Its position on the Baltic has historically made Gdańsk one of the most important port cities in Northern Europe, and tragically also the scene of a rather disturbing past.
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 is still evident. Although most of the old buildings were damaged or destroyed in WWII, they have been painstakingly restored or rebuilt.
In modern history, Gdańsk is known as the birthplace of Solidarity, the labor and democracy movement that helped to bring down the Communist government in Poland, and subsequently marked the beginning of the end of The cold war. The movement was led by the charismatic leader, Lech Walesa, who became Poland's first post-Communist president.
Do not be fooled by the fact that Gdańsk is famous for its ship yards, as it is a beautiful city with a charm of its own.
You can find a tourist information centre inside the Gdańsk Glowny railway station. There is also one just opposite the town hall.
- Tourist Information Centre, 27 Heweliusza Street, +48 58 301 43 55
- PTTK Gdańsk, 45 Długa st., +48 58 301 91 51, +48 58 301 37 52, email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
Lech Wałęsa Airport, 14 kilometers west of Gdańsk, has become a popular destination for low-price flights. Destinations include Cologne, Copenhagen, Dortmund, Dublin, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Liverpool, London, Munich, Oslo, Shannon, Turku and Stockholm. Domestic flights are also available to Kraków, Warsaw and Wrocław. A connection to Helsinki starts in April 2007, providing great connections to Asia and New York. A new connection with Brussels started in October 2008.
Do not change money at the airport unless you have to, since the rates are terrible.
Avoid the unofficial rip off taxis who will pounce on you as soon as you have cleared security, unless you know how to deal with them.
Transfer buses go to the central station about every half hour. Walk right as you exit the airport to get to the bus stop, from where you take bus B. The fare is 4,20 zł - make sure you have some small banknotes or change with you. You will get three 1,40 zł tickets and all three of them must be stamped in the machine at the bus or you will be fined if you are caught. These tickets are sold at news stands or shops marked "bilety". The bus trip takes about 35 minutes, but if you get caught in rush hour traffic this may easily double. Remember this when you plan your home trip. The Bus B drops off right in front of the main train station. On the way back to the airport, it picks up on the other side of the road, near the front of the Holiday Inn hotel (look for the signs that have the B on them).
The main railway station, Gdańsk Glowny, is a beautiful historic building, although a rather confusing experience to non-polish tourists. Information in other languages than polish is almost non-existent.
Beware of pickpockets and people who may try to intimidate you for money around the railway station, especially late at night. There is very little available in the way of food outside of business hours except for a tiny coffee / snack stall at the rear of the station with only one small table outside.
From here you can get to all important Polish cities as well as many other European destinations. Train timetable is available online. Be aware that the trains and offices marked "PKP" operate the long distance routes, for instance Gdańsk-Warsaw. You buy a ticket before you enter the train. It is advisable to write the name of your destination on a piece of paper and then show it to the ticket sales person, as other languages than polish are rarely spoken. Foreigners trying to pronounce the name of polish destinations often cause confusion.
If traveling in the coastal area Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia, then look out for the SKM commuter train which connects Gdańsk and Gdynia. It is a 35 minute ride which stops at all the in-between smaller stations that the PKP trains do not. The SKM runs very frequently, about every 15 minutes. As a rule, tickets are valid for travel by one specific type of train, only. At the Gdańsk Glowny (Gdańsk's main railway station) you find the SKM on the right side when entering the station. Tickets may be bought from a vending machine at the platform. Never enter these trains without a valid ticket as ticket controls checking passengers tickets are frequent. Also, don't try to travel on a student ticket unless you have an ISIC student card, even 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.
The town is easily accessible by the A1 motorway (A1) linking Gdansk with Torun (completion by Nov. 2008) and further Lodz and Katowice to the south, or the S7 route, connecting Gdansk with Warsaw and Krakow.
The bus station is found immediately behind the main railway station. It is mainly of interest when you wish to visit regional destinations that lack railway connections, like for instance the concentration camp in Sztutowo.
Trams and buses are cheap and frequent. Locals are keen to help with directions but always ask several people and see if they agree.
- Tickets are based on travel time, so you need to estimate the duration of the journey or have a few tickets extra to check when the previous expired. The tickets are stamped in machines on the buses.
- There is a 24 hour-ticket (9.10 zł) valid on all trams, buses during the day and on night buses.
- Old Town, wander around the old streets admiring the architecture
- Long Street and Long Market
- The Hall of the Main City
- Artus Court
- Neptune Fountain - statue of Neptune - patron of the city.
- Crane over the Motława River
- Długie Pobrzerze (Motława River bank) - Impressive colourful rich houses stand along the river bank. They can be nicely observed from the other bank of Motława.
- Golden Gate
- Green Gate
- Golden House
- St Mary's Street
- St Mary's Church - one of the largest gothic churches in Europe. There is space for more than 20 000 of people in the church.
- St Nicholas Church
- St John’s Church
- St Catherine's Church
- St Bridget’s Church
- Sołdek Ship (Museum)
- Royal Chapel - differs from typical Gdańsk architecture, but has not less rich and interesting architecture.
- Grand Mill
- Oliwa Cathedral, Oliwa Park
- Highland Gate
- Hall of the Old City
- New City Hall
- Nowy Port Lighthouse
- Memorial to fallen Shipyard Workers in Solidarity Square
- Brzezno peer
- Gdańsk Post Office
- Uphagen house
- Maiden in the window
- Dominician Fair
- Archaeological Museum
- Tower Clock Museum
- Roads to Freedom Exhibition(Drogi do Wolności), ul. Wały Piastowskie 24, ☎ +48 (0/58) 308 44 28,(+48 (0/58) 308 43 19, fax: +48 (0/58) 308 42 34), .
- Gdańsk History Museum.
- Maritime Museum(Centralne Muzeum Morskie), ☎ +48 (0/58)301 86 11(email@example.com, fax: +48 (0/58)301 84 53), .
- There are sightseeing ferries that leave from the sea-side end of Dlugi Targ in the Old Town, which give you very nice views of the Gdańsk harbour and shipyards, with destinations such as:
- around Gdańsk port
- to Westerplatte
- to Sopot and Gdynia. Bear in mind that many of the boats to Sopot, in particular, end up fully-booked and that you can't buy your ticket at the boat itself. This is a harsh lesson to learn when you have already waited in a huge queue. Tickets for the Sopot ferry must be purchased from an office directly across from the terminal.
- to Hel
- Swim in the sea (often cold)
- Make a canoe-tour through the canals
- Sail Gdańsk, .
Teaching english is the best option. Possible film extras needed late 2008-2009, see .
Gdańsk is sometimes called the Amber Capital of the World. The surrounding area is the richest known source of this semi-precious stone, and the product can be found in many of the city's shops. The ones with insects in are much more expensive!
- There's a Bar Mleczny (Milk Bar) roughly at the middle of ul. Długa (Long Street). Hearty polish food at affordable prices.
- Soda Cafe, ul. Chmielna 103/104 (across the river after Długi Targ), +48 58 3051256. Tasteful orange interiors and very tasty food. Try the "Walking on the Moon" goose breast for 21 zł. The lower level night club is open from 7PM "until the last guest leaves". Expect plenty of dance music from the early 1990s, but the punters are up for a good bit of jigging and it's definitely a good laugh with the drink prices not expensive at all.
- Rooster, ul. Długa 4, +48 58 3208093. It's a miracle that the U.S. restaurant chain Hooters hasn't sent an army of lawyers yet. Rooster uses the exact same concept with waitresses in revealing clothes, and even the logo is copied with the double O:s used as bird's eyes. Nevertheless, it's the place to go when you're hungry and it's late - it's open until midnight weekdays and 1AM weekends. Women come here too, although most likely not the most militant feminists. Food is good as long as you stay away from the so-called "spaghetti". Mains around 18 zł.
- Fish on one of bars on Motława River bank (25 zł/meal)
- El Paso, 7 Stary Rynek Oliwski St., +48 58 552 06 41. Mexican restaurant. Good food, friendly staff, nice place.
- Restaurant Goldwasser, on the waterfront just behind Dlugi Targ.  Wonderful, hearty Polish fare at good prices. End the meal with a Goldwasser Liqueur. Vodka based, creamy and has very small pieces of gold leaf in the drink.
"Smojski Smak" is good value, nice food, in a nicely decorated venue.
- Restauracja 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 waitors are dressed like in the good old days. You can get a main for 18 zł although most dishes are more expensive than that, up to about 100 zł.
- Dom Harcerza, ul. Za Murami(200 m. east of Długi Targ), . Simple but very clean and tidy rooms. Singles at 40 zł, double at 75 zł. Generous breakfast offered by the café in the back at 9 zł.
- Gdańsk University of Technology, Traugutta 115(Take a bus 115 or 199 from Gdańsk Wrzeszcz railway station), ☎ +48583471597. 50 zł/single room, 70 zł/double.
- Willa Litarion, ul. Spichrzowa 18, ☎ +48 58 320-25-53, . A new small hotel, run by a nice family. Located in a row of reconstructed old-style buildings in the centre of the Old Town of Gdańsk, just 150 meters from Długi Targ and the famous Green Gate. Comfortable, carefully arranged rooms with convenient bathrooms have: TV, telephone, free internet access. Prices begin at 255zl per night.
- Hotel Parnas, ul. Spichrzowa 27, ☎ +48 58 320 12 75, . A quiet, small and elegant hotel run by an older gentleman. Rooms are spacious and tastefullt decorated. Located right in the heart of the city. Prices from 300zl per night.
- Hotel Wolne Miasto, Św. Ducha 2, ☎ +48 58 322-24-42(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +48 58 322-24-47). The Hotel Wolne Miasto is very pleasant, with helpful staff, very pleasant rooms and a good, central location. 320+ PLN.
If you take the usual precautions against pickpockets, you will feel perfectly safe wandering around in Gdańsk. Gdańsk seems very well organized from a tourist's point of view. There are frequent police patrols and visitors usually get the feeling of Gdańsk being a secure and tourist-friendly city.
- sea resort Sopot with the longest European molo
- sea resort and port Gdynia with the biggest Baltic port
- sea resort Puck
- medieval town of Elblag
- sea resort and medieval town of Frombork with the grave of Nicolaus Copernicus
- sea resort Kadyny with one of the best European studs
- Slowinski Nationalpark with the biggest dunes in Europe
- sea resort Rowy
- sea resort Leba
- sea resort Jastrzebia Gora
- sea resort Rozewie
- sea resort Wladyslawowo
On the Hel Peninsula:
On the Vistula Peninsula:
This page was last edited at 14:48, on 21 February 2009 by Andrew Haggard. Based on work by konatus, Wikitravel user(s) Morph and Jamboo, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.