Gdansk (Northern Poland)
A precious gem by the Polish seaside
Gdansk has it all: sandy beaches, romantic cobbled streets, great events, beautiful old architecture and splendid history. Being a popular seaside resort in Poland, it also boasts a variety of restaurants, coffee houses and clubs. One of the most important symbols of the city is amber which has a very long history here. Traces of the golden age of the Baltic amber can be found all around Gdansk and a large number of events, including festivals and trade fairs, take place to celebrate it. There’s even a museum of amber. If you like vibrant seaside cities with great atmosphere, Gdansk is the place to visit.
Climb the 100 stairs to the top of Latarnia Morska and enjoy magnificent views of Gdansk and the Baltic Sea. The lighthouse was built in the 19th century and is now home to a museum. It has a beautiful time ball (an old navigation device) and if you come here at the right time, you’ll see how it works.
Things to do & see in Gdansk
Town Centre (Starowka)
The historic town centre in Gdansk has charming streets and magnificent old buildings. It’s a lovely place to walk, have something to eat and soak up the atmosphere. Dluga, Mariacka and Dlugie Pobrzeze are must-see streets here.
To truly appreciate this place, you need to know its history. Westerplatte is symbolic of the Polish soldiers’ bravery and determination to defend their country. It’s a good idea to take a boat trip to get there. (Check the timetable though as the ferry tram to the Westerplatte peninsula is only available in summer months.)
St. Mary’s Church (Bazylika Mariacka)
St. Mary’s Church is truly amazing in terms of its architecture, history and the works of art that can be found inside. If you like panoramic city views, climb the stairs to the top of the tower (open April – October).
Oliwa Cathedral (Katedra Oliwska)
This cathedral is an impressive historic building famous for its 18th-century organs. If you’d like to listen to them, check the concert schedule. The adjoining park is an extensive recreation ground with a variety of plants.
Museums & Events
If you’re into history, art or culture, you should visit at least one museum here. Some of the most popular include: the Maritime Museum (Narodowe Muzeum Morskie), the Amber Museum (Muzeum Bursztynu), European Solidarity Centre (Europejskie Centrum Solidarności) and the Archaeological Museum (Muzeum Archeologiczne).
St. Dominic’s Fair (Jarmark sw. Dominika)
Jarmark in Gdansk is the most famous street fair in Poland. It’s typically accompanied by festivals, concerts, sporting events and parades. Although the town gets pretty crowded when the fair takes places, varied cultural programme, colourful stalls and delicious local food make it really worthwhile.
Gdynia and Sopot
Gdansk is actually very close to other beautiful seaside cities: Gdynia and Sopot. The three cities are collectively called Trojmiasto (Tricity) and offer a plethora of things to do and see. The pier in Sopot and the ships (ORP Blyskawica and Dar Pomorza) in Gdynia are without a doubt top-rated attractions.
The Hel Penninsula
This penninsula is famous for its beaches and is also very popular with windsurfers. You can take a boat trip from Gdansk to get there. If you love animals, visit the Hel’s Fokarium which is dedicated to the conservation of seals.