20 Must-Have Apps for An Expat in Poland
In the 21st century we no longer use our phones only to call or text someone. They’ve really become a part of our everyday lives and there are so many different ways in which we can use them. We use them to order food when we’re hungry, to pay the bills at the end of the month, and now even to find romantic partners! There are just so many useful apps out there created for our convenience of day to day living.
If you’ve just arrived in Poland, whether as a tourist or permanently, knowing what apps to download in order to speed up your life is one of the fastest ways to make your life in Poland livable. With a few downloads, you’ll have everything in your hand (or actually in your smartphone) to make life as comfortable as it is back home
One of the most popular mobile apps among Poles, Jakdojade provides a journey planner to allow you to get from point A to point B within any Polish city using public transit. Sure, Google Maps will do this as well in most cities, but Jakdojade is almost always more accurate.
The app also allows you to buy single-use, daily, and weekly tickets right on your phone. No more fumbling around for coins and getting lost with paper tickets and poorly translated instructions on tucket machines.
Krk Pod Ręka and iMPK
Hate the feeling of standing at a bustop right when the schedule says a bus should be arriving – yet there’s no bus in sight? As reliable as Polish transit is, it’s never perfect, and lack of perfection always means frustration if you’re in a hurry.
Krk Pod Ręka and iMPK display a live map showing the real-time location of every public bus and tram in the city. Not only that, but if you tap on a bus or tram, it will show you it’s route and real-time expected arrival at each scheduled stop. Now you’ll really know exactly when you’ll be arriving!
Unfortunately, these apps are currently only available in Krakow (Krk Pod Ręka) and Wroclaw (iMPK)
One of the most mysterious aspects of Poland to most foreigners is it’s “hidden” network of transportation. Sure there are public buses and trams, and major intercity carriers like Flixbus, but what about everything else? Go to any major avenue or highway and you’ll see packs of little buses driving by, with no posted schedule or destination, yet locals hop on and off and pay in cash like nothing has changed in the past two decades.
e-Podroznik is essentially the Skyscanner of Polish transportation. Type in your point A and point B and it’ll provide you with the fastest way to get there, whether it be by public bus, minibus, or train.
Unfortunately, this is currently only available via your web browser at en.e-podroznik.pl; there is no mobile app available. However, the page loads very easily in your phone’s web browser, so it might be a good idea to bookmark it.
Bike Share Apps: NextBike
If you want to explore the city by bicycle but don’t have your own – most Polish cities have an app just for you! NextBike has a monopoly on public city bikes in almost every city in Poland, though in most cities the bikes have been rebranded and are available through a separate city-specific app. So make sure to look on their website and find the right app for your city.
Getting around by public bike is usually much cheaper than the bus or taxi. Rates on NextBike start at 1zl per hour of use, though exact rates vary from city to city. Simply register an account, find a bike using their integrated map, scan the QR code, and start riding!
Scooter Apps: Hulaj, Bolt, Bird, and Blinkee
Not a fan of peddling? Over the past two years, e-scooters have exploded all over the streets of most Polish cities. The concept works almost exactly the same as NextBike: download the app, register an account, find a nearby scooter, scan the QR code, and start scooting!
The downside is that scooting is significantly more expensive than peddling. Rates are usually around 50gr (half a zloty) per minute of riding. But nothing beats the fun of zipping around the city with a scooter, and it’s still cheaper than a taxi!
Traficar is basically NextBike except for cars. You look at the map, which shows you where is the nearest point where you can pick up a car, and off you go. No more headaches dealing with rental car companies!
You pay only for time and distance, as petrol and parking are already included in the price. It’s almost like a taxi in which you’re the driver!
Essentially the “Uber of Eastern Europe.” Originally developed as a taxi dispatch app, Bolt has recently adapted the Uber-model of being a ride-hailing app.
In Poland, Bolt’s prices are on average about the same as Uber’s. Many expats stick with Uber due to brand familiarity, but those that do miss out on the numerous fares when Bolt ends up being cheaper. You’ll often find it easier to get a ride on Bolt especially in smaller cities where Uber is far less popular.
Mobile Payement Apps
Skycash and Mobilenet
Skycash and Mobilenet are e-ticket apps for just about everything. You can buy transit tickets, intercity bus and train tickets, parking passes, cinema tickets, sports tickets, and more!
Simply whip out your phone, connect your debit card or bank account, and choose what ticket you’re looking for.
Orange has a reputation amongst both Poles and expats as being the best mobile service provider in Poland, in terms of service, coverage, and prices. And if you have an Orange SIM card (which you should – even if you’re only visiting for a few days), the Moj Orange app is a must.
The great thing about Polish data plans is that they don’t ask for long-term contracts. You pay for a certain amount of data, use it up, and then simply “top up.” And there’s no easier way to top-up than with the Moj Orange app; you simply enter your mobile number and BOOM! More data and minutes.
Banking Apps: iPKO and Moje ING
PKO Bank Polski and ING Bank are typically cited as the most expat-friendly banks in Poland. Their systems are modern, deals are good, service is friendly and available in English, and anyone with a passport and Polish address can open an account for free.
Both of them have very useful mobile apps (available in English) that allow not only the basic functions of mobile banking, but also many ticket-buying functions of Skycash and MobileNet, and the mobile top-up functions of Moj Orange. They also allow you to easily send money between accounts in foreign currencies at zero commission!
Food & Shopping Apps
Delivery apps: Pyszne, Pizza Portal, Zomato
Some days, you might be feeling ambitious enough to whip up a dinner masterpiece entirely from scratch. Other days, you feel so lazy that even making eggs seems like a challenge. Pyszne, Pizza Portal, and Zomato offer the best remedy for such days. These apps are very convenient, available in English (though some menus aren’t translated), and offer a list of restaurants conveniently sorted by location, price, and cuisine. While Pyszne is by far the most popular and has the widest selection, Zomato takes things a step further and gives you options for dine-in eating as well as just takeout.
Polish traditional cuisine includes a lot of meat, so in the wide variety of restaurants it can still be tricky to pinpoint exactly where to enjoy a vegan meal. However, vegetarianism and veganism are becoming extremely popular among younger Poles, hence the spread of excellent vegan apps. Not only does this app show you the best vegan restaurants in Krakow, but also gives advice of what regular eateries you can go to and enjoy a nice meat-free meal.
Unfortunately they haven’t expanded outside of Krakow yet – though Warsaw and Wroclaw also have tons of vegan restaurants!
Allegro is Amazon/eBay of Poland, and also virtually the only site for e-commerce in Poland (Amazon ships to Poland, but you’ll pay international shipping rates).
The platform has a very useful mobile app, however it is unfortunately only available in Polish. Nevertheless, typing the name of what you’re looking for into Google translate and pasting it into the Allegro app will end up saving you a huge chunk of money next time you order something online.
Not a day goes by that we don’t use at least one of these apps, and let us tell you, a few of them have saved us from never wanting to step off base again. If you find this article useful, share it with your friends and if you want to add something to this list, write your suggestions in the comment section below.