What to see in Gdansk, Poland?

Gdansk

The most detailed information about Gdansk (Poland) with photos and videos. Gdansk best sights with descriptions, travel guides and maps.

City of Gdansk (Poland).

Gdansk is a city in northern Poland and the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship. It is the largest Polish port, located on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Gdansk, also known as Danzig, is one of the most beautiful and interesting historical cities in Poland, with a rich and glorious maritime history, a magnificent cultural heritage and a variety of attractions, including old gates, medieval churches and old merchant houses.

Gdańsk is known as one of the most important ports in Northern Europe. It was formerly a member of the Hanseatic League and one of Poland’s richest cities, thriving on the amber trade and linking the east and center of the European continent. Despite the devastation of World War II, Gdansk is known for its splendid architecture, many interesting historical monuments, and the wonderful atmosphere of the old port city.

Gdansk forms with the cities of Gdynia and Sopot an agglomeration called Trójmiasto, which translates from Polish as Trihgradje.

Gdańsk at night

Gdansk at Night

Practical information

  • Population – 467 thousand people.
  • Area – 261.96 km².
  • Founded – 10th century.
  • Currency is Polish zloty.
  • Language: Polish.
  • Visas – Schengen.
  • Time – UTC +1.

History

Gdansk was first mentioned in 997. In the 12th century the Germans began to settle here. In the early 14th century Gdansk was captured by the Teutonic Knights and annexed to Prussia. The city was renamed in the German manner in Danzig. Since 1361 Gdansk became a member of the Hanseatic League and gained actual independence.

In 1466, after the Thirteen Years’ War was over, the city returned to Poland. It was then that Gdansk enjoyed wide-ranging privileges: it elected its own mayors, conducted a largely independent foreign policy, and minted its own money. In 1793, after the partition of Poland, the city again became part of Prussia.

Winter in Gdańsk

Winter in Gdansk

After World War I, Danzig was given the status of a free city under the League of Nations. At the same time, Poland used its port. In September 1939, Gdansk was invaded by Germany and incorporated into East Prussia. The city was liberated by Soviet troops in March 1945 and, unfortunately, was badly destroyed.

After the war, the restoration of its old appearance began. The restoration process is still ongoing, although the old town has been almost completely restored.

In the 80s and 90s of the 20th century Gdansk became a center of discontent with the existing political order. It was in its shipyards that the Solidarity movement arose, which spread throughout Poland and eventually led to the fall of the Communist regime.

Modern Gdansk is the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and one of the main centers of economic and administrative life in Poland. It is also a major industrial center, where the petrochemical industry, shipbuilding and ship repair are flourishing. Also, high-tech industries are developing in Gdansk: electronics, telecommunications. An important part of the local economy is amber processing.

Climate

The climate is humid maritime with mild winters and rainy summers. The average temperature ranges from -1.0°C (winter) to +17.2°C (summer). The seasons are clearly distinguishable. In early spring it is usually cold and windy, and then the weather becomes warm and fairly sunny.

Getting to Gdansk from most cities in Western Europe and the Baltic States is fairly easy. It has its own airport and is a major transportation center on the Baltic coast. Also, Gdansk has a regular direct bus service to Kaliningrad.

Gdańsk. Old Town

Gdansk. Old Town

Accommodation

As in any tourist center, Gdansk has a large number of hotels and apartments for all tastes and pockets. Prices are reasonable by European standards. The only drawback is that it is advisable to book accommodation in advance.

Cuisine and Catering

Gdansk is famous for its bars and restaurants. Here you can find excellent establishments with delicious regional and European cuisine. A popular drink is beer and herbal liquor goldwasser, which has been produced in Gdansk since the 16th century.

Traditional Polish cuisine is simple, rich in meat, sauces and vegetables. Poles love pickled vegetables and coleslaw. Soups include barzcz czerwony (borscht), zupa ogórkowa or grzybowa (cucumber or mushroom soup), żurek (rye soup, usually served with sausage and egg), kapuśniak (similar to cabbage soup). Other traditional dishes: pierogi (our dumplings), bigos (stewed meat with vegetables), jabłecznik (apple pie).

We recommend the following regional restaurants:

  • PALOWA, ul. Długa 47, 80-831 Gdańsk
  • TAWERNA DOMINIKAŃSKA, ul. Targ Rybny 9, 80-838 Gdańsk.
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Gdańsk. Night

Gdańsk. Night

Interesting museums in Gdańsk

For the museum enthusiasts we publish interesting museums of Gdańsk.

Museum of a Historical Place – ul. Długa 47, 80-831 Gdańsk

  • City Hall
  • Arthur’s Court
  • Clock Tower Museum
  • Polish Post Museum
  • Fortress
  • Amber Museum

National Museum – Toruńska Street1 80-822 Gdańsk

  • Antique Art Museum
  • Modern Art – Abbey Palace
  • Department of Ethnography – Grain
  • Gallery of Photography
  • Nobility Museum

National Maritime Museum – Ołowianka 9 – 13 80-751 Gdańsk

  • Granaries on Olowianka
  • Ship – Museum “Sołdek
  • Center of Maritime Culture
  • Ship-Museum “The Gift of Pomerania
  • Fisheries Museum
  • Vistula Museum

Boat trip

To see Gdańsk from a different perspective you can rent a boat.

Gdańsk sights

Gdańsk’s main attraction is the Old Town, an architectural complex dating from the 13th to 18th centuries. Among other attractions we recommend to see: Arthur’s Court, Green and Golden Gate, Abate Palace, Town Hall, beautiful old churches and the Royal Route.

 Royal Route

The Royal Route

The Royal Tract or Dluga Street is an ancient road surrounded by beautiful architecture. It is the main entrance to the city, which begins at the city gate complex and ends at the Long Market. It is bordered by the Golden and Green Gates.

Dluga street is the most beautiful street in Gdańsk. It is full of beautiful merchant houses with narrow and bright facades, richly decorated with coats of arms, allegorical figures and silhouettes of ancient heroes. Some of these buildings have survived from the Middle Ages, although most were rebuilt in the postwar years.

The Long Market is the most impressive square in Gdańsk and the place where the richest people of the city lived in the past. It is home to several iconic landmarks and many examples of remarkable ancient architecture.

 Green Gate

Green Gate

The Green Gate (Polish: Brama Zielona) is the oldest river gate, known since 1357. Together with the other gates (Golden and High) they border the Royal Route. They were built in 1564-1568 by Hans Kremer in Dresden. Hans Kremer of Dresden and Rainier of Amsterdam. The Green Gate looks very much like a castle, with 4 passageways made in the facade. For the construction there was used a small brick not found in Gdańsk before, called Dutch brick. Today the structure is occupied by a department of the National Museum.

Golden Gate

Golden Gate

The Golden Gate (Złota Brama) is an ancient structure on Długa Street and one of the most famous landmarks of the city. It was built at the beginning of the 17th century in place of the old Gothic gate of the 13th century. The gate was built by Jan Strakovský, designed by architect Abraham van den Block. The style of architecture is Dutch mannerism. The Golden Gate was destroyed during the Second World War. Reconstructed in 1957.

Town Hall

Town Hall

The Town Hall (Polish: Ratusz Głównego Miasta) is a beautiful historic building on the Long Market Square, built in the 16th century by Dutch craftsmen. After a fire in 1556, the Gothic town hall was rebuilt in the Renaissance style and a new spire, decorated with a statue of King Sigismund II Augustus, was placed at the top of the tower. The tower, which is 81 meters high, offers an excellent panorama of the city. The interior of the town hall was created at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries and was considered to be one of the most beautiful of its kind. After the destruction of World War II, the town hall was rebuilt in 1970. Today, the town hall is a museum.

Neptune Fountain

Neptune Fountain

There is also the Neptune Fountain, one of the symbols of Gdańsk. The Mannerist sculpture for the fountain was made of bronze around 1615 by a craftsman from Koenigsberg (modern Kaliningrad). The fountain was officially opened in 1634. Unfortunately, it was also damaged during the Second World War. It was restored in 1954.

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Arthur's Court

Arthur’s Court

Arthur’s Courtyard is another landmark of the Long Market. The building was originally intended for trade meetings. The palace got its name from the legend of King Arthur. The heyday of the court dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Although its history goes back much earlier. Already in the middle of the 14th century there was a building on this site, which was damaged in a fire. Unfortunately, this landmark did not escape damage in 1945 either.

On the right (two houses away) is the Golden House, which is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Gdańsk. It was built in the early 17th century for the mayor Jan Speyman. The building is an interesting example of Mannerist architecture and has a richly decorated facade.

 St. John's Church

Church of St. John

The Church of St. John (Polish: Kościół św. Jana) is a Gothic church in the historic center of Gdańsk, and one of the city’s most important sacral monuments. The first mention of the church dates back to the 14th century. There was a small chapel on the site of the church. The current Gothic church was built in the early 15th century.

This Gothic church, dating back to 1360, was originally “driven” within the constraints set by the Teutonic Knights, who did not want taller structures in the city than their own castle. At first the church was Catholic. In the 16th century it became Protestant. Many of the wealthy merchants and local trade guilds invested in its construction and interior. During World War II, the church was engulfed in flames, though miraculously its walls remained intact. That said, many of its priceless religious works of art were saved earlier.

 Virgin Mary Church

Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Polish). Bazylika konkatedralna Wniebowzięcia Najświętszej Marii Panny w Gdańsku) is a Gothic cathedral that locals consider the largest brick church in the world. The church was built in the 13th-14th century in the strict Gothic style. Until 1945, it was the largest Lutheran church. In 1945 the church was significantly damaged and was restored in 1955.

St. Mary’s Basilica is a huge Gothic church and a fine example of medieval architecture. The building has a volume of about 190,000 cubic meters and is among the three largest brick churches in the world. The church can accommodate about 25,000 worshippers. The basilica tower is 77.6 meters high. There are 400 steps leading up to the observation room.

Crane

Port crane

“The Crane is a medieval port crane on the Motława embankment and one of the symbols of Gdańsk. It was built in the 14th century during the Hanseatic League and was used until the beginning of the 19th century. The crane was capable of lifting loads weighing several tons to a height of 11 meters.

This promenade is one of the most charming places in Gdańsk and has a magnificent maritime atmosphere. In the Middle Ages ships were loaded and unloaded here. Old warehouses and beautiful “narrow” houses have been preserved here since that time.

St. Mary's Street

St. Mary’s Street

St. Mary’s Street is considered one of the most picturesque in old Gdańsk. It leads from St. Mary’s Church to the promenade with a medieval gate. The street is an exquisite example of historic urban planning with terraced entrances and narrow, richly decorated facades of houses that once belonged to rich merchants and jewelers.

St. Mary's Gate

St. Mary’s Gate

St. Mary’s Gate was built in the 15th century in the late Gothic style. Destroyed in 1945 during heavy fighting between German and Soviet forces and carefully rebuilt in the post-war years.

Upper Gate

Upper Gate

The Upper Gate is a 16th century gate which was the main entrance to the Old Town and the starting point for the Royal Route. It was here that the Polish king was welcomed by the townspeople. The gate was originally surrounded by a 50-meter long moat and named after its location on a small hill.

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Great Mill

The Great Mill

The Great Mill is a medieval building, built by the Teutonic Knights in 1350. The mill operated for many centuries and was destroyed during World War II. It was rebuilt in the post-war years.

Town Hall (Stare Mesto)

Town Hall (Stare Mesto)

The Town Hall (Stare Mesto) is a historic building in the style of Flemish architecture built in the late 16th century.

Royal Chapel

Royal chapel

The Royal Chapel is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture built in the 17th century for Catholic services (after the Reformation all churches in Gdańsk became Protestant).

Church of St. Catherine

Church of St. Catherine

St. Catherine’s Church is a medieval Gothic building and one of the oldest religious buildings in Gdańsk. The church was founded between 1227 and 1239 by the rulers of Pomerania and greatly expanded in the 14th century. Until 1944, the church amazed visitors with its interior furnishings filled with Gothic, Mannerist and Baroque treasures. Unfortunately, all of this was lost in 1945.

Church of St. Nicholas

Church of St. Nicholas

The Church of St. Nicholas is considered to be the oldest sacral monument in Gdańsk. It is a religious building founded in 1227. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the church was rebuilt in the Gothic style, and later received Baroque interior decoration. Interestingly, this building is the only sacred monument in the city that survived World War II.

Olive Cathedral

Olive Cathedral

Olivet Cathedral is a three-nave basilica from the 16th century, in the architecture of which Renaissance, Baroque and Mannerist styles are intertwined. This church is located 10 km north-west of Gdansk Old Town. The first religious building on this site was founded at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries. The basilica has a beautiful altar, which is considered the best piece of Baroque art in Pomerania. The nave of the church is decorated with paintings by prominent 17th century artists of Gdańsk.

 Abbey Palace

Abbey Palace

The Abbey Palace in Oliwa is a Rococo palace built between 1754 and 1756. In 1945 the building was badly burned. It was restored in the 60s of the 20th century. Since 1989 the Contemporary Art Department of the National Museum of Gdańsk is located here. Address – Cystersów 18, 80-001 Gdańsk

Gdansk

Gdańsk is a fascinating European city, and at any time of day, at any time of year and in any weather. With its intricate history and unique view it won’t leave anyone indifferent, and it didn’t leave me either.

Gdansk seemed to me diverse: on the one hand it is a Polish city – beautiful Catholic churches everywhere, on the other hand it manages to be incredibly international, with a huge number of students and visitors from all over the world. And all this in a sauce of new technologies, perfectly formed infrastructure and smiling locals.

People are attracted to Gdańsk in all kinds of aspects: the measured pace of life and peacefulness for those who live here, the bustling rhythm of life for visiting students, the inspiring beauty of every street, brick and boardwalk for tourists. It is impossible not to mention the fact that Gdańsk is part of an agglomeration of three cities connected with each other: Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot. This provides even more diversity for tourists, as all three cities are very different and attractive in their own way.

How to get there

Gdansk is located on the Baltic coast in north-eastern Poland in the Pomeranian Voivodeship. And it allows you to get to the city in many different ways: by plane, train, bus, car and ferry.

Moreover, the border with Kaliningrad is within a hundred kilometers. Thanks to this, the city is visited by thousands of Russian tourists all year round.

By air

Airplane is probably the most popular way for Russian tourists to get to Gdansk. But there are no direct flights from Russia to the city. You will have to change planes in Warsaw. However, if you manage to buy good tickets, the connection can go very quickly and you will reach your destination in 30-40 minutes. However, sometimes you can buy a plane ticket Warsaw – Gdansk for 10-12 EUR.

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The ticket to Warsaw from Moscow will cost from 10 thousand rubles round trip and travel time will be 2 hours and 15 minutes. From St. Petersburg there are direct flights, the cost of which starts at 13 thousand rubles, and travel time is 2 hours. But there are not so many direct flights from the northern capital. I think it would be easier and cheaper to fly via Moscow on some dates.

Nearest airport

The nearest airport to Gdansk is Lech Wałęsa airport. It is located in the immediate vicinity of the city.

The airport is not very big, but it’s convenient: one of the European low-cost airlines Ryanair flies here, which means that you can also visit other European cities for a small fee.

Most of the flights at this airport are operated by the Polish LOT. Very often you can buy a ticket from Moscow to Gdansk with the change in Warsaw (up to 1 hour) within 120-130 EUR.

You can fly to Lech Walesa Airport from almost all major European cities. Find convenient for you flight options and compare prices here.

How to get there from airport

Once you arrive at Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport you can take a taxi to Gdansk:

  • By cab . It does not take long, to get to the Old Town, for example, in 25 minutes in the evening. The cost of a cab in this case will be about 10-15 EUR.
  • By SKM (city train). It’s even faster to get to the airport. During the day SKM runs every 15 minutes. Evening, night and morning schedule should be checked on the website SKM. Tickets can be purchased at the east side of the new airport terminal. Tickets cost about 1.2 EUR. Electric trains leave from Gdansk Wrzeszcz and Gdansk Glowny stations, they are centrally located and have excellent accessibility relative to other areas.
  • By bus. Daytime buses No. 110, 210 and the night route N3. The daytime bus ticket will cost 0,9 EUR but I didn’t take the night bus, so check with the airport upon arrival or with the driver. Buses leave and arrive at the same stations as SKM.

Since the public transport system in Poland is very well developed, it’s easy to find public transport routes to many nearby provinces from this airport as well.

By train

Gdańsk is also easily accessible by train. I think it’s also romantic :). Although, you also have to change in Warsaw. However, it’s no more uncomfortable than by plane.

Trains leave from Moscow, and from St. Petersburg you have to go through the capital.

From Moscow to Gdansk via Warsaw

So, the main train that runs to Poland from Russia is train number 009 Moscow – Warsaw. Periodically there is a train Moscow – Berlin, but you need to monitor it on the site of Russian Railways. I happened to take exactly one, so I’ll tell about it in more detail, and how to get to Gdansk by it.

So, the train number 009 is going for 18 hours, departs about 15:00 from Moscow from the Belorussky Railway Station, and arrives in Warsaw at 9:00. The train is very comfortable, clean and pleasant. There are only places in compartments or SV. Fare to Gdansk in this case will cost about 100-120 EUR, depending on time of year, season and other aspects of RZD pricing.

Upon arrival at the Warsaw Main railway station, you (by the way, it is under the ground, which is very convenient, especially in winter) should go up from the platform and at the ticket office buy a ticket for the train to Gdansk (price around 10 EUR).

The trains run once or twice an hour, so you don’t have to wait long. Then you watch the local scenery from the window of the Intercity train for a little over 2 hours and arrive at one of the stations in Gdańsk (depending on which one is closer to your destination). By the way, the train is equipped with the latest technology and you can even get coffee, tea or water for free (a small thing, but nice).

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How to get from Gdańsk to downtown

In Gdańsk itself, you can get off at one of several stations (Gdańsk Main, Stare Miasto, Wrzeszcz and others). All of them are located in the city and then you have to either walk or take public transport (bus, streetcar, SKM) or a cab.

These stations are relatively close to each other, the Old Town and Gdańsk Main are located, as the name suggests, in the Old Town. So if you have booked accommodation in this area, these are your stations. Wrzeszcz is already closer to the modern center. From here it is convenient to get to the sleeping and seaside areas of Gdańsk.

Bus

For many people it is preferable to get to Gdańsk by bus. Especially if you go from Kaliningrad, Ukraine or Belarus. It’s pretty quick and very reasonably priced.

From Moscow or St. Petersburg, I think, there are flights. But I think it’s more comfortable to go by train or buy a flight, so I’ve never looked for such an option. From Moscow, if you believe the search engines on the Internet, you can get to Warsaw in 1.5 days, and the ticket will cost from 4.5 thousand rubles out of season. From St. Petersburg also through Warsaw in 22 hours, and from 3 thousand rubles.

From Kaliningrad.

So, from Kaliningrad to Gdansk you can get in 3 hours by the international bus, having paid about 7 EUR for a ticket. I think it’s a great option if you live in Kaliningrad region and want to spend a weekend in Gdansk.

The buses run 3-4 times a day and pass several localities in Poland, such as Elbląg.

How to get from the Gdańsk bus station to downtown

The bus station is centrally located – directly behind the Gdańsk Main station that I wrote about above, which means that a lot of bus and streetcar routes go in that direction.

By car

The car is suitable for those who are used to not depend on circumstances, public transport schedules and other conventions. It’s unlikely to be cheaper than a bus, but not more expensive than a plane or train for sure.

To get to Gdansk from Russia (not counting the Kaliningrad region), you have to go through Belarus and cross most of Poland. Another option is to follow through Lithuania and Latvia. That way you can spend some time in these beautiful countries as well.

From St. Petersburg route will also go through Latvia and Lithuania.

Be sure to take care of a special “green card” insurance for motorists to enter the European Union. Also note that the owner of the car must be with the car, or you must obtain a notarized power of attorney to cross the border and translate it into Polish. Otherwise, there is a risk that you will not be able to cross the border.

Note that you will encounter toll roads on the way. I can’t inform you about their prices and the cost of gasoline, as I was not a driver and did not pay for them.

For me this is one of the most interesting ways to travel. This way you can see a lot more interesting places, and even those where regular tourists can not get in organized groups.

However, you should also take into account the fact that in the entire center of Gdańsk there are paid parking fees. You will have to pay from 0,3 to 1 EUR per hour of parking during the daytime (from 09:00 to 17:00) on weekdays. In the evening, at night, Saturday, Sunday and holidays parking is free everywhere. And there is always room. I think this is because the public transportation system in the city is 5 +.

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