Krakow Tours

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Travel Advice – Money

KRAKOW TOURS – Here is  a blog aimed at answering many of the questions that travelers have prior to arriving at a holiday destination for the first time. If you have a holiday already booked, or still in the planning stage, this information should prove very useful for you.

Currency Exchange.

Currency can be exchanged at both your departure and arrival airports, but expect to pay hefty commissions and/or obtain a low exchange rate. If you feel you must get your Zloty whilst in the UK then by far the best option is to pre-order from TRAVELEX online and collect it from your departure airport.

In Krakow, currency can be exchanged at hotels, banks and anywhere that you see a sign proclaiming ‘KANTOR’, Kantors will usually provide the best exchange rates and zero commission, but shop around as there can often be as much as 10% difference in the exchange rates offered.

Consistently the best rate available in Krakow is from a Kantor called ‘Grosz’ on Slawkowska, it is only 2om from the north west corner of the main square.

TIP: Try to avoid changing money at a Kantor on sundays, only the smaller independent ones are open, and they seem to all agree to an exchange rate for the day, that is much lower than you should be able to achieve. 

AVOID: Please avoid the Kantors signed CHANGE – KANTOR these are very prominent and look very smart and official, they are usually liveried in Orange or Blue. The rate they display would be the best available if it were real, they display the SELL rate, and if you realise your mistake after handing over your money they will not refund you. Travellers arriving by train will reach 2 of these Kantors before reaching the honest ones.

8th February 2013

Best Krakow Kantor Rates

4.90zł to £1 

4.15zł to €1

Prices

Since EU ascension and becoming a favoured tourist destination, prices in Poland have been on the rise, making the country less of a bargain than it was 5 years ago. Having said that, however, prices for food, drink, cultural venues and transport still remain comparably cheap in contrast to Western Europe, and especially when compared to the Eurozone for travelers from the UK.

In Krakow, expect to pay the highest prices in, and around, the main square. Venture to some of the many side streets and you’ll often find much better value for food, drink and indeed for shopping.

Tipping.

Things have changed a lot since the bad old days when everything had to be tipped. Today it is understood that you tip because the service was good. So if you were satisfied, leave a tip. However you have to bear in mind that catering staff, restaurants, clubs, etc are paid a very minimum wage so if you think it was worth it, add 10% to the bill as a tip, and try to pay it cash to your waiter/waitress.

When paying for a taxi, round up the bill. Generally taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped, so if you do the driver will be surprised and happy, again if it was worth it tip. NO EFFORT NO TIP.

TIP: Be careful in a bar or restaurant when you hand over your cash to pay the bill. In Poland, if you say ‘thank you’ (dziękuje – ‘jen-koo-yeh’)  it can often be taken as a sign that you won’t be wanting any change back. This can prove expensive, say ‘proszę’ (prosheh) and leave the thank you until they return with your change.

Bartering.

If you intend to shop bazaars, open air markets or farms try bargaining. Accepting the first price is not a good idea there, but remember that price negotiations in Poland are far different from the bartering done in Arabic countries. With a little common sense and good humour you can still have a lot of fun and get a little knocked off the price.

Small Change.

Thinking of paying for your tram ticket with one of the 100zł notes in your pocket? Think again. Small shops, newsagents, public toilets and even the occasional fast food franchise or bar will often refuse to break a large note for you. as annoying as it is to carry coins, do carry small change for such moments.


January 5, 2013 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, Recommendations | , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Beware the orange (Interchange) Kantors in Krakow

There’s been a lot written already about the ‘Interchange Kantors’ that are cropping up all over Krakow. Yesterday (14/12/2010) I decided to test them out.

I first went to the one on Florianska and asked what the ‘Buy’ rate is for GBP, they appeared very confused and asked if I wanted to buy pounds, i repeated that I wanted to know what their ‘Buy rate’ was for GBP. They asked how much I wanted to change, i replied £200, and I was then offered a rate of 4.29 zloty to the pound, I laughed and left. The ‘Buy’ rate was written on a white board behind the counter which was obviously not meant to be seen by unsuspecting tourists.

Next I went to the shop on Grodzka, pictured below, they proudly announce a rate ‘Sell’ rate of 4.76zl to the pound outside the shop, inside is a different story, again the ‘Buy’ rate is barely visible on a white board behind the counter. I asked to change £200 again and was offered a rate of 3.45 zloty to the pound, I laughed and started to leave, so they offered me 4.29 which apparently is the rate available if you want over 4000 zloty, so they were doing me a big favour!!!

The best rate I saw available in Krakow yesterday afternoon was 4.675 to the pound. Almost 10% more than the best offer from Interchange, and a massive 35% more than 1 of their offers.

The Interchange Kantors are there to RIP OFF the tourists and should be avoided at all cost.

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December 15, 2010 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, News, Recommendations | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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