I realise that you can go straight to Numbeo to check out the average living cost in Poland.
However, I thought it’d be helpful to share some information about the cost of living in my city – Gdańsk – and compare my findings with those on numbeo.com.
Gdańsk is a major Polish city with the highest cost of living index in Poland, according to Numbeo:
As you can see, the cost of living plus rent index in Gdańsk is very similar to that of Warsaw’s.
How are the cost of living indices calculated on Numbeo?
All of the cost of living indices on numbeo are relative to New York City. Therefore, indices for New York City stand at 100%.
In the table in the previous section, Gdańsk has a rent section of 27.32. This means that, on average, rents in Gdańsk are around 73% less expensive than in New York City.
The main cost of living index is a relative indicator of consumer goods prices, including groceries, restaurants, transportation and utilities.
The cost of living index in Poland
I’ve never considered Poland to be an expensive country to live in.
Indeed, Numbeo confirms that Poland is 82nd in the world regarding the cost of living index:
The second column of figures represents the rent index.
I’ll now break down the cost of living index in Gdańsk, analysing areas as diverse as apartment prices, average rents per month, eating out, supermarket shopping, transportation, monthly utilities and private healthcare.
I’ll refer to some of my own experience rather than to rely solely on average cost of living figures on Numbeo.
Finally, I’ll compare the cost of living in Gdańsk with average living costs in Kraków.
Maybe you’re planning to purchase an apartment in Poland and settle down here?
Perhaps you’re an expat who’s been offered a job and you’re looking to rent an apartment?
Let’s check out the current state of play on the property market in Gdańsk.
Purchasing real estate in Gdańsk
As of July 2021, it’s my impression that it’s getting more and more difficult to buy a flat constructed after the year 2011 in Gdańsk for less than 10,000 zl per square metre.
I’ve just run a search on Poland’s leading property portal otodom for properties costing between 8,000 zl and 10,000 zl per square metre. I set the earliest year of construction to 2011.
Only 267 results came up.
For less than 10,000 zl, it’s just about possible to buy a flat from a developer with construction still in progress.
There are also several resale flats available in districts such as Jasień, which is quite far from the main beaches and city centre.
Not to be the bearer of only doom and gloom, Jasień is not a bad place to live in at all. It seems to be very family-oriented, green and peaceful.
Still, the fact remains that property prices in Gdańsk have gone berserk.
According to current market trends, I believe that the price of my flat, which I bought in April 2019, has increased by some 2,200-2,500 zl per square metre.
Comparing real estate prices in Gdańsk and Kraków
Just so you can compare the situation in Gdańsk with another major Polish city, this is the current state of play regarding property prices both in and outside the city centre in Kraków and Gdańsk:
Comparing rental prices in Gdańsk and Kraków
When it comes to renting out an apartment, you’ll have to be prepared to pay at least 2,000 zl in Gdańsk for a one bedroom flat that’s not right on the outskirts of the city or in an old communist block of flats.
Anyway, this is the current situation in Kraków and Gdańsk:
Monthly utility bills
That old friend – czynsz administracyjny
I wrote about the communal fees you have to pay as a landlord or tenant in one of my first posts on Finding Poland.
Called czynsz administracyjny, the communal fees bill covers such wonders as electricity (inside buildings), the renovation fund, waste disposal, lift maintenance, cold water and canalisation and the maintenance of green spaces.
Back in April 2019, I was quite surprised when the previous owner showed me one of the czynsz administracyjny bills. I had expected the monthly total to be around 650-700PLN. In fact, the total with a couple of parking spaces and storage unit (komórka lokatorska) in the underground garage was around 540 zl.
Now, some two and a bit years later, I pay 625 zl. Still not disgraceful in my opinion. However, if it climbs to 700 zl in the next year or two, I might become a bit disgruntled.
It’s also worth mentioning that water and heating rates tend to be set at an average rate by housing associations. However, if you consume more than these average rates, you’ll have to pay extra.
Overall, I’m delighted with the condition of the building I live in. Moreover, the underground garage and green spaces around the building are always clean and well-maintained.
Internet deals in Poland
Generally, I don’t believe that it costs an arm and a leg to have high-speed fibre-optic Internet in Poland.
I’m with UPC and pay 69.99 zl a month for up to 750 Mb/s.
I don’t know what a megabyte is, but the number looks pretty high.
In my current package, a generous range of Polish TV channels is included.
My electricity bill arrives every two months.
Between 27 May, 2021, and 26 July, 2021, I paid 267.71 zl for 347 kWh of electricity use.
My wife and I were absent for ten days in that period.
Anyway, 35 euros per month seems to be par for the course for us.
Grocery shopping in Poland
Prices in supermarkets in Poland are comparable to prices in other EU countries.
Here are the average prices of typical staple products in markets in Kraków and Gdańsk:
I do like eating citrus fruits, and certain stone fruits, such as mangoes. However, many of these fruit varieties are really expensive in Poland.
Finally, there are certain products, such as avocados, which are luxury items in Poland. I think your Average Joe could only afford to eat them once a month.
Restaurants and cafes in Polish cities
In general, it’s not expensive to eat out and have a coffee in Poland.
If you just wish to go to a reputable pizza restaurant, indulge yourself in Polish cuisine or visit a pierogarnia (dumpling restaurant) two or three times a month, your wallet won’t take a hit.
My favourite place to eat out in Gdańsk is the dumpling restaurant Pierogarnia Mandu.
Mandu’s menu confirms that you can eat out well in Gdańsk for less than 30 zl (seven euros).
Car ownership and public transport in major polish cities
In major Polish cities, it’s not expensive to buy a monthly pass to travel on public transport.
This is the current situation in Gdańsk:
At the time of writing, it costs in 99 zl to buy a monthly pass valid on all days of the week to travel on regular, fast and night bus and tram routes within Gdańsk city limits.
I’ve just taken a look at the price per thirty-day period in other major Polish cities, namely Warsaw, Kraków, Łódź, Poznań and Wrocław. Surprisingly, Gdańsk is the cheapest city when it comes to monthly travel.
Personally, I pay 99 zl for a monthly pass in Gdańsk. It’s a lot less hassle to take a tram into town than it is to sit in traffic jams and drive around looking for a parking spot.
When it comes to driving a car, a litre of petrol costs around 5.69 zl (€1.23). Diesel is roughly 5.40 zl at the time of writing.
My wife and I currently have access to public medical services offered by the National Health Fund (Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia; NFZ).
Nevertheless, I have some experience with searching for prices for private healthcare packages.
Just last year, I was in contact with an agent working for Medicover.
The package he was determinedly trying to flog me for several weeks was Elite +. The Elite Plus package offers comprehensive outpatient care, unlimited home visits, hospital treatment and medical care overseas.
The price I was quoted for my wife and me – 653 zl per month.
I don’t doubt that the package is “fully comprehensive”, but I can’t afford that sort of money.
So, my wife and I rely on emergency treatment provided by the NFZ. Moreover, we visit private specialists when we need to. Most specialists in Gdańsk charge around 150 zl for an appointment, which is very reasonable.
My wife and I don’t hang out in medical clinics all that much, but should the time come, we would probably look into cheaper basic medical packages which provide assistance in emergency situations, outpatient procedures and consultations with doctors.
The screenshot below summarises Medicover’s Standard + package, with the annual fee for two adults – quite fair I believe:
Salaries and adding things up
So, let’s add things up then to get a better sense of the average living cost in a major Polish city.
The imaginary Mr X and Mrs Y are renting out a 45m2 flat in a newly-built block of flats in Gdańsk. They are childless, mostly rely on public transport but still run a car:
- Rent (modern apartment complex) – 2300 zl
- communal fees, electricity and Internet – 580 zl
- Groceries – 800 zl
- Restaurants and cafes – 250 zl
- Monthly transportation tickets – 200 zl
- Petrol – 250 zl
- Basic private healthcare package – 160 zl (for two)
TOTAL = 4540 zl
Of course, you would need to add the cost of cosmetics and other leisure activities to the above.
According to numbeo, the average monthly net salary (after tax) in Gdańsk is 3,582.09 zl.
Therefore, I may conclude that most couples (with or without children) might struggle to keep up with the average living cost in major Polish cities if only one person works.