Kraków in the eyes of foreigners

Why do foreigners choose Kraków? What do they like most about the city? Kraków is an intercultural place with a lot of foreigners residing here. A lot of them came to Kraków to study or work, others were just visiting the city as tourists, but fell in love with it and decided to stay here longer. And it’s really hard not to, considering all the possibilities Kraków offers.

We talked to foreigners living in Kraków and found out how do they see life here and what do they like most about the city.

  • The most common answer was the beauty of the city itself. Indeed, Kraków boasts marvelous architecture of old town’s medieval houses. Mysterious Wawel Castle, imposing Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Market Hall take you back in time like with the wave of a magic wand. The city is soaked up with an old-school atmosphere – you’ll feel it just upon the arrival.
  • Kraków aspires to the title of a cultural capital of Poland and it hosts a lot of different interesting events – from cultural and sport events to educational or just entertaining. Kraków is bustling with life – hundreds of workshops, classes, festivals and concerts are organized here every week. There is also no shortage of places to eat delicious food, drink craft beers and stay merry late into the night in Krakow. The city features the highest density of pubs and clubs in the world – even the most picky request will be satisfied.
  • Since a lot of people from different countries reside in Kraków, it has become a really foreigner-friendly city. Majority of young generation in Poland speak English and radiate hospitality, and are always ready to help. As a multicultural city, Kraków makes it possible to meet people from all over the world and share your unique experience with them. Foreigners are always eager to learn more about Poland and its culture, they also try to learn the language. The fact that foreigners are curious about Polish culture and want to get to know it, is certainly a delight because it enhances the understanding of the surrounding reality and promotes integration.
  • What particularly appeals foreigners and makes them choose Kraków as their destination is relatively low prices, comparing to other big cities in Europe. Low costs of living were mentioned by the majority of respondents. Although the prices of many services and products are significantly lower than in Western Europe, their quality is on a quite high level.

“It’s a stunning international city, with a lot of attractions and many nice restaurants to eat at cheap prices. It also has  plenty of job opportunities and places to work from, also for remote employees,” says Fabio, a student from Italy.

  • Another reason why Kraków attracts foreigners is job opportunities. It’s not that hard to find a job for a foreigner even without knowing Polish. A lot of employers offer competitive salaries and career prospects. Moreover, working in Kraków is a great way to gain experience in an international environment. Foreigners also have the opportunity to improve their language skills and start an attractive career and development paths. Foreigners appreciate appealing working conditions, tolerance and respect for the cultural differences of employees. There are more and more international companies which decide to open up their branches in Kraków, so it is no surprise the city attracts a lot of business people and students from all over the world.
  • Kraków is also a great city to set up your business, what is yet another advantage of the place and the reason why foreigners decide to move here. Poland has one of the lowests prices on food and accommodation in Europe, while it still maintains Western Europe standards for quality of life, education and working ethics. That’s why Kraków is a suitable city to launch a business without spending millions.

However, it’s not all roses. Foreigners, as well as locals, are often complaining about smog in Kraków. The city is often shaded by polluted air, which puts off foreign visitors. Of course, the government is undertaking actions to cope with this problem and, hopefully, soon it would manage to deal with it.  

“Air pollution is the biggest drawback of this city, especially during winters,” comments Fabio.

“I don’t really feel smog and it’s not something that bothers me much or affects my well-being, but I know that some people are quite vulnerable to it,” claims Anna, a 21-year-old student from Ukraine.

While some claim that accommodation in Kraków is affordable and generally easy to find, others distinguish high rent price as a drawback. Well, it’s quite affordable compared to other European countries, but might be pricey for someone originating from Eastern Europe or Asia.  

Despite the few disadvantages, living in Kraków is generally pleasant. Kraków is often regarded as the best Polish city to live – although it’s quite infamous for air pollution – foreigners are enchanted by the charm of ancient streets and historic atmosphere of the place. The local authorities aim at making Kraków a multicultural city where foreigners can feel welcome and safe. Kraków is definitely a city that can steal your heart and never give it back.

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