Relocation

Location Guide: Gdańsk

Welcome to Gdańsk, Poland

Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast. It’s Poland’s principal seaport and the centre of the country’s fourth largest metropolitan area. The city is on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay, in conurbation with the city of Gdynia, the spa town of Sopot, and a myriad of suburban communities which together form a metropolitan area called the Tricity. Gdańsk itself has a population of nearly half a million.

The city has a rich and complex political history, with periods of Polish rule, periods of German rule, and two spells as a free city. Gdańsk has been known by many names, including Danzig, Gdania, Gyddanyzc, Kdanzk, Gdanzc, Danceke, Danzc, Danczk, Danczik, Danczig and Gdąnsk amongst others! The city was founded in 997 and has been a part of modern Poland since 1945.

The city is the centre of Poland’s sea trade and a bustling industrial centre. Historically, it was an important seaport and shipbuilding centre. Gdańsk is sometimes called the Amber Capital of the World. The area surrounding the city is the richest known source of the semi-precious stone, and the product can be found in many of the city’s shops and tourist areas. Of course, the ones containing insects are much more expensive, but they’d make for a unique and interesting present!

Gdańsk has a temperate climate, with cold, moderate winters and mild summers, similar to other Northern cities in Europe.

Gdańsk is a very inexpensive city, cost of living wise. On average, rent is nearly half the prices you’d expect to pay in cities like Berlin and Paris, and there is a wealth of excellent properties available close to the city centre. Groceries, drink, entertainment and consumer costs are also up to 50% cheaper. Our roles in Gdańsk all over extremely competitive salaries against the national average, and the lower costs of living mean that a lower wage goes even further in Gdańsk than a high one would in other European cities.

Gdańsk, is also a major tourist destination in the summer months, as millions of Poles and EU citizens flock to the beaches on the Baltic coastline to enjoy the sunshine and beautiful sandy beaches. 

Working in Gdańsk

The city has strong industrial links, with the industrial sections dominated by shipbuilding, petrochemical and chemical industries, and food processing. The share of high tech sectors like electronics and IT are on the rise, along with a burgeoning telecommunications industry. Amber processing is a primary industry, as the majority of the world’s amber deposits lie along the Baltic coast.

The working conditions in Poland are fairly standard compared with mainland Europe, normal working hours would be between 8-4 or 9-5, across 40 hours per week. Employees are entitled to at least 20 paid annual leave days, or 26 days if they have worked for more than 10 years. The tax rate averages around 18% and it increases if the salary is over a certain threshold (into Managerial salary levels). The local currency is Polish Złoty with minimum wage per month around 1298.18 zł (€315) which should give you an idea of how cheap the cost of living can be. In most Polish companies (excluding banks and consulting firms) the dress code is towards casual and conservative. If you work in an international company it is a given that you would wear a business suit/business attire. 

Many Poles, particularly under 35’s, have a good grasp of English language, with a number being adept at other European languages, with German being the most common. English is the business language but often workplaces will lapse into Polish out of habit. In a multicultural environment like a call centre or technical support centre, English will be widely spoken. Many older Poles have a grasp of Russian but would be likely to deny this, but they’d have a reasonable understanding.

Having a grasp of a few Polish phrases will help smooth your early business and social encounters and gain you fast friends. The language is hard for English speakers to learn and if you try and stumble over your words, people may laugh at you, but they’ll certainly appreciate the effort.

Living in Gdańsk

Gdańsk has cheap train, bus and taxi services frequently around the city, though it is recommended that you book your tickets in advance, or write down your destination on a piece of paper, as there isn’t a great deal of English information around the railway stations, though increasingly, automated ticket machines are being introduced with English language support.

The main railway station, Gdańsk Główny, is a beautiful historic building split into two separate stations, The PKP station is for intercity and long distance journeys, and the SKM station is for commuter trains. There are separate ticket offices and platforms, so it’s hard to get lost.

City buses and trams are operated by ZTM Gdańsk and a number of motorways connect the city with the South coast of Poland, most notably the A1. The Gdańsk Lech Walesa Airport has international links and frequent, inexpensive flights all over Europe. The train connections provide links with all major Polish cities, including Warsaw, Lodz, and Szczecin. 

It’s not recommended to rent a car in Gdańsk, as traffic can be a bit crazy at times. There is a lot of routes for cycling in the city centre but you should only do so if you’ve experience cycling in cities in the past. The buses, trams and trains are safe but in a car or in a taxi be careful, as Polish drivers can be a bit relaxed about obeying road laws! Be especially careful when crossing streets as drivers will not slow down to let you across. For this reason, you’ll often see crowds of locals waiting patiently at crossings. Wait with them, as jaywalking can incur a on the spot fine and crossing the road at a non-designated spot is dangerous.

Keep your wits about you when selecting a taxi, the same in any European country. Only get into a taxi that clearly displays a legitimate company mark. If you’re in doubt, look up services online and always ask how much the journey will cost before you get in.

The Stogi beach is worth visiting. It’s only a tram journey out of the city. Get off the tram at Stogi Plaza and go for a swim. The beach is large, with clean and fine sand, plenty of life guards, and a number of food stands and bars. There is also the Port of Gdańsk, a seaport located on the southern coast of Gdańsk Bay within the city.

Gdańsk is the starting point of the EuroVelo 9 cycling route which continues southward through Poland, then into the Czech Republic, through Austria and Slovenia, before ending in Croatia. This makes it a great city to live in for any cycling fans.

The city comes alive in the summer when the weather is good, and the cafes and restaurants spill out onto the street, the museums open late, and the streets are always busy with people and festivals. Alcohol is cheap and bars serve late into the night, often staying open all night, as long as someone is there to drink. Be aware that compared to several other European countries, Polish beer and vodka is like rocket fuel, so be especially aware of your limits, you wouldn’t want to get thrown in the drunk tank!

It’s worth picking up a tourist card in Gdańsk, even if you’ve relocated, and consider yourself a local. The tourist card is cheap (13 PLN) and provides a wealth of discounts across nearly 250 different locations. They can be purchased from most of the tourist offices in the city centre.

The oldest part of Gdańsk (rebuilt after WWII) is the centre/downtown. It’s divided into two districts: Stare Miasto (the Old Town) and Glowne Miatso (the Main Town). The Old Town is a smaller district south of the shipyard, and the Main Town is the larger district, full of tourist attractions. There can be a bit of confusion here, as the Old Town is used to name the Main Town on direction signs throughout a city, but a native will point you towards the Old Town if you ask about it. It’s a bit confusing, but if you want to get to the Old Town you’re better asking for directions than following signs. Or simply follow the crowds, or a map.

The Main Town filled with tourist attractions, and gets very busy in the summer, with the streets being crowded with tourists and vendors. It’s better to explore it off season when things will be quieter, but most of the attractions are closed through the Winter as well so if you’d like to see the museums you may have to wait in a queue for a while. In the winter however, the city is yours to explore as you like. 

Sopot is the party capital in the summer. There are more nightclubs and bars than you could ever find time to visit, but it couldn’t hurt to give it a shot! The young and beautiful make the town their home in the summer months, basking on the beach under the glorious sun and blue skies by day, and partying under the stars at night.

Sopot also boasts the excellent Monte Cassino street which is full of places to eat, shop and drink. The city also has the longest wooden pier in Europe, measuring at 515 metres. The pier is a perfect place for a stroll on a summer evening, though there is a toll of around 10 zloty for admittance.

If your timing is good, you can catch the Orange film festival on the pier, which shows nightly films at the end of August. Watching a great film halfway out to sea on the pier on a warm night is sheer bliss. For the romantics among us, you can watch a classic film on the pier with your kohanie (sweetheart) in the open air – don’t forget to bring a blanket and perhaps a discreetly stashed bottle of wine. It’s a perfect way to end a summer evening.

Restaurants

Gdańsk has restaurants all over the city in both Old and Main Town, covering a huge range of food and styles, from the renowned Goldwasser Restaurant to the Restaurant Pirate Cruise, located on board an old fashioned galleon, there is always somewhere to dine in style or comfort. Whether you fancy high quality European dishes or a Chinese take-out, Indian, Jewish, Russian, or East European cuisine, or maybe just a pizza, Gdańsk has something to satisfy everybody’s taste buds.

Bars

Clubs

Average Cost of Living in Gdańsk

Restaurants

Average

Meal at an inexpensive restaurant

20.00 zł

Meal for 2 with 3 courses, mid range restaurant

80.00 zł

Combo meal at McDonalds, etc.

17.00 zł

 

Drinks 

                                                              Average

Domestic Beer (0.5 litre draught) 

                                                              7.00 zł

Imported Beer (0.33 litre bottle)

                                                              7.00 zł

Wine (10 cl glass, depending on brand)

                                                              4.00 zl

Cappuccino

                                                              7.62 zł

Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle)

                                                              4.67 zł

Water (0.33 litre bottle)

                                                              3.20 zł

Transport

                                                                                                         Average

One way ticket 

                                                                                                         3.00 zł

Monthly Pass

                                                                                                         100.00 zł

Taxi Start 

                                                                                                          7.00 zł

Taxi 1km  

                                                                                                          2.50 zł

Petrol (1 litre)

                                                                                                          5.59 zł

Monthly Rent and Living Costs

Average

Apartment (1 bedroom) in city centre

1,481.25 zł

Apartment (1 bedroom) outside city centre

1, 157.14 zł

Apartment (3 bedrooms) in city centre

2,300.00 zł

Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside city centre

1,871.43 zł

Utilities (electricity, heating, water etc. for small apartment)

727.99 zł

1 minute of prepaid mobile tariff local (no discounts or plans)

0.25 zł

Internet (6 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)

43.56 zł

Sports and Leisure

                                                                              Average

Fitness club/gym, monthly fee

                                                                             134.29 zł

Tennis court rent (1 hour)

                                                                             45.00 zł

Adult cinema ticket

                                                                             21.50 zł

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