The Cost of Travel in Vienna, Bratislava, Krakow, Stockholm
While on a Norwegian Airlines flight with free wifi Thursday from Krakow, Poland to Stockholm, Sweden, I googled “cost of living Krakow” to try and get an idea of relative prices and price comparisons to other cities in Europe. There are a couple of good websites:
Having just spent four days in Krakow eating out and drinking every day, the numbers on Expatistan looked pretty accurate to me for purchases we made.
Expatistan.com is a cool site for comparing the cost of travel in different cities. As an example of how cheap it is in Krakow, Poland, the Expatistan.com cost of living index is higher for Bangkok, Thailand or Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The site works using Prague, Czech Republic = 100 as an index. The lower you go under 100, the cheaper the cost of living. Krakow ranks 88 and #202 of 231 cities ranked worldwide. San Francisco ranks near the most expensive city worldwide at #5 of 231 cities with a cost of living index = 282. London ranks #13 at 237. Stockholm is 46th at 197. Amsterdam is 47th at 197. Vienna is 109th at 157. Bratislava is 185th at 106. Kiev, Ukraine is 227th at 69 and #231 is Tblisi, Georgia at 64. In Tblisi you still pay $1.50 for a beer, but a loaf of bread will only set you back 32 cents and $12 for one month of public transportation.
Personally, I look primarily at beer price, dining price, grocery store food, and public transportation since those are the relevant factors for travel expenses.
Expatistan.com Cost of Living Krakow, Poland compared to Bangkok, Thailand
Expatistan.com calculates the cost of living in Krakow, Poland is 24% cheaper than Bangkok, Thailand.
When it comes to travel, I think it would have cost us about $800 more for 8 days in London or Amsterdam to eat and drink in pubs and restaurants to the extent we did in Bratislava, Slovakia and Krakow, Poland for 8 days. We averaged about $1.60 USD per 0.5 L beer and $8 for meal compared to about $6 for a beer in London and $18 for a restaurant entrée. Multiply that by 32 meals (an extra $320) and 100 beers (an extra $440).
Expatistan.com Krakow is 55% cheaper than Amsterdam, 65% cheaper than London and 69% cheaper than San Francisco.
For a comparison to cities we traveled on our two week trip:
The big difference for me as a tourist is the cost of alcohol and dining are much more expensive in Stockholm than Amsterdam. I can buy 1.0L of beer in an Amsterdam market for $1.50 USD, whereas in Stockholm, I have to find an open government alcohol store in Sweden to even get a real beer at a store and the price is double. Another difference as a traveler is I can buy a real beer in an Amsterdam market or even a Copenhagen market and sit down by the canal drinking in public. Can’t do that in Stockholm.
Playing around with Expatistan.com has me thinking about cheap Portugal for my next solo trip and travel to the Balkans next September/October to check out some places like Belgrade, Serbia and/or Sofia, Bulgaria for even more inexpensive travel destinations than Krakow, Poland.
Krakow Basic lunch menu and drink for one = 24 PLN = $5.73.
A couple of times we ate deluxe hamburgers + 0.5 L beer for 20 PLN each ($4.78 USD) at Huki Muki in Stare Miasto, old town Krakow.
Krakow Basic Dinner Out for Two in pub = 54 PLN = $13.50 USD.
We ate at a couple of Polish cuisine restaurants and an Indian restaurant dinner in the Stare Miasto for this price.
Salmon or whole trout fish entrée typically 28 to 38 PLN / $6.69 to $9.08 USD, so two fish dinners, an appetizer and 4 beers was a dining experience widely available for about $30.
Bierhalle Krakow grilled vegetables, pierogi and salmon + two 1.0 L beer.
A basement pub we enjoyed a couple of times for beer is Krakowska Koliba, where a grilled pork steak, fries and salad cost 22 PLN / $5.25 USD and on Wednesday a 0.5L Zywiec draft beer cost 6.50 PLN / $1.55 USD or 8 PLN / $1.90 USD other days of the week. Lezajsk draft beer is 6.50 PLN every day.
If you like vodka, a 100ml five flavor sampler tray cost 14 PLN / $3.34 USD.
The place had a nice pub ambience.
Prolaika Gallery is down the street from Radisson Blu Carlton Bratislava and we enjoyed their Bernard draft beer, especially at 1.30/1.40 EUR per 0.5 L. Kelley ordered salmon for the same 9,00 € price as my gourmet stuffed pork cutlet in chocolate sauce seen below.
Bravčová panenka plnená / 150g
sušenými slivkami a chilli papričkami, čokoládová omáčka, opekané zemiaky
Pork loin fillet
filled with dried plum and chilli peppers, bitter chocolate, roasted potatoes
Losos na grile / 150g
horčicová omáčka, bylinkové maslo alebo kôprový dip, varené zemiaky, zelenina
mustard sauce, herbs butter or dill dip, boiled potatoes with parsley, vegetables
In Bratislava, Slovakia there is a Billa Market adjacent to Radisson Blu Carlton Hotel. For $8.00 USD I purchased broccoli, fresh hot roasted whole chicken, can of sardines, baguette, 1.0L milk, 150 g. blueberries, 3 mandarin oranges, 2 kiwi, brie, sliced cheese and hummus. The jar of hummus at 2 EUR was by far the biggest expense.
While I will still be spending time in London, Amsterdam and Stockholm over the next couple months, my travel plans are to allocate as much time as I can in eastern Europe and a place like Portugal where the cost of travel means a grand lifestyle drinking and eating out in the company of other paid patrons rather than sitting by the canals and in the parks of Amsterdam and London drinking and eating as my normal budget traveler lifestyle when touring those cities.
Trip Report: December 2016 Vienna – Bratislava – Krakow