Polish złoty (zł)
Budget: Less than 200zł
- Low-cost guesthouse or hostel dorm bed: 50zł
- Meals in milk bars and self-catering: 30zł
- Day pass for local transport: 15zł
- Room in a midrange hotel or pension: 200–400zł
- Lunch and dinner in decent restaurants: 80–100zł
- Museum tickets: 10–30zł
Top End: More than 600zł
- Double room in a top hotel: 600–800zł
- Meal in a top restaurant: 200–300zł
- Opera ticket: 200zł
At flea and tourist gift markets it's an acceptable practice to bargain a little over prices. Elsewhere prices are fixed.
ATMs widely available. Credit cards widely accepted in hotels and restaurants.
ATMs are ubiquitous in cities and towns, and even the smallest hamlet is likely to have at least one. The majority accept Visa and MasterCard.
- Polish ATMs require a four-digit PIN code.
- Inform your bank before travelling abroad, to avoid having your card blocked by bank security when overseas transactions start appearing on your account.
- You'll often be given the choice to convert your ATM transaction to your home currency on the spot, but you'll get a better rate if you decline the option and choose 'Polish złoty'.
- Avoid Euronet ATMs, which give a much poorer rate of exchange than bank ATMs.
The Polish currency is the złoty, abbreviated to zł and pronounced zwo-ti. It is divided into 100 groszy, which are abbreviated to gr. Banknotes come in denominations of 10zł, 20zł, 50zł, 100zł and 200zł, and coins in 1gr, 2gr, 5gr, 10gr, 20gr and 50gr, and 1zł, 2zł and 5zł. The złoty is a relatively stable currency, holding at around 4zł to €1 since 2010.
Keep some small-denomination notes and coins for shops, cafes and restaurants – it can be a problem getting change for the 100zł and 200zł notes that ATMs often spit out.
The best exchange rates are obtained by changing money at banks, or by taking cash out of bank ATMs.
Kantors (private currency-exchange offices) are found in town centres as well as travel agencies, train stations, post offices and department stores. Rates vary, so it’s best to shop around.
- Kantors are usually open between 9am and 6pm on weekdays, and to 2pm on Saturdays, but some open longer and a few stay open 24 hours.
- Kantors normally exchange cash only against major world currencies and neighbouring countries’ currencies. The most common and easily changed are US dollars, euros and UK pounds.
- There’s usually no commission on transactions – the rate you get is what is written on the board (every kantor has a board displaying their exchange rates).
Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. American Express cards are usually accepted at larger hotels and restaurants, though they are not as widely recognised as other cards.
Credit cards can also be used to get cash advances from banks and ATMs.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
Have money sent to you through the money-transfer service Western Union (www.westernunion.com), which is generally quick and reliable, though fees can add up. Western Union outlets can be found in all Polish cities and most large towns.
Tipping is customary in restaurants and at service establishments such as hairdressers, but is optional everywhere else.
Hotels Essentially restricted to top-end establishments, which usually have decent room-service staff and porters, who all expect to be tipped.
Restaurants At smaller establishments and for smaller tabs, round the bill to the nearest 5zł or 10zł. Otherwise, 10% is standard.
Taxis Drivers won’t expect tips, but round the fare up to the nearest 5zł or 10zł for good service.