Although Poland is a member of EU, it is not a member of Eurozone so the Euro is not the official currency in Poland (but it is easily exchangeable).
The official Poland currency is Polish Zloty ( literally: Golden). Official currency code is “PLN”, but in poland we use “zl”. One zloty is subdivided into 100 groszy (gr). Banknotes are 10zl, 20zl, 50zl, 100zl and 200zl. Coins are 1zl, 2zl, 5zl, 1 gr, 2gr, 5gr, 10gr, 20gr, 50gr.
ATMs – Bankomat in polish
You can find them in all cities and bigger towns, there may be problem in some rural areas (check gas stations). They accept majority of cards – best choice is VISA or MasterCard, but you should have any problems using American Express or Diners Club. Charges are minimal (usually up to ~2%). Don’t forget to notice your bank about the fact you are going to use your card abroad!
Paying by cards
You can pay by your debit / credit cards in bigger shops, but you should always have some cash while shopping – it is customary to pay by cash in small shops. Some shops may charge you some small handling fee.
There are two basics method to exchange your cash:
Bureaux de change – Kantor in polish
You can find them everywhere in city centres, their exchange rates vary so it’s good to check few of them – the ones close to stations and airports have worse exchange rates (use them to exchange very small amounts only – 20 GBP). Kantors are usually open 9am – 6pm on weekdays and 10am – 2pm on weekends. They change cash only (only notes) and accept major world currencies, althought currencies other than USD, GBP and EUR are considered as exotic and not all kantors will exchange them. Transactions take few seconds and there is no paperwork involved. Please use your common sense while exchanging money in kantors – don’t exchange big amounts of money at one go (you may get targeted by thieves – by big I mean 1000 GBP and more), usually it’s better to exchange amounts up to 200GBP. Please keep in mind that if you are regular customer (I mean you’ve visited them two or three times) you can get a slightly better exchange rate (2 or 3 gr better, which can turn into few zlotys). Just ask the cashier and smile.
Please note that kantors are privately owned and they don’t have to exchange your currency, especially if your notes are somehow damaged (numbers written on them, tears etc).
They are most safe way to exchange currency, but their exchange rates are not as good as kantors’, plus there are waiting queues and sometimes some paperwork to fill.
It is usual to leave a tip in restaurant, but it’s not obligatory. There’s no defined tip percentage, but 5-10% is most common.
Poland’s VAT rates are 23%, 8% and 5%. Prices shown at shops are gross.