Situated on the coast of the Baltic Sea, Gdansk is Poland’s principal seaport and one of its biggest tourist destinations. It boasts several important historical attractions, such as the Royal Way, famous promenade street of Polish kings, along with historic cathedrals and medieval ports.
This place combines the dignity of a centuries-old cultural center with the freedom that only a port city can own. Elevated between the blue of the Baltic Sea and the green expanse of endless forests, crossed by the quay of the Polish rivers – Vistula and huddled in a chain of hills, Gdansk will charm you. In this spirit, the overtures of most tourist brochures that are tempting to be deployed in every corner of the sixth largest city of Poland begin. And none of them lie.
How to get there?
By Plane – The best way to arrive in Gdansk is by plane. Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport is located located 14 km west of the city center.
Find flights here.
By Train or Bus – There are a lot of international trains and buses which arrive in Gdasnsk. Check them out here.
By Boat – Gdańsk is a frequent destination for ferries travelling on the Baltic Sea, particularly with connections to Sweden.
What to do and see there?
Długi Targ (Long Market) – The Long Market is one of the most notable tourist attractions of the city. Dlugi Targ lies where it has been lying since the Middle Ages, and from day one this has been the centre of trade and important decisions in Gdansk, no matter if the town has been under German or Polish jurisdiction. The route through Dlugi Targ is also referred to as the Royal Route.
St Mary’s Church – Its construction began in 1379, or 1343 according to the official website. With its volume between 185,000 m³ and 190,000 m³ is currently one of the two or three largest brick churches in the world, and one of the two or three largest north of the Alps.
European Solidarity Centre – The huge construction you can see next to the entrance to the Gdansk Shipyards is the new European Solidarity Centre which opened on August 30, 2014, the 34th anniversary of the signing of the August Accords. The 5-story building, which has been designed to give the impression of walls cracking and tilting and is covered in rust-colored sheet metal reminiscent of a ship’s hull, has been a project many years in the making.
Artus Court Museum – Built in the middle of the 14th century, the court was given its monumental facade by Abraham van den Block in the 1610s. Inside, there’s a huge hall topped by a Gothic vault supported on four slim granite columns, decorated with hunting murals and dominated by a vast painting depicting the Battle of Grunwald.
St Bridget’s Church – The history of this church goes back to the 14th century, when, in a small chapel the remains of Bridged of Sweden laid here for several days. This event marked the beginning of the adoration of St. Bridged and few years later first Bridgettine Convent was opened in Gdansk. Unfortunately the church was badly damaged during WW2 and was rebuilt only in the 70s.
National Maritime Museum – The History of Gdansk museum calls the impressive Main Town Hall home, a Gothic-Renaissance structure originally built in the 14th century and painstakingly repaired following World War II. Inside visitors immediately see the ornate Great Council Hall and Red Hall, the latter of which features an impressively-sized fireplace and lavish ceilings paintings, including The Glorification of the Unity of Gdansk.
Gdańsk Shipyard – The yard gained international fame when Solidarity (Solidarność) was founded there in September 1980. It is situated on the left side of Martwa Wisła and on Ostrów Island.
Ruins at Westerplatte – On a tiny, cold and wet peninsula, outside the Free City of Danzig, the first shots of World War Two were fired. The first battle of the most devastating conflict in human history began when, on September 1, 1939 at 4:48am, the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein let loose a barrage of artillery onto the Polish naval depot, Westerplatte.
The outdoor exhibition is free, open 24/7, and takes between 2-3 hours to explore. Reading material is in Polish, English, and German.
Boat to Westerplatte – Take a trip to Westerplatte, where the WWII first shots were fired, on a boat modelled on a XVII century galleon. You’ll also be in for some live music during the trip and when it gets back into Gdansk the party continues into the night.
Gdansk will be surely loved by fans of gastronomic tourism. The city is home to numerous attractive restaurants and cozy cafes. With the region located on the Baltic Sea coastline, seafood dishes dominate but there’s also duck, goose, wild game and plenty of healthy fruit and vegetable creations. You must definitely try some of the best polish dishes.
Smalec: Fried lard, often served complimentary before a meal with hunks of homemade bread. It sounds evil, but it works like a miracle any day, especially an arctic one. Ideally partnered with a mug of local beer.
Gołąbki: Boiled cabbage leaves stuffed with beef, onion and rice before being baked in a tomato sauce. Urban myth claims Poland’s King Kazimierz fed his army gołąbki before his victory outside Malbork in a battle against the Teutonic Order. The unlikely victory was attributed to the hearty meal his troops had enjoyed before hand.
Kiełbasa: Sausages, and in Poland you’ll find several varieties made primarily with pork, but sometimes using turkey, lamb and even bison. Kiełbasa was also the nickname of one of Poland’s most notorious gangland figures of the 90s.
Gdansk is an excellent place to go out, drinking or dancing. There are countless pubs and bars, many of which are located in basements of historic buildings. Often the distinction between restaurant, bars and clubs is very thin, as many places have restaurants or bars by day, While at night they become discotheques.
Where to stay?
Gdansk offers numerous accommodations which suits every taste. Find cheap hotels here.