Beaches Europe Food and Drink Travelling

City Break: What To Do In Gdansk

With the rise of budget airlines steadily increasing its tourist popularity, the picturesque city of Gdansk sits on the North coast of Poland—its cobbled streets salted by a brisk Baltic breeze so unwavering that I needed a jacket despite the 20 °c June sunshine.

Favoured by the British stag (bachelor) party crowd, the city is known for cheap beer and rowdy nightlife—despite often being often overlooked in favour of more popular destinations like Amsterdam, Riga, and Prague.

But for those of you who are looking for something more cultural, Gdansk’s fascinating history, beautiful architecture, museums and church spires attract plenty of couples, young families and older travellers too.

Despite reminding me of Disneyland, Gdansk is a great place for a weekend getaway. Here are my top tips:

Enjoy the café culture: 

Enjoying the view from one of Gdansk's many cafes.
Enjoying the view from one of Gdansk’s many cafes.

Part of Gdansk’s laid-back charm lies in the array of colourful cafes lining the streets. One look at the delicious pastries adorning any café window is enough to lure you in, even if the weak milky coffee that the Poles tend to serve up (according to my coffee-drinking companion) is not your thing. Most coffee shops and restaurants provide blankets, so people watching from a table outside on the street is always an option even when the Baltic wind bites!

Meander through the Old Town: 

Old Town from the Tower (Photo credit: D Nightingale)
Old Town from the Tower (Photo credit: D Nightingale)

The Old Town is small, so this will not take you very long at all, but it is a great way to spend a lazy day and there are plenty of photo opportunities along the way.

Climb the Church Tower: 

View from inside the tower
View from inside the tower (Photo credit: D Nightingale)

A brisk walk up St. Mary’s four-hundred-and-something steep stairs will soon help to walk off some of the meaty polish cuisine and pastries that you have undoubtedly been enjoying in Gdansk, and the views from the top will not disappoint.

Eat Peirogis: 

Polish pierogi
Polish pierogi

A Peirogi is a small meat-filled dumpling made from potato and shallow fried. Somewhat like gyoza peirogi’s are a simple, but immensely filling snack that is found in virtually every restaurant in Gdansk.

Look for Amber at the Beach: 

The beach at Sopot. (Photo credit: D Nightingale)
The beach at Sopot. (Photo credit: D Nightingale)
My findings: amber on the beach
My findings: amber on the beach

If you are in Gdansk in the summer, and have a day to spare, it is well worth making the trip out to the beach. We took the number 8 tram all the way to the end of the line at Jelitkowo. The beach—a long stretch of honey-coloured sand—is a 15-minute walk from the tram. If you look carefully among the debris strewn along the tide-line, you might be lucky enough to find some Baltic amber.

Have you been to Gdansk? What do you recommend? I’d love to hear your suggestions.

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  1. says:

    I’m actually moving to Riga next year and am so excited to explore this fascinating region! Poland is near the top of the travel wish list and I’m going to try to squeeze Gdansk in the itinerary.
    Heather recently posted..Stanley: A Beach Town in Hong KongMy Profile

    1. Riga is a beautiful city! Will you be working there? You should certainly visit Gdansk. I would like to go back to Poland someday to see Warsaw and Krakow.

  2. says:

    I had never heard of this city before, but it looks like such a charming little place! And the pierogies look delicious – I haven’t had that in years.
    Audrey recently posted..Why I am NOT Renting a Scooter in SE AsiaMy Profile

    1. It was super cute in Gdansk. I had heard of it before, but only decided to go when I found a very cheap flight on Skyscanner. It’s great to go to places that you have little knowledge of beforehand, isn’t it?

  3. Dominika says:

    Pierogi dont have to nessesearliy be fried at all they can be also filled with cabbage, mushrooms, mixed cabbage and mushrooms, salty white cheese with potatoes. We eat them sweat too (strowberries, sweet white cheese, blueberries) with sour cream on top 🙂

    Some tips for what to do in Gdansk: when it gets dark have as stroll on the other side of the river (go next to the yaht port and then to that big ship Soldek)- view from there is breath taking!
    Another thing – Westerplatte the place where the second world war started.
    Its worth to go to Sopot to enjoy the relaxed resort life and some crazy party in the night.
    There are beautiful cliffs in Gdynia – worth seeing.
    If you stay here for longer a trip to Hel is a must, its awesome being on a such a narrow island with sea on both sides.
    These are just some ideas i got in my head right now, but there is much more to explore here!!

    1. I didn’t know that there were so many variations on Pierogi. They all sound delicious!

      Thanks so much for all the tips, you have made some great suggestions. Hel sounds really fascinating, I wish I had been in Gdansk for longer to see it. I will have to return!

  4. Peter says:

    Oh, I love Gdansk and the rest of the Tri City!

    In fact the whole region, the Tri City, the Baltic Coast and Hel Peninsular, the Pomeranian and Kaszubian Lake Districts are well worth spending an extended period exploring.

    I’m surprised more Brits are not going over to discover the beauty of this part of Poland, especially during the summer when the weather, beaches and Baltic Bay water are much nicer than the Med.

    Anyone visiting Gdansk during the summer should be sure to check out the Jarmark Dominika?ski – a cross between Camden, a flea market and car boot sale

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