Poland’s Currency – The Ultimate Guide when Travelling to Krakow
All you need to know about Polish złoty

08.10.2018

Are you planning a trip to Krakow? That’s great, but I 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. You'll become one 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)!

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Poland and Currency, What Do 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 USD is ~3,4 zł (we update it after each one of Trump's 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) - marked with short . 1 zł is 100 groszy which is like 100 cents in 1 dollar.

 

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


Why Doesn’t Poland Use 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 expensive 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 caused more problems than benefits.

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


A bit more about the Polish money

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

Coins in circulation

Notes in circulation

1 gr 10 pln
2 gr 20 pln
5 gr 50 pln
10 gr 100 pln
20 gr 200 pln
50 gr 500 pln
1 pln  
2 pln  
5 pln  

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-currency

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.

polish-currency-to-do-list

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 it's 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!

polish-currency

Be smart!


The magic 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 kantors? 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.

polish-currency-kantor

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 22.

polish-currency-map

Map with the locations of 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!

polish-currency-credit-cards

Cash or credit?

Plastic card vs. złoty

Exchanging your money in Poland makes sense only if you’re planning to pay with cash.The 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 (below).

polish-currency-info

Here are the places where you can pay with 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!

polish-currency-market

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.

polish-currency

But there is a catch:

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

polish-currency-atm

You can use an ATM for getting some Polish money. ATMs are called ‘bankomat’ and you will find them all over the place – there are more than 22 000 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
  • 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.

polish-currency-bank

Banks on Krakow’s street

For the most part, 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.

polish-currency


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 our 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!

polish-currency

Have fun in Krakow!

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Comments

Jay
0
2018.10.09 11:10
Very helpful information and easy to understand. Thank you!
moderator
5
2018.10.09 11:10
Thank you Jay! Glad you found it helpful!
Norma
0
2018.10.09 11:10
Lots of useful information, thank you
Karolina
0
2018.10.09 11:10
I'm so happy we could help, Norma!
Chrissy
0
2018.10.09 11:10
I will be in Krakow for a week in December. Your information has been THE most helpful. Every bit is useful for travelers. I have bookmarked this site to refer to as I make my plans. Thank you!
Karolina
5
2018.10.09 11:10
Thank you Chrissy! Have fun in Krakow during your stay (I'm sure you will have a blast!) Cheers :)
Ruba
4
2018.10.09 11:10
Useful...Thanks !
Karolina
5
2018.10.09 11:10
So glad to hear that, Ruba!
carole
5
2018.10.09 11:10
many thanks for your very informative,,easy to understand page.
Karolina
5
2018.10.09 11:10
Thank you Carol! It's great to hear :)
Anna
0
2018.10.09 11:10
Can you use credit/debit cards at the Christmas Market?
Karolina
5
2018.10.09 11:10
Hi Anna, I'm sure you can, but I would recommend also taking some cash with you - better to be safe than sorry ;)
Celia
0
2018.10.09 11:10
Going to Kraków next week thank you for all useful information great help
Karolina
5
2018.10.09 11:10
Hi Celia! Krakow is already dressed up fro Christmas, Im sure you'l love it here :)
Alan
0
2018.10.09 11:10
Thanks Guys, excellent and very informative !
Karolina
5
2018.10.09 11:10
You are welcome! So glad you found it useful :)
Alan
5
2018.10.09 11:10
....forgot to press the 5 stars !
Karolina
5
2018.10.09 11:10
Could you get any nicer? :D

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