Moving to Wroclaw – Our Arrival Guide for Expats
You are considering moving to Wroclaw? Or maybe the decision already has been made? Probably you already arrived as one of the fresh expats in Wroclaw? No matter, in which of these categories you consider yourself, you found the right place!
Here we have consolidated all relevant information that you possibly might need when moving to Wroclaw! However, we want to focus more on the practical stuff and not create a guide to Polish adminstration and regulations for foreigners. But for these topics of course we will point out some further links which will be helpful for your relocation to Wroclaw!
Let us try to start with the basics and then slowly get to the fun part of living in Wroclaw!
Residency and Legal obligations
We probably could write a full blog post about healthcare in Poland, work contracts, tax system, residency cards and all these things but there is already much valuable information out there, so for these points we will be pointing you out to more detailed sources.
What we definitely recommend is to make sure you get yourself a PESEL number as soon as possible as you will need this one for most other things, so make sure it is on top of your priority list.
- Here more info on the PESEL number
- Useful information on Healthcare in Poland
- Tax Information / Working in Poland
- Check out Przejście Dialogu here if you need an individual consultation as Migrant
Be aware that in Lower Silesia and in particular in Wroclaw there are massive waiting times – up to multiple years (!) – to receive the so called ”Karta Pobytu” which is a huge issue for non-EU citizens coming to Poland. During the waiting time for it you are not allowed to leave Poland, and much more issues are out there around this topic – but other sources cover these topics in much more detail.
Finding an apartment in Wroclaw
Well, let us proceed with another challenge – finding a flat in Wroclaw! The cost for renting has gone up quite a bit in the past years and it is probably fair to say that the cost of renting an apartment in Wroclaw is cost wise on the same level like in other large cities in Western Europe, so say goodbye to the times where Poland was considered to be a country with low cost of living… (By the way, here we have more information about cost of living in Wroclaw).
Here are our recommendations on where to find a flat, room or apartment in Wroclaw as foreigner:
- OTODOM – is probably the largest portal with rooms and apartments offered for rent and to buy
- OLX – originally for buy/sell announcements, but you can find a lot of flats on it too
- Check out these Facebook Groups:
- Rent a flat in Wroclaw (English)
- Foreigners Wroclaw Flats and Accomodation (English)
- If you speak Polish, this is the largest group to rent flats and rooms in Wroclaw: WROCŁAW NA WYNAJEM – mieszkania, pokoje.
General hint: Never, ever pay anything upfront before seeing the place. We also received word that you better look for private offers as some of the real estate agencies might surprise you with quite some hidden fees.
Where to rent an apartment in Wroclaw?
If you want to know in which area of Wroclaw you should live, our little district guide to Wroclaw might give you a little bit of feeling at least on the city centre itself. When it comes to finding the best matching district for you as individual it might be very different depending on your situation (student, single, couple, family, etc) and preferences. Therefore we do not recommend any specific parts in Wroclaw to stay or even to avoid – but we do recommend to ask in some of the groups we suggest to join further below in this post and describe specifically what is important for you…
Essentials – get a SIM card and bank account
Well, of course you should have a local bank account and it just makes sense to get a local SIM card as soon as possible as the cost for mobile data in Poland is still amongst the least expensive in the whole European Union.
Opening a bank account in Wroclaw/Poland
The following banks are amongst the most favourite ones amongst expats, however for all of them you find good opinions and bad ones at the same time 🙂
- Millennium Bank
(recommended for non-Polish speakers!)
- Alior Bank
- BGŻ BNP Paribas
We recommend Millennium (use it ourselves) as they have quite a good service for non-Polish speakers, you can prepare the application online (even not being in Wroclaw yet) and just verify your identity once at the local branch later. The banking app is available in English which is a big plus if you are just moving to Wroclaw.
Here you can prepare the account opening process online at Millennium Bank.
Converting your money into Polish Zloty
All of the Polish banks have quite exorbitant exchange rates if you want to pay in other currency than Polish Zloty, or in case you convert your own currency into Zloty.
Never, Never, ever do that with any of these banks mentioned before!
We recommend Wise as currency exchange platform as it is the cheapest way to exchange currencies worldwide. Or alternatively the CENT Kantor exchange office in the city center if you are a cash person.
Getting a SIM Card in Poland
We recommend the SIM Card from Orange as we made our best experience with them. They are available as eSim and therefore can be used as second sim card just for data as well if you want to keep your previous number – the application is available in English as well.
Currently 30 GB of data volume only cost 30 PLN monthly, including all domestic calls and messages. For only 35 PLN per month you get already 45 GB of data (including 5G high speed!) and if you need 150 GB it is just 80 PLN monthly. The best: all social media data is included and does not count against the limit.
You will get PLN 30 of credit in case you are using our discount code (and we also get something, yeah)! Download the app, register, enter the code MIRKONF2H before choosing a payment method and activate the Plan.
You can download the app here or check all offers from Orange here.
Applications that you should have
When living in Wroclaw, there are a couple of applications which make your life in Wroclaw much easier, most of our friends have these apps installed on their phones, so we quickly recommend them to you:
- Perfect for getting around with public transport in Wroclaw (check also out our blog post on that topic, as buying tram tickets the first time might be tricky!)
- It has the latest schedules, makes it easy to navigate from A to B and most of the times even real time information from busses and trams – a true must have app in Wroclaw!
- But: No, at this point you are not able to buy the tickets with that application, it is purely to find out how to get around in the best possible way with public transport.
- Want to go outside of Wroclaw? With Koleo you are able to purchase regional train tickets online, the best way to explore Lower Silesia. Check out our recommendations for amazing day trips from Wroclaw, most of them are within reach of regional trains!
- With this application you can collect loyalty points in many venues in Wroclaw, not only cafés but also restaurants and more – highly recommended, we use it ourselves all the time since it started in Wroclaw! In our blog post about the best cafés in Wroclaw you find some more info.
- Looking for an apartment to rent, or you consider even buying some real estate in Wroclaw? Otodom is one of the most popular portals where plenty of real estate is listed to rent and buy.
- You want to buy or sell something in your neighbourhood? OLX is sort of the Polish version from Craigslist or local eBay listings. You can find apartments, clothes, cars, pretty much everything. But be aware – never pay anything upfront, of course there are also some scammers around….
- Who does not know that feeling? It is Sunday evening and the fridge is empty… To order food in Wroclaw to your home, there are plenty of options like Uber Eats, Wolt, Glovo, but we would mostly recommend Pyszne to you (in other countries known as Lieferando, and your accounts already created in other countries actually work seamless in Poland as well).
- We recommend you a good translation app in case you do not speak Polish yet – in our experience DEEPL provides much better results than Google Translate when it comes to Polish, keep that in mind.
- With that application you will be able to buy tram tickets, however the process of buying them contactless on the tram is something we find more comfortable, check out the details for that in our guide to public transport in Wroclaw here. We still include it at some people might prefer this app 🙂
- You don‘t have your own bike? Join the City Bike rental system in Wroclaw with the WRM app, more details also available in our guide on how to get around in Wroclaw here. In that post you also find information on which e-scooters and car rental schemes are available.
- Of course, depending on your choice, you should have the application of your bank to be able to use some of the local payment methods. Just to mention BLIK, which is an easy way to pay online. During the check out you just put a six digit number from your banking app into the payment field, then confirm it on your app, and the payment is completed. With BLIK you can also get cash from any ATM without the need of having a physical credit card with you – very convenient. Apart from that, contactless payment is pretty much the standard payment method for everything, so make sure your credit card is added to Apple Pay or your Google Wallet.
- In case you have a private healthcare plan with LUXMED, which is part of many employment contracts with larger companies in Wroclaw, don’t miss out on the ”Portal Pacjenta LUX MED” app to book doctor appointments, see test results, etc.
Get to know the city
After completing the more administrative and most likely non-fun-parts before, we can slowly start with getting used to the cool and vibrant city you just moved into!
For the beginning we definitely recommend to join one of the daily free walking tours in Wroclaw, as they provide you with a lot of general information about Wroclaw, you will have an initial overview of the old town and maybe make your first contacts a well!
After that of course, you should check out some of the amazing places Wroclaw has for coffee, food and drinks here!
And last but not least, on our monothematic city blog – just about Wroclaw and it’s surrounding – you find a lot of useful information about living in Wroclaw, the best things to do in Wroclaw, and much more. Just have a look around via the menu and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Facebook!
Be aware that Wroclaw has much more to offer than just the city center. There are some great local neighbourhood maps out there, which will help you to explore the not so obvious parts of Wroclaw – we featured them here in our district guide to Wroclaw. If you want to escape from the city life, here we have the best day trips from Wroclaw.
Depending on the country where you are coming from, you might be used to open shops on Sunday – this is not the case anymore in Poland. You will find some basic groceries in one of the countless Zabka convenience stores, but shopping malls are restricted and only allowed to open on Sunday for special occasions (in 2022 for example there are seven days with Sundays open).
Check out these English-speaking events for foreigners
We are lazy people, and we are completely honest about that. This is the only reason we do not have any event calendar at the moment on our blog – it simply takes a lot of effort to keep it up to date on a weekly or even daily basis. Nevertheless, there are some events for the English speaking community, which happen on a regular basis and we are very happy to recommend these to you!
Polish Cinema for Beginners
A wonderful idea for everybody who is moving to Wroclaw, but likewise for tourists who are just visiting Wroclaw for a couple of days and want to do something more local. The Polish Cinema for Beginners is a series of movie screenings in different places of Wroclaw, with focus on Polish movies or at least movies with a Polish context – but always with English subtitles. Very often there is a little discussion after the screening, sometimes even with the director of the movie.
An amazing way to learn about Polish culture, improve your Polish skills, meet other people and just do something fun!
The Open Mic Comedy Shows
You like comedy? Perfect. Then for sure you will be enjoying the Open Mic Comedy! Normally, once per week there is the open stage mic in Wroclaw.
The concept is fairly simple, the performers get 5 minutes on stage to tell jokes or whatever they want. There is a mix of quite professional performers, but quite often you find somebody who is brave enough to get on stage for the first time, it is all about fun. Maybe you even want to give it a try yourself? Then you will be rewarded with a free drink!
Venues might be changing, hence we are linking the Facebook Page from WorldWideComedy here.
The English-Polish Radio RAM Sunday Lunch
A really nice concept is the Sunday Lunch program on Radio RAM. Every Sunday between 12-14h, they are broadcasting the probably only English-Polish radio show in Wroclaw. Mostly, English-speaking guests are invited to talk about their life in Wroclaw, what has brought them here, and one of the hosts is translating it into Polish. We have been invited as guests too and really liked the vibes. Equally interesting because of the content itself and the possible positive impact it has in case you are learning Polish!
Connect with others
The events we just introduced to you are really great, but on the other hand it surely would be nice to connect with others, right? Let us recommend you some Facebook groups first where foreigners, expats, and other people connected to the international community in Wroclaw are discussing current topics, sharing stuff to do, helping others and more:
- Wroclaw Expats (by far the largest, where we got nice hints for this post as well!)
- Wroclaw International
- Wroclaw International Game Night
- Wroclaw Expats Trekking
- Foreigners in Wroclaw
- Language Exchange Club Wroclaw
- New in Wroclaw
- Wroclaw Girl Gone International
In addition, there are plenty of local language groups like ”Italians in Wroclaw”, ”Germans in Wroclaw”, and many more, just go on facebook and look out for them if you like to stick to your own people 😉
If you are looking for regular meet-ups in Wroclaw, in these local groups you will find the latest schedules and meeting points, but also in the larger and more generic groups, you will easily find many international meetings.
Learn Polish in Wroclaw
Now we are getting to the hardest part! Certainly we can agree that Polish is not the easiest language in the world to learn, but… hey… It will be sort of a superpower! You will be able to communicate seamlessly with around 38 Million people and even if your Polish is not perfect, just for trying you will get a smile very often.
The classics – get a nice book to study for yourself or in combination with some classes. We recommend the books from Justyna Bednarek here.
If you want fast successes and get a basic understanding of what is going on around you, we recommend the Babbel language learning application.
It gives you sort of basic understanding for everyday situations and the most important words – as part of the free trial period. If you decide to proceed with a professional plan, you can advance your Polish even further.
Polish Language Schools in Wroclaw
Well, of course there are plenty of Polish language schools available in Wroclaw! No matter if you are interested in joining group lessons or you prefer individual classes, the offer is huge. As we heard a lot of good and bad things from different language schools, please feel free to share your experience in the comment box under this post, so fellow readers can benefit from both good and bad experiences 😉
We hope that our post gave you some insights on moving to Wroclaw, arriving and the very first basics to take care of – with a little bit of fun at the same time 🙂 We would be more than happy that in case you have any specific additional suggestions, just post them to the comment box below.
My name is Sam. My family and I recently relocated to Wroclaw. I am looking to network and meet up. Drop me an email. Design112358@gmail.com
Thanks for consolidating this information it covers all the basic questions that come in mind while planning for moving to Wrocław.
This guide definitely helps an individual to plan his relocation or trip to Wrocław.