The Hanseatic city of Gdansk is brimming with beautiful buildings and monuments, which have been painstakingly reconstructed after the city’s wartime destruction. Indeed, the city is often considered to be one of the most splendid port cities in all of Europe. Discover the plentiful things to see and do in and around the city and start planning your Polish getaway with this comprehensive Finnair travel guide to Gdansk.
Sights in Gdansk
Many major sights are located in the Old Town and New Town, both of which are situated in the central district of Śródmieście. Dating back to the mid-1300s and constructed by Teutonic Knights, the Great Mill, now home to a shopping centre, is an interesting piece of architecture in the Old Town. The Dutch-style Old Town Hall, containing a culture museum today, and the Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers of 1970 are other Old Town attractions. In the Main Town, Główne Miasto, Long Lane has been an important street since the medieval era. Marked by a gate at each end, the street has many impressive buildings. Go to the Baroque and Gothic New Jury House just before 1 pm to watch the automated “Maiden at the Window”; it’s rather haunting. Artus Court, the Main Town Hall, Uphagen House, Golden House and Neptune Fountain are other major attractions in the Main Town. See Poland’s first ship constructed after World War II, SS Sołdek, visit the museum at Gdansk Lighthouse, step inside St. Mary’s Church, the largest brick church in Europe, take children to the zoo and watch a performance at Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre. Charming Mariacka Street is lined with romantic coffee shops and artisan boutiques specialising in traditional amber products, while the boulevard alongside the Motława River is a popular spot for a Sunday stroll. If you need to rest your feet, the waterfront is dotted with excellent fish restaurants and fascinating art galleries. Stogi Beach draws people outside on sunny days and you can also enjoy the great outdoors with a canoeing adventure along the canals. If you prefer being indoors, Gdansk has many museums too, including the Historical Museum of the City of Gdansk, the Museum of the Second World War and the Tower Clock Museum.
Things to See and Do Near Gdansk
- Sopot – Famed for its amazing beaches and health spas, this is one of Poland’s most popular summer destinations. Local attractions include the unusual Crooked House, North Park and the wooden pier.
- Gdynia – This harbour town boasts impressive shopping opportunities and excellent ferry connections. One of Poland’s most modern towns, there are beaches, museums and parks to enjoy.
- Hel – Located at the end of the Hel Peninsula, the city of Hel has nice beaches, a pine forest, museums and old bunkers from the Second World War.
- Wisłoujście Fortress – This medieval star-shaped fortress sits on the Westerplatte Peninsula. While in the area you can also see where Nazi Germans invaded Poland, marking the start of World War II.
Shopping in Gdansk
Amber is a local speciality, and the city is sometimes called the Amber Capital of the World. There’s a good selection of malls and shops in Gdansk, with enough to keep any retail therapy fan happy.
- Designer Outlet Gdansk – The ideal retail establishment for people who love to discover top-quality fashions at discount prices, you’ll find clothes for men, women and children here.
- Galeria Bałtycka – The city’s largest shopping centre, there are more than 200 stores spread across several levels along with a supermarket.
- The Madison Shopping Gallery – This is the easiest shopping centre to reach from the heart of the city. There are around 100 stores, with brands including Venezia, Apple, Intersport and Ecco.
- Gdansk Farmers Market – Open on Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings to mid-afternoons, there’s a large selection of fresh and local produce to be found here. Farmers travel from surrounding areas to sell their goods.
Food and Drink
- Bigos – Eaten all around Poland, this hunter’s stew contains meat, onion, cabbage and sauerkraut. It is traditionally prepared and cooked over the course of a few days.
- Smalec – Another traditional dish enjoyed around the nation, this is a starter of fried lard served with chunks of bread.
- Goldwasser – This strong alcoholic drink is made from a mixture of roots and herbs in vodka. Small gold flakes are added to the liquid too.
Transport in Gdansk
The compact city centre is perfect for discovering on foot and the efficient public transportation in Gdansk facilitates visits to places outside the city’s core.
- By foot – With many key sights located in the Old Town and Main Town which are close to each other, it’s easy to hit the highlights without needing any form of transportation.
- Buses – Buses in Gdansk travel to most parts of the city and its suburbs and services are regular. There are several convenient ways to buy tickets: from kiosks, from machines, from newsagents and from the driver. Tickets must be validated when you board the vehicle. Night buses are slightly more expensive, though still very affordable. If you’re planning to use buses a lot while in Gdansk, the 24-hour passes can help to cut costs further.
- Trams – Several tram lines cross the city, and tickets can be bought in the same manner as for buses. Stops and routes are well marked.
- Water Trams – There are two water-based public transportation options, though they only operate from spring to autumn.
- Taxis – Taxis are widely available and affordable.