Whether you’re coming to Krakow for the first time or you’re one of those who keep coming back to this wonderful Polish city, there is one thing that you might still struggle to understand – Polish money. Yup, Krakow currency is zloty, not euro, so it’s not always obvious to know how much you’re paying for your pint at Banialuka or coffee in Karma. Luckily, we’re here to help you answer all the questions you might have regarding Polish money.
This guide to Krakow currency will help you get your head around how much zloty is worth. We will also give you tips on how not to get ripped off when exchanging your money or using ATMs. We’ll talk you through the ins and outs of possible payment methods and options to get the cash ready without paying over the odds. Read on…
What’s in this guide to Krakow currency?
- What is the Polish currency?
- Where to exchange currency in Krakow?
- ATMs for Krakow currency
- Using foreign currency in Krakow
- Using cash in Krakow
- Paying by card in Krakow
- Tips on Krakow currency
What is the Polish currency?
You might think that Europe is one of the easiest continents to navigate the currency, but you should know that not all EU countries use the euro. That includes Poland, where the currency is the Polish zloty. That’s at least for the time being because Poland has agreed to adopt the euro in the future. However, that might not happen for years.
The Polish zloty is slightly easier to understand than those really confusing currencies, like Hungarian forint or Vietnamese dong. You won’t get wads of cash worth peanuts! There are six nominations of notes from 10 to an elusive 500 zl (which we’ve never actually seen) and three of zloty coins (1, 2 and 5). There are also small coins known as grosze, which you’ll often get in shops as change, but they’re not worth much at all. However, they sometimes come in handy when buying obwarzanki or bus tickets so don’t throw them into the fountains.
Obviously, we can’t give you an exact estimation of how much is zloty worth in different currencies, but there used to be a time when five zlotys would equal one British pound and around four zlotys twenty would give you one euro. These days zloty is worth less in comparison to major currencies, but the figures change daily. You can use the calculator below to check the up-to-date rates but you can also get the most accurate figures from Google.
Where to exchange currency in Krakow?
Although cash isn’t as popular as it once was, many people still prefer to use paper money to cards. There are actually still many places in Krakow that don’t use card machines, so having at least some notes on you isn’t a bad idea at all. There comes a problem, though, when you come to Krakow with some euros, pounds, or dollars in your pocket. There is no need to panic, though, there are oodles of places, where you’ll exchange your money for the local currency.
If you’re a frequent traveller, you should know very well that exchanging currency anywhere in the world can be a bit of a headache. Krakow is no different. There are places you should avoid if you don’t want to get ripped off, but there are also kantors (Polish for exchange shops) that offer decent rates.
We’d generally avoid the currency shops at the airport and the main square because they tend to overcharge you. Florianska Street is also renowned for dodgy exchange rates, so better steer clear of those too. You should also try to avoid changing your money at night because many of the shops that are open late charge extra for extended working hours.
It’s not all that bad, though. There are also some places we’d highly recommend for exchanging currency in Krakow. The shop on the top floor of Galeria Krakowska, the shopping centre right by the train station, is one of the best in town. There are also a couple of good spots on Slawkowska Street. We’d always check the Google rates, though, to make sure you’re not paying too much.
ATMs for Krakow currency
We’d say there is no need to bring cash along from home if you’re visiting Krakow because you will be able to get money out from ATMs. There are oodles of cash machines scattered around the city, many of which are in the old town and Kazimierz. However, there might be extra charges for getting money out with a foreign card. A lot depends on your bank’s fees, but you might have to pay the ATM’s commission on top as well.
The most popular ATM in Krakow is Euronet, one you should watch out for. The reason is that they will try to trick you into getting a huge amount of cash out and accept their inflated conversion rates. If you do happen to use Euronet machines, make sure to click other amount to get what you need and never accept their offered exchange rate. We’d recommend opting for your bank’s conversion instead.
Other ATMs are usually a little more user-friendly, so you don’t need to worry too much about falling into the extra charge traps. However, if you want to get the lowest fees for withdrawing cash, we recommend using multicurrency cards such as Revolut or Wise. Those two have the most competitive exchange rates on the market and the lowest withdrawing fees. They’re both super user-friendly too.
Using foreign currency in Krakow
We’re not going to lie, using foreign currency in Krakow isn’t the best idea. Many shops, cafes and bars will simply refuse payment in euros, dollars, or pounds, so it’s always worth having some PLN on you. That said, it doesn’t mean there are no places that accept foreign currency in the city. Euro is the most common one you can use in Krakow, but you should know that you’re not likely to get a favourable exchange rate.
Some spots that claim to accept foreign currency payment add a chunky commission on top , and they might not tell you about it. It just simply isn’t worth using currencies other than zloty in Krakow, so we’d recommend avoiding it if possible. If you happen to have some euros or dollars in your pocket, you can head to the exchange shop in Galeria Krakowska to get it swapped for PLN.
Using cash in Krakow
You may be wondering if carrying cash in Krakow is necessary. The truth is that the coronavirus pandemic has sped up the digitalization of payments around the world, and Krakow is no different. That means most places across the city accept card payments, so there is no need to carry notes and coins in your wallet.
That said, there are still a few places that might not offer cashless payments, so there is no harm in having some cash with you. It’s also handy if you want to leave tips at cafes and restaurants. It’s not usually included in the bill in here in Krakow.
It’s unusual for places in the city to refuse cash, so if your card provider charges extra for card payments abroad, it’s worth using paper money instead. However, you should know about one annoying Polish habit, that you might notice when you try to pay for your shopping with big notes. Paying with 200 zl for a small drink in Zabka will probably be met with sorry, no change (and it’s not necessarily true). Change in shops seems to be worth more than gold, so good luck spending your 500 zloty note if you manage to get hold of one.
Paying by card in Krakow
These days card is becoming the more popular payment method in Krakow. You’ll notice that even most ticket machines on public transport and small obwarzanki stalls on the main square offer cashless payments. Is it worth choosing a card over cash, though?
That depends on your bank. There might be a minimum spend on card payments, but it’s rare for places in Krakow to charge extra for this payment method. However, your card provider might add extra fees for foreign payments, even if it’s just an unfavourable exchange rate.
If you want to avoid paying over the odds when using cards, we’d recommend getting a free multicurrency account. We’d say Revolut and Wise are the best on the market, especially if you want an easy and efficient online banking app. They both offer great exchange rates and minimal fees, which saved us lots of money over the years. Ah, it’s also usually better to choose a local currency when paying for stuff.
Tips on Krakow currency
To sum up and make things about Krakow currency clearer, here are the main tips you’ll find in this article:
- The currency in Poland is the Polish zloty
- Check Google rates before exchanging your money
- Avoid exchange shops at the airport, the main square, and Florianska Street
- Don’t exchange your money at night unless you have no choice
- We recommend exchange shops at Galeria Krakowska and Slawkowska Street
- Get a multicurrency card before coming to Poland (Revolut or Wise)
- Don’t accept the exchange rates offered by ATMs
- Opt for paying in local currency when paying by card
- Pay in PLN rather than in euros
What is the best currency to take to Kraków?
The best currency to use in Krakow is the Polish zloty, but some places accept the euro. That said, it’s better to pay in local currency if you want to avoid extra charges.
Can you use Euros in Kraków?
Technically yes, but it’s better to pay in zlotys anyway. Some shops, cafes and bars in Krakow accept euros, but most don’t. Paying in euros will also usually incur extra charges, so you’ll always be better off paying in local currency.
Should I take cash to Kraków?
It’s not necessary to bring cash to Krakow because, these days, most places accept the card. There is also no shortage of ATMs scattered around the city, so you should never have too much trouble getting cash out if you need it. The only downside is that many Polish cash points charge a little extra if you use a foreign card, but that should never be excessive.