Shopping in Poland

Poles seem to have a well-developed taste for Western goods, and stores are becoming better stocked all the time. If you choose to live in any of the larger cities, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding the things you need. Luxury items, though, are hard to find. You might have to search out certain stores that consistently stock your favorite items. Be prepared to find Western prices on these items and some clothes.

Folk-craft items such as hand-knit clothing, hand-stitched leather goods, and custom jewelry often are inexpensive and widely available. Many Polish cities feature open-air markets where such items are available. In fact, Krakow is famous for its public market, located right in the middle of its town square. Fine crystal glassware is also a favorite gift idea of many visitors to Poland.

Bring the following items if you are concerned about either their cost or availability:

  • Birth control. Poland is a Catholic country, so don’t count on finding your favorite contraceptive products at the corner drug store, especially at the last minute.
  • Film. Particularly if you require the more obscure varieties
  • Medication. If it’s prescription, make sure it’s labeled, and bring a note from your doctor so you’re able to set things straight if you’re questioned by a Polish pharmacist (or a suspicious customs official).
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