Money, prices and shopping

MONEY

Polish currency is the zloty (zł, PLN). One zloty is divided into 100 groszy (1 zł = 100 gr).

 

Banknotes with the following denominations 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 zł and coins with the following denominations 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 gr and 1, 2, 5 zł are in the circulation.

 

Currencies may be exchanged in numerous bureaux de change or in banks.

 

Currency exchange points are usually located in city centres, at railway stations, airports, in some hotels and in places with higher numbers of tourists.

 

Current exchange rates can be found on the website of the National Bank of Poland (NBP).

BANKS, ATMs AND BANK CARDS

Money, cash traveller’s cheques and conduct all financial operations may be exchanged in banks, however, there may be queues. Standard opening hours for banks are 10 am–6 pm.

 

ATMs of various networks and banks are popular and easily accessible in larger towns and large agglomerations. Cash may be taken out of them, usually 24h per day, in denominations constituting the multiple of PLN 50.

 

The list of ATMs in the entire territory of Poland may be found here.

 

A bank card constitutes a very popular, safe and convenient means of payment in Poland. It may be used without any problem in supermarkets, at filling stations, in restaurants or hotels. Only in newsagent’s kiosks, local shops or smaller towns and villages you still need to have cash on you. Both embossed (Visa, Mastercard) and electronic cards (Visa Electron, Maestro) are accepted.

 

A credit card is necessary when we want to rent a car or pay for online shopping (e.g. air ticket).

 

In the case of a loss or theft of a card (Mastercard or Visa), you should call the following number as soon as possible:

Polcard (Authorisation Department) 0 22 515 30 00

PRICES

Prices of food articles in Poland are not high, the shopping is cheapest in hypermarkets and at markets, while small shops are slightly more expensive.

 

Examples of prices of groceries:

Prices of basic products

Bread – PLN 2–4

Milk – PLN 2–3

Corn Flakes – PLN 3-5/250 gr

Yoghurt – PLN 2-3/ 250-300 gr

Hard cheese – PLN 25 /kg

Ham – PLN 20–30 /kg

Butter – PLN 5–10

Mineral water – PLN 2-3 /1.5 litre

Soda (Pepsi, Coca-Cola, etc.) – PLN 6/ 2 litre

Coffee – PLN 3-10/cup, mug

Chocolate – PLN 3-5/bar

French Fries – PLN 7-10/300 gr

Hamburger/Cheesburger – PLN 5 -10

Kebab – PLN 11-15

Dinner – PLN 14-25

Beer – PLN 3–5 /0.5 litre

Petrol – PLN 5 / 1 litre

 

How much we spend in a restaurant depends on its standard and location.

 

In the cheapest places we can eat a one-course meal for PLN 10–20, in restaurants with a higher standard we will pay PLN 50 or more for a three-course meal.

 

Night life is the most expensive in the capital and in large cities, the entry into a club costs PLN 5 – 30, we will pay PLN 7–13 for 0.5l of beer, PLN 15–30 for a drink.

 

Cinema tickets will set you back by PLN 15–25, theatre, opera or concert tickets are more expensive: about PLN 30–100.

BARGAINING AND TIPS

Bargaining over the price is not a very well developed custom in Poland. In shopping centres and chain stores the customers almost never negotiate prices with the sales personnel. Only in case of purchasing an expensive product (e.g. electronic equipment) you may try to negotiate a better price. However, buyers may negotiate prices at bazaars, markets or fairs. Particularly if they want to buy handicraft products or antiques. With some effort, you may “reach an agreement” and get a really good price.

 

Tips are not mandatory in Poland and there is no obligation to give them. It should only be done when you are satisfied with the service. The usual amount of tips reaches 10% of the bill, in some better restaurants it is automatically added to the bill as the payment for service. Tips for hotel service personnel may be between PLN 5 and 20, depending on the standard of the hotel in which we stay. There is no custom of tipping taxi drivers in Poland.

SHOPPING

Supermarkets, hypermarkets, shopping centres and local stores are located in large cities and small towns of Poland. The opening hours are not formally set and may vary, depending on the city or area.

 

Shopping centres and hypermarkets

Shopping centres are open from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, hypermarkets usually from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. In most shopping centres there are supermarkets, restaurants, cinema, souvenir shops, etc. That is why shopping centres have become places most frequently visited by shoppers, as well as places where friends meet.

 

Local shops and filling stations

Both in large cities and in small towns, there are local shops in residential estates where you can buy groceries and household goods. Most of them are open from Monday to Friday, between 7:00 or 8:00 am and 6:00 pm, and on Saturdays until 2:00 pm, and they are usually closed on Sundays.

If you need basic products late at night, your best bet are filling station shops open 24/7, even on church and public holidays.

 

Markets

Markets, where you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables and many other things, are very popular in Poland. They are open from Monday to Saturday and are located near large residential estates.

 

Cepelia

Souvenirs from Poland, such as amber jewellery, antiques or Polish handicraft products, may be purchased from galleries usually located in historic parts of the town. In historic centres of larger cities there are many art galleries specialising e.g. in amber jewellery, Polish handicraft products, antiques. The “Cepelia” shops offer handicraft products: rugs, wall hangings, carpets, furniture, pottery, sculptures, paintings, wicker products, glass, jewellery, leather products, etc.