Relocating to Krakow: A Journey to the Heart of Polish History

Krakow, a city steeped in history and culture, is Poland’s artistic and intellectual center. Its blend of medieval architecture and vibrant modern life makes it an attractive destination for those considering a move. If you’re thinking about relocating to Krakow, this guide will provide you with essential insights to navigate your new life in this historic city, from handling bureaucracy to settling into the ideal neighborhood, and from managing banking needs to accessing healthcare services.


Navigating the Polish bureaucracy is your first step in relocating to Krakow. If you’re from outside the EU, obtaining a residence permit is necessary. This involves providing a valid passport, proof of health insurance, and, often, a work contract or proof of enrollment in a Polish institution. EU citizens also need to register their stay. The process can be complex, so consider seeking assistance from local expat services or legal advisors to ensure a smooth transition.


Krakow is a city of distinct neighborhoods, each offering a unique living experience. The Old Town (Stare Miasto), known for its stunning medieval architecture, is perfect for history enthusiasts, though it can be busy with tourists. Kazimierz, the historic Jewish quarter, offers a trendy, artistic vibe with its array of cafes and boutiques. For a quieter, more residential setting, consider areas like Podgórze or Krowodrza. Each neighborhood has its charm and advantages, so consider your personal and work-related needs when choosing where to live.


Establishing a bank account is a crucial step in relocating to Krakow. Poland’s banking system is modern and efficient, with several national and international banks to choose from. Major banks like PKO BP, mBank, and Santander offer a range of services. To open an account, you’ll need your passport, proof of address in Poland, and sometimes your residence permit. Online banking is common and convenient for managing your finances. Familiarize yourself with the Polish Zloty (PLN), the national currency.


Poland’s healthcare system includes both public and private options. Once you have your residence settled, you’re eligible to register for public healthcare, which is funded through social security contributions. Many expats and locals prefer private healthcare for shorter wait times and more English-speaking doctors. Krakow is home to several top-quality hospitals and medical facilities, ensuring you have access to excellent healthcare services.

Helpful Information

  • Language: Polish is the official language. While many younger people and professionals in Krakow speak English, learning Polish will greatly enhance your daily life and integration into the community.
  • Transportation: Krakow has an efficient public transportation system, including trams and buses. Purchasing a Krakow City Card can be economical for regular commuters.
  • Cultural Integration: Engage with Krakow’s rich cultural heritage by exploring its museums, historic sites, and vibrant arts scene. The city is also known for its various festivals and cultural events.
  • Employment: Krakow’s economy is growing, with opportunities in sectors like technology, business services, and tourism. Networking and learning Polish can improve employment prospects.
  • Education: For families, Krakow offers various international schools, providing education in English and other languages.
  • Social Life: Krakow’s social life is lively, with numerous cafes, bars, restaurants, and cultural events. It’s a city with a large student population, which contributes to its vibrant atmosphere.
  • Cost of Living: Krakow is generally more affordable than many Western European cities, but housing in popular areas can be relatively high.


Relocating to Krakow is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a city that balances a rich historical heritage with a dynamic modern lifestyle. By navigating the local bureaucracy, choosing a neighborhood that suits your lifestyle, setting up your banking arrangements, and understanding the healthcare system, you’re well-prepared for a successful and enriching life in Krakow. Embrace the spirit of this Polish gem, where every cobblestone street and historic building tells a story. Welcome to Krakow, where the past and present meet to create a uniquely enriching living experience!

More for you