15 Sights of Gdynia worth visiting
Gdynia is a port city located on the shores of the Bay of Gdańsk, and has grown rapidly in the years between the wars of the 20th century. Thanks to its white sand beaches and coastal forest, it quickly became a resort. The city is also known in Poland as a place from which emigrants sailed to America on ships.
The city was actively built up in the 1920s and 1930s. Its style is composed of a large number of modernist and early functionalist buildings, as well as urban infrastructure, museums, and blocks of apartment buildings.
Museum of Emigration
In the period between the wars, the Art Nouveau seaport on the French Promenade was the place from which thousands of Poles continuously left their homeland. In the early 2010s, the need for a new museum dedicated to the phenomenon of emigration became apparent. In 2015, it became available to the public.
The Emigration Museum contains a wealth of archival film and video footage, photographs, as well as documents from reliable sources and personal items that provide insight into why and how people went to countries such as Brazil, Australia and the United States.
Address: Emigration Museum Gdynia, Polska 1, 81-339 Gdynia, Poland.
Maritime Museum of ORP Blyskawica
Maritime Museum of ORP “Blyskavica”.
“Lightning” is the Russian name of the “Thunder” class destroyer, the oldest surviving vessel of this type in the world. Preparing the ship for sailing was completed in November 1937. The OPR “Blyskavitsa” was built at the shipyards of J. Samuel White on the Isle of Wight. To keep the ship from self-destruction, it was redeployed from the Baltic Sea on the eve of World War II.
Thereafter, the ship was actively involved in military operations. The ship took part in the evacuation at Dunkirk in 1940 and in other military operations in Europe and North America. In the 1970s, the ORP Blyskavica became a museum ship.
It is equipped with a gangway for visitors who climb it to the deck to view the torpedo compartment, self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, deep-sea bombs and sea mines. Visitors also descend lower into the radio room, engine room and officers’ mess. Signs explain the purpose of each room.
Address: ORP Błyskawica, aleja Jana Pawła II, Gdynia, Poland.
National Maritime Museum “DAR POMORIA
National Maritime Museum Dar Pomorya. | Photo: wikimedia.
This fully equipped sailing ship, kept in good condition by the staff of the National Naval Museum of Poland, is located near the coastline near the Blyskawica ORP. During her service, the ship circumnavigated all of Europe.
The sailing ship was launched in 1909 at the Blom and Voss shipyards in Hamburg. In 1920 the ship was sent to Great Britain as war reparations (payments for damages). After that the Dar Pomorya became a training ship in France and later at the Polish Naval Academy in Gdynia.
In 1935 she was the first ship to sail around the world under Polish flags. In the 1970s she took part in big sailing regattas before being decommissioned and becoming a museum ship in 1983.
You can go aboard to get acquainted with the inner workings of the sailboat and read about her history on the information boards.
Address: Dar Pomorza, aleja Jana Pawła II, Gdynia, Poland.
A place in Gdynia where you will return repeatedly is the square named after Tadeusz Kościuszko, the national hero who led the anti-Russian uprising in 1794. The main city square looks more like a wide boulevard that leads to the southern pier, where museum ships are moored.
The square is dominated by modernist apartment buildings from the 1930s that are rented out, as well as the building of the Polish Naval Forces Command, which was liquidated in 2014. There are many different restaurants located right next to the square. The pier, the cinema, the aquarium and the main museums are within walking distance.
Address: Skwer Kościuszki, Kościuszki Square, Gdynia, Poland.
The institution is located next to the “Blyskawica” on the south pier. The picture gallery of the museum is in the same building as the halls of the Gdynia City Museum. The most valuable exhibit is on the wall to the left of the entrance. It is the “Eagle of the Westerplatte Peninsula”, a bas-relief that used to decorate the entrance to the barracks of the transit armory on Westerplatte.
The artifact was found among the ruins left after World War II. The peninsula was the first target of the German invasion on Sept. 1, 1939. The items on display in the museum have been collected since 1953. The collection includes samples of uniforms and uniforms, field and shooting range weapons, medals, models, paintings and photographs. Most of the exhibits relate to the period of World War II.
Address: Naval Museum, Zawiszy Czarnego 1, 81-374 Gdynia, Poland.
Stone Mountain area
Just south of the pier and the southern pier is the most prestigious area of Gdynia. Over the past 80 years a large number of prominent business and cultural figures have chosen this area for their villas. One reason for its popularity is the 50-meter high elevation of the area, which towers above the rest of the city on a steep clay hill, consisting of tills (glacial deposits).
From the terrace, topped with a monumental cross and acting as a vantage point, you can view the outline of the Bay of Gdańsk, the marina and all the northern areas of Gdynia.
Address: Kamienna Góra, Gdynia, Poland.
Funicular in Gdynia to Kamienna Góra
Gdynia funicular to Kamienna Góra. | Photo: wikimedia.
The answer to the question of what to see in Gdynia first is quite simple. It is a new attraction of the city, which appeared in July 2015. – A free cable car that moves up and down the slope of Stone Mountain. The lower station is located on the restored Grunwald Square.
Both the upper and lower stations are designed to blend harmoniously with the modernist architecture of Gdynia. The length of the route is 115 meters. The funicular is equipped with a single automatic carriage, which seats up to 12 people. It is controlled by passengers using buttons, by pressing which they call the train and start the journey.
Address: Kolejka na Kamienną Górę, plac Grunwaldzki, Gdynia, Poland.
Gdynia’s main beach is small, but the location could not be better – just below the pier at the foot of Stone Mountain. The 300-meter beach, covered in fine white sand, winds around the bay. It is all you need on sunny days. Although the water is quite cool, the beach strip is gentle and the waves are low on calm days.
The sandy beach is fringed by a long promenade, passing in the south into the reserve “Kempa Redlovska”. In the north of the promenade there are cafes and restaurants with summer terraces, which alternate with long stretches of grass.
Address: Plaża miejska w Gdyni, Gdynia, Poland.
Pier in Orlowo
The pier in Orlowo.
This pier, which serves as a resting place for the village and seaside resort of Orlowo, was opened during World War I. In the past, when Orlovo competed with Sopot, the neighboring resort, the pier was 430 m long. But, after it was washed away by a wave during the 1949 storm, it is now 180 m long.
People like the pier because of the unobtrusive elegance of the whitewashed hedge and benches and the view of the Eagle Rocks to the north. For those accustomed to getting up early, there’s no better place from which to watch the sunrise. There are several cafes and restaurants just a couple of minutes walk from the pier.
Address: Molo w Gdyni Orłowie, Orłowska, Gdynia, Poland.
As soon as you enter this private car museum, you immediately feel how much love the owner has put into this interesting place. There are 200 historic vehicles on display in the vintage-themed hall. Even the floor is paved with cobblestones typical of Gdynia in the 1920s.The exhibition includes 50 cars.
Even more impressive is the collection of motorcycles, featuring models from the first half of the 20th century. You can see such brands as the Indian, Harley-Davidson, Zündapp, Royal Enfield, BMW and the Polish Sokol. A few special models from the mid-1920s are worth looking at: the elegant Navy Osa moped and the cars – the Skoda Tudor, the Model T Ford and the Buick Master Seah. The last named car retains its original paint job, interior trim and American air in the tires.
Address: Gdynia Motor Museum, Żwirowa, Gdynia, Poland.
Gdynia Museum | Photo: wikimedia.
Although Gdynia is a young city, its rapid development between the wars is worth studying. The museum contains many artifacts detailing those early years through archival photographs documenting the construction of the port and its destruction during World War II.
The museum also contains many documents and items from that time: posters, driver’s licenses, high school diplomas, passports, tickets, restaurant menus, geographic maps and marriage certificates. All of these give an insight into everyday life in Gdynia between the wars. At the time of writing, two temporary exhibitions were in operation: “History of the Gdynia Protestant Community” and “Photographs by Tadeusz Wanski.” Т. Tadeusz Wanski photographed the architecture of Gdynia in the 1920s.
Address: Muzeum Miasta Gdyni, Zawiszy Czarnego, Gdynia, Poland.
Kempa Redlowska Reserve
Kempa Redłowska Reserve.| Photo: wikimedia.
Between Gdynia and Orlowo there is a reserve with an area of 118 hectares. The nature park was created in 1938 to protect the coastal forest and a grove of rare round-leaved rowan trees. The park is located inside the city limits, but in this place, located in a pristine forest area and on deserted beaches by the sea, no signs of civilization are felt.
If you want to spend a good day, you can walk along the promenade towards Sopot. The scenery becomes especially picturesque at the beginning of the park, where the Eagle Rocks play the role of a natural balcony stretching 650 meters. It is a glacial deposit, towering over narrow beaches studded with cobbles.
Address: Kępa Redłowska, Gdynia, Poland.
Torpedo Factory in Babia Doly
Torpedo factory in Babia Doly. | Photo: wikimedia.
The abandoned torpedo factory, which gives a gloomy impression, is an object for those who are interested in military structures, as well as for those who can see the beauty in dilapidated buildings. The factory is inaccessible to visitors. It is located a few hundred meters from the coast and about 10 km north of Gdynia.
The factory was built by the Wehrmacht as a research center at the beginning of World War II. It was later connected to the shore by a pier, which was eventually dismantled in the 1990s. The building is now a frame of walls, clearly visible from the shore. The former factory continues to be gradually eroded by the sea and harsh winters.
Address: Torpedownia, Gdynia, Poland.
Experiment Science Center
Experyment Science Center.
The Experiment Science Center, created as a joint initiative of the city and the Pomeranian Science and Technology Park, is one of Poland’s most popular interactive science museums. The facility features 200 interactive exhibits. Visitor education is organized by a large team of employees full of energy and enthusiasm.
One of the best sections is “Hydromir,” where children can learn the basics of hydrological engineering, create a whirlpool, build a breakwater dam and an Archimedean screw. They can also do surgery (virtual, thankfully), experiment with magnetic properties, experience an earthquake and learn how to trick the human senses with tricks and tricks.
Address: Centrum Nauki EXPERYMENT, aleja Zwycięstwa, Gdynia, Poland.
Aquarium of Gdynia
Aquarium of Gdynia.
This popular institution on the southern pier opened its doors in 1971, on the site of a ferry pier built in modernist style in 1938. The 900 square metre aquarium tanks are home to around 215 species of fish, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians, ranging from Chinese tortoises to sea eels.
The most diverse habitats are represented here: the coral reef, the Baltic Sea, the seaweed beds and the Amazon. The aquariums are complemented by a permanent exhibition about oceanography and hydrobiology. In 2005 there was opened a cinema, where films about underwater life are shown. The Baltic Hall deserves special attention. It is located on the top floor, with stunning views of the Gulf of Gdańsk.
Address: Gdynia Aquarium, aleja Jana Pawła II, Gdynia, Poland.
Gdynia: attractions, photos and personal experiences. To go or not to go?
I had several such cities in my life: the Belgian Charleroi, the Slovakian Kezmarok… And now Polish Gdynia has joined the list. I came here from Sopot to “close” the theme of the Truymiast cities and officially visit each of them. But I regretted that decision almost from the very first notes.
After Sopot, with its cozy center, pier, and swans walking on the beach, I was in for a disappointment. As square as Malevich’s square. And gray, like my life. I walked along the streets and felt like Roger Rabbit, who had once again been framed by someone. No… Seriously… Why didn’t anyone warn me not to go to this place?
My main enemy that day was the website 34travel, which apparently compiles its travel guides by pointing a finger in the sky. I made myself screenshots of the tips, and then dreamed of brutalizing the person who wrote them.
So there you go… Look… Tip #1 “Be sure to take a walk down the street on February 10.” Let’s take a walk. All around us opens up this beauty…
Tip #2. “Be sure to pay attention to the houses of the Main Post Office and the City Council. I did. Did you mean that?
I’m quite willing to believe that I took the wrong picture! Well, THIS can’t be considered a landmark!
There was also a tip #3 and a story about the best casseroles in Trójmiasto, which (drum roll) are served exactly in Gdynia (at Swiatojanska 18).
I decided to try them. And in a couple of minutes I bumped into a girl crying at the cash register. I look at her… She’s crying… I blink my eyes, not understanding what’s going on. Moments give way to moments. In a second it’s all over. The girl at the cash register called a friend of hers and he started to tell me about the casseroles on the menu and which one I should choose. I chose “Polish Casserole” (I think), the guys at the cash desk exchanged a few words and the weeping girl went to put the ingredients.
I ate the casserole with the salty tang of tears and thought about comforting people in Polish. Maybe she really has something going on. I generally don’t like it when girls cry (I have a hugging reflex in me, even to strangers). And now the time is like this… If you try to hug someone, you’ll get a “me too”, harassment, and a firing squad for harassment.
In the end I decided to just eat my casserole, which, in fact, I found very tasty when I was hungry. There were a lot of onions and a crispy bun that cut my palate, but overall I liked it. The casserole was okay (although it differed from other casseroles I’ve had only in its smaller size and greater cost). The best casserole in Pomerania? Really? All right…I’ll take your word for it.
I chew my sandwich, look up and see old pictures of the main post office on the wall next to me.
Is it really one of Gdynia’s landmarks? But never mind… I’ll figure it all out on my own now. I’ll tell you all the places I remember in Gdynia from the rest of the article.
The Gdynia Skyscraper, the ships, and the unusual buildings in the center
Feeling a rush of energy caused by the calories from the casserole I had just eaten, I decided to walk around the center a bit spontaneously. I liked this unusual building next to February 10th Street.
On the Internet (not on 34travel) they say that it has a free viewing room. If you’re in Gdynia, try to check it out.
I also took a picture of this graffiti on one of the walls.
Some old mansion behind the fence.
And this weird-looking fountain on one of the main promenades.
As you understand, Gdynia’s sights are not so good… But we’ll collect by the thread (I have to show you this city somehow).
Interesting things… (or more or less interesting things) began to catch my eye only when I went out to the sea. First I saw ships standing by the shore.
Then more ships…
And then this “Gdynia skyscraper” (in the style of a city with skyscrapers).
At first, I didn’t pay much attention to it and photographed it just for fun. But it turned out that people here in Gdynia often draw it on postcards, so you can put it in the “places of interest” section.
During the final part of the sea promenade an old pirate galleon caught my eye.
It looked beautiful, but to be fair, I will note that its twin brothers are in all cities of Trójmiasto.
So I only took a couple of pictures of it. And then I walked back. On one side of it rose a strange needle-like monument (from the category of “I don’t really care who it’s dedicated to”).
On the other side there were swans swimming (which looked like Smeshariki and Pikachu in front of their Sopot counterparts).
Also in this part of town I noticed this “Akwarium Gdynski”.
It was marked on the signs in town as a landmark, so I also decided to take a picture of it. In the fall, at the time of my trip, it was no longer working. So if anyone has been there – write in the comments what are your impressions from visiting it.
In the meantime, I will tell you the most interesting things.
Gdynia beaches and the subway station “Kamennaya Gorka”.
I’ll tell you honestly – this is the only thing worth going here for. It’s beautiful here. And even in the fall, there was a very pleasant atmosphere.
Pensioners were resting on benches.
Parents with baby carriages walked on the sandy wooden walkways.
And two Russian (or at least Russian-speaking) men even managed to swim in the sea in October.
I was looking at them and thought: can I also dive? If there had been someone else with me that day, I would have jumped for sure. But I was alone, did not trust people and was afraid for my expensive camera (with a little less expensive iPhone). So the Russian men were swimming in the sea, proudly alone.
And I went further. Took some more pictures of the local beach. And started to go up to the observation deck, which one online guide (which no longer exists for me) advised me very much.
The lookout is called “Kamennaya Gora” (almost like a subway station in Minsk). 34travel promised beautiful villas from the 20s and 30s here and “spectacular views of the sea and the yacht port.”
So I walked… First uphill.
Then up the mountain. The old villas here, by the way, were discovered quite quickly. Many of them look quite nice, but whether to walk here for them is up to you to decide. These buildings look something like this.
Modern cottages and cool cars next to them I liked it more.
So… The villas are done. Now get ready… Here comes the “spectacular” view from the observation deck. Ready for something beautiful? OK… I’m going to disappoint you. The view from the mountain looks something like this…
I saw more Christmas trees and branches than the sea and the yacht port.
Of the pluses of this place – only the free cable car (which was closed in the fall due to repair work).
A huge cross near that very cable car.
Another modern cottage and some kind of shipping propeller right in front of it.
I also liked the cabbage beds on one of the main streets of Gdynia (even if it’s not cabbage, I’ll still call it that).
And the musical theater not far from it.
I walked toward the train station. The words, “How did I get here?” sounded like a throbbing pain in my head. If I had known that Gdynia was nothing, would I have come here or not? I had to write a report somehow. Goodbye, 6.5 zlotys wasted. For that money, I could have assembled a beer royale (Lech, Tyskie, Zywiec). I would be sitting now and enjoying the alcoholic intoxication. And I would feel so good… So good…
In short, think 10 times before going to Gdynia. Of all the cities in Pomerania I did not like it at all.
P.S. What else is there to see in Gdynia, if you come here after all?
Already at home, after I finished this trip, I reread all the information about Gdynia and made a list of places worth seeing on a trip to this Polish city. Here they are:
- The beautiful Orlowo Cliff and the pier of the same name next to it (located 3.5 km from the center, can be reached on foot).
- War Museum in the ship Blyskawica (for fans of such topics).
- Gdynia Aquarium . At the time of my visit, it was closed, but in general the reviews on the Internet are good.
- Immigration Museum (free on Wednesdays).
- Gdynia’s beaches. I have already written about them. I liked them a lot. There is also a marina nearby, where you can take pretty pictures for Instagram.
- Sopot, Gdansk, Malbork. Yes, this is not Gdynia itself, but being in this city, you just have to drive through the nearby towns. Each of these places has its own charm and interesting features. You can get to them quickly and easily by SKM commuter trains, which connect many towns of Polish Pomerania.
Few more tips
In order not to get lost in the streets of Gdynia, download MAPS.ME. It quickly drains the battery of your phone, but you will not get lost. Everything is very simple. You type in the necessary point, and then you follow the arrows.
I recommend that you look for COVID-19 insurance policies here. There are good prices on this site, and you can also quickly compare all policies with each other. Don’t buy “a pig in a poke,” but take 2 minutes to figure out how one policy differs from another. This is always very important. But especially during a pandemic.
As for housing, I do not recommend looking for it in Gdynia itself. For me it is one of the most faceless and square cities in Poland. So I would prefer to give the role of a place to stay in Gdansk. It’s up to you, of course. But if you follow my advice, there are 3 good options for accommodation. They have excellent reviews and nice prices. However, see for yourself…
In the meantime, I’ll wrap it up quietly. Bye everyone! Thank you for reading the article to the end.