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Poland is one of Europe’s most underrated countries. With its abundance of beautiful landscapes, remarkable cities, delicious food, infamous history and world class museums, Poland seems like a no brainer when it comes to places to visit on your next trip to Europe.
Oh, I did forget to mention one very important detail regarding travelling to Poland…it is the perfect country to visit if you’re on a budget!
Anyone looking to travel, subconsciously plans a budget for travelling, whether you think you do, or not.
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“Ok, well, if I take the cost of this meal, divide it by 3, it’ll give me an approximate number that will equal Canadian dollars!”
Anywhere I travel, I’m always looking to save a few bucks, but while travelling through Poland, I found that I didn’t have to budget as much as I would have, say in Austria for example.
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The prices in Poland were absolutely incredible. More incredible than I initially thought to be honest. Actually, I’ll go right out there and say it. Travelling through Poland is cheap!
Before heading to Poland, I read a few blogs online to see how prices compared and I came across one blog that mentioned that for 6 days in Poland, the blogger spent approximately $645 USD. This was JUST on hotels!
I thought that was absolutely absurd because the amount that I spent on hotels, chalets, apartments and guesthouses for 3 full weeks in Poland just coasted around the $1,000 CAD mark.
I don’t know where that blogger was staying, but I can assure you that you definitely do NOT need to spend that kind of money to have comfortable, clean and affordable accommodations in Poland.
Yes, prices will vary depending on the city you stay in, the location within the city, the time of year etc. That’s a given. With a little research, planning and yes, a bit of budgeting, you can plan a trip to Poland without breaking the bank. Here is a full guide on Poland travel costs and how to plan a visit to this budget friendly European destination.
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My flight to Poland was to depart YYZ (Toronto) and arrive in WAW (Warsaw). Now because of the Rona mess, my initial flight was cancelled for April 2020, which I booked back in February 2020. I was given a full refund and then I re-booked my flight for October 2020, plus I extended my stay by about two weeks. The total cost of my flight was $1,076 CAD, which included a carry-on bag and a checked luggage. The cost of the flight was the most expensive portion of my trip. I suggest using Kayak to search for flights. I’ve always found the best deals through them.
Poland has any type of accommodations to suit your style, needs and wants. If you’re into top of the line hotel chains, they’ve got it! Into staying at a cozy mountain chalet? They’ve got that too. Are you more into staying at hostels and meeting people during your travels? Yup, Poland’s got those. Whichever accommodation style floats your boat, you’re bound to have no problems finding what you’re looking for…and at a really great price. I stayed in the heart of Warsaw three separate times and the most I paid was $80 CAD a night for a full sized apartment. I also stayed in an incredibly stunning wooden chalet in Zakopane for two nights, which included homemade breakfasts and only paid $108 CAD total. The cheapest place I stayed was in a large loft-like room right in the heart of Bielsko-Biała‘s Old Town square with a view of the Beskidy mountains in the distance and I only paid $28 CAD! Just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean it will be shit. I made sure to pre-book all my accommodations before leaving Canada and paid for them in advance, so that I wouldn’t have to worry about that extra cost tacked onto my credit card later on when I arrived home. The cost of my accommodations was the second highest cost of my travels in Poland and came in at about $1,012.00 CAD.
Transit costs are extremely affordable while travelling in Poland. I walked pretty much everywhere and only took trains and buses while changing cities, which saved me a ton of cash. My transit costs were the third highest cost while travelling in Poland for three weeks, but for the price and distance I travelled in Poland, in any Western European country, it would’ve cost me an arm and a leg. For a total of three weeks in Poland, I didn’t even pay $270 CAD, which is INSANE compared to how much I was paying in Western European countries when I had visited years prior. Taxis are also really cheap and if you really need to catch a cab, you won’t need to be worried that you’ll get ripped off. Just like my accommodations, I pre-booked and paid for all of my train tickets before leaving Canada and had them paid off my credit card before leaving for Poland, which made sure I didn’t have any additional charges accumulate on my card while travelling. I used cash (złoty) if I had to pay for a bus, or taxi if absolutely needed.
Here is an approximate breakdown of the three highest costs I had in Poland:
If you like to eat and eat well, Poland is the place to visit. While in Poland, you can eat like a King/Queen and for cheap. I couldn’t believe the size of the portions I’d get placed in front of me and for the cost. I always made sure to tip and even tipping well, the total price of the bill usually wouldn’t exceed $20 CAD. I think the most expensive meal I ate in Poland cost me about $22 CAD. Another great place to eat in Poland is within a Bar Mleczny, or Milk Bar in English. Now don’t get it twisted, the place doesn’t just serve up milk. A bar mleczny is a Polish cafeteria, which during the Communist era, provided government-subsidized traditional Polish cuisine at a low cost. Although the typical milk bar had a menu based around dairy items (hence the name), these establishments generally also served other non-dairy traditional Polish dishes as well.
Drinking in Poland can definitely be done on the cheap. I’m not condoning my readers to go out and get wasted, but…in case you feel inclined to do so, you can probably get drunk for less than $15 CAD. A half litre glass of Polish beer (in the touristy city centre) will run you about 9PLN, which equates to about $3 CAD. A shot of vodka in a sports bar in a major city will typically run about 9PLN as well. If you want to get your drink on for even cheaper, then head to any local shop where a cold beer can be purchased for about $1 CAD, sometimes less, depending on the city/town you’re in.
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Tipping in Poland isn’t required, but it’s nice to give a little extra to those that served you, especially if the service was good and if the server was nice and friendly. In busier cities with more tourists, the usual tipping percentage for restaurant meals range from about 10-15% of the total bill. Most of the time I would give 15%, but sometimes if the service was exceptional, I’d give 20%. I always had cash (złoty) on hand, so I’d slip them an extra bill for good service, which was always received really well, especially during times when tourism was at a near halt. If I grabbed a coffee at a café, I typically wouldn’t tip, but if I had some extra small coins, I’d throw them in the “tip” bucket if there was one on the counter.
Now, my entertainment cost for my trip was pretty non-existent. I didn’t do much when it came to entertainment. I never went to clubs, or partied because they were closed during my time of visit and it’s just not my thing to begin with, especially while travelling solo. LOL
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Poland is home to so many world class museums and you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t visit at least one of them. During my visit, I had the chance to see Auschwitz – Birkenau with a guide that included hotel pick up & drop off, which cost me 108 PLN ($36 CAD). The entry to Auschwitz is free, but I highly recommend a guided tour to really grasp the history behind what you are looking at. I also visited the Warsaw Uprising Museum, which I spent approximately two hours wandering around and at the cost of 25 PLN ($8.30 CAD) it can’t be beat. If you plan on being in Warsaw on a Sunday, entry to the museum is free. Another museum I visited was the Oskar Schindler Factory in Kraków, which cost me 26 PLN ($8.70 CAD). While visiting Poznań, I booked a tour and baking class at Rogalowe Muzeum Poznania to try the infamous and decadent St. Martin’s Croissant (Rogal świętomarciński) for the cost of 27 PLN ($9 CAD) for the English tour. Most of the museum visits were booked in advance and paid in cash (złoty) upon arrival, except the Warsaw Uprising Museum, which I just walked up to the booth and asked for a ticket and paid.
Another great option for saving money on museums, restaurants, admission to climb church towers and other great perks, is by purchasing a City Card for the city in which you are visiting. Most larger cities, such as Warsaw, Kraków, Gdańsk and Wrocław offer tourists the option of purchasing a card for 24 hours, 48 hours and even 72 hours and by purchasing the card, you’ll save some money when you visit attractions, museums etc. Most entries are actually included in the cost of the City Card, so you’ll definitely get the best bang for your buck if you have a lot of things to do and see on your list. I was graciously gifted a 24 hour City Card by the Gdańsk Tourism Board during my stay and was able to use it for the day I was visiting.
During my trip through Poland, I didn’t really have any other miscellaneous costs to be perfectly honest. I bought a few souvenirs for myself and for family and friends, a pack of socks, a shirt, a new wallet and a new pair of boots because mine were absolutely destroyed and had to be replaced. In Zakopane, I treated myself to a visit to a Beer Spa for a relaxing sauna and beer bath for 240 PLN ($80 CAD). Upon arrival into Poland, I purchased a Polish SIM card at the airport for my phone, which only cost me 15 PLN ($5 CAD) for 15 days and over 2G of data, calls etc. I had to top it off towards the end of my trip, but it only added an extra $4CAD charge. I never used my debit, or credit card for any purchases. If I didn’t have cash, I didn’t spend anything. I brought approximately 1,320 PLN ($440 CAD) with me and I made one stop at an ATM to withdraw 500 PLN ($165 CAD) with 5 days left of my trip and I still had money left over in the end. I saved a lot of money by not having a lot of unnecessary added costs.
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If you’re looking to travel to Europe, but want to stick to a budget, why not consider visiting Poland? Most travellers tend to visit Warsaw and Kraków before heading to another country, but there is so much to see and do in Poland and at a really great cost that won’t break the bank. What are your favourite budget friendly countries to travel to in Europe? Let me know in the comments below. xo
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