Cost Of Living In Poland: The Hard Facts

Do you wish to retire in a nice European country where you will be able to stretch your savings? Poland has a lot to offer the money conscious retiree. In this article, I’ll talk about the expenses and give you some pointers on how to get started.

Here’s a step by step breakdown of the retirement cost for Poland:

Rent for a 3 Bedroom House$826 USD / 3,291 zł
Rent for a 1 Bedroom Flat$474 USD / 1,889 zł
Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Rates)$185 USD / 737 zł
Internet$14 USD / 56 zł
Maid Service (Per Hour)$5 USD / 20 zł
Groceries$22 USD / 48 zł
Dining Out (2 people) For 4 times$50 USD / 200 zł
Fitness or Social Club Membership$28 USD / 112 zł
TOTAL MONTHLY EXPENSES (1 bed)$778 USD/ 3,100 zł
TOTAL MONTHLY EXPENSES (3 bed)$1,120 USD/ 4,463 zł

NOTE: These are costs based on the city of Warsaw which is the capital, your expenses may be less expensive depending on where you live. The lifestyle you adopt will also influence how much money you spend.

Now that we’ve looked at the general prices, let’s take a closer look at them and see how you may customize them to your particular lifestyle.

What Is It Like To Live In Poland?

Poland is an Eastern European nation bordering the Baltic Sea. Relocating here will expose you to a variety of cultures that have impacted the area as a result of long periods of occupation by Germany and the Soviet Union. 

Poland became an independent country in 1990 and it’s doors were finally opened to the rest of the world to see its magnificence. It is bordered in the north by gorgeous lakes and rivers and wide beautiful green plains in the south.

Poland is one of Eastern Europe’s most economically developed countries. In comparison to other EU nations, it offers high incomes, low housing prices, and low taxes, and many people choose Poland as their permanent home or as their first place to relocate to Europe. The people of Poland (Poles) are kind and welcoming people who welcome visitors from all around the world.

Poland’s transportation and urban infrastructure are world class and what you would expect from anywhere in most of the EU countries. Courtyards and residences are always immaculately maintained. For bikers, wheelchair users, and individuals with restricted mobility, many big cities have accessible access.

The native cuisine in Poland is far from normal but is intriguing. It is home to the famed Kielbasa sausages and the legendary Polish Vodka. Poland’s food is unique and has a range of cheese and sausages dishes to traditional meals like the Pierogi, an East European favorite. The foods are a blend of Central and East European cuisines.

What Is Healthcare Like In Poland?

In Poland, expats will have access for both public and private healthcare. Most Polish residents utilize a mix of the two and expatriates should ensure they have some kind of private insurance until they become a full resident.  Then they too can do a mix of both depending on personal medical needs.

The health care in Poland is world class but like with any country as you get more rural you will always want to check your distance to these services depending on your personal needs. They have fewer physicians than many other countries due to better rates of pay in other EU countries so the specialists are generally grouped together in the bigger cities.

Article 68 of Poland’s constitution provides all people free medical treatment and hospital care. The health-care system in the eastern European country is funded by a public health fund, which American retirees may join to receive emergency treatment and coverage for pre-existing illnesses once they become residents.

Many Poles augment their state health-care coverage with private insurance. While public health facilities in Poland provide more treatment choices than private health centers, private insurance allows eligible persons to receive medical consultations and treatments more quickly. So like in many countries if you want to skip the queue then private health insurance is the way to go.

Before applying for public health insurance, expats would need to get a personal identification number (PESEL). They should also look into private health insurance to ensure that they have the full coverage for their medical requirements.

Private insurance in Poland will start from $199 USD a month with a $1,000 USD deductible for any major surgeries.

You can check to the following websites of several pricing of International health insurance:

NOTE: We highly urge you to pick an international insurance based on the degree of coverage you need.

Can A Foreign Citizen Own A Property In Poland?

Yes, as an expat on a long term visa you can buy a unit, condo or apartment but not a house.  European Union residents or expats that get formal residency can also buy houses or land for building a residential property or business.  Agricultural land is restricted and needs a permit.  National forests are protected and land in these areas can not be bought.

Poland is inexpensive enough that you might be able to purchase an apartment in a large city like Warsaw or Krakow. Apartments range in price from €85,000 to €250,000 ($100,000 to $290,000). That is not the case in many European cities where property ownership is out of grasp for the average person due to price.

European Economic Area (EEA) citizens must obtain a permit from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration (MIA) in order to purchase land for housing. It can not be a  permanent residence and cannot exceed 0.50 hectares.  EEA citizens are people that are not part of the EU but are other countries in Europe that are in the special extra area for trade purposes.

Property negotiations are conducted directly with owners which for most of you will seem a little weird. You can however opt to use a real estate agent if you want but it is not commonly done. The agreement for the purchase of property must always be produced in the form of a notarization deed signed by a Polish notary. Any other type of contract is null and invalid. 

TIP: Because all sales paperwork will be prepared in Polish, it is preferable to choose an English-speaking notary or, at the absolute least, hire a translator.

These are a few websites of real estates you can look into:

TIP: Some of these websites are in Polish. If you open the website in google chrome you can use the built in translation to change it to English.

What Visas Are Available For Foreign Retirees In Poland?

Citizens of the United States can visit Poland without a visa for 90 days. To become a legal resident you must register for a short term or flat residency permit at a Polish consulate in the United States or country of origin. You will need to show a police check, medical history and show you have enough funds to stay there without being a burden on the system.

For short stays this is 75 PLN or $18 USD per day but for a long start visa this has to include accommodation and health care as well.  For more information on the exact amount you can check here on the Polish government website.

LINK: Travel to Poland Information

As well as a normal residence visa you can also get a Residence by Investment program visa where you can enter and as long as you can prove $15k Euro (roughly $17k USD) of income in the first year you will be allowed to stay.

You’ll get a residence card after your residency permit is issued, which will help you locate accommodation and pay your taxes. The first residency permit is only valid for three years, however it can be extended for a longer amount of time.

After living in Poland for five years you will be eligible to apply for permanent residency. This is contingent on two factors: a steady income and a home there that you either rent or own. After that, you must renew your permanent residency card every ten years.

Bear in mind that depending on the type of permit you apply for it generally costs $80 to $105 USD fee for your application.

LINK: Poland Visa Requirements

NOTE: Remember to check this article to discover all you have to know about living or retiring in Poland How To Retire In Poland: A Great Place To Live.

How Much Do Groceries Cost in Poland?

In the European Union, Poland offers some of the cheapest food. Macedonia is Europe’s only state with cheaper food. This makes eating out very affordable in Poland. If you just want to make a home cooked meal every once in a while you will want to know the local prices at supermarkets.

Here is the overview of the average monthly groceries:

Milk1 Liter / 1 quart$0.75 USD
Bread1 Loaf$1 USD
Eggs1 Dozen$2.1 USD
Beef1 kg/ 2.2 pounds$3 USD
Chicken Breasts1 kg/ 2.2 pounds$2.3 USD
Beer12$1.3 USD
Vodka1 Liter / 1 quart$12 USD

Here is a common local supermarket you can look at for current prices:


NOTE: these prices were only valid at the making of this article and check the grocery website above for current pricing.

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Poland? 

Poland is primarily a vast plain studded with farms with some great places to retire to and a slower pace of life with access to larger cities and amenities. The Masurian Lakes Area, which spans northern Poland and includes over 2,000 lakes, is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. 

The lakes are connected by a network of rivers and canals allowing boaters to easily go from one to another. If you enjoy kayaking, fishing, sailing, or simply being outside in nature, this is the location for you. Olsztyn is a mid-sized city in the northern lake area that routinely rates high in standard of living, medical services, affordability and security. It is also regarded as one of the happiest places in the country.

Although Warsaw is a fantastic commercial hub with a growing employment market, it is also chaotic and home to the country’s most costly homes. The country’s second biggest city Krakow, may be a better match for a retiree who prefers a calmer pace of life but still prefers city living. Personally I find the second biggest city in most countries has more local culture and food.

This former Polish capital was one of the few capitals in Europe that survived World War II relatively unscathed. As a result, it has well-preserved historical architecture including a world-class market square and several historic monuments and museums. This smaller, very accessible and safe city has wonderful cafes, eateries, art galleries, and stores along the narrow medieval alleys of Old Town Krakow.

Here Are Some Other Great Places You Can Retire On A Budget

Here are some other places with similar low costs of living that are safe and offer great lifestyles with large expat communities that you might want to consider looking at.

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