Moving to Poland?
Accommodation and Cities in Poland
The Apartment Search: Lower Your Standards
The apartment search is one of the biggest hurdles for expats moving to Poland. There are some 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.
Personal connections are incredibly useful, so 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 when they deal with foreigners.
One of the most important pieces of advice for when you start your housing search is that you should be prepared to lower your standards. In comparison with other Western European countries, Poland has relatively low numbers of luxury apartments. You should therefore not hesitate to rent an apartment if it meets your basic expectations — Polish apartments tend to be 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.
When you have found an apartment, be sure to register your address of residence. Referred to as zameldowanie in Polish, you can complete this process at your local municipality office.
Warsaw: The Place to Be as an Expat
Poland’s capital is a modern, fast-paced city, offering all the amenities you would expect from urban life. The perfect city for both families and singles, Warsaw has something for everyone. There are numerous different parks, perfect for wasting a lazy Sunday in, as well as a fantastic zoo for the kids to enjoy. The Copernicus Science Center, and the Technical Museum, which can be found in the city’s famous Palace of Culture and Science, a structure which dominates the Warsaw skyline, are also key attractions for the city.
Warsaw’s Old Town, most of which was destroyed during the Second World War but reconstructed later with precise detail, is perhaps the most scenic part of the city. If you are looking to explore the city’s history, stroll around the Old Town Market Square, take a look at the Royal Castle, or visit the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
If you’re looking for something a bit different, why not pay a visit to Warsaw’s neon museum. Located in The Soho Factory, a series of old industrial buildings, the museum houses a collection of iconic neon signs of the communist era.
In terms of the city’s economy Warsaw is becoming a popular destination for global companies, with many branches or headquarters here. Some of the key industries in the Warsaw include electronics, food-processing and high-tech mechanics. The city also has two major universities.
Kraków: Visiting the Old Town
Kraków 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, the Historical Museum of Kraków, as well as the old synagogue are worth a visit. If you’re interested in historic architecture, take a tour of the Old Town of Kraków and have a look at the preserved buildings, which include the Cloth Hall and St. Mary’s Church.
Spend some time in the Market Square just watching the people and listening to the bugle call from the tower of St. Mary’s. The Old Town is also perfect if you’re on the lookout for some typical souvenirs.
Krakow is popular with start-ups and high-tech companies. Unemployment in the city is particularly low: in 2017, the figure stood at just 2.8%, with the monthly gross wages and salaries in the enterprise sector growing annually. The industries which employed the most people included trade; repair of motor vehicles, manufacturing, professional, scientific and technical activities, administrative and support service activities, as well as information and communication.
Wroclaw: Finding Dwarves on Your Way
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.
Much like Warsaw, Wroclaw is a great city for families. The city’s zoo is the biggest in the entire country and is definitely worth a visit. One of Wroclaw’s most famous attractions comes in the form of its beloved dwarf statues. The dwarfs honor the Orange Alternative, an anti-communist collective of the 1980s, whose emblem was that of a dwarf. Some sources claim that there are now over 300 dwarfs scattered all over Wroclaw’s streets, although officially there are 165. Each dwarf, or krasnal in Polish, has its own name and background story. To find out more, visit the official Krasnale website.
The city’s economy is made up of small and medium-sized companies as well as larger multinational enterprises — Goggle, HP, and Amazon all have offices here. Key industries include IT and high technologies, such as electrical engineering, medical and automotive industries, and services for business. Wroclaw is also home to a number of universities.
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