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published: 16 May 2024 in Finance & housing

Living and working in Warsaw. Is it worth it?

Kamila Brzezińska
Kamila Brzezińska

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High average pay, but higher monthly rent. Poland’s capital city is full of such vivid contrasts. In this piece, we will look into a few of them, and try to answer the ultimate question: is living and working in Warsaw worth it?
Photo by Adam Borkowski on Unsplash

Photo by Adam Borkowski on Unsplash

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Warsaw, with its blooming economy and booming cultural life, has become an increasingly attractive destination for expatriates and locals alike. However, below the eye-catching veneer, lay hidden the practical realities of living in such a city. A city of contrasts, where the cost of rent, food, or basic services is juxtapositioned with professional and leisure opportunities.


LOCATION

If real estate had one rule, it would undoubtedly be a single word (albeit, used as a repeated proclamation): location, location, and for good measure, let's throw in another location exclamation.

In this aspect, the capital city of Poland is fairly blessed by geography. Located near the east-central part of the country, the city lies around 390 km southeast of Gdańsk, and the coast of the Baltic Sea. Around 300 km towards the opposite pole, awaits Cracow, another popular tourist direction, while traveling about 100 km further down south will take us to Zakopane and the breathtaking Tatras Mountains.

This makes Warsaw a great starting point for those who wish to travel and see what Poland has to offer.


ACCOMMODATIONS


Renting an apartment in Warsaw

When it comes to renting an apartment in Warsaw, the cost varies significantly, depending on the location and size of the property. According to Domiporta.pl, in 2023 the rent prices for a 40-50m2, two-room apartment oscillate around 1000 EUR per month. Shared accommodation or renting a room in a flatshare can be a more economical option, ranging from 300 to 500 EUR.

With the prices reaching the above levels, rent-wise Warsaw is undoubtedly the most expensive city in Poland.


Buying an apartment in Warsaw

For those considering whether to acquire a flat in Warsaw, the current price for square meter can be something of a deterrent. Deloitte’s Property Index 2023 Report indicates that the average price in Poland’s capital is 2682 EUR per square meter. That’s quite an amount, especially in comparison with the country’s average, which is 1975 EUR per square meter.


DINING IN AND DINING OUT


Grocery shopping cost

Food expenses in Warsaw are manageable, especially if you tend to shop at local markets and cook at home. Depending on dietary preferences and shopping habits, weekly grocery shopping for a single person can cost around 150 to 300 PLN.


Prices at bars and restaurants in Warsaw

Dining out is relatively affordable; a meal at a mid-range restaurant costs about 50 to 100 PLN per person, while a meal at an inexpensive bar can be as low as 20 to 40 PLN. What is more, if you feel like spicing things out, international cuisine is widely available, adding to the city's culinary diversity.


WORK AND CAREER OPPORTUNITIES


Job opportunities in Warsaw

Warsaw's job market is dynamic and offers numerous opportunities for those seeking them. The city is a major business hub in Central Europe, attracting multinational corporations and startups. Key industries include finance, IT, telecommunications, and consulting. The demand for professionals in tech-related fields, particularly software development and cybersecurity, is high. Additionally, Warsaw is home to many international companies, making it an attractive destination for expatriates seeking employment.


Average pay in Warsaw

Salaries in Warsaw are among the highest in Poland, reflecting the city's status as an economic powerhouse. According to the data from Statistical Office in Warsaw, in March 2024 the average gross salary was 10634,91 PLN. .

That being said, our earnings can vary widely depending on the industry and level of expertise. For instance, IT professionals and finance experts often earn significantly higher wages, with Warsaw’s average falling between 12 271 and 17 078 PLN, as indicated by the Zarobki.it portal.


LEISURE AND CULTURE


Spending free time in Warsaw

Warsaw provides a myriad of options for spending free time.

The city is known for its extensive green spaces, with Royal Baths Park and the Vistula riverbanks being popular spots for relaxation and outdoor activities. Shopping enthusiasts can explore various malls, which, fun fact, in Poland, are usually called “galleries” – as if the cool pair of pants you recently saw on sale in H&M was hanging next to the Mona Lisa.

Nightlife in Warsaw is vibrant, with numerous bars, clubs, and music venues catering to different tastes. For a more laid-back evening, locals enjoy numerous cafes and tea rooms scattered throughout the city.


Museums in Warsaw

Shopping “galleries” notwithstanding, for those more culturally inclined Warsaw has a lot to offer. The museum-goers will find that The Warsaw Uprising Museum, POLIN Museum of The History of Polish Jews, and The Royal Castle offer enriching historical experiences.


Cultural events in Warsaw

Cultural events are a cornerstone of life in Warsaw. The city hosts a wide array of festivals, concerts, and exhibitions throughout the year.

One such is The Warsaw Film Festival, held every October, which attracts filmmakers and cinephiles from every side the world.

For lovers of classical music, there is the prestigious International Chopin Piano Competition, which takes place every five years – at years ending with a 0 or a 5, so the next one is planned for 2025. However, every summer, you can watch for free many of the contestants playing the piano during the Chopin concert season in the Royal Baths Park in Warsaw.


FINAL VERDICT: is living in Warsaw worth it?

Warsaw offers a unique blend of historical richness, cultural vibrancy, and modern amenities. While the cost of living – I’m looking at you, ridiculous rent! – can be high, the city compensates with a robust job market and competitive salaries.

The diverse food scene, ample recreational opportunities, and a calendar full of cultural events ensure that residents are able to enjoy a high quality of life. Whether you are an expatriate considering a move or a local contemplating a change of scenery, Warsaw presents an exciting and fulfilling living experience.

So, in short – yes, living in Warsaw can be well worth it.

Is Warsaw the best Polish city to live in, though?

Well, this question opens an altogether different can of worms…

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