Warsaw is not just the capital of Poland but also its economic centre. Littered with galleries, museums and theatres, the city is also home to the University of Warsaw which has come to be recognised as a leading academic institute across the continent. One of the fastest growing cities in Europe, Warsaw still reigns supreme when it comes to market standards and offers some of the best investment opportunities combining the lowest risks with good returns.
Krakow attracts interest because of its place on the UNESCO world heritage list and status as a favourite weekend break and inter-rail destination. In terms of tourism, the city draws in huge numbers, however in terms of property, Krakow is the hardest city in Poland to get building permission and the returns are not as strong as in Warsaw.
Alongside Poland's large commercial cities, smaller municipalities are beginning to materialise as important investment destinations enjoying fairly stable growth. Gdansk (German Danzig) set on the Baltic Coast and surrounded by good beaches is the country's principal seaport and industrial centre, Gdansk functions as a crossroads for trade routes from Germany to the East and its industry is largely based around shipbuilding and chemical production. It also has a charming Old Town painstakingly reconstructed after the Second World War which helps boost the city's tourist appeal.
Prices here are some of the cheapest in Poland, a third of prices in Lodz, Wroclaw and Krakow and half of prices in Warsaw. With large government and municipal expenditure developing the Tri-City rail and road networks and the Special Economic Zone of Sopot to attract business and the very highest levels of education, Gdansk should continue to attract multi-national companies and pose as a strong investment hub in the future. There is however a lack of suitable accommodation for visitors as the city's few hotels are aimed at business travellers making them overpriced for tourists. The student population in Gdansk is especially large meaning rental demand is high and investing in buy to let is a growing market. Low property prices and demand for tourist accommodation mean strong yields are achievable, making Gdansk an attractive place to invest.
Located in southern Poland against the Tatras Mountains, Zakopane is Poland's premier ski resort attracting millions of visitors a year. With good access to Poprad airport across the Slovakian border and the proposal for a new motorway intersection linking Zakopane and Krakow airport, transfer times should soon be reduced to only one hour.
Thanks to the area's varied leisure activities, Zakopane caters for both the summer and winter tourist seasons giving a rental window of around eight months each year. Holiday homes in Zakopane are currently most popular amongst the Polish meaning the value of property has remained steady and affordable.
Set against the stunning Sulejowskie and Jeziorsko lakes, Lodz is the fastest growing second tier city in Poland.. With good transport links and a growing economy, the city is a regenerating manufacturing base offering attractive property investments. Commutes to Warsaw take only 45 minutes thanks to a new high speed train link.
Perched on the Odra River, Wroclaw is situated between Prague, Warsaw and Berlin close to both Germany and the Czech Republic. Thanks to the construction of a new multi million pound airport the city's prominence and investment potential should steadily develop.
Known as Poland's Sleeping Giant, Katowice, although a wealthy mining city, has property prices significantly lower than similar industrial cities such as Lodz but is the most urban and industrial city in Poland. It has an impressive infrastructure and a large and dynamic work force creating a thirst for quality residential property. The current quality of housing is poor and housing stock is ageing, meaning the demand for new modern apartments is high thanks to the high purchasing power of young residents working for large companies in the area.