Travel and Visas
Poland has a signed visa waiver agreement with many countries which allows to stay up to 90 days. More information can be found at Visa information. Please let us know if you need a visa and would like to receive a formal letter of invitation. Requests should be sent by email to the SIMS Secretary. Please place "Request for the invitation letter" in the Subject.
Invitation Letter will be sent through email or by mail (by special request) to paricipants with submitted abstract(s) after registration to attend SIMS21.
Please give yourself ample time to apply for a visa as the process can be time-consuming. Polish consulates in different countries may require different documents. Some consulates accept scans while other require the original invitation letter. Call the consulate and check what you need.
How to get to Kraków?
The John Paul II International and Domestic Airport Kraków Balice is located at the outskirts of the city. The fastest way to get from the airport to the city center (the journey takes about 17 minutes) is the shuttle train service, which links the airport with the Kraków's Main Railway Station located in the city center. The trains run
every 30 minutes between 4:00 (4:00 a.m.) and midnight. From 3 September to 14 October trains will run every 60 minutes due to renovation works. Additional bus communication will be introduced between train courses. Current Airport-Krakow train timetable is in here. "normal" means a train. Empty slot means a bus. A single ticket costs 9 PLN. It can be purchased on board. Luggage is free of charge. The Kraków Airport train station is located near the passenger terminal, at the rear of the multi-storey car park. Trains are equipped with air conditioning, power outlets, Wi-Fi and ticket machines. All trains also have spaces for disabled passengers and persons with reduced mobility.
Alternatively, the airport can be easily reached by taxi - 80 PLN (about 20 EUR), car (rentals are available at the airport) or local transportation: buses. Traveling time is approximately 35 min. Please purchase regular public transportation tickets (4 PLN/person).
There are both ATM machines and the Money Exchange Office at the Airport Building.
Please be advised that September is still a touristic season in Kraków. Make your flight reservation ahead of time to get good rates.
It is also possible to fly to Warsaw and take a fast train to Kraków (traveling time approx. 2.5 hours).
It is possible to save up to 20% on travel with the Star Alliance Network. For details, please check Discounted Flights menu.
The city can be easily and comfortably accessed by train from all larger cities in Poland and Europe.
Location of the train station "Kraków Główny" (meaning "Main station" in Polish) relative to the SIMS21 hotels can be found at the following map.
Several bus companies run regular international services to Kraków and many other cities in Poland.
Kraków has a direct access to the highway A4 and international motorways E40 and E77. Roads in Poland are marked with international traffic signs, and traffic regulations are similar to those in operation in other European countries.
Parts of the highway's system in Poland is tolled. Pricing varies between different roads. A4 is a toll highway between Kraków and Wrocław (with a small toll-free fragment in vicinity of Katowice). Payment for regular car on route between Kraków and Katowice costs 20 złoty (around 5 Euro). Information about all tolls regarding Polish highways can be found here.
Practically anywhere in the city it may prove tricky to find a convenient parking place. Parking on the streets in the center of Kraków is paid on weekdays from Monday to Friday between 10:00 (10:00 a.m.) to 20:00 (8:00 p.m.). More information about Kraków's paid parking zone can be found in here.
Most hotels downtown have their own parking places available at extra charge. More details can be found at the accommodation webpage of the travel agency that handles reservation of the conference accommodation.
The population of Poland is 38 million. Over 1.8 million live in Warsaw - the capital of Poland. Polish is the official language. English and German are among the better-known foreign languages. The population is largely of Polish descent and more than 90% profess to be Roman Catholics.
The official Polish unit of currency is Złoty (PLN). Major convertible foreign currencies may be changed into Polish złoty at banks, hotels and at private currency-exchange offices (in Polish "kantor"). In general, traveler's checks can be cashed and all major credit cards are accepted. The current exchange rate can be found here. There are many ATM machines located in vicinity of banks. They accept MasterCard and Visa cards.
Poland lies in the zone of moderate climate, intermediate between the marine and continental climates and the weather can be rather changeable. For current information, see Forecast. There is usually a good warm weather in Poland in September. The temperature can be very nice, ranging from 18 till 25 °C.
More practical information for participants
Public transport in Kraków
Getting around in Kraków is pretty easy. Kraków has a fairly dense public transport system which consists of tramways and bus lines.
One-way ticket for a municipal bus or a streetcar (tram) is 3.8 złoty (an equivalent of roughly 0.9 Euro). You can buy it at newsstands and from ticket machines at downtown stops and in some buses and tram cars. If there is a ticket machine in bus or tram it is located at the front part of the bus or in the first cart of the tram. Drivers sell 60-minute tickets worth five złoty. Immediately after boarding you should put the ticket through the ticket puncher and keep it till you reach your destination.
A 20-minutes ticket allowing for changing lines costs 2.8 złoty (PLN), its 40-minutes equivalent is 3.8 złoty (in fact it is the same one as a one-way ticket, you can use at either as a one-way ticket with no time limit or as a 40-minute ticket while changing lanes), an hourly one 5 złoty, and 90-minute ticket has been priced at 6 złoty. The prices of unlimited-travel passes for all municipal buses and streetcars have been set at 15 złoty for a 24-hour ticket, at 24 złoty for a 48-hour one, and at 36 złoty for a 72-hour pass, while a seven-day unlimited-travel ticket costs 48 złoty. Tickets are valid for the stated period starting with their first punching on a bus or a tram (don't punch your ticket any more till its expiration).
All of the above-mentioned tickets are good for municipal bus services within the city limits only. A one-way ticket for buses going beyond the administrative boundaries of Kraków - bus numbers from 200 to 304 - costs 4 złoty (so-called "bilet aglomeracyjny").
Shops and banks
Food stores are generally open between 6:00 or 7:00 (6:00 a.m. or 7:00 a.m.) and 18:00 (6:00 p.m.). Other shops tend to be open between 10:00 or 11.00 (10:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m.) and 18:00 (6:00 p.m.) from Monday to Saturday. Many shops are also open on Sunday. The chain and shopping malls are open long hours, usually from 8:00 (8:00 a.m.) to 22:00 (10:00 p.m.) or later on weekends. Poland is fast becoming a shopper's paradise. The most popular souvenir is amber from the Baltic sea. Poland is also known for its silver jewelry. Small family-owned galleries sell various products of handmade crafts and pottery. Regular banking hours are 9:00 (9:00 a.m.) to 18:00 (6:00 p.m.) from Monday to Friday. Banks, shops, restaurants and other public institutions stay open at lunchtime.
Poland's power grid supplies 230 V/50 Hz current; round, European-style, two pin plugs are used.
Direct connections are available with almost all countries.
The conference organizers will not take any responsibility for any kind of personal injury or property damage during the conference. Participants are advised to make arrangements for their own personal insurance.