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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.