Gdańsk is Poland’s largest northern city and the country’s main seaport on the Baltic coast. It is part of an area known as Tri-city that is comprised of Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia each with their own attractions.
Gdańsk has a place in history as the location where World War II started, but today it is known as the heart of the amber industry and a thriving city that is a splendid destination with Hanseatic architecture, interesting museums and homely caféterias lining cobblestoned streets.
What to see
Your first purchase while in Gdańsk should be a ‘karta turysty’, one of the Tourist Cards for the Tri-city that includes discounts for local businesses. You can add-on sightseeing and public transport options for 24 hour or 72 hour visits to the city. The Tourist Cards can be bought at one of the Tourist Offices in Gdańsk including sites next to the Town Hall and the Green Gate.
Gdańsk was rebuilt extensively after World War II and Gdańsk Old Town is where you will find many of the city’s attractions. Wander along Dluga Street the main thoroughfare past pretty townhouses, or sip a Polish beer at a riverfront restaurant. Other sights include the Neptune fountain, Brama Zielona (the Green Gate) and the wooden Żuraw (Crane) dating from the 14th century.
For an insight into the effects of Solidarity for Poland and the countries of the Communist Bloc, stop by The European Solidarity Centre where interactive exhibits, films and archives bring history to life. The rooftop terrace has views over the shipyards where the movement began.
What to do
Go shopping for hand crafted amber gifts in one of the cosy boutiques on Ulica Mariacka (St Marys Street), then sit at one of the sidewalk caféterias with a coffee and szalotka (apple pie) admiring the view along the street to one of the largest brick churches in the world, St Mary’s.
Poland has a lengthy beer-brewing history and any beer enthusiasts should ensure they visit Brovarnia (Szafarnia 9, Hotel Gdańsk), a mini-brewery serving a range of lagers, wheat or dark beers to quench your thirst.
For some respite from the busy town, we recommend you head to Oliwa Park with lovely botanical gardens, duck ponds and walking paths. Here you can see the Oliwa Cathedral with its famous organ and the rococo Abbot’s Palace. Oliwa Zoo is also located nearby.
Nearby things to see and do
Just 20 minutes’ drive from Gdańsk is the town of Sopot, a bustling summer destination. Walk along the Sopot Pier, the longest wooden pier in Europe or photograph the unusual Crooked House. Nature fans can roam the Trójmiejski Landscape Park with forest walks and mountain biking trails.
Located 60 kilometers from Gdańsk you’ll find the UNESCO World Heritage listed Malbork Castle. These 13th century fortifications were built by the Teutonic Order and are one of Poland’s significant historical monuments. You can view the defensive walls with towers, and the interiors house stately rooms and collections of ancient weapons, ceramics, and Gothic sculptures.