living | wroclaw | poland
'in this post we go though my time living in wroclaw, poland for 2 months in the spring of 2017.'
after being on the go for over 9 months traveling to over 10 countries constantly moving every few days from city to city, tourist attractions to tourist attraction. i decided that i needed a break from the daily move from hostel and hotels. when i left the UK i wanted to truly experience new cultures and while travelling give you a snapshot of the culture you can sometime miss the true life aspects as your living in hostels and hotels with foreigners and visiting mostly only tourist attractions.
arriving in poland
I arrived the first weeks of april from delhi, india. i had just done a motorcycle trip of northern india with daily temperatures of up to 40c. when i arrived in warsaw it was totally different with rain and 10c daily temperatures. normally i would complain as the rain was one of the reasons for leaving the UK. but this time was different after spending one month in india in close to unbearable temperatures it was a welcome felling to feel the cold and the rain.
the capital of poland, is a vibrant city with young workers and cool bars, stores all over the city it reminded me of berlin. warsaw has an old town that was rebuilt after the war as hitler close to totally destroyed it. this give warsaw a more modern felling to most of the other cities in poland this i believe is a good thing as although you don't have the heritage building you do have some cool modern architecture. its defiantly worth the visit and i cannot explain to you how cheap this city is i believe one of the cheapest in modern europe. i beer will cost you around 8z ($2), a meal and a coke will cost you around 25z ($6) and this is suppose to be the most expensive city in poland.
is the 4th largest city poland close to the german and czech border. its a student city but also a growing tourist destination and business hub it was the only polish city in the 2015 worlds highest standard of living ranking for its increasing business growth.
i arrived in wroclaw by train from warsaw the first week of april 2017. i had previously spent a week here in 2016 so i was familiar with the city and its surrounding.
i had organised through a friend to stay in an airbnb close to the city. if your staying like me for only a few months then websites like airbnb offering rooms and apartments are good way to find places fast and you know that most speak a certain level of english. i was in a apt about 5 mins by tram ride from the city centre. its was around 1100z ($270) per month for a room and this is known to be quite expensive but because i was staying only a few months this was one of the only options. if your staying longer at least a year then you can rent an apartment on your own and this should set you back around 1500z ($370) per month, for a good quality 1 bedroom. if your more entrepreneurial then i would recommend getting a 2 bedroom and rent out the other room on airbnb and this should pay close to all your rent during busy periods.
quality of life
so just a little background first. I'm from england and had been living in london for the last 5 years before i left for my world trip in 2016, i have also previously lived in sweden, italy, canada, australia & new zealand.
i think from living in london poland had a reputation as not a nice country to visit or to live as they said eastern europe and the people had the perception that it was cold, dark and grey. i can tell you that that could not be more further from the truth. poland and wroclaw to more of an extent to me is a bright, young and a progressive society with a very well educated general population and more so the youth. in london i had a very good wage but i still felt that the rent and generally day to day expenses were taking up huge amounts of my disposal income. compared to every place that i have lived in the world this is by far the cheapest in all aspects of life. compared to london wroclaw is between 50%-70% less. in turn having all of this spare and extra income gives you a huge increase in your quality of your life, i was earning in usd so for me i could spend and do whatever i wanted in the city from going to cafes and restaurant more than 3 times a week during some weeks with no worry for the prices as in my favourite cafe a latte, bread basket & croissant cost 17z ($4), this price in london or new york would not even buy you the latte. i know your thinking that the wages are not as high and yes that is true but you need to understand that yes the wages are less but also the price of everything is less so in the end the percentage of income you have left over from your salary is much higher. i was not working in poland specifically as I'm a remote worker so marking money in usd you can live an extremely high quality of life. if your a remote worker i would say that you only need to earn a ($900/€700/£600) a month for you to have a decent life here.
money | how much does it cost
as you have most probably already noticed on this post. poland is cheap, extremely cheap... for me this is the cheapest european country that i have ever visited. they are using polish zloty here not euro and you can tell the difference in terms of the average day to day prices from food to cell phone bills.
i spent just under 5000z ($1300) for two months (2500z per month). this includes renting a room near the city for two months, all transport, gym membership (if your a student its only 60z ($15) per month click here), cafes and restaurants at least three times per week, cell phone.
you may not have heard much about polish food but i can tell you now its delicious. poland has a huge amount of farmland and lots of fresh vegetables. i noticed that there is much less processed food in the supermarkets than in england or usa. my favourite was pirogies you can find in most places they are little dumpling filled traditionally with potatoes but you can also find with fruit inside.
restaurants: in wroclaw you will find so many restaurants from traditional with hipster, i noticed a lot of cool new burger joints where you can get a burger and friend for 20z $5 as with the theme of this post where in your city would your find a burger and fries in a cool hipster restaurant for less than $5. a beer 8z ($2), cappuccino 8z ($2).
well of course its polish... but i found it very easy to chat to people as most young people in poland have a great level of english and they are very happy to practise it with you.
when i was in london i was told by funnily by polish people that in poland a lot of people are very unfriendly. i can honestly say that this was totally wrong in my experience. this was one of the nicest counties in terms of people that i have ever visited. most people i came across were so friendly and always happy to help even though i did not speak polish. wroclaw is a young city and you will notice especially when going out on the weekend all the students they are very highly educated and most people whom i came across were open minded.
3z ($0.80) for any amount of time on the entire public transport network in and around the city. make sure to validate your tickets onboard.
i also used a free to use automatic bike rental service you can register here its free for the first 20mins this is definitely enough time to get to your destination anywhere in the city. also to note that uber is incredibly cheap here.
mobile | internet access
i used virgin mobile and this is one of the cheapest cell phone deals that i have seen in poland and any country in the world well actually its free totally free see the image above for details. so of course for a nomad for me 300mb is not enough for me but they a 10gb add of package for 10z ($2.50) per month.
the sum up...
i truly had an incredible time in wroclaw and poland as a whole. this is truly a great country with beautiful nature, smart people and great cities. as a digital nomad this i believe is one of the cheapest counties in the world to live with a high quality of life. i will definitely be coming back...
ps... i would also like to say a big thank you to the salamon family for taking care of me and being incredibly kind during my stay in wroclaw.. also a huge thanks to asia a good friend of mine I stayed with in Warsaw.
my recommended places to visit
- the leopold museum
- danube tower
- belvedere palace
places to eat
- charlotte cafe
- bread and butter (great outdoor bar)
- niezly gym (best pizza in the city)
- alebrowar (great brewery pub)
- sorrir cafe (only place to get an acai bowl)
how to get around
- free bicycle rental
- if your from europe then the best automatic travel currency card is the curve card. sign up for the app here. use code: LINFB to get a free card and £5 credit.
country travel tips
atm: any is fine they all charge a small fee.
taxi: expensive here take uber.
sim card: use virgin mobile poland see above..
transport: use polskibus to get around the country super cheap
uber: get a free ride use code; carlm5078ue
Booking.com: get $20usd off your booking click here
airbnb: get $20usd off your booking here: www.airbnb.com/c/cmuies