Poland at a Glance
Accommodation and Cities in PolandiStockphoto
The apartment search is one of the biggest hurdles to moving to Poland.
The Apartment Search
The apartment search is one of the biggest hurdles for expatriates moving to Poland. There are countless obstacles to overcome for foreigners when looking for accommodation, their only advantage being that they are usually willing to spend more on housing than the average Pole. Prepare to invest at least as much time searching for a place to live as you did searching for a job abroad.
As personal connections are incredibly important as well, do not hesitate to activate your expat network or ask friends in Poland for their help. They may be your best resource in your search for long-term accommodation. If you do not speak Polish fluently yet, ask one of your Polish friends to tag along on the housing search. This will not only make communication easier, but it will also help you get a good deal. After all, many landlords raise their rent prices considerably when coming across a foreigner.
One of the most important pieces of advice is that you should lower your standards for the housing search. Of course, nobody expects you to live in a shed throughout your stay in Poland. However, you should not hesitate to rent an apartment if it meets your basic expectations. Keep in mind that Polish apartments are rather small and don’t offer too many amenities. Before you sign the lease and move in, you should make sure that the plumbing and heating both work properly.
Warsaw is the right place to go for expat families. The city is indeed very child-friendly, offering different parks to spend your leisure time. In addition, the city has a really nice zoo, the Copernicus Science Center, and the Technical Museum in the Palace of Culture. Almost all shopping malls offer attractions for your kids. Other than that, Poland’s capital is a modern, fast-paced city, offering all the amenities you would expect from an urban life.
Warsaw’s climate, like that of the rest of the country, depends on where the wind comes from. A northerly wind brings cold weather, while easterly wind causes rather dry weather. Thus, temperatures and precipitation can vary strongly. Heavy storms occur more and more frequently, bringing rain and snow with them. Nevertheless, temperatures ranging from 22°C to 30°C make for balmy summer months.
If you like historic architecture, you should visit the Old Town of Cracow and have a look at the preserved historic buildings such as Cloth Hall and St. Mary’s Church. Also make sure to spend some time at the Market Square just watching the people and listening to the bugle call from the tower of St. Mary’s. If you are on a shopping tour and looking for typical souvenirs, the Old Town is definitely your best bet.
Cracow is a vibrant city with some of the best museums and cultural programs in the world. The National Museum, for instance, has numerous branches here. Wawel Royal Castle is worth a visit as well as is the Historical Museum of Crakow or the old synagogue. When it comes to the city’s climate, the effects of the urban settlement are palpable. Not only are the temperatures rising, heavy storms also occur more often and cause significant damage.
Wroclaw, the capital of Silesia, belonged to Germany until 1945 and was one of the last German cities to be seized by the Red Army in World War II. Since then, Wroclaw has developed into one of Poland’s major urban areas. Although the Polish cuisine may not have the best reputation, food lovers will not feel out of place there. The Old City offers lots of snack bars and places selling cheap and delicious food.
Much like Warsaw, Wroclaw is a city for children. The city’s zoo is the biggest in the entire country and surely worth a visit for expat families. Another special treat are the little dwarf figures placed all over Wroclaw’s streets. Try to track them on the pavement, on lamp posts, and in many other places. Currently, you can find over 70 of these figures, all looking slightly different, throughout the city.