Is Poland an expensive country? When going out how much will you pay for food and drink or for leisure time activities? No matter if you plan to relocate here for the long term or you just plan to visit our country, here you’ll get to know the most common costs to add to your living or travel budget. Also, you’ll get to know our Polish pastime activities to get ready for a Polish adventure.
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1. How Do Poles Spend Their Free Time?
Poles, like everybody, love to have fun and enjoy their free time. But… when it comes to how we spend our free time, there are some things that you might find quite surprising or even funny.
Weather in Poland is the most important factor when planning our activities. In the summer most of us spend our free time outside. We go for a walk or a drink, we ride a bike. We literally can’t sit at home. And what do we do most often? We barbecue!
Having a barbecue is our national pastime. If you have even a tiny patio (or balcony) you prepare a barbecue at your place. If not, you go to the park. Be careful here: it’s not allowed to do so at all public places. A typical Polish barbecue menu is: kiełbasa (or a grilled piece of pork) along with mustard, ketchup, and white bread (don’t forget about a cold beer).
This menu is also an economic option: you do the shopping (sometimes even including a single-use grill for 20 zł) and you invite your friends to join. If you’re curious about other Polish characteristics, check our blog.
In the colder months we just love to meet at home and organize a party called domówka (from the word “dom” – house in Poland). Then everybody brings something to eat (or the host cooks and others bring drinks).
So remember: in the summer barbecue, in the winter: domówka. Now the question is: do we even go out? Below you’ll find more about those prices and customs.
2. Going Out For A Coffee In Poland
When we want to meet up with someone in the afternoon, we meet for a coffee – even if we don’t drink coffee. In the evening we meet for a beer, but let us get back to the evening customs in a second. First, coffee.
We mostly drink Italian types of coffee: americano or cappuccino (for about 12-15 zł). Espresso is about 6-8 zł. Alternative brewing types are also more and more popular: chemex, aeropress, or drip. The price for the better types is a little higher: up to 20 zł. Yes, we’ve got Starbucks in Poland. And yes, it’s more expensive than our local places. So it’s better to choose a local place.
And what if not coffee? Then tea. It’s also extremely popular in Poland and every cafe also has it on the menu: English flavors, green tea, even fruit tea. Prices vary from 8 zł for a cup to around 15 zł for a pot.
Along with coffee we love to have a sweet treat: from Polish cheesecakes and apple pies for 15+ zł to fancy desserts for 25 zł per portion. And if you go for a walk, you have to grab an ice cream. Here, again, we prefer Italian-style gelato from 6 zł per scoop.
3. Prices In a Polish Restaurant
We Poles love… Guess what. Italian food! We have it for lunch, dinner, and get together with friends for pizza. Pizzerias are probably the most common type of restaurant in Poland. The cost of a pizza in Poland is from 25+ zł for a simple margherita to even 60 zł for a fancier pizza with loads of ingredients. Recently the most popular type is Neapolitan pizza. One serving of pasta costs between 30-40 zł.
The second type of food we love when eating out is burgers: from classic beef to vegetarian ones. The cost of a burger is around 30 zł (+ 10 zł for french fries).
What else do we like? Sushi. This will be a little bit more expensive, but still we really like to go out for sushi. The price per person is around 55 zł (counting 2 rolls per person).
What about Polish food? Polish pierogi are 30-35 zł, a pork chop (kotlet schabowy) is around 45 zł and a classic Silesian dinner is around 50-60 zł. If you visit Silesia, you’ll have to try it! And what’s included in a Silesian dinner? Check this post.
Many restaurants offer a lunch menu that includes two courses and sometimes a dessert and beverage. The price is around 30-35 zł which is actually a good value for the money. Dinner for two in a good restaurant will cost you around 200 zł with drinks.
Are you vegetarian or vegan? No problem. Any larger Polish city has some vegetarian food places. It’s also completely normal that even regular restaurants offer some plant-based dishes to choose from. You’ll find everything here. Of course bigger cities have better choices.
4. Where To Eat Cheap In Poland?
Yes, we’ve got McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King in Poland. But… Why eat at fast food chains when you can have cheap, tasty, and healthier Polish food?
If you’d like to know what Polish home cooking tastes like, go to a bar mleczny (literally, a milk bar). This is a low cost food place that was popular during the Communist era providing government-subsidized traditional cuisine. And now they’re back.
There, you can have a soup for less than 10-15 zł, pierogi or placki for 15-25 zł, a piece of meat with side dishes is about 25 zł. In a regular restaurant, you’ll pay twice as much. Of course, there’s no fancy interior and you order at the bar, but it might be a perfect place for a quick (and tasty lunch).
In Poland, you’ll also easily buy kebabs, french fries, and hot dogs. They should cost around 15+ zł (more or less depending on size). But there’s one more Polish treat on the go you just have to try. It’s zapiekanka!
According to Wikipedia, it’s a toasted open-face sandwich made of a sliced baguette, topped with sautéed mushrooms, cheese, and ham, and served hot with ketchup. The cost? 15-25 zł (depending on ingredients).
5. Bar And Pub Prices In Poland
Time for a night out! As we already said, the most common way to spend the evening is to meet up for a beer. A beer – Polish piwo – is also the Polish word that most foreigners know.
Remember: 1 piwo, 2 piwa. Oh yes, now you’re ready to come to Poland. When just asking for a beer, you’ll receive a 500ml glass (duże piwo). A small one is normally 300 ml.
The most common type of beer in Poland is the classic pale lager and the best-known Polish brands are: Tyskie, Lech, Żywiec. The price for a big glass of these is around 12 zł. We also have more and more small craft beer brands and multitap bars to try them. They might be more expensive, up to 25 zł, but they are really worth the price. Poland is a beer country with good beers. To prove that, here we recommend some best multitap bars in Katowice.
And vodka? Mostly at old-style weddings. There are bars selling shots of vodka for 8-10 zł, but most young people prefer to meet for something lighter. And we do like flavored vodkas, especially lemon or cherry-flavored. It’s a Polish staple.
Younger generations prefer to meet up for a cocktail or wine: Aperol Spritz is around 25 zł, and a glass of wine is around 15 zł.
Is it a lot for someone earning in Euro or USD? Maybe not, but drinking out is quite expensive for Poles. That’s why we have our “domówka”.
6. Tips, Payments, And Other Need-To-Knows
In restaurants with self-service everybody pays for themselves. In a restaurant it depends on how you agree and the relationship between everybody. In most cases everybody pays for themselves also, but sometimes one person pays the bill and then the rest pay them back. Sometimes we also split the bill equally. Remember you can pay by card literally everywhere in Poland.
A tip is around 10% of the total bill, but it’s voluntary. We don’t add this to the bill as in Italy. It’s usually left on the table after we pay the bill, in cash. Of course you can ask the waiter to add this to your bill, but it’s not common.
After the dinner we would rather not ask for coffee or extra dessert. We usually have one drink (or beer, or cocktail) along with our meal.
In the evening we meet around 8pm, most restaurants close at 10 or 11pm. Pubs are open until midnight, 1am, and cocktails bars until 2 or even 3 am. And if partying soo long, don’t forget to grab a zapiekanka when going back home 🙂
Have you already got an appetite for Poland? If so, pack your stuff and come! Poland is a beautiful country and we can’t wait to see you here.