What are the good and bad things about living in Gdansk?
Gdansk is one of the biggest and most interesting cities in Poland and life in Gdansk is interesting as well. It combines both the historical background and the modernity of Western European standards. We are not going to write here what you might see and do in Gdansk when you come here as a tourist, and what are the best things to see in Gdansk. We will try to give you some hints on what to expect if you want to move here, to live and work in Gdansk. So, what are the good and bad things about living in Gdansk?
What are the good things about living in Gdansk?
The unemployment rate in Gdansk
The unemployment rate in Poland is very low, but in Gdansk, it now really scrapes the bottom. It is now at 4,2%, while in the whole Tricity it is just 2,7%. Just to compare: the unemployment rate in Madrid is now about 10%, and in Berlin it is now 7,9%.There are many jobs for unqualified workers – for instance as shop assistants or storage workers (but you would probably need to speak Polish or another understandable language – Ukrainian, Slovakian or Russian should be OK), and you will probably find a job very fast. If you are qualified, especially in finance or IT, there are lots of shared service centres or other multinational companies in the Business Center in Oliwa, there are also large multinational companies close to the airport. And they are all the time recruiting – so if you are qualified and speak English there are lots of jobs for you to apply for.
Living in Gdansk means living in a big, modern city and international environment
Gdansk is a modern city, and it offers a lot of possibilities to spend free time: cinemas, theatres, opera, shopping centres, restaurants, gyms, language schools. There are lots of events during summer, but even during winter, you will find something for you. And if you don’t find it in Gdansk (for instance, we don’t have Aquapark in Gdansk, but there is one in Sopot and another in Reda), remember that Gdansk is part of Tricity so there are two more cities to look for it. As more and more foreigners come to Gdansk to study or work here, it is very probable that you will meet your compatriots here – either at work or at some social events. Try looking for Facebook or Couchsurfing events announcements to make your life in Gdansk more entertaining.
Lots of apartments to rent or buy
Gdansk is growing and more and more apartments appear on the market. Some of them, especially those in the city centre are bought and then used as a short-time accommodation for tourists, but you should find an apartment for you in any district of the city. The only districts where this might be difficult are those close to the universities: Wrzeszcz and Przymorze. The demand there is so high, that flat-owners have a lot of would-be tenants to choose from. Living in Gdansk in those districts may be a bit more expensive.
Cost of living in Poland and Gdansk
Although Poland is trying to catch up with Western Europe, the fact is that the cost of living in Poland is still much lower. This, of course, will not help you a lot, if you earn money here, as it will be reflected in your salary, but if you earn your money elsewhere and are relocated to Gdansk, or come to Gdansk with Erasmus, you will immediately see that you can afford more here, as cost of living in Gdansk is lower than in the most of West-European cities.
Cheap public transport in Gdansk
Public transport in Gdansk is very cheap – one-ride ticket for bus costs less than a Euro, and monthly tickets for bus and trams is only about 100 PLN (25 EUR).
If you want to complement it with an SKM Train ticket, you need to pay 50 PLN more. It’s still quite cheap.
Public bike system and bike paths in Gdansk
Mevo Bike System ceased to function in October 2019. We are waiting for it to restart in 2020.
If the centre of your activity in Gdansk is located within the centre or around (or simply: not in the outskirts) you may also use Mevo bikes. They are very cheap and provided it is working at its maximum capacity this may be a useful means of transport for you. And if you want to be more independent, use your own bike, as many citizens do. Bike paths network in Gdansk is the biggest in Poland, and the employers get more and more bikers friendly.
Good air quality
It is not a problem during summer, but during winter, when people use coal to warmth their houses, air can be really polluted. Even though it’s not as bad as in Teheran or Bejing, this might be a real problem in large cities, especially Cracow and Warsaw. Luckily, although coal is used in Gdansk, too, and we have lots of cars here, the wind blowing from or to the sea manages to keep the air in good condition. So contrary to other Polish cities, smog ad air pollution is not a real problem here and living in Gdansk brings no hazard to your health. But still, we would welcome people using more public transport, bikes or electric cars.
Good air and ground connections from Gdansk
Gdansk Airport is the third-largest airport in Poland. It serves over 60 destinations. Thanks to Wizzair and Ryanair, tickets may be really cheap if booked in advance, to it is possible to fly out for the weekend. If you can’t find any interesting direction from Gdansk Airport, there are good ground connections from Gdansk to Warsaw, Poznan or Berlin, so you may go and start your holiday there. Check out our articles on travelling around Poland.
Sea, and beaches and forest around Gdansk
Although Gdansk is a large city, it is only a few kilometres away from beautiful nature and landscapes. Baltic sea to the east, Kaszubian lakes, and forest to the west – there are lots of places to escape from the city if you find life in Gdansk to hectic. There are even places around Gdansk to ski in the winter!
What are the bad things about living in Gdansk?
We love our city, but we wouldn’t be fair to you if we hid some annoyances that make life in Gdansk a bit irritating.
One of the biggest problems is traffic jams. Not everywhere and not all the time, but usually roads from the Tricity Ring (Obwodnica) to Gdansk, Gdansk Wrzeszcz and Oliwa to are jammed with cars. There are not many options to avoid this so if you need to go to Gdynia we advise to use the PKM Gdansk-Gdynia trains. Also, the ring is very congested with cars and almost every day there is an incident that makes at least part of the road jammed.
If you come from southern or Western Europe, the weather in Gdansk might be a problem for you. It won’t be so bad during summer, but during winter expect the weather to be freezing. It might be as cold as 20 grades below 0, and the snow may paralyse the city. What’s more, the days are very short during winter the sun rises at 8 am and sets about 3-4 pm. So it’s getting dark and cold very early. The second challenge is the weather in Autumn – it’s usually raining a lot and it’s getting cold. The weather in Autumn can make life in Gdansk really depressive for a while.
We have to write it: we are happy to have Polish as our mother language, as it is very difficult to learn as a second language. Although it is not very difficult when it comes to pronunciation, the grammar might be a nightmare. But it is possible to learn it, and we have heard foreigners speaking fluent Polish.
If you want to learn some basic Polish before coming here, try registering with italki. You may find professional or community Polish teachers there. It is also a good platform to practice other languages. If you register with this link you will get a $10 credit.
But this should not discourage you from moving into Gdansk. Overall, it’s a great place to live!
Do you have any other ideas? What do you like and what annoys you if you are living in Gdansk?