Welcome to Kraków

Sano Centre for Computational Medicine in Kraków would like to provide you with a comparative information package focusing on the city, the salary and the cost of living. We hope this additional information will encourage you to relocate to Kraków.

Kraków history

With a documented history dating back to the 7th century, Kraków is one of the oldest cities in Poland. Approximately, 1.7 million people live in the metropolitan area, making Kraków the second largest city in Poland, behind only Warsaw. The city is located on the Vistula river and is also the capital city of the Lesser Poland region (pl. Małopolska). An unquestioned architectural gem, Kraków attracts millions of tourists every year and has consistently earned high scores in international tourist destination rankings. Kraków is also the artistic and cultural centre of Poland, with plenty to do all year round. 

There are numerous museums, art galleries, historic monuments and churches, including the world-famous Main Market Square, the magnificent Wawel Royal Castle and the stunning St. Mary’s Basilica. Kraków also hosts a range of excellent performing arts institutions, including the Kraków Philharmonic Orchestra and the Kraków Opera, as well as prominent annual festivals such as the Krakow Film Festival and the Jewish Culture Festival.


Kraków has gained international recognition in the academic field. With no less than five major universities (including the Jagiellonian University – one of the oldest surviving universities in the world), and more than 200 000 students, it is the academic centre of Poland. Students from all over the world come here, mainly thanks to the Erasmus student exchange programme, contributing to the cosmopolitan character of the city. While Polish remains the official language, many people here speak Yiddish, Hebrew, Ukrainian or Slovak, with English being the most widely spoken foreign language. Kraków is the main business hub for the southern part of Poland. 

According to the available data, the city plays host to more than 11 thousand foreigners working for international companies which have chosen the capital of Lesser Poland to develop their business activities. Many household brands run Business Process Outsourcing/Shared Service Centres in Kraków in order to expand the global operations. 

The city also hosts many international societies which aim to foster understanding of the local business environment and support local expat communities, given that diversity has become one of Kraków’s major strengths. The business landscape looks very promising for Life Science and medical industries in particular. Kraków is home to the largest drug discovery company in Poland (and the whole CEE region), as well as a wide variety of other biotech, medtech, bioinformatics and technology start-ups

Costs of living

The costs of living in Poland are rather modest by EU standards. Naturally, the total expenditure depends on the person’s needs and lifestyle. Monthly apartment rental costs depend on the size and location, typically falling between 1 200 PLN and 3 000 PLN (275-700 EUR). A medium-size flat located in a fairly upscale area would cost around 2 000 PLN (450 EUR) a month, to which one has to add the cost of utilities such as heating, electricity etc. – for an additional fee of approximately 600 PLN (140 EUR). In general, food is cheaper in Poland than in Western European countries, with prices lower by 20% up to 70% in some cases. Other possible costs which may include transportation fees, personal care products, clothing, entertainment, etc., are also generally lower in Poland than in the most of Europe. Taking into account the cost of living and taxes, a gross annual salary of 108 000 PLN (9 000 PLN monthly) – a standard “Senior Scientist” salary at a Polish R&D company – affords a better living standard in Kraków than the corresponding gross annual salary of 36 370 GBP (3 030 GBP monthly) at a similar company in Oxford, UK. The most important matter when it comes to relocation is, of course, renting an apartment. In terms of rental price, Kraków ranks second in Poland, behind only Warsaw, which is not surprising due to the growing demand and international character of the city. Some basic data is provided below. 

Rental prices in Kraków vary depending on location, but a two-bedroom apartment (around 50-60 square meters) costs between 2000 and 3000 PLN (the latter figure would afford very comfortable accommodation, which might even be referred to as “premium”; on top of that, most rental apartments are fully furnished). Some examples of apartment prices in Kraków (as of August 2019)

  • One-bedroom flat: from 800 PLN + utilties to 3 000 PLN (central district, high standard)
  • Two-bedroom flat: from 1.2 to 4.3 thousand PLN
  • Three-bedroom flat: from 1.5 to 7 thousand PLN
  • Four-bedroom flat and larger (high standard): from 2.5 to 20 thousand PLN.

Note that the prices depend on the quality and location. Sano’s personnel will provide assistance in terms of a professional apartment search service, which will take into consideration all constraints and requirements of of the relocating person and her/his family, and will propose a set of interesting options. This service will be paid for by Sano. Please consult another document attached to the job advert, which described our relocation support in detail.

Useful links

1. The costs of living. The Numbeo tool estimates monthly costs of living for a single person at around 2020
PLN, including food, transportation, entertainment, sports and utilities. Especially utilities are among the
cheaper, compared to other Polish large cities. You can find out more about Kraków on the following

2. Public transportation is very dependable. Kraków is not a large metropolis and doesn’t have a subway
network. Most inhabitants commute by tram, bus or train.

3. International communities – they exist and are quite lively. You can easily contact expat groups by
consulting https://www.internations.org/poland-expats. There are also numerous, location-oriented
expat communities on Facebook.

4. Personal safety – Poland is generally regarded as a safe country. The 2019 Global Peace Index ranks it at
29th place (globally), well into the green “highly peaceful” zone, with improvement of three ranks in the
last year.

5. Medical care – you would receive “double” medical coverage, so to speak. Anyone in Poland who works

under a contract of employment is automatically insured and granted access to public medical care –
hospitals, GPs, public clinics and ambulatories, ERs etc. On top of that, you will also benefit from a private
health plan from a commercial medical service provider operating a large network of medical facilities
across the country. This private coverage provides a broad selection of specialists and should meet nearly
all of your medical needs. It also has shorter wait times compared to the public system.

6. Language – if you are worried about this, don’t be. English is widely spoken, although – to be fair – mainly
by younger people. Some Poles may be a bit shy about their language skills and hesitant to speak, but the
fact remains that English is both widely spoken and widely understood.

7. Here are some links for further reading:

Compare the cost of living between Krakow and other European cities

If you would like to compare the costs of living in Kraków with those of other European cities, we recommend the following website:

  • https://www.numbeo.com/ It provides a very useful price comparison tool and takes into account important factors such as low taxes, good free public schools, low crime rate, and the friendly, inclusive international environment in Kraków.

Wish you all the best with your further career steps. We are always happy to support your decision in considering career opportunities at Sano Centre for Computational Medicine in Krakow.