Poland has a temperate climate that ranges from oceanic to continental with
alpine climates on the mountains. Generally, the country receives all four
seasons with hot summers and cold winters. Due to its size, topography and the Baltic Sea, there are many regional variations. It lies
in Eastern Europe, north of the Czech Republic and Slovakia and has a coast line upon the Baltic Sea.
The country is mainly covered by low-lying rolling plains below 1000 ft,
but in the southwest and east you will find mountain ranges which rise above
4000 feet. The Carpathian range in the east is the highest, rising above 6000 ft
in places. It is here that snow cover will last for up to 100 days per year,
making it a winter sports centre.
In the low-lying regions the biggest factor affecting weather conditions
is proximity to the Baltic sea. In areas close
to the Baltic Sea there are milder
temperatures year round while inland areas are a more extreme with more
pronounced seasons. In other words, the climate changes from oceanic on the northern
coastline to continental inland.
The east, toward Russia, and the south are generally much
colder with extreme winters. The worst conditions come when the strong winds
blow from the east, bringing heavy rainfall, gusty winds and much colder temperatures.
Rainfall is generally highest in the summer months. In the winter months
most of the precipitation falls as snow. In the north this snow will last for
about 40 days of the year, and can reach up to 60 days in the southern parts.
Though rain does fall throughout the year, recorded precipitation is actually
quite low, the annual average sitting between 500 and 650mm.
Summers see an average
temperature of about 20°C to 27°C. Winters can get bitterly cold with
the north seeing average winter temps of 3°C and the south falling to averages
of -8°C. In parts of southern Poland,
away from the moderating influence of the coast, summer temperatures can
actually reach in excess of 30°C, with the city of Tarnow seeing an average summer high of
Comparisons between Warsaw and Krakow will probably be the best way to
illustrate the weather differences between northern and southern Poland.
Warsaw is Poland’s
largest city and also its capital, lying on the Vistula River, about 370 kilometers from the Baltic Sea and
the Carpathian Mountain range. The weather in Warsaw is best described
as humid continental. In winter the average low temperature falls to -5°C and in
summer average highs rise to 31°C. Rainfall in Warsaw sits at about 680 mm across the
year. From June to August is the wettest time of the year with average monthly precipitation being 60 to
70 mm, compared with 20 to 30mm in December and January.
Krakow lies in the south of Poland, where
colder temperatures prevail year round; it witnesses between 23 and 58 days
below freezing across the year. In the summer the city is hit by the western
blowing winds which bring rainfall and thunderstorms. Conversely, the winter
sees easterly blowing winds which clear the skies and decrease precipitation.
January, in the middle of winter, is the coldest months when the average low falls to -7°C and the average high is a chilly -1°C.
Temperatures rise gradually and reach a peak average high of 23°C through July
and August. Rainfall is considerably higher in Krakow when compared with Warsaw, with July and
August each seeing average monthly
precipitation of 80 to 100mm.
The best time of the year to visit Poland is during the summer
months, as daily hours of sunshine are higher, the days are longer and, of
course, it’s warmer. However, if you want a white Christmas, Poland can
The coastline is over 528 kilometers long and is largely smooth and
straight, bar a few small lagoons and spits. 28% of the country is covered by
forests and over 50% of the land is cultivated for agriculture purposes. Along Poland's western border runs one of the
country’s longest rivers - the Oder River, which like the other main river, the Vistula River,
runs across the country and flows into the Baltic Sea.
Poland gained its independence in 1918 in the aftermath of World War One,
and tragically lost it again in World War Two when the country was occupied by
Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. During this
time the country lost of 6 million of its citizens. In 1989 the economy began
its transformation from communist to free market.
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