One of the oldest, most popular and beautiful cities in Poland. Definitely in the top 3 of my favorite cities in the country along with Wroclaw and Krakow, a city so special and unique that it will surely steal your heart and believe me it will do it very easily. The picturesque buildings of the Old Town, the walks in one of the oldest harbors in Europe, the Baltic Sea, the so different images compared to the capital, the history, the excellent food… where to begin? Let’s go to Poland and to the fairy-tale Gdansk!

👉 Warsaw, Krakow, Poznań, Wroclaw, Katowice, find information about all the Polish cities I have visited by clicking here

A few words about Gdansk

You can get to Gdansk either directly, with an air connection, or by train from another city. On this particular trip we were already in the capital Warsaw so we simply boarded the train and after about 3 hours we were in Gdansk.

👉 The rising vibrant Warsaw

Although it is located in the north of the country, relatively far from other popular cities in Poland, Gdansk is an enchanting city break destination, especially when you combine it with neighboring Gdynia and Sopot, the so-called Tri-City (Trójmiasto)!

All good things come in small packages and Gdansk is no exception. The town is small and perfectly laid out so you can see all the main sights within a 30 minute walk. If you want to see more outside the city, there are good public transport options and of course the beloved uber will come in very handy!

👉 You may also be interested in: Chasing dwarfs in Wrocław

The history of the city is complex, with periods of Polish and German rule and finally autonomy as a free city. An important naval and commercial port since the Middle Ages at a hub, its ambiguous political status created tensions that culminated in the invasion of Poland and the first conflict of World War II at nearby Westerplatte (which I recommend visiting).

What to see and do in Gdansk

To begin with, of course, you start with a good brunch, and you find that at Pomelo Bistro Bar, at Ogarna Street 121/122.

The sights of the Old Town:

Start your exploration of the Old Town from Ulica Długa where the heart of Gdańsk’s historic district, known as the Main Town. Both ends of it lead to large gates, and it’s best to start at the west end of the street next to the Golden Gate and walk east to the equally memorable Green Gate.

You can’t help but admire the magnificent buildings on both sides of the street, and the truth is that most of them were built after World War II, as about 90% of Gdansk was destroyed during the war. When the process of rebuilding the city began, the city planners decided to recreate the 18th century version of Gdańsk, based on Dutch architecture, which is why Gdańsk is quite different – architecturally speaking – from other Polish cities.

Arriving at the Square, don’t forget to take a photo in front of the impressive Poseidon Fountain, a work of 1615. Just behind is the City Hall which houses the History Museum and a bell tower where you can climb and admire Gdansk from above.

And just like that, you will have reached the Green Gate which will lead you to the highlight of the city which is none other than the Motlava River and the part of the city that stretches along it. One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, Gdansk’s quayside is a lively spot at all hours of the day, with plenty of restaurants and cafes to suit all tastes. What a great feeling to drink your coffee watching people go by, boats cruising the river and all this framed by an architecture that takes you back in time.

Along the Great Market as it is called you will see many arcades, some bigger and some smaller, but do not miss to discover the arcade of Holy Mary, which will lead you to Mariacka Street, one of the most beautiful streets of the city with wonderful cafes and many small shops that sell the popular product of the region, amber.

👉 Coffee stop at the lovely exterior and interior Jozef.K. Just opposite you can try delicious eclairs at Eklerownia 2.0.

Continuing your walk you will end up at the Church of the Virgin Mary, where if you decide to climb the approximately 400 steps to the bell tower you will enjoy another magical view of the city from above.

Cruise on Motlava to Westerplatte

Gdansk is known as the city of cranes and not without reason. From the Soldek Floating Museum and the famous Gdansk Crane which are Gdansk’s most famous “seafaring” attractions to the numerous cranes that line the city’s canals, the feeling of being in one of Europe’s largest and most historic harbors is all around you.

Boats depart from the dock every day and, crossing the canals, end up at Westerplatte, where the first landing and battle of the Germans in Poland took place, thus marking the beginning of the Second World War. Upon arrival, a historical park awaits you with various monuments including a shell-strewn area, burnt ruins, snack bars, souvenir stalls and a small seasonal museum in the central Guardhouse Number 1. There is also a permanent outdoor exhibition entitled ‘Westerplatte: Spa -Bastion-Symbol’ on display.

Museum of the Second World War

And since we are in a war/historical mood, I suggest you also pay a visit to this particular museum. Opened its doors only in 2017, it spans a vast area of ​​23,000 square meters and its content focuses on everyday stories of civilians and soldiers with political and military affairs forming its narrative base. Modern and very interesting!

👉 Stop for the best burger of your life here at Whiskey in the Jar Gdansk and then climb the Ferris wheel to see the city from above one last time before the return journey!