Recently updated posts on the average living cost in Poland and the cost of living in Poland per month in Gdańsk hardly elucidate what is cheap in Poland. Affordability and inexpensiveness haven’t really been words on the tips of everyone’s tongues in recent years. Nevertheless, I’d like to nominate eight things which I find to be cheaper in Poland than in other European countries with a similar standard of living to that of Poland.
What is Cheap in Poland? – Top Eight Things
1. Public transport in Poland’s major cities
If you read those posts, you will learn that getting around Polish cities by tram, train or bus is a generally reliable and cost-effective affair.
The years roll by but still the Public Transport Authority (ZTM) in Warsaw refuses to increase ticket prices. Imagine paying 1 euro in Paris, London or whatever European city comes to mind for a full fare single-use transfer ticket entitling you to an unlimited number of journeys up to 75 minutes.
It’s more expensive to buy transfer tickets in cities like Kraków (8 zl for 90 minutes), Wrocław (7 zl for 90 minutes) and Gdańsk (6 zl for 75 minutes). However, you can still get around Poland’s largest cities for less than 2 euros a pop. Incredible value really.
2. Intercity train tickets
Keeping with the public transport theme, Polish rail travel is a most pleasurable experience. Crucially, there are bargains to be had if you buy PKP Intercity tickets online and take the time to search PKP Intercity’s Promobilet search engine.
I’ve just searched Promobilet to check ticket prices from Gdańsk to Warsaw in seven days’ time. Here are two very inexpensive Promobilet offers for the morning of Wednesday 13 December:
I might be tempted by the later option – the Express Intercity Premium (EIP) train which is part of the ‘New Pendolino’ family. Extremely modern and comfortable, EIP trains serve the cities of Gdynia, Gdańsk, Katowice, Warsaw, Wroclaw and Kraków and run up to 200 km/h on Poland’s rails.
PKP also has a special travel offer for groups of two to six people. Called Taniej z Bliskimi (‘Save together’), you can reduce travel costs with this offer by at least 30%. However, the promotion is only valid on TLK and IC trains which are not as fast, comfortable and modern as EIC and EIP trains.
3. Petrol in Poland
Poland has some of the cheapest petrol and diesel prices in Europe.
According to Cargopedia, petrol and diesel prices in Poland are lower than in some of the country’s immediate neighbours, such as Czechia, Slovakia and Germany.
It goes without saying that gas prices are much lower in Poland than in countries such as France, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Norway.
Just yesterday I noticed that the price of unleaded 95 octane fuel at a Shell petrol station in Gdańsk was 6,41 zł (1.48 EUR). However, petrol is cheaper still in the south-west, south and east of Poland, even falling below 6 zł in some Voivodeships such as Lubuskie (as of December 9, 2023).
Diesel costs around 6,75 zł a litre in Gdańsk.
If we’re to really get down to the nitty-gritty of what is cheap in Poland, there aren’t many European countries in which you can find cheaper cigarettes than Poland.
In fact, looking at excise duties on Cigarettes in EU Member States as of July 1, 2023 on the European Commission Taxes in Europe database, the cheapest cigarettes can be purchased in Bulgaria. Poland is just behind Bulgaria in second place.
The average retail selling price per 20-pack (including tax) in Poland was recorded at €3.15. By way of comparison, the average price in Czechia stood at €5.11, while in Lithuania the average price stood at €4.17.
For your reference, a pack of short Rothmans Blue in Poland costs 15,99 zł (€3.69), while a pack of Marlboro Red costs 19,99 zł (€4.61). This is the state of play as of December 10, 2023.
5. Meals out in restaurants
Whether you’re eating out in a dodgy burger bar in an economically deprived Silesian city, on the Main Square of beautiful Kraków or on Warsaw’s prestigious Nowy Świat Street, prices in food joints in Poland are reasonable everywhere you go.
On Finding Poland, I’ve praised several restaurants in Gdańsk, such as Pierogarnia Mandu and Bazar, for the quality and price of the food. If it’s comfort food (hearty pierogi and pasta dishes) you’re after, you can eat very well in these two places for between 35-45 zł.
Let’s also consider two restaurants in Łódź. The first is Ristorante Mare e Monti at 13 Stanisława Wigury Street. The restaurant serves great Italian food from various Italian regions. What’s more, the ingredients and spices are authentically Italian. Pizzas and some pasta meals can be ordered for less than 50 zł.
If it’s traditional regional cuisine you’re after in Łódź, head to Piwnica Łódzka at 67 Sienkiewicza Street. The duck thigh with potato cake, beetroot and pistachio comes costs a very reasonable 58 zł.
6. Museum admission fees
There are certain days of the week on which many museums in Poland open their doors to visitors free of charge.
This is the case with the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk which offers free tickets for exhibitions every Tuesday.
When you do have to pay for tickets to enter museums, they are not expensive at all. Let’s check out some admission prices for adults to some of Poland’s finest museums:
- Gdańsk – The Museum of the Second World War – 25 zł
- Gdańsk – European Solidarity Centre – 30 zł
- Kraków – Rynek Underground – 32 zł
- Warsaw – The Warsaw Uprising Museum – 30 zł
- Wrocław – Museum of Illusions – 55 zł
7. Fibre Optic Internet
For between 40-80 zł a month, it’s possible to have high speed fibre broadband in your own home in Poland.
If you’re after a no-contract plan, you may turn to internet provider Vectra. This provider currently has an offer for 64,99 zł per month for 450 mb/s internet. The activation fee is 79,99 zł. 48 Polish TV channels, a TV Smart 4K Box and a wi-fi modem are also included in the offer.
Turning to Orange, you have to pay 75,01 zł for fibre optic internet with a speed up to 300 mb/s.
8. Staple food items
I’ve recently updated my piece on food prices in Poland.
Although I don’t paint an overly positive picture of food prices in Poland in this post, my frustration is more to do with the illogical price rises within certain food groups in recent years. Nevertheless, prices have stabilised in Poland since the end of summer 2023.
There are products such as milk, potatoes, sugar and certain meats which have always been cheap in Poland. Compared with prices in supermarkets in other EU countries, staple food items in Poland are very reasonably priced.
So when it comes to what is cheap in Poland, I’ve come up with a list of eight things which I believe offer fantastic value for money if you have a reasonable level of financial security.
Of course, I don’t claim that these eight things are cheap for those Poles and foreigners whose salaries are rather modest. When it comes to cheapness, it’s all very relative.
I lived in Serbia between 2014 and 2018. Many of the things I’ve mentioned in this post, such as internet packages and petrol, are more expensive there than in Poland. Remarkably, the minimum wage in Serbia is roughly half of what it is in Poland.
Let’s not forget that my homeland is the United Kingdom. Therefore, I couldn’t help but mentally compare prices in the UK with prices in Poland when coming up with my list of what is cheap in Poland.
European Commission, “Taxes in Europe Database,” accessed December 2023: https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/tedb/splSearchForm.html.