Gdańsk

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Travel Guide Europe Poland Gdańsk

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Introduction

Gdansk

Gdansk

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Gdansk is located along the central northern coastline of Poland and is an important port city as well as being a former Hanseatic city. Many of the original buildings in the old town have been restored. Gdańsk with nearby Sopot and Gdynia are often referred as Tricity.

Its position on the Baltic has made Gdańsk one of the most important port cities in Northern Europe, and the scene of a disturbing past. The first claim to fame for Danzig (as it was than known) was its membership in the Hanseatic League as an important Baltic port on the crossroads of North East and Central Europe.

World War II was ignited by a dispute over the control of the city. By the end of the war the city lay almost completely in ruins. The German population was expelled and replaced by Poles as the city came under Polish rule and changed its name to Gdańsk. However, the impact of its former German ties are still evident. Although most of the old buildings were damaged or destroyed in World War II, they have been painstakingly restored or rebuilt.

In modern history, Gdańsk is known as the birthplace of Solidarity (pl: Solidarność), the labour and democracy movement that helped to bring down the Communist government in Poland, which marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War. The movement was led by the charismatic leader, Lech Wałęsa, who became Poland's first post-Communist president.

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Neighbourhoods

The most popular places are located in the city centre. Beware, that what most tourists consider to be the Old Town, is actually the Main Town. It was surrounded by city walls. some of them were reconstructed. Old town is very close from the Main Town, just a few hundreds metres toward central train station.

The closest cities are Sopot and Gdynia. As one can hardly notice where the cities end and begin, they are referred to as a Tricity (in Polish: Trojmiasto). Sopot is considered to be a party resort - most students and tourist come here to party. Gdynia has some modern architecture to offer, as well as museums and the beach.

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Sights and Activities

The main city (Główne Miasto) is the historic part of Gdańsk and contains most of the sights. The Long Street (ulica Długa) and Long Market (Długi Targ) are two of the most beautiful streets in the city. They are enclosed first by the Upland Gate, then by the Golden Gate to the west and the Green Gate to the east close to the riverside. This entire stretch is also referred to as the Royal Way. Along those two streets there are many interesting sights.

See Where World War II Began

Some have called the generation that fought in World War II the “Greatest Generation” because of the sacrifices that they were willing to make. A visit to Westerplatte will let you see where that terrible war began as the German army attacked Poland here. This monument was built in memory of the 209 defenders who held off over 3,500 German troops for a week until finally caving in. There is a barracks there that will let you see what life was like in those days, as well as several information stands in Polish and English that will give you a new perspective about what happened. This is definitely a touching experience you won’t want to miss.

Gdansk - where communism started to fall

Although after the Second World War Poland fell into the USSR influence, most of Polish people never stopped resisting and fighting for the real freedom. First huge strikes started in December 1970 in Gdansk and Gdynia, mainly in large shipyards. 41 people died then, but the dream about the freedom never expired. Ten years later, in August, another strikes went out in Gdansk, this time led by Lech Walesa. It ended after two weeks, when Gdańsk Agreement was signed. It was the beginning of Solidarity movement, that later led to the fall of communism in Poland. You can see and hear the history of Solidarity in European Solidarity Centre in Gdansk.

Going to the beach

Being situated at the Baltic sea coast, Gdansk has lots of beaches to offer. The closest to the city centre is Stogi Beach (20 minutes trip by tram). The beach is wide and clean, and the only hindrance may be the view to the port on your left. There is a non-official nudist beach about 1.5 kilometre east from the main entrance. Other popular beaches are in Brzeźno and Jelitkowo district. They are a bit further from the centre, but still easily accessible by tram. One more beach, Sobieszewo, is located on the Sobieszewo Island. You can only go there by bus (about 1 hour from the centre) or with a car.

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Events and Festivals

One of the most popular festivals is Feta Street Theatre Festival that takes place in the beginning of July. Theater plays are usually prepared by theatres from all over Europe, so it is hardly necessary that you speak any Polish. Performances are usually held close to the city centre - in Stare Przedmieście - and are free to watch.

Every year in Gdynia, very close to Gdansk, Open'er Festival takes place in July. The line ups include world famous band (in 2018 Depeche Mode is going to play here).

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Weather

Gdansk has a maritime climate, with cool summers and mild winters. Temperatures in summer (June - August) are around 20 °C during the day and around 10 °C at night. Winters, from December to February, see daytime temperatures around zero and nights average -3 °C. Precipitation is fairly low, around 500mm a year and even distributed throughout the year, with chances of snow in winter. July stands out though with around 100mm that month.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max1.4 °C2.1 °C5.5 °C10.1 °C15.6 °C19 °C21 °C21.3 °C16.9 °C12 °C6 °C2.9 °C
Avg Min-3.4 °C-3 °C-0.5 °C2.7 °C7.4 °C11 °C13.3 °C13.1 °C9.7 °C5.8 °C1.5 °C-1.6 °C
Rainfall24.6 mm17.9 mm22.4 mm29.5 mm48.9 mm63.5 mm66.7 mm55.8 mm54.9 mm47.4 mm42 mm33.7 mm
Rain Days151313111213131214141616

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Getting There

By Plane

Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport (GDN) offers a range of flights. Wizzair flies to/from Bergen, Cologne/Bonn, Cork, Sheffield, Dortmund, Eindhoven, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Liverpool, London, Lübeck, Malmo, Milan, Oslo, Rome, Stockholm and Turku.
Ryanair flies to/from Alicante, Birmingham, London, Bremen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Frankfurt and Weeze (near Düsseldorf).
A few more airlines serve cities like Wroclaw, Krakow, Warsaw, Copenhagen and Munich.

By Train

The main railway station, Gdańsk Główny, is a beautiful historic building, although a rather confusing experience to non-Polish tourists. Information in languages other than Polish is almost non-existent. Ticket sellers at the Kasa may be able to help you in English, and there is a tourist information office at the back of the PKP station. The station operates as 2 separate stations, one for the PKP trains (intercity and long-distance journeys) and another for the SKM commuter trains. Each station has separate ticket offices and platforms; the PKP station can be accessed from inside the station and the SKM station is found to the right of the main station (do not go into the PKP station). Beware of pickpockets and people who may try to intimidate you for money around the railway station, especially late at night.

SKM (Szybka Kolej Miejska) operates frequent service between Gdańsk and Sopot and Gdynia, 35 minutes away. These trains are located on the right side when entering the station. Tickets may be bought from a vending machine at the platform or from a ticket office in the subway below (access from the street or from the SKM platforms). Never enter these trains without a valid ticket and remember to validate your ticket before getting on the train as ticket controls checking passengers tickets are frequent. As a rule, tickets are valid for travel by one specific type of train only. Don't try to travel on a student ticket unless you have an ISIC student card, even if they sell you the ticket. The ticket inspector also asks for your student card, and if you just have a normal student card, they will likely refuse you.

There are daily trains from Berlin (about six hours). There are also lots of trains from other large Polish cities (Warsaw, Poznan, Cracow).

By Car

Gdansk is easily accessible from the south of Poland by A1 Highway.

By Bus

There are daily buses from Berlin by Flixbus (about 8 hours). There are also lots of cheap buses from other large Polish cities (Warsaw, Poznan, Krakow).

By Boat

Sweden
Pol Ferries has ferries between Nymashamn (just south of Stockholm) and Gdansk. To add, Stena Line travels between Karlskrona and Gdynia, which is just north of Gdansk.

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Getting Around

By Car

Gdansk is usually congested with cars, so it's better to leave it at home. Between 9:00am and 5:00pm you need to pay for parking in the centre (3PLN/hour).

By Public Transport

Public transport in Gdansk is modern, cheap and efficient. One ride/one hour ticket cost about €1. Public transport in Gdansk includes buses, trams, water trams and SKM trains (separate tickets needed). This is the best option to move between tourist attractions. Public transport is also best option if you want to go to the beach in Jelitkowo, Brzezno or Stogi. Otherwise you will lose time and money looking for a free parking slot.

By Foot

In the Old Town everything is within walking distance. Some streets have limitations for the cars.

By Bike

Gdansk has a wide range of bike paths, is one of the most bike-friendly cities in Poland. In the late autumn 2018 a municipal bicycle program is supposed to be introduced.

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Eat

  • Bar Neptun (at the middle of ul. Długa (Long Street)). A milk bar serving hearty Polish meals at affordable prices.
  • Kafe Delfin, ul. Opata Jacka Rybińskiego 17, Oliwa (Take a tram 2,6,11 or 12 and get off at the Oliwa Pętla Tramwajowa stop), ☎ +48 58 552 03 44, +48 698 46 88 33, e-mail: kafedelfin@kafedelfin.pl. A charming, cozy cafe serving delicious apple pie and coffee. Try also cheap and tasty bread toasts.
  • La Cantina, ul. Długa 37/39 (up from Neptune Fountain), ☎ +48 58 3016071. Typical Polish restaurant. Try stuffed cabbage (19 zł) or the Polish sausage with sauerkraut (20 zł). They have heat lamps in the evening so you can sit comfortably outside.
  • Goldwasser (on the waterfront just behind Długi Targ). Hearty Polish fare. End the meal with a Goldwasser.
  • El Paso, Stary Rynek Oliwski 7, ☎ +48 58 5520641. Mexican restaurant.
  • Pierogarnia U Dzika, ul. Piwna 59/60 (on Piwina), ☎ +48 58 3052676. Apparently known as the best Pierogarnia (Polish dumplings) in Gdańsk. This place is a large restaurant with an outside seating on the street behind the main drag (ul. Długa). Dzik is Polish for boar and this place is done out with all sorts of boar skins and stuffed animals. Try the specialty Pierogarnia Dzika (Wild Boar and Game Dumplings) - 22 zł, other fillings also available. Beer 9 zł.
  • Swojski Smak, ul. Heweliusza 25/27. Good value, nice food, in a nicely decorated venue.
  • Restauracja Filharmonia, ul. Olowianka (in Philharmonia Baltica building), ☎ +48 58 3238358. 12:00-22:00 or until the last guest. "Molecular" cuisine in lovely building with great view on the river. Excellent service, but no vegetarian dishes. ~100 zł for 3-course meal.
  • Fellini, Moltawa area, near Hilton. High-quality Italian cuisine and top-notch service. ~100 zł for three-course meal.
  • Gdańska, ul. Św. Ducha 16, ☎ +48 58 3057671. An entertaining place to visit. The rooms are filled with antiques according to the principle less is not more, and the waiters are dressed like in the good old days. From 18-100 zł.

Tawerna Mestwin, ul. Straganiarska 20/23 (Old Town). A regional restaurant serving traditional Kashubian dishes. Pretty expensive, but worth it.

  • Mandu, ul. Elżbietańska 4/8. Mandu is a restaurant with many types of dumplings. Some of them are typical for Poland, some have roots in Caucasus or Asia. It's best to order different types of dumplings to share with 3 or 4 friends. You may need to wait for the free table here.

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Drink

Danziger Goldwasser, root and herbal liqueur which has been produced since 16th century is considered the city's drink (it is now made in Germany though). It's vodka-based, creamy and has small flakes of 22- or 23-karat gold in it. Cheaper alternatives include Gdańska Złotówka or Złota Woda.

"Gdańsk national drink" before World War II was Stobbes Machandel juniper vodka. After the war it was rejected and slightly forgotten due to association with German soldiers occupying the city, but today is gaining popularity again. There is a special ritual to be followed while drinking a shot of Machandel with a dried plum for a snack.

Crafted beers are becoming more and more popular in markets and bars. They are replacing most popular, industrial beers. There are three restaurants that offer their own beers: PG4 close to the Railway station, Lubrow just opposite to the Railway station (next to Krewetka Cinema) and Browar Piwna in Piwna street.

Another popular place to have a beer is Lawendowa Street. There are a couple of bars here that have a variety of crafted beers.

Browar Amber is a local brewery that produces very good beer: Kozlak (bock), Johannes (lager beer named after Johannes Hevelius - Polish astronomer that lived in Gdansk) and Zywe (one of the oldest unpasteurized beer in Poland).

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Sleep

  • Dom Harcerza, ul. Za Murami (200 m east of Długi Targ). Simple but very clean and tidy rooms. Singles at 50 zł, double at 120 zł. Generous breakfast offered by the café in the back at 9 zł.
  • Baltic Hostel, ul Walowa 52 (~10-min walk east of Gdańsk Główny train station, 10-minute walk from Molatawa river and old town), ☎ +48 58 721 96 57, e-mail: baltichostel@hotmail.com. Simple rooms in a one-story building near the old shipyard area. Dorm rooms at 40 zł, private rooms at 60 zł. Breakfast included. Free Internet (1 shared PC), coffee, tea.
  • Gdańsk University of Technology, ul. Traugutta 115 (Take a bus 115 or 199 from Gdańsk Wrzeszcz railway station), ☎ +48583471597. During summer University offers places in student dormitories. 50 zł/single room, 70 zł/double.
  • Old Town Hostel, ul. Długa Grobla 7, ☎ +48 58 3513131. Beds ranging from 40 zł/8 bed dorm, to 150 zł/double room. Free internet and breakfast.
  • Wolna Chata Hostel, ul. Krzywoustego 8, Oliwa (SKM from Gdańsk Główny to Gdańsk Oliwa station, once off the train head in direction Droszyńskiego street, then on the roundabout cross the street and go straight ahead for about 4 minutes and the hostel is on the left), ☎ +48 500 121 809, e-mail: info@hostelwolnachata.com. Free internet and breakfast. From 36 zł/night - please refer to website for up to date prices.
  • Grand Hostel, ul. Kołodziejska 2, Centrum, ☎ +48 666 061 350, e-mail: kontakt@grandhostel.pl. Wi-Fi, warm drinks, breakfast, bike rental Please visit website for more information.
  • 5Point Hostel, ul.Podmurze 2, 80-835 Gdańsk, Śródmieście, ☎ +48 882 70 30 70, e-mail: 5point.hostel@gmail.com. Local breakfast, comfortable beds and rooms with a good view Very affordable place to stay, visit website for information.
  • Hotel Willa Litarion, ul. Spichrzowa 18, ☎ +48 58 3202553. This small modern hotel is in the centre, just 150 m from the Długi Targ market. Comfortable, carefully arranged rooms with bathrooms have: TV, telephone, free wireless internet. From 255 zł per night.
  • Hotel Parnas, ul. Spichrzowa 27, ☎ +48 58 3201275. A quiet, small and elegant hotel located in the heart of the city. Rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated. From 300 zł per night.
  • Villa Palladium, ul. Czyżewskiego 20, ☎ +48 58 5543224, e-mail: villa@villapalladium.com. Hotel made from stones from all over the world with comfortable rooms and the bathrooms. From 180 zł per night.
  • Qubus Hotel Gdańsk, ul. Chmielna 47/52, ☎ +48 58 7522100, e-mail: gdansk@qubushotel.com. Opened in 2009 Qubus Hotel Gdańsk offers richly equipped rooms with a breakfast, free internet access and view of the Motława River and the Old Town.
  • Hotel Wolne Miasto, Św. Ducha 2, ☎ +48 58 3222442, fax: +48 58 322-24-47, e-mail: rezerwacja@hotelwm.pl. Helpful staff and central location. 320+ zł.

View our map of accommodation in Gdansk or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Work

Many big, international companies opened their offices in Oliwa district. They usually look for accountants or other finance related staff.
Teaching English is a possibility, too.

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Keep Connected

Internet

In the cities there are more and more Wifi Hot Spots, so if you have your own mobile device, you can connect. Best chances of finding one are at airports, railway stations, in cafés, shopping malls and universities. Places like McDonald's and Starbucks usually have unlimited free wifi. In some hotels you can find free wifi, though you might have to pay as well or maybe just use it for a limited amount of time. Internet cafes become less popular recently as people prefer to use internet at homes.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

To call to Poland from abroad, dial the Polish country code,48, then the number without the leading 0, as if calling from a domestic mobile phone.
The general emergency number is 112. Police (997), Ambulance (999) and Fire (998) have phone numbers as well, and municipal police has 986 as a number.

Mobile phones work almost across the whole country. There are four mobile phone operators in Poland: Plus, T-Mobile, Orange and Play. About 98% of the country is covered by the standard European GSM 900/1800 MHz network, the remaining 2% are wildlife reserves or high mountains. 3G is available in almost every town.
Domestic call rates are roughly the same across all services. Prepaid starter kits with SIM card (called starter in Polish) are widely available in reasonable prices (PLN5-20, most of which is available for calls), in most of the shops, supermarkets and news agents.

Just about every shopping centre has at least one independent cellphone shop, the guys who run them are usually knowledgeable and have a range of cheap handsets which you can use as a local / travel phone. This may be a good option since juggling SIM cards is always a pain.

Post

Poczta Polska is the Polish public post service. Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday. Some offices are open on Saturday until 2:00pm and the main post offices in major cities are open daily, 24 hours. Services are generally ok, but don't expact it to be fast and it is not always reliable, though most letters, postcards and parcels will arrive at its destinations after a week or two. You can find the red post boxes dotted throughout the country. You can check this postal website to see how much sending a letter, postcard or parcels costs, both domestically as well as internationally. For sending packages internationally, you can also check FedEx, TNT, DHL or UPS, as they have fast and reliable services and generally competitive prices as well.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 54.3520252
  • Longitude: 18.6466384

Accommodation in Gdańsk

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This is version 30. Last edited at 7:25 on Jun 26, 18 by Utrecht. 38 articles link to this page.

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