Do you know Gdansk? The harbour town by the Polish Baltic Sea is certainly still not a very well-known destination for a city trip, but the emphasis here is clearly on the “still”. We from “Laender und Leute” travelled there and have 5 tips ready for a city break in Gdansk.
Gdansk is situated in the north of Poland directly by the Baltic Sea, about 350 km northwest of Warsaw. The city has about 460,000 inhabitants, making it the sixth largest city in Poland. Gdansk also belongs to the Tricity (in Polish Trojmiasto), including the neighbouring towns of Zoppot and Gdynia with around 750,000 inhabitants altogether. Around 1.2 million people live in the region when we also include all the smaller towns and villages around the metropolitan area.
Gdansk is very well connected and therefore ideal for a city break. There is an airport and a main station and it’s easily accessible by car and of course by boat. From Germany there is a very good connection with LOT Polish Airlines, which fly directly from Munich or Frankfurt to Gdansk in just under an hour and a half.
The city centre of Gdansk consists of the main city and the old town, and is quite small. Therefore, the most important sights are very close together and can be explored on foot. Should a sight be too far away, however, you can also make use of the well-developed tram network.
If it’s your first trip to Gdansk, the main city (Główne Miasto) is automatically the first destination. It is located south of the Old Town and is the actual city centre of Gdansk.
There is much to see here and most of Gdansk’s attractions are close to each other and can be explored on foot. Here you can find our second tip, Long Lane and Long Market as well as the Neptune Fountain (Fontanna Neptuna), the Artushof (Dwór Artusa) and the Golden House (Złota Kamienica).
Long Lane (ulica Długa) is the boulevard of the Hanseatic City of Gdansk. In the 13th century the Long Lane was the main road and thus also an important trade route, which led to the oval market square. The rich and powerful men of the city have always lived here. During World War II, the road had been completely destroyed but it was restored, and after removing tram rails and old paving stones, even polished granite appeared.
Today Long Lane is a popular tourist destination, as you will find many places of interest close to each other, such as the Town Hall, the Neptune Fountain, the Artus Court and numerous shops, restaurants and cafes.
Amber, the so-called “gold of the Baltic Sea” is a popular souvenir from Gdansk. In Gdansk there are true amber masters. During a shopping spree through the small streets you will find extravagant jewellery, as well as picture frames or games of chess made entirely out of amber. Look for the word “bursztyn” which means amber in polish.
We recommend a visit to the amber jeweller’s “Styl Gallery” directly at the town square in the Ul.Długie Pobrzeże alley. The employees can explain how to recognise genuine amber and gladly demonstrate the processing of the popular stone. The owner is chairman of the amber association, so here the jewellery is guaranteed to be genuine.
If you walk along Long Lane to Long Market, you will automatically pass by our next tip: the Green Gate (Brama Zielona).
It is one of the many city gates of Gdansk but from our point of view it is the most beautiful and pompous gate. The town gate was built between 1564 and 1568 by Hans Kramer from Dresden and the famous master builder Regnier of Amsterdam. The gate was meant as a city residence for Polish kings but it was only used for this purpose shortly. For a long time therefore, big scales were placed here, on which every merchant had to weigh his goods before being allowed to sell them at Long Market.
Today Green Gate is a popular place for street musicians. Perhaps you can listen to some beautiful tunes during your city trip to Gdansk?
We also have a culinary tip for a city trip to Gdansk. Visit the baker near the market square. The shop is located in a side street off the market square and has no window display. Here the third generation of bakers still make everything themselves – and mainly for the neighbours who live in the old town. The atmosphere is plain but genuine, at unbeatable prices. Their specialties are the puff pastry apple tart and also the simple yeast dough pastries.
We love the harbour city by the Polish Baltic Sea! The atmosphere in the beautiful old town with its great facades, the liveliness of Long Lane and Long Market, the culinary delights and, above all, the friendliness of the Polish people have made us fall head over heels for this town.
Further information can be found at the GOT Gdansk Tourist Organisation.
Have you ever been to Gdansk or taken a city tour to Poland? What did you particularly enjoy? We look forward to your comments!