Polish travel words

Travel vocabulary for Poland

Even though it is easy to communicate in Poland using English only, as a turysta travelling to Poland, you might find some of these words useful.

Let’s start with the airport (lotnisko or port lotniczy). For your departure go to odloty. That word also has a different meaning so you might be surprised with some of the content google will come up with when you type it in, it has something to do with Polish girls of course. Leave a comment if you are still curious, it might be connected with vacation but not travel.

Odlot can be a word for something unusual and astonishing as well as being high.

After your odprawa (check in ), plural from odprawy, or nadanie bagażu (this one refers to your baggage specifically) , you can proceed to your bramka (gate). After your flight (lot) and claiming your luggage (odbiór bagażu) go to wyjście, which is an exit. Unless you have something to duty (cło), of course. Wyjście is only for walking situations, so if you are driving and intend to exit the highway, look for wyjazd instead.

When you come to the airport to pick someone up, you go to przyloty. This one does not have any hidden meanings.

Parking , taxi and shuttle are the same as in English.

Trolly or 'tram', bike or 'rower' or on foot or 'na nogach' or 'pieszo' in Polish. Look at this picture you can see all those three things and flying is for the birds.

If you are travelling by train, you need to go to dworzec kolejowy. Buy your tickets (bilety) at kasa and then find your peron (platform). Polish trains are often late, so make sure you check the timetable (rozkład).

Bus station is quite similar- it is called dworzec autobusowy, you can buy tickets at kasa as well, but a lot of times you just buy it from the driver after you get on the bus or coach. They usually leave off of a stanowisko.

Some extra things you may need include kantor (exchange), WC (pronounced vu-tze) – restroom and opłata (cost, charge) or cena (same meaning).

To summarize:

Airport – Lotnisko

port – lotniczy

Arrivals – Przyloty

Baggage claim – Odbiór bagażu

Check in – Odprawa, Odprawy

Departures – Odloty

Duty – Cło

Exit – wyjście (walking) or wyjazd (driving)

Flight – Lot

Train Station – Dworzec kolejowy

Bus Station – Dworzec autobusowy

Ticket window – Kasa

Platform – Peron

Schedule – Rozkład

Gate – Bramka

Price, cost, charge – Cena, opłata

Exchange – Kantor ( use a bank machine or Bankomat in Poland as the rate is better)

Toilettes – WC

Once you know all these, you should not have any problems communicating while you travel to Poland, even if you come across someone who does not understand English.


Polish word for lame – Kiepski

Polish word, idioms and slang for the word lame

One of my favorite words in English is the word ‘lame’. However, for many years I thought there was no good translation for this word as when I watched films in Polish they always translated it as ‘słabo’. This means weak.  However, if you say a movie is weak it does not have the same linguistic impact as lame. Lame is a bit slangy, but really conveys the message.

Słabo or za słabo (too weak) is OK but I found a better Polish word. Here is how it happened.

One day I was watching a program on Polish TV. It is called Kiepski. It is about this couple who lives in a block of flats. It is kind of like the old show with Jackie Gleason called the honeymooners. Well I have watched this show for years and I have only made the connection recently. That is, the guys last name Kiepski means lame.

The Polish word Kiepski is also the title of Polish TV show. Andrzej Grabowski plays on the Polsat series called Kiepski.

It happened because I actually asked my wife for what it means and she made the connection. It’s funny how many times I do the same for her in English. There is an English word and she asks me what it means and when I think about it, I find a root word or hidden meaning to a word I had used in English for many years.

This is one of the advantages of living in a bilingual home. It opens doors and ways of thinking that could not be done by simply reading a book. If you marry a Polish guy or girl consider yourself lucky in love and in life.

Uses of this Polish idiom

You can say a date or a film or a book or a person is kind of ‘kiepski’. This is now one of my favorite words in Polish.

Kiepski żart (lame joke) or kiepski humor (which means lame moody). Kiepsko u mnie (I am short in money or better yet ‘I am broke or do not have the ducats’ Kiepski z językami (I am not good with languages). Kiepski kucharz (lame cook).  You can have  kiepski smak (lame taste) or a really lame boring day – kiepski dzień.  If you are a Polish native speaker let me know if you have some more idioms like this. I do not want to write a kiespki post.

Although I have a Polish grammar site one of the basic pillars of my philosophy is to learn Polish by accumulating a massive database of words in your memory.

I like to convey these types of idioms as it is not something you would find in a dictionary or electronic translator. It is something that you pick up when you live in Poland. If you were to pull this Polish word out in the right situations you would your Polish would be ‘czadowy’ (that means ‘with smoke’, which is slang for amazing in Polish).