Located on the banks of the Vistula River and characterised by magnificent old-world architecture and quaint town squares, postcard-pretty Warsaw is not only the capital but also the cultural and economic heart of Poland.
With the fitting motto of “Contemnit procellas” (it defies the storms), Warsaw has endured a turbulent history of invasions and occupations over the centuries, with the most devastating being the virtual levelling of the city by the Nazis during World War II.
Since the fall of communism in 1989, Warsaw has enjoyed periods of rapid development and transformation, with many modern skyscrapers overtaking the city’s skyline. Nevertheless, the city still displays its historic charm, with many of the ancient buildings that were destroyed during World War II having been restored to their former splendour.
Warsaw is becoming more popular as an expat destination, and there are work opportunities for qualified foreigners, particularly in the IT, manufacturing and finance sectors. There is also a demand for English language teachers. Wages aren’t high, but the low cost of living more than makes up for this.
Expats can enjoy an active lifestyle, thanks to the city’s many parks and green spaces. With 20,000 acres of parks and woodland, more of the city is covered in greenery than any other European city. Łazienki is the city’s largest park, and with its Baroque palaces, lakes and manicured gardens it’s a hugely popular destination for walkers, cyclists and families.
Warsaw offers an efficient public transport network and a good quality healthcare and education system. Although the state schools are free, most expats living here choose to send their children to one of the many international schools.
While a move to Warsaw may not be as lucrative as a posting in another European city, those who take the plunge will discover that the Polish capital is an incredibly vibrant and welcoming city where they can enjoy a richly rewarding cultural experience.
"I love the Warsaw public transport, the parks, the bike trails and the river. It's a very liveable city, although long winters can play havoc with morale."
Learn more about expat life in Warsaw by reading our interview with Australian expat Rose Moore.
Are you an expat living in Warsaw?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Warsaw. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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