Is Gdańsk worth visiting?
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Is Gdańsk worth visiting?

Wondering ‘is Gdańsk worth visiting?’ If you’re considering whether or not to visit the Polish city of Gdańsk, here’s my guide to help you decide. I totally fell in love with the place, and in this article I’m here to show you why you should add it to your travel bucket list.

When I first visited Gdańsk in Poland, I didn’t really know what to expect. I’d seen its iconic pastel coloured houses and thought it looked like a cool city to visit, but had no idea just how much I’d love it. As it turned out, it was the last overseas trip I’d take that year, thanks to the arrival of Covid. That said, a friend and I booked some cheap flights from London and had the most wonderful weekend in Gdańsk. Gdańsk is nestled on Poland’s Baltic coast, and is a port city steeped in rich history of Prussian and Slavic influence, colourful architecture, and a vibrant maritime heritage. As well as a dark past steeped in WWII, it’s a small, walkable city with dozens of vibrant bars and restaurants. Key things to do in Gdańsk include picking up amber souvenirs, visiting the fascinating museums, and taking a cruise along the Motlawa River. So, is Gdańsk worth visiting? Here’s all you need to know.

Colourful buildings in Gdańsk, Poland

Quick tips for visiting Gdańsk

Get this: an affordable private transfer from Gdańsk airport. Dodge the faff of sorting taxis or Ubers at the airport- save time and sit back and relax as an English speaking driver takes you to the city centre for a fixed price.

Don’t miss: a scenic sunset cruise with a glass of mulled wine. You can’t visit Gdańsk without heading out on a scenic yacht cruise. See the best of the city and its landmarks with a warming cup of mulled wine.

Bucket list experience: if you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie and fancy doing something a bit different, book a firearm shooting experience with an instructor. You’ll head to an indoor shooting range and try learn to shoot targets with an experienced instructor.

Flights: find the cheapest flights to Gdańsk with Skyscanner.

Stay: Find the most affordable hotels in Gdańsk on Booking.com.

This article may contain some affiliate links. Do note I’d never recommend anything I wouldn’t truly advise for any of my friends.

Where is Gdańsk, Poland?

Gdańsk is located in northern Poland, situated on the Baltic Sea coast. It’s part of the Pomeranian Voivodeship (province) and holds a prominent position within the country due to its historical significance, maritime trade, and cultural heritage. Gdańsk sits at the mouth of the Motława River, near the Gulf of Gdańsk, and is part of the metropolitan area known as the Tricity, which also includes the neighbouring cities of Gdynia and Sopot.

How do you get to Gdańsk?

There are a few ways for you to get to Gdańsk, and conveniently it has its own airport. Here’s how to get to Gdańsk:

  • By air – Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport: located about 12 kilometres northwest of Gdańsk’s city centre, this airport serves both domestic and international flights. It’s well-connected to major European cities and offers transportation options like taxis, buses, and car rentals for reaching the city centre. I flew to Gdańsk from London Stansted Airport and found it very convenient.
  • By train – Gdańsk has good rail connections within Poland and to neighbouring countries. Gdańsk Główny (main railway station) is centrally located and offers connections to cities like Warsaw, Kraków, and Wrocław.
  • By bus – several long-distance bus companies operate routes to Gdańsk from various European cities. The main bus station, Gdańsk Dworzec Autobusowy, is close to the city centre.
  • By car – Gdańsk is accessible via major highways and roads. Driving to the city offers flexibility, and the road network in Poland is generally well-maintained.
  • By ferry – while less common, ferry services connect Gdańsk with some Baltic Sea ports, providing an alternative means of reaching the city.
 

When is the best time to visit Gdańsk?

The best time to visit Gdańsk largely depends on your preferences and the type of experience you’re after. Here’s a breakdown of what Gdańsk is like throughout the seasons:

  • Spring (April – May): in spring in Gdańsk, you’ll find pleasant temperatures, fewer crowds, and affordable accommodation. There may be some festivals or events, and you can even catch beautiful blooming flowers.
  • Summer (June – August): this is peak tourist season with warmer weather, longer days, and different festivals to add to the sightseeing experience. Do note that as well as being busier, prices are often a little higher too. The great thing is that the nearby beaches in Sopot and Gydnia are perfect for visiting during the summer months.
  • Autumn (September – October): autumn brings mild weather, quieter crowds, and affordable accommodation. You can catch the beautiful colourful foliage in the autumn months, making the city even more scenic than usual.
  • Winter (November – March): I visited in February, and found it a great time to visit Gdańsk. It was relatively quiet which was perfect for exploring, and our accommodation was so cheap. You can enjoy winter activities and the Christmas market if you visit in December. It was chilly, so make sure to wrap up warm.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Gdańsk depends on your preferences for weather, activities, and your ability to handle crowds and prices. Each season offers its unique charm and experiences in this historic Polish city.

Where is best to stay in Gdańsk?

Choosing where to stay in Gdańsk depends on your preferences, interests, and the type of experience you’re after. There are a few key areas I’d recommend:

  • Gdańsk Old Town: staying in the Old Town means you’re close to iconic landmarks like Neptune Fountain, St. Mary’s Church, and Long Market. During a weekend in Gdańsk, the Old Town is likely where you’ll spend most of your time in the city. It comprises the old cobbled street of Długi Targ, and the beautiful pastel coloured buildings dotted around. It also means you’re in the heart of the atmosphere, and able to enjoy Gdańsk’s medieval ambiance as well as numerous restaurants, cafes, and shops. I stayed in Gdańsk Old Town when I visited.
  • Gdańsk Main City: the Main City area of Gdańsk is adjacent to the Old Town, and offers easy access to attractions while offering a slightly quieter atmosphere. Here, you’ll find a good mix of hotels, hostels, and apartments catering to different budgets.
  • Wrzeszcz District: Wrzeszcz boasts more of a local vibe. It’s a little further away from the Old Town, and is a vibrant district with a local atmosphere, trendy cafes, and boutique shops. It’s aslo well-connected by public transport, making it convenient to explore other parts of the city.
  • Oliwa District: located a little further from the city centre, Oliwa has a more relaxed environment with parks, Oliwa Cathedral, and the Oliwa Park. Enjoy the greenery and quieter surroundings while still having easy access to Gdańsk’s attractions.
  • Sopot or Gdynia: I absolutely loved Sopot when I visited, so I’d suggested heading here even if you stay in Gdańsk. These neighbouring towns are perfect, especially if you prefer a beach resort vibe or a quieter coastal atmosphere. Both Sopot and Gdynia are easily reachable from Gdańsk and have their own unique charm.
Dlugi Targ, Gdansk

The best hotels in Gdańsk

There’s a good range of really affordable, great quality accommodation in Gdańsk. This makes it the perfect destination for a weekend break, without breaking the bank. Here’s my pick of the best hotels in Gdańsk:

IBB Hotel Gdańsk – 4*

This is where I stayed when I visited Gdańsk and I really couldn’t fault it. It was incredibly affordable (my friend and I paid just £15 per night each), modern, clean, and spacious. It’s situated mere steps from from the hubbub of Długi Targ in the Old Town, offering easy access to Gdańsk’s historic landmarks, vibrant streets, and cultural attractions. The hotel’s modern and spacious rooms are the perfect space to relax after a day of exploring the city. It also has a lovely relaxed bar on the top floor, and an on-site restaurant serving a diverse range of dishes. There’s also wellness area where you can unwind, with a sauna and fitness facilities. I’d definitely stay here again next time I’m in Gdańsk.

Montownia Lofts & Experience – 4*


Montownia Lofts & Experience in Gdańsk looks beautiful, and offers an immersive experience unlike any other in the city. The hotel is housed in a renovated historic granary, blending historical charm with modern comfort. The spacious loft-style rooms feature stunning industrial design elements, high ceilings, and exposed brick. Situated in the heart of Gdańsk’s Old Town, Montownia Lofts & Experience offers access to the city’s iconic attractions, bustling markets, and vibrant cultural scene. Guests rate the hotel’s excellent service and attention to detail, and enjoy the rooftop terrace that offers panoramic views of the city.

Hotel Grano, Gdańsk Old Town – 4*

Hotel Grano in Gdańsk Old Town offers a blend of historical charm and contemporary comfort. Located in the heart of the Old Town, this boutique hotel is a short stroll from many iconic landmarks such as the Long Market, Neptune Fountain, and St. Mary’s Church, allowing guests to easily explore Gdańsk. The hotel itself has a blend of historic architecture and modern amenities, with stylish rooms featuring sleek design and thoughtful touches. The attentive and personalized service adds to the overall experience, ensuring guests feel welcomed and well-cared for during their stay. Guests rate the delicious breakfast buffet and inviting restaurant serving local specialties.

Things to do in Gdańsk

Although a small city, there’s still plenty to see and do in Gdańsk, and certainly enough to fill a long weekend. Here are some of the best things to do in Gdańsk:

Explore the Old Town

This includes looking out for:

  • The Long Market – it’s the city’s most vibrant street, lined with beautiful colourful facades. You’ll also see the Neptune Fountain, and the historic Artus Court. Local legend has it that the Neptune Fountain once sprayed traditional Goldwasser, Gdańsk liqueur from his trident, attracting a crowd of lucky locals.
  • St. Mary’s Church – admire the grandeur of this Gothic masterpiece, home to an astronomical clock and stunning interiors. It’s a small fee to enter, but I highly recommend it for the beautiful views from the top.
  • The Crane (Żuraw) – visit this iconic symbol of Gdańsk’s maritime history, offering panoramic views of the city.
  • Amber Street (Mariacka Street) – explore this atmospheric street known for its amber markets and unique jewellery, and take some local amber souvenirs home with you.

Each and every one of the Old Town’s pretty coloured buildings tells its own story. Some have the appearance of a medieval structure near to the Golden Gate, but were actually painted by Soviets. You’ll spot plenty of statues on top of buildings, indicating those rebuilt following World War II.

Neptune's Fountain, Gdansk

Immerse yourself in history and culture

You might not know, but Gdańsk had a pivotal role in the beginning of WWII, making it a fascinating destination for history. Here are some of the best things to do in Gdańsk:

  • European Solidarity Centre – discover the city’s role in the Solidarity Movement, showcasing exhibits and insights into Poland’s history.
  • Museum of the Second World War – explore comprehensive exhibitions detailing the global conflict’s impact on Poland and beyond. I found it super insightful and interesting, albeit touching too. Before visiting, I had no idea that World War II officially began when Germany attacked the Westerplatte Peninsula and the Polish Post office in Gdańsk, making it the birthplace of the war. The museum’s split into three key sections – The Road to War, The Horror of War, and The Long Shadow of War. It’s packed full of interesting content, and you can easily spend a few hours here. It’s also very sobering learning about the suffering caused by the war, particularly in Poland itself. If you’re looking to visit, I’d book your museum tickets beforehand as I spent quite a bit of time queuing, and there was a bit of a language barrier when trying to purchase mine.

Visit the waterfront

There are a few attractions here, and it’s really beautiful to walk along:

  • Motława River Promenade – stroll along the river, enjoy views of historic ships, and explore charming cafes and restaurants. One of my favourite things to do in Gdańsk was enjoying lunch or a drink along the waterfront and taking in the views.
  • Westerplatte – pay homage to WWII history at this memorial site where the war began. You can get there by a boat trip or land tour.
Gdansk over the water

Enjoy the local cuisine

There’s no shortage of great restaurants in Gdańsk, so make sure you bring your appetite. I recommend trying the following foods:

  • Pierogi – traditional Polish dumplings, filled with savoury or sweet fillings like potato and cheese (ruskie), cabbage and mushroom, or fruit fillings. We went to a restaurant and tried an assortment, which was a great way to discover our favourites. Some were nice, some not so good, but I feel like it’s something you need to try when in Poland.
  • Pączki – traditional Polish doughnuts filled with jam, custard, or a sweet filling. So delicious!
  • Fish delicacies – thanks to its coastal location, Gdańsk offers delicious fish dishes like fried or grilled Baltic herring, smoked fish, or the famous ‘żur’ fish soup. All are really tasty, and you’ll often find the portions pretty generous.

Here are a few cafes and restaurants that stood out for me:

  • Ostro, which specialises in handmade pizza. It also had cheap prosecco and cosy interiors, so was a winner for me. We both had panuozzo sandwiches with smoked salmon, fior de latte, mascarpone, lemon, and rocket – they were really affordable and delicious.
  • Tekstylia has a slightly bizarre hairdressing theme to its branding and menu, but was a great restaurant with huge portions for very reasonable prices. We tried the chicken burger, and I ordered possibly the biggest salmon fillet I’ve ever seen. Both were delicious, so I’d add this to your list when you visit the city.

  • Słony Spichlerz is a restaurant market that’s a food hall serving all kinds of different cuisines. , There’s a tasty choice of places to grab food, from Mexican to Thai to Japanese. There were a few spots serving breakfast when we visited too, so I really recommend it if you fancy some variety in your dining options.
  • E. Wedel is a super popular Polish confectioner. In Gdańsk, you’ll find they have a dedicated chocolate cafe with dozens of tempting treats. We feasted on hot chocolate samplers, tiramisu, and chocolate fondue.

Relax by the Baltic Sea

I highly recommend visiting one of the nearby beaches, like Stogi Beach or Brzeźno Beach for a relaxing day by the Baltic Sea. I visited in February, but I wrapped up warm for a long beach walk and found it so refreshing.

Discover nearby towns:

Thanks to its position along the Baltic Sea, there are a couple of other beautiful towns nearby that are well worth a visit:

  • Sopot – visit this neighbouring town famous for its spa resorts, beautiful beaches, and the longest wooden pier in Europe. We had a great day out in Sopot. I’d love to go back in the summer as there were a lot of lovely beach clubs that I imagine are so much fun when it’s warmer.
  • Gdynia – you can explore Gdynia’s maritime heritage at the Emigration Museum and enjoy its modernist architecture.

What to pack for a Trip to Gdańsk

I had a very small bag when I visited Gdańsk on a cheap WizzAir flight, so I had to be very considered with what I packed. Here are some essentials I’d recommend you take for a weekend break to Gdańsk:

  • An underseat cabin bag. If you’re like me and love scoring a bargain on budget airlines, you’ll want one of these bags. I didn’t purchase luggage on my flight to Gdańsk so got one of these and it was genuinely a lifesaver. It packs in much more than you’d ever think, and is airline approved so you can save the pennies you’d splash out on taking a suitcase on drinks in the city instead.
  • Clear toiletries bags – these are an absolute lifesaver at airport security – no more flimsy sandwich bags for a starter! I’d travelled to Gdańsk with a weekend bag so it was super handy just to shove all my toiletries into one of these while moving about.
  • Travel bottles for toiletries – again, these travel sized containers are so helpful for the 100ml flying restriction. I use the colour coded bottles for my different products – shampoo, conditioner, etc as I hate using the cheap hotel toiletries on my hair.
  • Plug adaptor – if you’re UK based, you’ll need a plug converter. Like most of Europe, Poland uses type E plugs. This plug adaptor is amazing as you can use it in most other countries, no matter what the plug type. I literally don’t travel without one any more.
  • Multi device charger – I can’t travel without one of these any more, either. It’s so handy for charging a couple of iPhones at once (ideal when you’re travelling with someone and are limited on time or plugs for charging), as well as a couple of other devices.
  • A secure day bag for storing essentials like your passport, cash, and cards. I love this crossbody bag from Amazon. As well as being really reasonably priced, I use it for most of my trips as it’s super convenient for storing your phone etc while exploring a city, and I know I can always get away with taking it through airport security as well as my hand luggage.
  • Local currency – in Poland, this is złoty. I usually some cash out via my Monzo card at a local ATM and have some good to go in case it’s needed for cafes or taxis.
  • Medication and first aid. No one wants their trip ruined by sickness, so I usually keep a few key items packed. Paracetamol, suncream, plasters, mosquito repellant, diarrhoea medication, and rehydration sachets literally come with me everywhere. This basic first aid kit is great for covering the essentials during your travels. My friend had an anaphlyactic shock while in Sopot, so this came in hugely helpful!
  • Reusable travel water bottle – I don’t go anywhere without one of these any more. It’s super cheap and is easy to just refill and shove into a backpack when you’re out exploring. I always like to have water on me, and don’t like buying single use plastics, so this is perfect.
  • Rain gear – the Polish weather can be a little temperamental and it was quite dreary and cold during my visit. Consider packing a waterproof jacket to stay dry during potential showers and take an umbrella – this one is sturdy, perfect for packing away into a backpack, and I bring it everywhere with me.

Of course, you should tailor your packing list based on the season and activities you have planned.

Is Gdańsk worth visiting? – FAQs

Is Gdańsk worth visiting?

Gdańsk is without doubt worth a visit! This beautiful city on Poland’s Baltic Coast seamlessly weaves together centuries of history, striking architecture, and a vibrant cultural scene. Its Old Town is a scenic maze of cobblestone streets and colourful facades, harbouring historic landmarks like the Neptune Fountain and the Crane, which offers a glimpse into its rich medieval past. The city’s coastal beauty, with access to stunning beaches and a scenic waterfront along the Motława River, makes it even more special for a long weekend break. Explore its historic quarters, indulge in traditional Polish cuisine, and enjoy the enriching experience that Gdańsk offers to all its visitors.

Is 3 days enough in Gdańsk?

I think 3 days in Gdańsk is perfect. It gives you plenty of time to explore the Old Town, the waterside, museums, and nearby attractions like Sopot and Gydnia. I’d use the 3 days something like this:

  • Day 1: explore the Old Town, and stroll through the Long Market, discovering architectural gems like St. Mary’s Church and the symbolic Crane. Use the afternoon to delve into the city’s rich history by visiting some of the museums.
  • Day 2: head to Westerplatte to learn more about Gdańsk’s important part in WWII history before heading to Sopot to explore the beachfront and iconic pier.
  • Day 3: enjoy a leisurely morning exploring some of the local coffee shops along the river before heading to Malbork Castle for a deeper dive into Poland’s history.
View from IBB Hotel Dlugi Targ, Poland

How much is a pint in Gdańsk?

This is an important question, and I’d be lying if cheap booze wasn’t part of the allure of my visit. Th average cost of a pint of beer in Gdańsk, Poland, ranges from approximately 8 to 12 Polish złoty (PLN) when bought at local pubs, bars, or restaurants. This is around £1.60 to £2.20, so a LOT cheaper than home in the UK! Of course, prices will vary slightly based on the establishment, the type of beer, and the specific area within the city.

How far is Gdańsk from the sea?

Gdańsk is located on the coast of the Baltic Sea in Poland. The city’s waterfront stretches along the Motława River, which eventually meets the Baltic Sea. The distance from Gdańsk’s city center to the Baltic Sea coastline varies, but some areas, like the popular beach district of Brzeźno, are approximately 5.5 to 6 miles away. Other nearby beaches accessible from Gdańsk include Sopot and Gdynia, forming part of the Tri-City area, and they are within a short distance by train or car.

Is Gdańsk tourist friendly?

I’d say Gdańsk is extremely well set up for tourism, while maintaining affordable, tourist-friendly prices. The city warmly welcomes tourists with its blend of historical allure, seaside charm, and tourist-friendly amenities. English-speaking services across accommodations, dining, and tourist information centtrs cater to international visitors, making it easy to get around and explore. The city’s historical treasures, from the picturesque Old Town to iconic landmarks like St. Mary’s Church, appeal to history enthusiasts, while the proximity to the Baltic Sea offers coastal scenery and vibrant beach districts like Brzeźno and Sopot. With well-connected public transportation, diverse dining options, and a generally safe environment, Gdańsk is the perfect destination for tourists.

How do I get from Gdańsk airport to city centre?

There are a few ways you can get from Gdańsk airport to the city centre:

  • Private transfer: I’d recommend booking an affordable private transfer from Gdańsk airport to save on faff and expensive taxis.
  • Train: the SKM (Szybka Kolej Miejska) train connects the airport to Gdańsk Wrzeszcz and Gdańsk Główny (the main train station). It takes approximately 25-30 minutes to Gdańsk Główny, and trains run frequently throughout the day.
  • Bus: there are several bus lines, including 210 and N3, that operate between the airport and Gdańsk city centre. The bus ride typically takes around 30-40 minutes, depending on traffic and the specific bus route. Buses run at regular intervals.
  • Taxi: taxis are available outside the airport terminals, offering a direct ride to the city centre. Make sur you use licensed taxis and confirm the fare before starting the journey. Ride share apps like Uber and Bolt also operate in Gdańsk and can be used for getting to the city.

Tips for visiting Gdańsk

Here are some of my top tips for visiting Gdańsk:

  • Public transport: use the SKM train system for easy access to nearby towns like Sopot or Gdynia. You can also use buses for convenient travel within the city.
  • Learn some Polish: learning a few basic Polish phrases can enhance interactions with locals, although many speak English.
  • Local markets: visit markets like Hala Targowa for a taste of local life and products.
  • Cultural sensitivity: respect local customs and traditions when visiting religious sites or participating in local events.
  • Safety: Gdańsk is generally safe, but remain vigilant against pickpockets in crowded areas.
  • City passes: consider purchasing a city card for discounted access to attractions and public transportation.
  • Walking tours: join a guided walking tour to gain deeper insights into the city’s history and hidden gems. I recommend this affordable city sights guided walking tour to enable you to get your bearings.

Still wondering ‘is Gdańsk worth visiting? I really can’t recommend it enough. It’s perfect for a long weekend, and you can enjoy culture, food, and beautiful scenery. Let me know if you have any questions about visiting Gdańsk in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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