Polish weather – Polar bears and igloos (myth 1)

January 21, 2013 in Basic Information, Travelling Poland, Uncategorized

polish winter 300x139 Polish weather   Polar bears and igloos (myth 1)

Picture © kilhan – Fotolia.com

I want to start a small program of dealing with a few myths about Poland. By myths I mean things, which non-Poles tend to believe in often for no apparent reason at all. Let’s start with myth no. 1 – Polish weather being extrememly cold and icy icon wink Polish weather   Polar bears and igloos (myth 1)

Over and over again I’ve had people asking me whether Poland is cold and how I deal with the extreme wheather … What I would normally answer is that the Polish weather conditions are generally no different than what people might expect in other European countries, with some southern exceptions of course. But let’s have a go at it from the beginning.

Poland is located in the center of Europe, at a latitude similar to New York or Seattle. This means that Polish weather will not differ much from those cities, although it may be a bit harsher due to some continental influences from the east. What does this mean in plain English?

It means that we’ve got exactly what you would expect from a typical full year’s weather: a summer, which can get quite hot with temperatures ranging up to 30 – 32 deg Celsius. Fall, which is in the range of 10 – 15 deg. C but with beautiful sunshine and golden leaves falling from the trees. Spring similar to fall temperature wise, but with more rain and much less wind.

And there come’s the winter – probably the most feared season when it comes to Polish weather situations. And yes, the winter becomes a winter. It is cold. It does snow. There is wind. Which is probably why they call it a winter.

However, winters differ from year to year. In general, during a typical Polish winter (which is a callendar winter, starting December 21st and ending March 21st) the temperatures go from about +3 to about -9 degrees C. There are also a few days during which it get’s really cold (it’s a friendly gift from the easter part of continental Europe) and the temperatures fall even to -20 or -25 degrees. But those are only single days and they do not happen each year. And trust me – if you can dress well, it’s not so bad.

Does it snow a lot? Yes, it can. Depends on the year. Some years there’s no snow at all – a situation which drives grade school kids insane. But in most years it does snow. In mainland Poland (apart from the mountains) you will find up to 50 cm of snow. It makes the world look really nice, clean and white! And seeing as snow is a typical occurence in Polish weather, the cities are well prepared for it (despite what some politicians may say) and heavy snow fall does in general not cause any major disturbancies in the way things work. So pack your snow shoes and enjoy the white powder!

To summarize things a bit – we’re not freezing our butts off down here. Yes, it can get cold during the winter but that’s the beauty of the winter time! And it only happens in January and February, so if you really hate cold you’re probably better off avoiding those months in Poland. But other than that, you’ll get typical weather for each season. If your stay is long you can enjoy a very hot day at a beach only to leave it for a snowy and ice-cold hill side for skiing a couple months later. And no, we do not live in igloos and there are no polar bears wandering around city centers. But if thought there were, you won’t believe me anyway.