I visited Gdansk end of February, 2020 and spent 3 days there. In this blog, I will share with you my impressions about the city. Gdansk is a charming city on the Baltic sea located in Northern Poland. It is the 4th largest city in Poland and definitely one of the most magical and most charming cities not only in Poland but also in all Northern Europe. The city centre is compact and can be fully discovered on foot.
In addition to the beauty of the city, Gdansk has a historical importance as its a strategic and influential port city for thousands of years. Furthermore, The Second World War started when Nazi army invaded Poland from Westerplatte peninsula at the outskirt of Gdansk.
How to get there
I arrived there by a train which I boarded in Berlin and the whole trip took a bit less than 6 hours. There is another convenient way to get to Gdansk which is flying there; major European Airlines such as LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa and KLM fly to Gdansk in addition to low-cost carriers such as Ryan Air and Wizz Air. Therefore, there are plenty of options to get there. Also, you can take a very modern and comfortable high speed train from Warsaw to Gdansk and the journey takes less than 3 hours.
About my train ride to Gdansk, I booked a ticket from Berlin to Gdansk in first class for 37 Euros (43 USD). I booked the ticket online 3 weeks in advance from the German Railway site Deutsche Bahn. Click here to view the site. The price difference between 1st and 2nd class was less than 8 Euros so I got the 1st class ticket. In my opinion, the difference between 1st and 2nd class on this train was not a major one at all. 1st class passengers sit in a 6 seats compartment where each seat has a power port. While 2nd class passengers sit in 2-2 open space configuration. There was no dining car on the train and I wasn’t able to buy any food or drinks anywhere on the train. I didn’t know that beforehand so I starved a bit during the trip.
Gdansk’s charming city centre
Gdansk is a beautiful city and the whole city centre is walkable; it’s exactly a 15 minutes walk from the main train station to the old town square. The city is full of gorgeous looking buildings in harmonic colours. I stayed there for 3 nights and I think it was about right to enjoy Gdansk. However, if you are planning to discover the metropolitan area of Tri-city (Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia), then you will probably need a few more days. Gdansk is part of the Tri-city metropolitan area which also consists of Sopot and Gdynia; a light-rail ride (it’s called SKM) from Gdansk to Sopot takes around 15 to 20 minutes and it’s 10 minutes more from Sopot to Gdynia.
Westerplatte; it is where 2nd world war started
Westerplatte is where Nazi army invaded Poland on September 1st, 1939 and is famous of the battle of Westerplatte where the first clash between Nazi and Polish forces took place. It is where the World War II started at the European front.
Westerplatte is a must see site if you are in Gdansk. There is a great monument there that is definitely worth a visit. It’s a place where everybody can learn a lot from and I am so grateful that we have a peaceful Europe today hoping that the whole world will live in peace and without wars someday. I know that it’s not a realistic wish but let’s wish to have this someday.
To get there, you can either take the bus number 106 from central station and it takes about 36 minutes and then you need to walk for 10 more minutes to reach the monument or you can simply order an Uber. I was in a hurry so I took an Uber ride and it costed me 25 Polish Zloty (6.5 USD) each way. Ride took exactly 15 minutes.
The museum of Second World War in Gdansk
In my second day, I met my great Polish friend who is my good friend since 2013. We started the day in the Museum of second world war in Gdansk which is a must do there. I personally can’t imagine a trip to Gdansk without visiting this museum. It’s great to learn a lot about the history of the war from Polish perspectives. The museum is absolutely massive, very informative and has many exhibits. We spent a couple of hours there. A ticket to museum costs around 6 USD and I recommend that you dedicate 2 to 3 hours for your museum tour.
Gdansk is part of the Tri-City metropolitan area which also includes Gdynia and Sopot. Before the trip, I had no plans to visit Sopot as I thought that I will barely have enough time to see everything I wanted to see in Gdansk. However, my friend suggested to show me the beach area in Sopot so we drove there. We had a walk on Sopot pier which is the longest wooden pier in Europe. It is a magnificent beach and the walk on the pier is just breath-taking. The weather was acceptable as it was much warmer than the average weather in this time of the year. We even managed to enjoy some sunshine, which is rare in Northern Poland. I heard from my frined that Sopot area gets incredibly crowded in summer time as it becomes a hot spot for Polish and European vacationers.
The walk on pier was beautiful and at the end of it, there is a very nice restaurant called Meridian Molo. We made a stop there and had a delicious apple pie.
Back to Gdansk charming city centre
We drove back to Gdansk and had a walk in the historical city centre where I had another chance to enjoy the colours of the charming looking buildings there. It is truly one of the most gorgeous town centres I have ever seen. On top of that, there are many great restaurants, cafes and bars there and the ones I tried were excellent.
To conclude the beautiful day, I had to try the famous Polish Pierogi and Polish winter tea in a nice restaurant in Gdansk called Kaszubska Marina. It was the best Pierogis I’ve ever had.
Leaving Gdansk to Warsaw
After 3 great days in Gdansk, I left the city to Warsaw with the high-speed Pendolino train. High speed rail service in Poland started in 2014. The train was modern and clean and the service was great. I booked a ticket in advance so I was able to find a 1st class ticket from Gdansk to Warsaw for 30 USD. I recommend buying a ticket in advance as you can almost always find a good deal when you do so. Journey took a bit less than 3 hours. You can buy a ticket directly from the Polish railway website. Click here
Once I boarded a train, an attendant approached me and distributed a little menu. You will be able to choose from a list of cold sandwiches and 2 drinks. The food tasted really good. Also, the seat is very comfortable, adjustable, wide, large legroom, has a power port and a hook to hang your coat. Furthermore, the train has a restaurant car, in case you want to have more food. It was one of the best train rides I’ve ever had.
Gdansk is a cute city, it is a Polish jewel on the Baltic and it can definitely be a European weekend gateway. Also, you can add it to your North/East Europe itinerary if you are touring that part of Europe. Along with Krakow, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Poland and you can really find beauty and peace in this city. Furthermore, from what I heard, nightlife in Gdansk can be really cool and interesting but this is something I couldn’t check out myself.
I will list below recommended places for coffee, food, and drinks which I tried myself:
-Restauracja Gvara; not many dishes on the menu but it’s delicious. Service is very friendly and professional. It can be a bit expensive for Poland.
-SurfBurger; seriously good burger place
-Meridian Molo (In Sopot); a bit expensive for Poland but worth it
-Kaszubska Marina; I had great Pierogi there
-Czerwony Piec; delicious casual Italian pizza place in Gdynia.
-Młynek Cafe; cute coffee place with great coffee and friendly service
-Ciekawa Kawiarnia; you have to go there as they employ disabled people and that proved that they have a great potential. Taste of coffee and cake there is amazing.
-Pub Red Light: don’t worry, it’s not what you think, it’s just a name 🙂 . They make good cocktails there!
I stayed in a beautiful, sunny and spacious Airbnb apartment right at the old town. Location couldn’t be any better and the apartment was perfect. Once again, make sure you read the reviews carefully and check amenities before you book your Airbnb place.
I guess that’s all I can say about Gdansk for now. If you have any thoughts, questions or comments, please let me know.