards are often poor: speed limits, traffic lights and road signs are sometimes ignored and drivers rarely indicate before manoeuvring. Slow moving vehicles are common in rural areas, even on main roads. Railway crossings may not be marked and can appear in unexpected places. Try and work out if your route will cross a rail line before you set off so you have an idea when to expect a crossing.

Euro 2012 Football in Poland and Ukraine (I’ll leave this section visible as it may be useful to travellers wanting to drive in both Poland and Ukraine and between those countries)

The tournament is to be played in June 2012 across sites in Ukraine and Poland. Teams will generally be based across two sites in one country, though the locations of quarter finals and semi finals may mean that supporters have the travel between countries.However, supporters planning on a one way car rental to travel between sites may be disappointed. Of the big rental companies, only Budget allow cars to be taken out of Ukraine (for 12 Euros per day) but don’t allow one way rentals to Poland.

When renting a car in Poland, most of the big companies include Ukraine in their list of countries which cars can’t be driven in at all. Only Hertz don’t include Ukraine in their forbidden list but they also don’t allow one way rentals between Poland and Ukraine. Europcar and Avis don’t make it clear whether they allow their cars to be driven into Ukraine.

All the big companies seem to have outlets in all the main tournament towns though and one way rentals should be possible within each country. Some local rental companies are also included in the main country sections above.

Another factor which needs to be taken into account for supporters planning to drive their own cars to the tournament and use it to travel between games is the large distances between some locations and the fact that dual lane motorways are rare (especially in Ukraine) so your speed will generally be no more than 80 KMH. See below for driving distances and approximate travel times.

General driving and road conditions are okay in both Poland and Ukraine as detailed above but another point to note relates to drinking and driving. Poland has a drink drive blood alcohol limit of 0.02{7f4422d59222ef42e86be9359b1bf1dbe011d48d1cfdf8d1c820b409fb7ac6f1}, which is about a quarter of that in the UK, and half that of Germany, Spain, France and Holland ,and Ukraine has  a zero tolerance approach to drink driving. i.e its illegal to have any alcohol in your bloodstream when driving, and the local police will be targeting football supporters during Euro 2012. Also its worth bearing in mind that having any alcohol in your bloodstream will invalidate the insurance of most car rental companies.

When driving in Ukraine, you’ll find that signs and maps generally have 3 different wording for major towns – one in Roman script, one in Ukrainian and one in Russian. Its well worth investing in a map with wordings in all languages if you can as this helps a lot with navigating away from main roads where there may be little or no roman lettering. For ease I’ve included all language versions of main Cities below –

Driving distances within Poland-

Wroclaw to Warsaw 350KM, 5hrs 30 ,

Gdansk to Poznan, 300KM, 4hrs 30 , there is a section of toll road which should be about 5 Euros

Gdansk to Warsaw, 345km, 5 hrs,

Poznan to Wroclaw, 180km, 3hrs,

Poznan to Warsaw,320km, 4hrs

Krakow to Warsaw,300km, 4 hours 30

Distances within Ukraine-

Kiev (Kyïv/ Київ) to Donetsk (Donec’k/ Донецьк)– 830km, 12 hours,

Kiev to Kharkiv (Charkiv/ Харків) -480KM, 7 hrs

Lviv (L’viv/ Львів) to Kharkiv– 1030KM, 15 hrs,

Lviv to Kiev – 540km, 8 hrs

Kiev to (Dnipropetrovs’k/ Дніпропетровськ)– 535km 8 hrs

Dnipropetrovs’k – Odessa (Odesa/Одеса), 581km ,8 hrs 30.

Distances between Poland and Ukraine –

Warsaw to Donetsk ,1655 km, 23 hours

Donetsk to Gdansk,2000 km, 28 hours

Kiev to Warsaw ,820km, 12 hours

Kiev to Gdansk, 1160km, 16 hrs

Poznan to Donetsk,1970km, 27 hrs

Kharkiv to Warsaw ,1300 km, 19 hours

Kharkiv to Gdansk,1650 km, 23 hours

There are a number of mileage and direction websites covering Poland and Ukraine – the one below is reliable-


Poland Car rental

Sixt, Hertz, Europcar, Alamo, National,Avis, Budget, Thrifty, Dollar,have outlets here.Also usually features on Car rental broker sites such as Argus Car Hire and Web discount sites such as ebookers.com. or Expedia

These are brokers specialising in Poland-

Poland Self Drive Rules –

Most of the big companies allow cars to be driven to mainland Western European countries and UK. There may be restrictions on taking cars to Eastern Europe. Budget mention that cars cannot be taken to the following –Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Macedonia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania & Albania. One way international rentals will be possible to certain countries for an additional fee. You should check this with the rental company.

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