It’s one of Eastern Europe’s most economically developed countries, with a far higher quality of life than the UK – no, we’re not talking about Scandinavia. Poland, the land of pierogi and potatoes, is also one of low-cost living. If it isn’t on your radar, whether that’s for your next vacation or big move abroad, it’s about to be.
With sumptuous food, spectacular scenery, and medieval towns steeped in history, Poland is so much more than its low prices, but it’s an excellent place to start. Low housing costs, meager taxes, and high salaries make Poland a desirable place to relocate, and these five cheapest places to live in Poland promise it all.
Our guide looks at the best cities in Poland for ex-pats and all the things that make them unique. From the World Heritage Sights to the iconic cuisine and the breathtaking natural wonders, all without breaking the bank. Whether it’s your first move to Europe or you’re escaping the rat race of the UK, Poland is worth considering. Let’s get into it.
Once the capital of Poland but still one of the leading centers of culture, art, and academics, Kraków is a jewel on central Europe’s crown, and its history dates back as far as the 7th century. Second to Warsaw, Kraków is one of Poland’s most visited destinations, but crowds of tourists still don’t threaten its quaint charm.
Kraków is a rare testament to Polish antiquity, being one of the only cities not to be completely devastated by World War II. The well-preserved medieval core and Jewish quarter, along with the old town, one of Europe’s most beautiful and the first UNESCO World Heritage Site, all contribute to the mesh of cultural influences and architectural styles that have their hold over the city. Ringed by the remnants of the medieval city walls, Kraków is a contained museum of Polish history, but it is so much more than its turbulent past.
Kraków is still a cultural wonder and a fantastic place to learn about Polish history. Still, the city also caters to the contemporary visitor with its thriving student population and vibrant nightlife. Kraków has been consistently named the best city break destination, and it beckons backpackers, stag parties, and loved-up couples to its cobblestoned streets. Hosting close to 100 festivals and international-scale events each year, it promises endless excitement as a place to settle.
The cheap living costs are an added plus, with a single person estimated to spend as little as €500 ($550) a month without rent and between €315 ($350) and €500 ($550) for a one-bedroom apartment. The cost to purchase in the city center is slightly steeper, at around €3,500 ($3,882) per square meter, but the investment is worth it.
The historical city on the banks of the River Oder is the capital of Lower Silesia and as idyllic as European cities get. Wrocław is known for its decorated market square, with its majestic central fountain, rows of townhouses, and Gothic Old Town Hall, complete with a towering astronomical clock. Wrocław is much smaller than Kraków and benefits from that small-town charm, with far fewer tourists but still an exciting cultural buzz in the air.
Wrocław is also a university city, and the large student population ensures there’s plenty of entertainment. Wrocław is also geographically unique, comprising 12 islands adjoined by bridges with winding canals intercepting city life at every turn. The archipelago might not be Venice, but it’s certainly fascinating. Wrocław is also a gateway to Central Europe, located just a few hours east of the German border and northeast of Prague.
Wrocław is slightly cheaper than Kraków, with average living costs coming in at around €450 ($500) and rent marginally lower between €315 ($350) and €450 ($500) per person. Real estate in Wrocław averages between $100,000 and $175,000, which has seen a steady increase over the years, making Wrocław a good investment for ex-pats.
Located between Kraków to the southeast and Wrocław to the northwest, Katowice is a middle ground for Polish urban living and a surprisingly bustling metropolis in southern Poland. The city center is the most populous in the country, and many public companies have their headquarters in Katowice. Katowice is a hub for commerce, culture, and wartime heritage with an emerging art scene, flourishing from its industrial past.
Many people see the more touristy Kraków as a vantage point to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the museum and memorial for the lives lost to Hitler’s Nazi regime. But Katowice is actually closer to Auschwitz, and the city is an excellent place from which to learn about Poland’s haunting history.
Still, there’s so much more to Katowice than its role in WWII. It’s home to numerous cultural institutions, including the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. It is also the host of the Tauron New Music and Off Festival, both award-winning celebrations of up-and-coming artists. Music has a stronghold over the city’s entertainment, but it also has a trendy restaurant and bar scene catering to visitors and locals.
The city is delightfully affordable, with average living costs at around €500 ($530) without rent, while one-bedroom apartments range between €270 ($300) and €400 $450. Katowice is also a great place for families, and you can rent a three-bedroom apartment in the city center for as little as €585 ($650) a month. Property is even cheaper to purchase, averaging between €1,200 ($1332) and €1,800 ($2,000) per square meter. This makes Katowice one of the cheapest places to live in Poland if you want to buy.
On the other side of this vast country, Szczecin is just 15 km from the German border in the far northwest, and the city is a melting pot for Central European culture. Szczecin is the capital of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship, and it is just a stone’s throw from the Baltic Sea. It’s another city that sits on the Oder River’s banks, and its diverse architecture tells a different story about Poland’s past.
From the 19th-century Waly Chrobrego, or the Chobry Embankment, and the restored Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle – now a cultural center, to the 14th-century St. James Cathedral with its medieval triptych, stained-glass windows, and towering spire. Szczecin dates back to the 8th-century, and it has been a major seaport since the Middle Ages. Once part of Denmark, Sweden, and Germany, each nation has left its cultural mark on Szczecin. And yes, if you’re wondering, the fluffy Pomeranian dog breed is thought to have acquired its name from association with the northern Polish area.
Szczecin is another city with a Gothic Old Town Hall. Here you’ll find The National Museum housing exhibitions on Szczecin’s rich history and culture. Szczecin is a gateway into Germany and German-living, without the high costs, and tourists from Berlin frequent the city, which is less than two hours from Germany’s capital.
Szczecin offers real cheap city living, with similar costs to be found in Katowice. You can find a one-bed city center apartment for as little as €300 ($333) a month and get by on around €500 ($530). While your złoty could go even further when it comes to buying in Szczecin, with property prices average between €1,179 ($1,300) and €1,500 ($1,700) per square meter.
Radom ranks as the most affordable city in the country and one of the cheapest places to live in Poland, but what else does this urban hub have to offer other than budget housing and low-cost expenses? Poland has its fair share of uninspiring industrial cities, but we think Radom deserves a chance, especially if saving money is your priority.
Located in east-central Poland, around 100 kilometers south of Warsaw, Radom sits on the Mleczna River. Austria, Russia, and Germany have occupied the city, and the cultural influence of these nations still lingers today in the architecture and wartime history.
Famous beyond the city limits, and even Poland’s borders, is the biennial Radom Airshow, the largest of its kind in Poland and among the largest in Europe. Radom is a local cultural center for the surrounding regions, and everything from its windmills to its galleries makes for charming weekend entertainment. You can even find an impressive collection of works of Jacek Malczewski, one of Poland’s most famous painters and Radom’s most notable former residents, all over the city.
Radom is a place where history meets modernity, with churches, tenement houses, and the Radom Gothic Monastery of Bernadine’s co-existing harmoniously among shopping centers, new businesses, and modern sports halls. Radom isn’t touristy and offers a taste of authentic Polish life with all the modern metropolitan amenities you could want at your doorstep. It’s also a vantage point to Warsaw without the steep living costs of Poland’s capital city.
Radom is in the top 20 percent of the world’s least expensive cities, and the average cost of living in the United Kingdom is almost two and a half times more costly than this Polish city. Expect to spend between €400 ($440) and €700 ($770) before rent and between €250 and €300 on a one-bedroom apartment per month. If you’re looking to buy property in Radom, you could get an apartment in the city center for around €1,800 ($2,000) per square meter.
Is Poland expensive?
Poland is considered one of Europe’s cheapest countries to visit and live. Although the country has seen rapid economic growth and now has one of Eastern Europe’s strongest economies, the country remains affordable with inexpensive groceries and restaurants prices and low rent, low tax, and low housing prices.
Where are the cheapest places to live in Poland?
The cheapest places to live in Poland are its small industrial towns or rural villages, but these tend not to be a favorite among ex-pats due to the lack of entertainment and things to do. All of Poland’s major cities are considerably cheaper than Western Europe’s capitals, and you can get by on less than $1,000 a month in Kraków, Wrocław, Katowice, and Szcezin, among others. In Poland, housing prices are also meager, and Szcezin and Katowice are two of the cheapest places to purchase a property. In these cities, you can get an apartment for between €1,200 ($1,332) and €1,800 ($2,000) per square meter.
How much is one month in Poland?
Whether you’re backpacking, studying, or a working professional, living in Poland is affordable. The average cost for a single person without rent is around €480 ($534), while students can get by on as little as €330 ($366) a month. The estimated costs for a family of four are €1,600 ($1,782), and you can get a three-bedroom apartment in a city for just €750 ($832) a month. The average rent for one-bedroom city apartments ranges between €300 ($333) and €550 ($610). On average, rent is 70 percent lower in Poland than in the United States and the UK.
Where is the most expensive part of Japan?
Warsaw is the most expensive city in Poland and the wealthiest part of the country. While most of Poland’s millionaires live in the Mazowieckie region, rural Poland is still considerably cheaper than the capital. Warsaw is around 10 percent more expensive than Kraków and Wrocław, but it is still a budget destination and one of the most affordable European capitals. Considering its size, cultural offerings, and the buzz in the air, Warsaw offers excellent value for money, and the price shouldn’t put you off.