Once again welcome to ToscaTravels
It’s time for a new adventure, a new country, a new city!
This city guide is about a gorgeous hidden gem located in northern Poland, Gdańsk.
Here’s what you’ll find in this guide: useful and concrete information about the city, how to get there, what to see and where to eat. If you still don’t know what Pierogi are, you’ll thank me later.
Why should you visit Gdansk? If I could describe Gdansk with a single word, it would be underrated. As travelers we all know there’s no better word to hear when we’re talking about our destinations. Let’s see why.
– USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT GDANSK –
Let’s start with some useful information about this Baltic gem in order to give you the basis about Gdansk:
- Location: Gdansk is located in northern Poland, more specifically the capital of Pomeranian region.
- Population: 465.000
- About 90% of the historic old town was destroyed during World War II, but rebuilt in the old form thanks to polish people’s effort.
- Annual mean temperature: approximately 7 °C (45.0 °F).
- Gdansk is the largest amber gem exporter in the world.
- Currency: Polish złoty.
- Distance from Warsaw: 350 km (220 miles).
I think it would also be helpful to spend couple words about Polish currency: Poland is a quite cheap country but exchanging your money can be a double-edged sword if you don’t pay the right attention. Here’s couple tips:
- Current exchange rate is: 1€ → 4 Poland złoty (1£ is exchanged for 5 Poland złoty and 1$ for 3.8 Poland złoty).
- Do not change your money at Kantors. It might seem the most practice thing to do, but almost all of them are just scams. They won’t give you the rate displayed, like never ever.
- If you have any kind of credit/debit card, use it as much as you can in order to avoid cash.
- Few places may won’t accept cards, so if you need cash, withdraw at ATM.
- Always verify if your card works on international circuits and how much are fees for international withdrawals.
- N26 cards are a great option with free ATM withdrawals in euros and real-time exchange rate (get your card for free at this link).
– HOW TO GET THERE –
Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport is an international airport located 12 km (7.5 miles) northwest of Gdańsk. The airport is served by many European airlines including low cost flights operating by Ryanair, Easyjet and WizzAir.
After landing and picking up your luggage, it’s now time to get to the city centre.
You basically have 3 options: Bus, Taxi or private transfer.
My personal tip is to take a bus, especially if you’re on a low budget trip.
- Bus number: 210.
- Cost: 3.20 PLN (0,8€ – 0,9$).
- Journey time: 30-40 minutes.
- Where to buy tickets: at the bus stop (ticket machine) or inside the airport at arrivals area shops.
- When: every 30 minutes from Monday to Friday and every 60 minutes on Saturday-Sunday.
- Remember: don’t even think about sneaking on the bus without a valid ticket, fees are high and they won’t treat you much differently than a criminal.
Taxi is also an option if you’re short on time, it takes 20 minutes to reach Gdansk city centre and it will cost you approximately 60 PLN (15€ – 16$).
– WHAT TO SEE –
So, now that you’re arrived in town, it’s time to plan what to see. My personal opinion is that Gdansk could be considered an open-air museum as most attractions are parts of the city itself. I spent two days in Gdansk and these have been the highlights of my trip:
1. Golden Gate
- The Golden Gate was built in 1612 and it’s both a sort of triumphal arch and old town’s entrance. Once you pass the Golden Gate, you are entering ulica Długa, probably the busiest and most beautiful street in Gdansk, which, despite its name (meaning ‘Long Street’), is only 300m in length.
- One of the attractions you just can’t miss is Gdansk waterfront. Lining the Motława River, was once a busy quay crowded with hundreds of sailing ships coming from baltic and Northern European countries. Today it’s an enjoyable promenade counting lot of cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops.
3. Mariacka street
- It would be a shame not to mention the gorgeous Mariacka street. Cobblestones, amber shops, colorful houses and all of this converging at the back of St. Mary’s church. It’s usually quite busy even if not the busiest spot in town, so wake up early to have a solo stroll you’ll never forget.
4. Long Market
- Long market is the heart of Gdansk old town. I feel I can say the facades here are the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, every single house is a piece of art, a unique masterpiece that will take your breath away. As it can be considered the most notable touristic attraction, it’s usually very busy.
5. Zuraw (Crain)
- Built in the mid-15th century, Gdansk Crain served to load and unload heavy cargo from ships docked at the quay. Blasted to pieces in world war II, thankfully everything was carefully put back together in the postwar decades.
6. Piwna Ulica
- Another stunning cobblestone street in the heart of Gdansk. Piwna Ulica is parallel to Ulica Długa, the street connecting Golden Gate to Long Market. As they’re very close to each other, a short walk can make you jump from one to the other.
7. Neptune’s fountain
- As one of Gdansk’s main symbols, Neptune’s fountain is located at the very center of Long Market. The bronze statue was the work of Flemish artist Peter Husen; it was made between 1606 and 1613 and is the oldest secular monument in Poland.
8 . St. Mary’s Church
- St Mary’s is Gdansk’s main church with its 78m in height. Dominating the Old Town, St Mary’s is often cited as the largest brick church in the world and you won’t be surprised of that when you’ll find yourself in front it. Stop and stare at its massive structure and enjoy its unique architecture.
All of the attraction I visited were free, so this is why the costs of entrance aren’t mentioned.
– WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK –
If you’re on a trip it means you’re walking a lot and if you’re walking a lot, it means you’ll get hungry. Gdansk if full of delicious restaurants and cafes to have a break, lunch or just a drink during your day of exploration. Let’s see where to eat and drink:
1. Klatka B
- Klatka B is a lovely place to have breakfast and lunch. Located in Gdansk waterfront, it serves delicious polish recipes made with biological and local ingredients. The staff is super kind and the atmosphere is just so relaxing. It also has a wonderful view on Motława River.
- Cost: €€€
2. Pierogarnia Mandu
- Here we are. Pierogi. You’ll never have enough of them. Pierogarnia Mandu serves the best polish dumplings in town for a very little price. The atmosphere is so cozy it will be impossible to leave, they also serve delicious drinks like fresh raspberry lemonade.
- Cost: €€€
3. Drukarnia Cafe
- Considered by locals one of the best cafes in town, Drukarnia Cafe is located in the gorgeous Mariacka street, a must see as I’ve already said in the previous section.
- Cost: €€€
4. Pomelo Bistrot.
- Located in the very center of Gdansk, Pomelo Bistrot serves breakfast until 13 o’clock, then you can drink beer from a local brewery and eat dishes prepared with fresh ingredients from local suppliers.
- Cost: €€€
I hope this guide will help during your trip to Gdansk or maybe inspiring you to book your next trip in this gorgeous Polish city.
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See you next time with a new city guide!