Poland-currency-krakow

Poland’s Currency – The Ultimate Guide when Traveling to Krakow

Are you planning a trip to Krakow? That’s great, but I can imagine, that using unique Poland’s currency might be a little bit scary for you.

You don’t have to worry! Throw out every boring, practical guides and information booklets about Poland. Now let me turn you into a Polish money specialist, only by reading this post :).

Here is a comprehensive guide about polish złoty– related things, which will make your trip or stay much easier (especially if you already have Krakow Card)!

Want to get interesting pieces of information about Polish Zloty?

Follow me!

Poland and Currency, What You Need to Know?

I bet you would like to start with currency rate. So how does it look like?

  • 1 Euro is    ~4,2 zł (pretty stable)
  • 1 GBP is     ~4,7 zł (dropped, used to be 5-6 zł)
  • 1 Dollar is  ~3,4 zł (we update it after each Trumps speeches)

Below I will tell more about currency exchange rate and what are the prices. Stay with me!

Poland has its own currency called: Zloty, PLN or marked with short zł. 1 zł is 100 Groszy which is like cents in Dollar.

Poland Currency

Polish Currency

Some people are asking about “Krakow currency” but this is just a mental shortcut.

Why Doesn’t Poland Use the Euro?

Being totally honest with you, it just doesn’t make that much of an economic sense for us. Introducing new currency into the market is pretty expansive and usually, markets are not prepared for that.

Our current minimum wage is ~1600 zł meaning about 400€ which could not be accepted as a wage. So all the owners would need to increase salary which they are not ready for.

This might cause an overall increase in wages etc. but at the same time would slow down the market for years.

Slovakia is an example where euro made more problems than benefits.

And at the end, I’m proud we have  Polish Zloty :]

Listen to bit more words about Money of Poland

Zloty can be divided into 100 smaller units that are called grosz (abbreviated to gr).

Coins in circulation Notes in circulation
1 pln 10 pln
2 pln 20 pln
5 pln 50 pln
1 gr 100 pln
2 gr 200 pln
5 gr 500 pln
10 gr
20 gr
50 gr

Interesting fact:

To help the blind and partially-sighted, Polish banknotes carry a special mark. The distinctive embossed shape is used to identify the value of the banknote in the following way:

Polish_notes

Good tip: Make sure to always have some coins and small banknotes in your wallet. Various newsagents, vendors, or even small shops might not have enough cash to give you the change if you pay with a larger denomination. Asking people in the street to change banknote won’t be easy for a stranger either.

Does Polish Zloty start to look familiar? Now you will find out where and how to get it!

Complicated Polish Exchange Rate? Not at all!

Złoty exchange rate – cheatsheet for you!

Ever since Poland joined the European Union, the exchange rate for zloty has been fairly stable. 

Here’s how it looks:

EUR US Dollar UK Pound Złoty
Złoty 4,2 3,7 4,8
EUR 0,24
US Dollar 0,27
UK Pound 0,21

Good tip: services such as XE Currency Converter page always will show you daily, weekly, monthly, and annual breakdown of exchange rates.

But what it practically means?

  • 30 zł = 7/8€ for a Regular meal at a restaurant
  • 150 zł = 35€ for a hoodie in ZARA
  • 300 zł = 71€ for a double room in 3/4 Star hotel

Read more here about prices in Krakow

Nice information for you?

As you can see the exchange rate is pretty favoring Euro, so if you are from a country, where you get your salary in Euro, you may like the conversion to PLN and really enjoy shopping!

Strong but unstable GBP. Why?

Actually, things have changed after the Brexit announcement. In past years, 1 GBP to PLN was worth almost 6 zł! Anyway, it’s still really cheap for British to travel to Poland and have a meal in a really good restaurant for 10 GBP (check out list of top restaurants). The exchange rate from Pound to Zloty is not so stable now, so we will try to update you as often as possible

How come Poland doesn’t have the euro?

Poland is a part of European Union since 2004, so it might come as a surprise that Euro isn’t here as national currency.

The terms of the Treaty of Accession with the European Union state that all new member states shall participate in the Economic and Monetary Union from the date of accession as a member state with a derogation.

What does it mean?

It means that Poland is obliged to replace the Zloty with the Euro in the future, but at the moment, there is no real target date for the Polish euro adoption.

So it won’t happen in the nearest future.

Some claim, that Poland won’t join the Eurozone until at least 2020, so if you’re planning to travel to Poland soon, don’t expect your Euros to do the trick.

Why does it take so long?

According to recent polls, the general public opinion is against participating in the Eurozone. They show, that even more than 70% of surveyed Poles believe, that the adoption of the Euro would be bad for the Polish economy.

I like to use Złoty. I’m afraid that introduction of the Euro won’t be a good change for polish people. – Kasia

Can you pay in other currencies?

Unfortunately, in most places, it is not possible to pay with Euro or US Dollars. Only some hotels and shopping malls might accept such currencies. That’s why looking for the right place to exchange your money should be on the top of your “to do” list.

poland's currency

Start with…

Want to exchange money in Poland? No problem!

If you arrive with a wallet full of Euros or Dollars, don’t worry. Złoty is fully convertible and its rate of exchange depends on the current state of the exchange market.

But do not stress!

The best option is to exchange money once you arrive, but until you get your hands on polish złoty, you can easily pay with your debit or credit card.

If you want to get the first-hand impression about złoty, watch this video:

Places, where you can get polish money in Krakow – list of clues

Banks are the easiest places you can find, to get Poland’s money. You will exchange there practically any of the world’s currencies.

But it’s not the only way!

Since the money market is free, individual banks, Forex businesses, currency exchange bureaus and hotel reception desks also can buy and sell złoty at the price they wish. Naturally, the competition flattens the rate, but it’s still a good idea to shop around before you settle for a deal.

You can still find better exchange conditions!

poland's currency

Be smart!

Magical word? KANTOR!

It’s a common knowledge in Poland, that banks won’t give you rates that are as good as the ones you get at smaller exchange bureaus called ‘kantor’. Where can you find some ‘kantor’? They are usually located in bureaus in city centers, larger hotels, trains stations and shopping centers.

But remember:

These exchange bureaus usually accept only major currencies such as the American Dollar, the British Pound, Euro, the Canadian and Australian Dollar. But there is a huge possibility, that you will find there also Swiss Franc and other currencies of some European countries, such as the Hungarian Forint or Czech Koruna.

If you decide to exchange money in one of the exchange bureaus, you should know that in general, they buy dearer and sell cheaper than banks.

poland's currency

Money exchange place

Be smart!

Some of the exchange bureaus might be trying to cash in on the ignorance of tourists and offer much higher rates. Remember that finished transactions cannot be reversed there.

Last but not least:

Once you arrive, make sure to avoid ‘kantors’ located close to the Main Square as they’re often dodgy. Some trusted exchange bureaus in Krakow are located on Slawkowska street (for example, Grosz at Slawkowska 4) and Kantor Karmelicka, on Karmelicka street 22.

polish currency in Krakow

Map with some kantors in Krakow

And, to be honest, you don’t have to panic if those places will be hard for you to find at the beginning. Some nice local people will show you the way – just ask them!

Choose the best option for you!

Credit-cards-krakow

Cash or credit?

Plastic card vs. Złoty

Exchanging your money in Poland makes sense only if you’re planning to pay with cash.poland's currencyThe question is, will you need to pay with cash and if so, how often and where?

The truth is that cash still remains a popular payment method, but plastic money is catching on.

If you’re curious about ways’ of payment popularity in Poland, check The Polish Payment Landscape.

polish payment landscape

Here are the places, where you can pay by credit or debit card:

  • hotels
  • restaurants
  • gas stations
  • retailers
  • art galleries

BUT if you want to make a purchase at a newsstand or in a small, neighborhood grocery – better prepare some cash!

poland's currency

Street market in Krakow

Another good news:

You can be sure that elsewhere the payment terminal is, your debit or credit card will be accepted. That type of payment is considered a standard form of payment in Poland. Retail outlets, the majority of shops, and practically all restaurants accept major card companies.

Most popular cards in Poland are:

  • MasterCard
  • Visa and Maestro
  • American Express
  • Diners

All of them will be accepted by major ATMs in Poland.

Poland's currency

Polish złoty

But there is a catch in it:

You should know, that electronic cards such as Electron or Maestro can be used only in cash dispensers and at points of sale that are equipped with electronic card readers. These restrictions don’t apply to embossed cards such as Eurocard/Mastercard or VISA.

Can I pay with Bitcoin?

It might come as a surprise, but the number of places where you can pay with bitcoin is growing steadily in Poland. More and more of new places join the trend and allow visitors to use that type of digital currency.

You can ask for bitcoin payment in:

  • restaurants
  • cafés
  • museums

Have a look here to see a map of all the places where you can pay with bitcoin.

Not sure yet? There is still another option!

Krakow banks and ATMs

Poland's currency

Using ATM

You can use an ATM for getting some Polish money. ATMs are called ‘bankomat’ and you will find them almost all over the place – there are more than twenty two thousand ATMs located across Poland.

I was really surprised how many ATMs are in Poland. You can find it easily almost on every street and get polish money really fast! – Caroline

You can be sure:

Krakow is a large city so will have easy access to cash dispensers. Most ATMs operate 24 hours a day, and that’s why they offer much easier access to your money than banks.

You will find ATMs near:

  • airports
  • rail stations
  • banks
  • supermarkets
  • town centers
  • and other popular places.

Found one?

Polish ATMs are generally connected to international networks, but be sure to check with your bank or card issuer about the fees and charges incurred if you’re using your card abroad.

Poland's currency

Banks on Krakow’s street

Mostly there are no ATM fees in Poland. Local cash machines usualy do not charge a fee for foreign cards.

Be careful!

If you are picking up cash from an ATM in a busy spot, make sure to watch out for bank card skimmers. It’s smart to obstruct the view of your fingers when dialing the pin code to protect your card code from a spy camera.

Good tip: Pick a cash machine located inside a bank or a busy shopping center. These are considered to be the most secure ATM machines.

Poland's currency

Using ATM

Traveler’s cheques

Some tourists like to use traveler’s cheques for security. The advantage of traveler’s cheques is that if they are stolen or lost, the money will not be lost. The cheques can be “reissued” within a very short time.

Sounds nice?

The good news is you can cash traveler’s cheques. But you can do it only in two Polish banks (PKO BP and Pekao SA). Otherwise, you will find those traveler cheques are of little use here as almost nobody will accept them by way of payment, save some large hotels…

So, which option to choose?

Paying with a credit card seems like a smart move. It’s a very comfortable payment method for foreign visitors because you won’t need to exchange money before coming to Poland and waste time looking for attractive exchange rates.

Key takeaway

Even though Poland is not part of the Eurozone, the number of options for getting cash and exchanging money to złoty makes this country very friendly for visitors.

You will find out soon in practice, that it’s really easy to get and use Polish money.

Have you got any questions about paying in Krakow? Leave a comment below and share your experience with unique Polish Złoty!

If you already have Polish money, choose one of the wonderful tours around Krakow and enjoy the city!

Poland's currency

Fun in Krakow

AboutJules Bukovsky

Hi! I am Jules. I'm an expat, travel writer and an English teacher living in Krakow. I love art, hiking in the nature and experimenting with the local cuisine. What else would you like to know about me? My home is where I lay my hat. Maybe one day I will settle down but for now there is just too much to explore.

13 comments

  1. Thanks Jules, the information is very useful.
    I am living in Hong Kong and shall be visiting Poland 3 months later and this is my first time.
    I have a few questions and would like to have your advice if you do not mind.
    1. Is driving at Poland is a easy way to explore the interesting places ?
    2. If I rent a car will parking be a problem in the street ? Is parking meter generally on the side of road and how is it operated? By inserting coins or credit card ?
    3. Will parking center be easily found ?
    Thanks a lot !

    1. Hello!

      Thank you so much for your comment – I will gladly help with your questions:

      If you are planning to visit cities outside of Poland – hiring a car would be a good idea, but if you planning of explore just Krakow then I would recommend using public transportation. Krakow has a very good trams and buses transportation, and it is in my opinion more convenient than hiring a car.
      In the city center parking can be an issue. It is an Old city, so the are no parking lots as such. Your can park a car on the side of the pavement usually. Also please mind, that the strict Old Town is closed for cars. Parking meters can be found on the side of the road, you can also use an app like SkyCash to pay for parking/public transportation and in my opinion it is the most convenient way.

      So to summarize: if you are planning to go outside Krakow – hiring a car can be a good idea, but in just Krakow the easiest way is to use public transport 🙂

      I hope that helped, in case of any more questions – do not hesitate to contact me 🙂

      Best regards,
      Karolina

  2. We are coming to Poland and hiring a private tour guide who wants to be paid in zl. What is the best way to exchange $3000 into zl?
    Thanks.
    Mary

    1. Hello Mary,

      thank you for your question.
      In my opinion the easiest wy it to withdraw money directly from an ATM – if your bank does not charge you for using ATM internationally the fee should be the smallest.
      If you are planing to use a Exchange point somewhere please check at least 3 to 5 of them to find the best price.

      I hope that helps and if you need any more help – please contact me (karolina.sleczkowska@discovercracow.com)
      Best regards,
      Karolina

      1. I’m “piggy-backing” on your reply below.

        I will be in Krakow for only a few days later this month, and plan to use credit cards as much as possible. I will go to Italy right after that, and I usually buy some euros before my trips there, for immediate needs when I land, and then use an ATM thereafter. From what I have read, it might be more favorable for me to use some of the euros to exchange for zloty when I arrive in Krakow.

        Also, I plan to get a taxi at the Krakow airport even though the train seems to be a more economical option, simply because it will be more expedient after a transatlantic flight to just be dropped at my hotel with the baggage. Do taxis accept cash only?

        1. Dear Helen,

          Thank you for your comment.
          Yes, in my opinion, it’s the easiest and most convenient way. There is a great exchange place, it’s called Grosz on the Sławkowska Street and it has the best rates in Krakow, you might want to check it out.

          Taxis do accept cards as well. You can also use Uber, and avoid any problems with payment that way 🙂

          In case of any more questions – do not hesitate to contact me.

          Best regards,
          Karolina

  3. Hi Jules, great information, thankyou, especially ‘re Kantor and bankomat. We will be in Krakow next weekend for 4 days, hopefully the weather will be kind. I have already booked some trips and am really looking forward to my visit. I now plan to use MasterCard initially and get Zloty from the ATM when I arrive. One question. Do taxis only accept cash or do they take Mastercard. Many thanks – Ray

  4. Thanks for all the info, we are travelling to Krakow at end of month for 4 day city break, so you info about the money has greatly helped. Will prob just get it ordered here in uk to take with us that way all safe.

    Cheers
    Brian

  5. Hi, flying in to Krakow from Asia, would like to know if there are good kantors near the airport. Would we also be able to exchange for Prague’s currencies easily?

    Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*