Though not necessarily the first city that comes to mind when one thinks of Poland, expats are sure to be enchanted by Kraków. Considered by many to be the country's cultural capital, Kraków has a rich history and is full of museums, galleries and historical attractions to explore. The city's Old Town is a UNESCO Heritage Site and dates back to the 11th century.
Living in Kraków as an expat
Kraków is one of Poland's economic hubs and is home to numerous multinational corporations, many of which are a source of employment for expats. The city's entrepreneurial spirit makes it a great place to start a business, and many smaller tech startups have done just that.
Expats in Kraków have a range of accommodation options to suit their budget and lifestyle. From soviet-era apartment blocks to modern flats and spacious villas, Kraków has it all. Expats should take into consideration the proximity from their home to public transport stops if commuting in to the centre for work, or if needing to get their children to school in the morning.
Expats will find no shortage of culture and entertainment in Kraków. Theatres, museums and galleries are scattered throughout the city, along with plenty of lively bars, cosy cafés and good-quality restaurants. Nature-loving expats are sure to enjoy Kraków's vast green areas, and the beautiful views of the Vistula River that runs south of the city centre.
Cost of living in Kraków
Kraków, despite being one of Poland's major cities, boasts a comparatively low cost of living. According to the 2023 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Kraków is ranked 190th out of 227 cities worldwide, suggesting expats can enjoy a high standard of living at affordable rates. This puts it significantly below most of Europe's larger cities in terms of cost. For example, Warsaw, the Polish capital, is positioned higher in the ranking at the 170th spot.
Although everyday living expenses in the city are already quite cheap in Kraków, expats will be able to further decrease their budget by living outside the city centre, buying local produce and opting to cycle or walk around the city as opposed to driving or using public transport.
Expat families and children in Kraków
Those moving to Kraków with children will find that there are a number of excellent international schools to choose from. The well-regarded International Baccalaureate curriculum is taught at several schools, and there are also British and American options. The healthcare needs of expats will also be met thanks to the city's adequate public healthcare facilities, although health insurance is advised for accessing private healthcare.
Climate in Kraków
Kraków has a moderately continental climate, with chilly winters and warm summers. The colder months bring freezing temperatures and an abundance of snow, while the weather during the warmer seasons allows for plenty of time to be spent in the sunny outdoors.
Overall, expats moving to Kraków can look forward to an enjoyable lifestyle in a city with exciting career opportunities. With plenty to explore, expat life in Kraków is sure to be vibrant, engaging and interesting.
►For more about transport options in the city, see Getting Around in Kraków
►For an overview of the city's healthcare options, see Healthcare in Kraków
"I enjoy the culture here, the heritage and the history. From the first moment it felt like home and I wanted to discover more about the city and the things it had to offer. The quality of life is slightly better than in Romania, and here in Poland I feel much safer, to be honest." Read about Anda, a Romanian expat, and her life in Kraków in her interview.
"Krakow is a city that does not feel like a metropolis. The old city charm, combined with the unique city layout and the Wisla river make it aesthetically pleasing. But I think what I enjoy most is the way that Polish culture, though evolving with time, is still evident in the friendliness of the people." Read more about Leonie, a South African expat, and her move to Kraków.
Are you an expat living in Krakow?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Krakow. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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