Although I’m currently living in Sarajevo, the perk of being a digital nomad is being able to take a vacation from your vacation. So, when the flight prices looked good, I bought my ticket without really second-guessing it.
This was my first time in Poland and I’m so happy I took the leap to see this is a super interesting country. Digital nomad or not, I recommend visiting Poland and seeing the country and, of course, eating all of the local food you can.
Between the beautiful architecture, delicious cuisine, low prices, and friendly people, it's one of the best countries I've visited recently.
The only reason this article is geared towards a digital nomad rather than a typical traveler is because as a digital nomad in Poland, we have that annoying little thing called work following us around. Instead of having all day simply to explore, I have to spend the weekdays still getting my work done. On that note though, I did find some great, local cafes to work from that I’ll share throughout the article.
But hey, if you’re a traveler that prefers to take it slow, see the reality of life abroad, and not rush from attraction to attraction, then this 1-week itinerary in Poland is for you, too, just skip this first section and jump straight to the itinerary.
Things to Know Before You Go
Before you book your trip to Poland, there are a few things to know that'll help you when planning your trip and your work as a digital nomad.
- Gain some background knowledge about Polish customs and culture before you go. Culture Smart: Poland is a small, easy to pack book that covers everything you'd possibility want to know to travel to Poland with confidence. The best part about the Culture Smart books is they tend to be very honest, instead of glossing over everything like many travel guides do.
- Make sure you have travel insurance. A good travel insurance, like SafetyWing, will ensure you’re covered in case of emergencies. While you will have to pay upfront for your doctor or hospital costs, unless it’s for a pre-existing condition, you can file a claim and should be reimbursed. For any Americans reading this, fear not, healthcare in pretty much every other country is far more affordable than ours, even if you’re paying out of pocket.
- Do your best to learn a few local phrases in their language. No, I’m not expecting you to be able to have a fluid conversation with locals at the bus stop if you’re just visiting their country for a week but knowing your numbers (for prices), how to order something (“I would like…”), and basic greetings really will take you a long way. Mondly is a great app for phrases and vocabulary.
- Book any popular tours you want to do in advance. I’m really not a great planner and I’ve made this mistake more times than I can count. I plan a trip to a destination knowing that I want to do a sailboat trip or food tour and wait until the day before to book only to realize it’s not available the day I’m in town. Don’t make that mistake - if there is something you know you want to do - book your tour in advance.
- Last tip certainly isn’t mandatory but it is helpful. Before you start booking your flights, hotels, and tours, consider opening up a travel credit card. Thanks to our Capital One Venture card, my husband and I have gotten countless free flights just by gaining points on everyday expenses.
Poland Digital Nomad Visa (or lack thereof)
Unlike many European countries, Poland does not yet offer a digital nomad visa. (Curious which countries do? This guide covers all digital nomad visas in Europe). What that means for you is that you can't legally stay in Poland for longer than 3 months every 6 months or the amount of time you have left in your Schengen Visa. Unless of course you're an EU citizen or resident and can move throughout the European Union without a time constraint. Lucky you!
Because of this, working remotely while in Poland falls into a legal grey zone. So long as you don't have any Polish clients and aren't earning income directly there, you're technically fine. That being said, I wouldn't boast about your online job at immigration. You'll enter Poland as a tourist and leave it at that.
Remote workers are in for a treat while in Poland. You can buy a local SIM card with unlimited data for a month for only a few dollars, meaning you'll never have to stress about a strong wifi connection wherever you decide to work for the day. Although the wifi I experienced throughout the country is strong and reliable.
The only exception was on the long trains. There, my data wasn't consistent and I was constantly left without service. The trains did offer free wifi but since it was on an unsecure network, I opted not to use it and read my book on the trains instead of working.
Travel Within Poland
Speaking of train travel, getting from point A to point B in Poland was incredibly easy and affordable. Although you could easily rent a car and drive the country or get domestic flights, I enjoyed traveling via train.
The trains are clean, new, and comfortable. For one ride (Krakow to Wroclaw), I booked a 1st class ticket because it was just a $3 difference in price and while it was comfortable, it wasn't necessary. The regular class trains were comfortable enough.
With that let's dive into the good stuff about where to go and what to do during your week in Poland.
Cost of Travel
I found Poland to be an incredibly affordable place, especially for an EU country. While I did find it tough to find private mid-tier accommodation, the places I stayed were well worth the money and still didn't break the bank (more on those places below).
In general, eating out and working from coffee shops didn't set me back too far either. I found prices to be comparable to what I was used to in Sarajevo, where I expected them to be closer to those I would see in Germany. Part of the reason for this is probably because they still use the Polish Zloty instead of the Euro.
Transportation from city to city was also a great deal. I spent between $15-35 USD per train trip, which felt like a steal, given the rides were between 2-5 hours.
If you're looking for an affordable European country to work remotely from - even just for a short time - Poland is a fantastic choice. Given all this, it had me wishing it was easier to live in Poland, although to face the winter, I'd need to be much closer to the Tatra Mountains for snowboarding!
With that, let's get on with our 1-week itinerary as a digital nomad in Poland.
3 Nights in Warsaw
When I went on this trip, I actually spent just 2 nights in Warsaw and 3 in Krakow but afterward, I realized I would have preferred to swap that. I’ll talk more about Krakow below but I really liked Warsaw and would have preferred more time in this big city.
Although the Old Town has my heart, Warsaw is incredibly modern with great public transportation and modern infrastructure strewn between historic buildings. The city itself was full of young people and English was widely spoken, making travel super easy.
Where to Stay in Warsaw
On my first night in Warsaw, I stayed in Old Town, and let me tell you Old Town in Warsaw is something special. Maybe an unpopular opinion but I actually preferred the Old Town in Warsaw to the Old Town in Krakow. It’s much smaller but the attention to detail on the buildings is unmatched.
On my last night in Warsaw, I stayed more in the city center, a short walk from Warsaw Central, the train station. This was actually a great location as you can walk quickly to and from the train station, take a shorter bus ride to the airport, and you’re still well within walking distance to Old Town and the modern downtown area.
Throughout this article, you'll see me recommending hotels on hotels.com rather than the more popular booking.com. While I still use Booking from time to time, Hotels has a way better membership awards program where after 10 nights, you can redeem 1 free night for the average price of your 10-night stay. For cheap nights, I tend to use Booking to not lower my nightly average but otherwise, love the perks at Hotels.
Anyways, these hotels are well situated and worth a stay in Warsaw:
Things to Do in Warsaw
Warsaw has such a good vibe to it. It feels like a really young city where most people I passed walking down the street were my age (low 30s) or younger. They have more than enough options for public transportation with buses, trains, trams, Uber, scooters, and bike rentals readily available.
But I love walking a city to get to know it and Warsaw is luckily super walkable. Other than getting to and from the airport, I was able to do on foot. While you’ll definitely want to pack comfortable shoes if you want to walk, too, I’d highly recommend it.
Now that you’re ready to walk, I recommend you:
- Explore Old Town
- Eat, eat, and eat some more
- Have a coffee or two (but more on where later)
- Take a free walking tour
- Go to the Vodka Museum
For more options of guided tours in Warsaw, browse below on Get Your Guide.
Coffee Shops in Warsaw to Work From
Although I always book a hotel I can work from just in case I have a meeting, can’t find somewhere nearby I can stay a few hours, or the weather is just horrible, I much prefer working from out in the world to get a sense of a place, even if I’m trapped behind my screen. Even with co-working spaces around, I still prefer the lively atmosphere of a cafe more so than a quiet and stiff office environment.
While in Warsaw, these were the cafes I worked from where you can get stable internet, good drinks, and some even serve food.
2 Nights in Krakow
Krakow is the city in Poland I had heard the most about before visiting. This historic city was really hyped up and I was super eager to visit. While I still loved my stay here, I actually preferred Warsaw and Wroclaw to Krakow, although I definitely still think it's worth a visit.
Where to Stay in Krakow
Krakow is super small and easy to navigate. Once again, you can get anywhere you need to go on foot or via public transportation. The Jewish Quarter (insert name in Polish) is definitely a cool neighborhood to stay in but I actually preferred to stay in the north end of Old Town since it was just a few minutes from the train station.
You really can't go wrong with either option.
When choosing where to stay in Krakow, these are great hotel options:
- Budget: David Boutique Hotel
- Mid-Tier: Amber Design Residence
- Luxury: Betmanowska Main Square Residence
Things to Do in Krakow
Krakow is a smaller city than Warsaw but the quaint old medieval town is much bigger. Between that and the Jewish Quarter, you won’t lack things to do and see. Compared to Warsaw, I felt like the shopping options were more varied, at least when it comes to souvenirs and locally owned shops. So if you'd like to pick up some gifts for those at home or for yourself, I'd suggest doing so in Krakow.
Other than walking around and popping into shops, while in Krakow you should:
- Visit Auschwitz-Birkenau: This is a powerful experience and one I highly recommend you do. The only thing I wish I had done differently is to book a small or private tour. I was in a group of about 20 people and at times it was difficult to hear the guide or grasp the real magnitude of the place with so many people around.
- Go to the Zamek Wawel Castle
- Take a free walking tour
- Eat breakfast at Gossip Cafe. The goat cheese bagel sandwich was so so good.
For more guided tours in Krakow with the most popular things to do and see, check out the offers below by Get Your Guide.
Coffee Shops in Krakow to Work From
Just like in Warsaw, I booked a hotel where I could work from – and luckily, because I did have some meetings – once again, I spent most of my work days here working from cafes, not the hotel.
My favorite cafes to work from in Krakow are:
1 Night Wroclaw
If your trip is actually for more than just 1 week, I would add at least one extra night on your stay in Wroclaw. This city was actually my favorite of the 3 I visited in Poland and one I wish I had more time in.
Pro Tip: It's not pronounced how it looks and instead is pronounced more like "vrots-waf."
Although it's one of the largest cities in Poland, it felt much smaller than both Warsaw and Krakow and gave off small-town vibes more than city ones. That being said, I did spend a grand majority of my time within the Old Town.
Wroclaw is a great city for a number of reasons but the 2 most important to me are their incredible architecture and the fact it's covered in dwarves. Yep, you read that correctly.
Let me explain.
First off, I know that pretty much everywhere in Poland is home to incredible architecture but here in Wroclaw, it felt extra cute. Maybe it was the fact that the buildings are more brightly painted. What I am sure about though is I felt like I was walking around in a Victorian doll house and that's something I now know I love.
And for the dwarves. There are around 100 small bronze dwarves scattered around the city for you to find. They even have a scavenger hunt in place for you to see how many you can find during your stay in Poland or you can take it a step further and join in on a free walking tour dedicated to the dwarves of Wroclaw. Either way, you can't go wrong.
Where to Stay in Wroclaw
Wroclaw is relatively small and like the other cities on this list, it's easy to navigate either on foot or via public transport. To make things easy on yourself, I'd either stay near the train station or near Old Town. If you choose either of these options, you should be able to walk anywhere you want to go.
I'd recommend any of these 3 hotel options in Wroclaw:
Things to Do in Wroclaw
I did two things really well in Wroclaw: I ate and I walked. I was here on a weekend so I finally didn't have to worry about work and could simply enjoy the stunning architecture with no distractions. There are plenty of cute corners to stumble upon but just be careful you don't trip on one of the dwarves along the way.
Other than aimlessly walking, be sure to:
- Eat at Pierogarnia Rynek 26. Get the pan-fried pierogis instead of the steamed ones.
- Go on a free walking tour - the general history one is great.
- Watch them light the gas lamps in the evening on Cathedral Island
- Climb the stairs at St Elizabeth of Hungary Roman Catholic Parish to get a great view
If you end up staying an extra night, you might want to take advantage of one of these guided tours in Wroclaw.
You'll Love Your Time in Poland as a Digital Nomad
While I was able to see and do a lot in Poland on a 1-week itinerary, I easily could have stayed longer in this beautiful country and seen more of the best cities to visit. Since I went on a solo trip, I already know I'll be bringing my husband back here for the great food, great architecture, and great people.
Plus, you can bet I'll be keeping my eye on a Poland digital nomad visa if and when that launches in the future!