Warsaw City Guide

By Victoria Fellows


Our guide to living and working in Warsaw

Poland’s central location within Europe has made it the perfect destination for a growing number of tech businesses since it joined the EU in 2004. Couple this with its capital Warsaw being a hive of cultural activity, cost effective and relatively safe, and you’ve got many reasons to relocate to the city to further your technology career.

Housing in Warsaw

Warsaw offers various types of accommodation based on the individual needs of the occupant. In the city centre, there are options varying from flats in Soviet-style blocks right through to plush penthouse apartments. On the west bank of the Vistula River, Mokotow is a desirable area for expats looking to be central.

Families may wish to consider living in the suburbs where housing stock includes detached and semi-detached homes with gardens and duplexes. The Wilanow area is particularly popular with families and is complete with a number of parks and public gardens.

Unfurnished properties are more common than furnished homes in Warsaw, but even these are likely to come with basic appliances such as a fridge and hob. The rental market is fairly competitive, so it’s key to move quickly once a suitable property has been found.

UK visa requirements for working in Warsaw 

Poland is one of the nations inside the Schengen area, meaning British citizens can travel to Warsaw on business for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without any special visas or permits. After that, you will need to apply for a long-term permit.

There are a number of different types of long-term permits available, depending on the nature of your work in Warsaw. The most common is the D permit, which can be obtained from the Polish consulate in the UK, while a temporary residence work permit can be sought once you’re in Warsaw.

The cost of living in Warsaw

Warsaw is one of the cheapest cities in Europe, with the cost of living being 115 per cent lower than London. A one-bedroom city centre flat can be rented for an average of £848.15, while £1,058.66 will get you a three-bedroom apartment in the suburbs.

Enjoying a three-course meal for two in a mid-price restaurant will set you back £38.83 on average. Meanwhile, a combo meal at McDonald's or a similar place will be £6.80. A domestic beer can be bought for around £2.91 and a litre of milk is £0.79.

Salaries in Warsaw

The average salary for a software engineer in Warsaw is £49,680 a year. As there is good potential for career growth in this part of Poland, moving up to more senior roles with increasingly lucrative pay cheques is a definite possibility.

Commuting and public transport in and around Warsaw 

Warsaw was recently named the third most walkable city in the world, but is also equipped with a good public transport network. It includes trams, buses, subway and urban rapid rail trains, known as SKM trains.

Public transport tickets are sold in time frames, allowing you to travel via a combination of modes over the allotted period. You can choose from 20-minute, 75-minute and 90-minute tickets, depending on the length of your overall journey.

Veturilo is the cycle rental scheme in Warsaw, boasting more than 5,500 bikes for the public to use across over 380 stations. The easiest way to hire cycles this way is via Veturilo’s app and some of the stations even have electric bikes and tandems.

The education system in Warsaw

Education is compulsory for all children between the ages of six and 18 in Poland. There are kindergarten, primary, middle and secondary school places available for free, although some expats choose to opt for an international school instead.

These include the British School Warsaw; the Polish British Academy of Warsaw, which offers a bilingual education; and the Thames British School Warsaw. Poland has a wide selection of universities, with the oldest in Krakow dating back to 1364.

The thriving technology sector in Warsaw 

It’s been 20 years since Poland joined the EU and in that time, tech companies have constantly streamed into Warsaw. This emerging tech hub has taken advantage of the city’s strategic location, economic potential and ever-increasing supply of professional talent.

Poland is now home to 60,000 technology companies and ten unicorns, while the country employs 430,000 people in IT alone. Google for Start-Ups was opened in Warsaw by the search giant in 2015 and it has committed to creating a $2 billion Cloud Data Hub, which will be the first of its kind in Europe.

Life in Warsaw outside of work 

Nicknamed the Phoenix City, Warsaw was rebuilt after its almost total destruction during the Second World War. These days, historic sites and modern buildings sit side-by-side to create a diverse city positioned along the Vistula River.

While meandering around the Old Town Square, Royal Castle and Wilanow Palace are all must-dos in Warsaw, there are some hidden gems to discover if you live in the city. These include visiting Chopin’s heart, which is preserved in a jar of cognac in the Holy Cross Church; the Neon Museum, housing the glitzy signs of post-Stalin Warsaw; and Galeria Forty, an art gallery housed in an abandoned fort.

Green space in the middle of the city is provided by Lazienki Park, where a plethora of gardens are waiting to be explored. It is also home to the Royal Lazienki Museum and in the summer months, free classical music concerts are held at the foot of the Fryderyk Chopin Monument every Sunday.

Polish dumplings, known as pierogi, are ubiquitous across Warsaw and can be filled with everything from meat, cheese, vegetables and buckwheat to blueberries or other fruit. Gosciniec Polskie Pierogi in the Old Town is a good place to try traditional dumplings, as well as other classic Polish dishes.

So, when all things are considered, Warsaw can offer a great work-life balance for tech professionals wishing to relocate to a thriving European city with lots of opportunities.

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