Gdansk is a port city in North Poland near the Baltic coast. It’s a beautiful town with very friendly locals and a complicated history, akin to a lot of Polish cities . Often overlooked in itineraries, it’s rising on the tourists’ radar due to its alluring charm. I spent 2 amazing days here and can’t wait to go back and spend more time there. Or maybe retire there!! Here’s why Gdansk should totally be on your bucket-list–
1. Awe-Inspiring Architecture: Gdansk’s old town is gorgeous to say the least. Anywhere you look there is a striking building to be admired. I walked along the main street atleast 3 times in 2 days and I still didn’t get tired of it.
2. Visit the largest castle in the world: Located around 67 km from Gdansk, the Malbork castle is the largest in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Built in 13th century by Teutonic Knights in Gothic style (read bricks!), the castle sits pretty alongside the Nogat river. Do take the audio guide which is GPS enabled and offers information based on your location. The view from the top of the tower is well worth the climb.
3. Learn about Polish history at some of most interactive museums: I loved the World War 2 museum as well the European Solidarity Centre. Both the museums are GPS enabled (again) and explained history in a very interesting manner. It’s almost as if you are right there when everything was happening. They have a great collection of artefacts as well. Due to its ambiguous political status, Gdansk was the starting point of the Nazi invasion of Poland and ultimately the Second world war. Did you know that solidarity movement that lead to the fall of communism in Poland and eventually Europe actually started from the dockyards of Gdansk and was lead by the Nobel prize winner Lech Walesa (who was also from Gdansk and later went on to become the president)?
The inventor of the Fahrenheit thermometer, Daniel Fahrenheit, grew up in Gdansk and there is a monument opposite Neptune Fountain on Dlugi Targ, that celebrates his achievement.
4. Delicious food: We had some delicious meals in Gdansk. Don’t miss out on the fresh seafood since you are so close to the coast. If you are Gdansk, do check out these places:
- Kubicki for authentic local fare and fine dining. Seafood is a must try here.
- Bar Pod Ryba for their delicious baked potatoes.
- The gelato place opposite Bar Pod Ryba for their desserts
- Klatka B for simple but soul satisfying breakfast
- Pierogarina Mandu for amazing pierogi, salad and zurek
- Mlynek cafe for a quick breakfast (sandwich and coffee) for early risers
- Seafood station at Sopot for their seafood pasta
- Dom Czekolady in Malbork for desserts
5. Enjoy the sea breeze at Sopot: Sopot is a beach town around XX km from Gdansk. We took an Uber until there. The Sopot pier is the longest in Europe and is ticketed as well. Loved waking around this cute town. However, the beach didn’t look clean so we avoided going into the sea.
How to reach there: We took a train from Warsaw and booked tickets through this website. The journey takes about 3-4 hours.
Where to stay: We stayed at a lovely apartment right next to St. Mary’s Church. Great location, right in the old town and the hosts were lovely.
How to get around: Its a small town so can be easily covered in foot. No taxis available in old town anyways.
Planning to visit Gdansk? Let me know if you have any questions in comments below.