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Top 5 things to do in Gdańsk, Poland

Whether you’re a history lover, an urban explorer, a diehard foodie, or just looking to explore a great destination with your family, Gdansk is an incredibly amazing place to be in, where you can surround yourself with both nature and rich cultural heritage.

Here’s our guide to the top 3 things you absolutely have to do when you visit Gdansk, Poland:

1. Visit the Old Town of Ulica Dułga

If you want to truly experience the charm and history of Gdansk, then take a relaxing stroll through the beautifully captivating Old Town, otherwise known as Ulica Dułga. The architecture here is a mesmerising sight to behold, with the well-preserved buildings showcasing an impressive mix of Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance styles.

While wandering the lovely cobblestone streets, lookout for ‘hidden gems’ elegantly tucked away in the narrow alleys and courtyards – from the quaint cafes serving mouth-watering local cuisine to the boutique shops showcasing unique handmade crafts – there’s lots to explore and experience.

Ulica Dulga is also home to many historical landmarks including the majestic St. Mary’s Church and the iconic Neptune Fountain. Just stop for a moment to take in the stunning details of such architectural marvels, and then you can move on to exploring some of the thriving cultural events, such as the art exhibitions and music festivals.

As you wrap up your exploration of Old Town, don’t forget to climb up Ratusz Miejski to get the absolute best views in Gdansk. There are also lots of fantastic places to eat here, including Motlawa, and also the Chleb i Wino restaurant, where you will experience one of the most unforgettable culinary journeys. Speaking of great food and drink, you should try out the menu at the traditional Polish bar, Mleczny, originally established in 1896, and still considered one of the best milk bars in Warsaw.

2. Visit the Beach

The beautiful Brzezno Beach is a must-go destination here. It happens to be especially popular as a sunbathing beach, which today is a lot livelier, thanks to lots of small food huts which have popped up over the years. It’s a kid and family-friendly beach too with a great stretch of sand to take a short walk to the pier or a long and relaxing walk – in fact, you can walk straight to Sopot or even Gydnia if you’re feeling a little adventurous!

This wide and sandy beach will fulfill nearly all your beach needs, especially if you’re looking for great spots to jog, run, cycle, or enjoy long all-day walks. If you walk for about 6km from Brzezno Pier, you will end up at Sopot Pier which is regarded as the longest wooden pier in all of Europe. Travel a further 5km and you can reach the pier in Orlowo – a stunningly picturesque area because of the cliff, and a lot more.

3. Visit Westerplatte via Black Pearl pirate ship

Sister mock pirate ships, Czarna Perła i Galeon Lew (English: The Black Pearl and The Lion Galleon) ferry people back and forth between Gdańsk waterfront and Westerplatte, departing close to the Green Gate (Polish: Zielona Brama). These ships operate 10:00-19:00 throughout the week, departing every hour on the hour. The cruise to Westerplatte takes about 30 minutes whereas the return trip is 50 minutes and comes with a commentary in English, German and Polish. Russian commentary is also available but must be requested in advance. Learn about key landmarks and the city’s history as you cruise up to the place WWII began. While this is, of course, a great activity for kids, the bar on-deck allows parents another way to join in on the pirate spirit. On the way back from Westerplatte, it is not uncommon to have live music on deck and there’s also a restaurant onboard serving international cuisine. In the evening, when cruises finish, these ships become floating taverns. All aboard!

4. Visit the Museums

While there are many museums to visit in Gdansk, one of the first ones you should visit is the Museum of the Second World War. The museum officially opened in 2017 and is considered one of the best, most sought after historical war museums in Poland today – faithfully covering all of the events leading up to the second world war and its effects on the nation.

Do make sure you check in at 10 am, that’s when they open, as it can get crowded really fast, particularly if you’re visiting during the summer months.

The Gdansk Archeological Museum is a great museum to visit here as well. The tower allows you to enjoy absolutely breathtaking 360° views of the city. Perhaps, if you get lucky, you might have the tower all to yourself for some incredible photo-taking opportunities.

The European Solidarity Center is an interesting way to soak up the country’s history and particularly its resistance to communist powers. As soon as you enter, you’ll be greeted by the Monument of the Fallen Shipyard Workers who sacrificed their lives in 1970. Delver deeper into the museum, and you’ll find detailed accounts of the movement which effectively ended communist rule in Poland and paved the way for democratic rule.

The 15th century structure at the edge of Old Town hosts the Polish Maritime Museum, where the wonderful exhibition of port life in the old days is one full display.

5. Stroll along the Motlawa River Waterfront

The Motlawa River can be found at the edge of Old Town, with its surrounding areas being one of the most stunning ones in Gdansk. You’ll find numerous historic buildings and objects here, including one of the most well-known symbols of the city: The Crane. The enormous crane was built many centuries ago to help load cargo onto ships of all sizes. There’s certainly lots of historical significance here as the crane serves as an unforgettable symbol of the town’s trading history.

You’ll come across lots of lovely historical houses, gates, and more. If you desire, you can cross the river to either Wyspa Spichrzów or Ołowianka Island, both of which have been renovated and offer great sightseeing spots.

The Motlawa River waterfront is also lined with lots of great restaurants and bars, where you can take a break from the walking and sightseeing, and just enjoy superb traditional food as well as drink.

What’s the best time to visit Gdansk?

While people generally visit Gdansk all year round, perhaps, the best time to visit it is during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn – so that’s typically around May or June, and September or October.

This is when the weather is mild and comfortable. Plus, you’ll see fewer crowds and you might even find lower prices as opposed to the peak summer season.

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