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Living in Poland – Would you do it?

Many British citizens are living in other parts of the European Union, but with the never-ending Brexit nightmare, more than ever are considering moving abroad.

Yet where to go to? With Spain overrun and Germany or Italy on the pricey side, some are now considering Poland, sort of as a late revenge for the millions of Poles who streamed into the United Kingdom when they joined the EU. While Poland doesn’t have as much sun as Spain, there are some very strong arguments, especially for those who are retired already.

Are you, too, thinking of moving to Poland? Do you know enough about Poland? This article will provide you with the basic information to make a more considered decision.

 

General Information

The Republic of Poland is located in Central Europe. It covers a total area of 120,733 square miles and has a population of about 38.5m (approximately). Warsaw is the capital city of Poland.

#1. History

The history of Poland is vast. The times in the past were not easy at all for the country. It has fought at least 40 times for freedom. In fact, from the years 1772 to 1795, the country of Poland disappeared from the maps of the world due to its partition between the Austrian, German and Russian empires.

During the Second World War, the capital of Poland, Warsaw, was completely destroyed by the Nazi. It was later rebuilt in an astonishingly authentic way, in an effort that brought the whole nation together and laid the corner stone for the myth of the Polish builder (now in demand all across Europe)

#2. Temperature

Poland is one of the countries situated in a moderate climate zone. In winters, the temperature is noted to fall down just a couple degrees below zero. Winters are usually from December to February. Autumn in Poland starts in September and lasts till November. In autumn, the day temperature is between 5-15 degrees Celsius and at night, the temperature goes below 5 degrees Celsius. June to August are the summer months, where the average temperature is approximately 25 degrees Celsius.

In contrast to many parts of Britain the weather is therefore a bit more pronounced. Snow in winter, but really hot and long summers that allow Poles to make the most of their amazing beaches at the Baltic sea. And yes, you never heard about Polish beaches, but take a look at the photos and you can imagine why Poles want to keep them a secret for themselves.

#3. Economy

In the European Union, Poland’s economy is the 10th largest. Not bad for a Union that has such power nations as Germany, the UK, France, Italy or Spain. Its main exports include electronic equipment, machinery, furniture, plastics and vehicles. With nearly 40mln citizens local demand is strong, and the Polish economy hasn’t had a single quarter of recession since the country joined the EU!

#4. Culture

Poland is well known for its cuisines, festivals, literature, art, dance and music, clothing and sports. The language might not be that easy to learn (as all Slavic languages), but there is ample entertainment in English available, Warsaw even has a theatre playing in Yiddish – the only such on the continent.

Living Cost in Poland

Poland is one of the cheapest countries to live in Europe, which is probably why so many people wish to live in Poland. However, it can be difficult for anyone to gather all the important information related to the cost of living in this country, so we have gathered here basic information that will make you instantly question why you didn’t move to Poland much earlier.

Accommodation Costs

The average monthly rent of an average flat (usually around 60 m2/645 sq ft) in the capital city of Warsaw is 2800 PLN or 565 GBP. Yes, that’s monthly! It gets even cheaper in Gdansk (2k PLN/400 GBP) or Cracow (1880 PLN/380 GBP), and in Bydgoszcz, it is even as low as 1267 PLN (250 GBP).

The average house bills and internet will cost you 620 PLN (127 GBP) and 45 PLN (9 GBP) respectively in almost all cities.

Food Cost

The average cost of food in Poland is as follows:

  • For 1 liter of milk, you will have to pay on average 2.37 PLN (48 Pence).
  • 500 g of white bread will on average cost you about 2.72 PLN (55 Pence).
  • 17 PLN (64 Pence) is to be paid on average for a kg of rice.
  • 1 kg of local fruits will cost you about 2-8 PLN (1/2 a pound to 1 1/2).
  • The same goes for vegetables.

Eating Out in Poland

If you are thinking of eating at an inexpensive restaurant in Poland, you will have to pay about 20 PLN (4 GBP) on average. For example, for a McMeal, you will have to pay 17 PLN (3.44 GBP) and a cappuccino will cost you not more than 10 PLN (2 GBP). A meal for 2 at a restaurant that is neither inexpensive nor too expensive will cost you about 100 PLN (20 GBP).

Transportation Cost

In Poland, a one-way ticket locally will cost you about 3.40 PLN (70 Pence). If you will be traveling by car, you should know that the price of 1 liter of gasoline is 4.60 PLN (93 Pence).

Living in Poland as a Foreigner

If you’d like to travel to Poland to form your own opinion, you must have some amount with you as well to fund your entry into the country, your stay in Poland and your return from Poland. Plus as a citizen of a non-member country (apparently Great Britain, eventually), get ready to pay visa fees that could cost you about 70 EUR (60 GBP).

But what does it cost to live in Poland for many years? Well, as the legal situation for Brits isn’t clear at the moment, it is hard to say what cost might be necessary to achieve residency, or what the situation with health insurance will look like. As long as the UK is part of the European Union, there are only very  few papers necessary, like a local registration, and the cost for them is minimal.

What would you be paying for you accommodation, food, transport, bills and education per person if you decide to live in Poland? Let’s look at Lublin, for example:

  • Accommodation: 270-650 PLN (55-130 GB)
  • Bills: 300 PLN (60 GBP)
  • Transport: 42 PLN (8 GBP)
  • Educational Expenses: 100 PLN (20 GBP)
  • Food: 350-700 PLN (70-140 GBP)

Now, let’s discuss the average spend per person if you decide to live in Warsaw:

  • Accommodation: 290-1200 PLN (60-240 GB)
  • Bills: 300 PLN (60 GBP)
  • Transport: 55 PLN (11 GBP)
  • Educational Expenses: 100 PLN (20 GBP)
  • Food: 350-700 PLN (70-140 GBP)

This will give you a general overview of how much you will be paying when you live in Poland and the cost difference between the cities. While the capital city of Warsaw is of course more expensive than the far smaller town of Lublin, the difference isn’t nearly as extreme as between a small British town and London, not even talking about the absolute numbers.

Living in Poland After Brexit

 If you have been living under a rock these past few years and do not know what Brexit is, it is the separation of the United Kingdom from the EU. If you are a British expat living in Poland, these are some steps you need to take to prepare for Brexit:

 It is recommended to get valid documents of residency.

  • You must register your address.
  • Just like the National Insurance Number in the UK, in Poland, you must have a PESEL number.
  • We recommend you get a Polish driving license as well.
  • You must change your car registration to a Polish registration.
  • Another step that might help you is to get married in order to protect your rights. If you are already married, make sure your marriage is registered at the Registry Office.

 

Crime rate

Last but not least, we need to take a look at a chapter that is high in consideration among people looking for a new place to live. And lets face it, there are as many jokes about Polish car theft as there are about Scottish avarice. What are the facts?

Well, get prepared for a surprise:  the overall crime rate in Poland is much lower than in the United Kingdom. The largest difference is in violent crime, which is “very low” in Poland and “moderate” in the UK.

For instance theft per hundred thousand inhabitants: 2286 in England and Wales (only 1578 and 1295 in Scotland and Northern Ireland, respectively) – and 333 in Poland!

Or murder: 1.22 per 100k in England and Wales (1.13 and 0.97)  — 0.67 in Poland
Data are from the last available year in Eurostat, 2016.

Conclusion

 Poland is an excellent option if you wish to move to the continent. It is not very expensive as compared to other countries, a safe place to live in, and a country with a rich history and culture that provides entertainment for any taste. What are you waiting for?