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Where to study in Poland?

With over a hundred public higher education institutions (HEIs), and more than 300 private ones, Poland offers a variety of educational opportunities. While choosing your educational path, it is important to also consider the city in which you’ll study – after all, that’s where you’ll spend the next few years! In order to help you plan your studies in Poland, we have prepared a short list of the most popular student cities in Poland.

Choosing a university

First of all, with so many options to choose from it might be helpful to narrow down the list of universities. Here, using a univeristy ranking might be helpful – for example, the most popular HEI ranking in Poland, Perspektywy. What’s helpful is that you can not only browse the ranking by university type (public, private, vocational colleges etc), but also by criteria group – such as, for example, innovation or internationalisation.

However, it is important to remember that univeristy rankings are by no means the be-all and end-all. What’s most important is to choose the school that is best for you. Of course, institutions in big cities usually score higher in the rankings, but smaller univerities also have their advantages – smaller student group might mean more time that the teachers can dedicate to individual student, and more welcoming atmosphere. Here it can be helpful to reach out to current students or alumni and ask about their experience.

Moreover, studying in a large city usually means higher cost of living. Last but not least, it is worth keeping in mind that sometimes particular universities – also the ones from outside the major metropolies – can offer unique, interdisciplinary programmes. So, make sure to consider all pros and cons, as well as do your research when looking for a univeristy to apply to!

Most popular cities for students in Poland


Warsaw, being the capital city, is the first choice for many people. While it has many academic, cultural and professional opportunities, it might also be harder to learn and navigate. As our readers, who studied in Warsaw, say:

What I have always disliked is the location of the University of Warsaw in the very center of the old town. […] Getting to the center turns out to be terrible from almost every possible part of the city. […] What I like is convenient for students, unified city card system that provides easy access to all means of transport. – Nicholas

At first, Warsaw was a bit tiring and terrifying to me, but I found my district, my favorite faculty and it’s great. 😉 I think that in such a big city, on the one hand, it’s nice, because there are plenty of opportunities (science clubs, volunteering, festivals, theaters, cool places, etc.), but sometimes it’s hard – especially at the beginning – to get the hang of it all. – Aleksandra

What you might like about it:

  • You’ll find plenty of diverse opportunities and events here – it is the capital city, after all.
  • Warsaw is surprisingly green, with many big parks and city forests.
  • It’s easier to get around if you don’t speak Polish (although you still might have some challenges!).

What you might not like about it:

  • Because Warsaw is so big and busy, it might be overwhelming.
  • Cost of living is higher than in other Polish cities.


Kraków is home to one of the best university in Poland, and at the same time the oldest one – the Jagiellonian Univeristy dates back to 14th century. It also has the reputation as one of the cultural centres of Poland, as many important Polish cultural figures lived and worked here.  Here is what one of our readers says about Kraków:

Kraków has really great universities, with high academic standard. Many campuses are located in the city center (and have beautiful architecture) but many of these buildings are scattered around the city and sometimes you have to travel all over Krakow to attend classes. In addition, Krakow is full of parties and that can be cool, but the downside is that if you live in the city center it can make everyday life difficult. One of the drawbacks is not that many green spaces in the city centre. A definite plus is an airport that is close by and easy to reach from the city. – Jowita

What you might like about it:

  • It is full of beautifully preserved architecture, including a gorgeous Old Town, and home to the oldest university in Poland.
  • It is a city full of culture, including many alternative/grassroots cultural venues.
  • Obwarzanki (Kraków’s bagels) stands are everywhere – and trust us, that is a major advantage (unless, of course, you are gluten intolerant – sorry!).

What you might not like about it:

  • Unfortunately, Kraków has one of the worst air quality in Poland – make sure to buy a mask for the winter.
  • It is a popular tourist destination – which still might have its advantages (many people speak at least basic English), but it can get crowded, especially in the summertime, and the cost of living is quite high.


People of Poznań are known – among other things – for their specific dialect, being frugal with money, as well as their love for St. Martin’s croissant – a sweet pastry with white poppy seed filling. It is a very student-friendly city, with a rich academic and cultural offer. The city is not too big which makes it easier to comprehend, while still full of diverse opportunities and being quite multicultural.

What you might like about it:

  • It has rich, international history and many cultural events and venues to discover – while still being not too big or overwhelming.
  • It’s student friendly and the public transport is efficient.
  • The costs of living are more accessible and not as high as in other big cities.

What you might not like about it:

  • Poznań is famous for its ubiquitus construction – some street renovations can last years!
  • Similarly to ther big cities in Poland, Poznań also struggles with smog during the winter.


Wrocław, located in the west of Poland, is also one of the most popular student destinations. It has a rich cultural and academic offer, as well as beautiful architecture with many little islands in the city centre which add to its charm. Some of the main advantages of Wrocław are that it’s quite international, and you can easily access diverse places from there – it’s close to the German border, and the Polish mountains if hiking is your thing.

What you might like about it:

  • Its beautiful architecture and little islands that comprise the city. Make sure to spot all the Wrocław’s dwarves!
  • It has a rich cultural offer, with many alternative cultural venues as well.
  • It’s close to the German border – which means many international opportunities.

What you might not like about it:

  • Unfortunately, costs of living are also quite high.
  • The air quality is also one of the worst ones in Poland.


Lublin is one of the smaller cities on our list, with a bit over 300 thousand inhabitants. It’s situated in eastern Poland, and has a rich history and cultural offer. It’s also one of the very academic-friendly cities. Here’s what Weronika says about studying in Lublin:

What I liked the most about this city is that it is really student-friendly – there are a lot of cultural events going on in this city – Night of Culture, Jagiellonian Fair, Festival Wschody, Carnival. In general, Lublin is a student city, it is where the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Univeristy, the Catholic University of Lublin, the University of Life Sciences, the Lublin University of Technology, and a few more private universities are located. I also like Lublin’s Old Town, which is beautiful – one of the few in Poland that was not destroyed during the war. Lublin has always seemed just right to me – not too big, but not too small at the same time. If I had to go to university again, I would seriously consider returning to this city 😉 – Weronika

What you might like about it:

  • It’s very student friendly – there are many cultural events, and the univerities have good facilities.
  • It’s just the right size – not too big, not too small. What follows, the cost of living is not as high as in larger cities.
  • It has a fascinating, international history and a lovely Old Town – one of the few in Poland that wasn’t destroyed during World War II.

What you might not like about it:

  • The professional opportunities might be harder to come by than in larger cities.
  • Because it’s a very academic city, during summertime it might be quite empty as many students leave for the summer break vacation.

Gdańsk / Tri-city

Gdańsk is part of the tri-city, which consists of Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot. It is truly a unique spot – you can easily travel from one city to another, as they are all connected, and at the same time each of them has their own atmosphere and history. One of the main advantages of Gdańsk, apart from its academic, cultural and professional opportunities, is that it is situated on the seaside. Here is how one of our readers sums up studying in Gdańsk:

I really like the fact that the Tri-City offers a lot of possibilities. There are many schools here: University of Gdańsk, Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk University of Technology and also several private universities. Many diverse, interesting scientific conferences and cultural events are organized here. There are various associations and well-known companies, so it’s easy to find an interesting opportunity. And all this close to the sea, where you can relax from the intensity of the city and spend time closer to nature. If someone is looking for a place where there is a lot happening, I recommend Gdańsk 🙂 – Kamila

What you might like about it:

  • The fact that it’s three connected cities is unique and gives plenty to discover.
  • It offers many cultural events and international festivals, as well as professional opportunities – many international companies have their offices in Gdańsk.
  • The nature and the sea. I mean, what beats a walk by the seaside after classes?

What you might not like about it:

  • Similarly to Kraków, it can get very touristy and busy in the summertime.
  • Costs of living are also relatively high.


Łódź is an up-and-coming city which offers many possibilities for students. It is located relatively close to Warsaw, but it’s smaller with a little under 700 thousand inhabitants. It also has an interesting, working-class history that is still an important part of the city’s identity. Moreover, that doesn’t mean it lacks in culture – quite the contrary, it hosts a famous film school – The Leon Schiller National Film School – which has three Oscar-winning alumni. The city is also well-known for its industrial design.

What you might like about it:

  • The Młodzi w Łodzi (Young People in Łódź) programme offers many advantages to students, including scholarships, language classes and paid internships.
  • Its unique, working-class history – Łódź has been nicknamed “the Manchester of Poland”.
  • It’s size – it’s easy to get around while still diverse and having plenty to offer.

What you might not like about it:

  • It might be a bit harder to get around without the knowledge of Polish, compared to bigger/more touristy cities.
  • The public transport might be a bit more challenging.

…and others!

The cities described above are just a fraction of what Poland has to offer. Be sure to check out schools in other cities as well, such as Katowice, Toruń, Olsztyn, Szczecin, Białystok and many more. Each of them is unique and offers not only academic opportunities but also plenty of cultural, social and professional opportunities. We are sure that you will find a city that is perfect for you!

Looking for more?

If you are set on studying in Poland and would like to learn more before you arrive, we’ve got you covered! Check our our articles describing the higher education system in Poland, tips on how to learn Polish and some basic info on Polish culture.

Last but not least, on our website you will find information on scholarships for foreigners in Poland. We have compiled information on student scholarships as well as scholarships for doctoral students and researchers. If you are from Ukraine, our article Direction: Poland (available in English and Ukrainian), by Danylo Solovei, will provide you with basic information on studying in Poland. Moreover, on the official website Study in Poland you’ll find other general information on studying in Poland.

Thank you to our readers – Kamila, Nicholas, Jowita, Weronika, Aleksandra – who shared their experiences on studying in Poland! If you’d like to share your thoughts on your city, don’t hesitate to contact us – we’d love to add your opinion to this article.