Best Things to do in Gdansk, Poland
Once our time in Krakow was up, we took the train to Gdansk. Since Gdansk is located near the sea and has a history of shipping and trading, it has a very different feel to it than Krakow. But it was just as beautiful, despite some chilly and windy weather even in late May/early June. Here are some things to do in Gdansk, Poland.
Exploring Old Town Gdansk
There’s something about the architecture in Poland that I just love. It’s very European looking, yet distinctly different. The buildings are colorful and interesting in a way that I find unique to Poland, and no matter what Polish city we’re in, I love wandering around to simply look at the buildings.
Views of Gdansk from above
One of our favorite things to do when visiting a new place is find a tall building or tower to climb. I love being able to see a city from up high. The main town hall is the perfect place for views of Gdansk from above. There’s a small museum inside, and you can climb the 50m (about 164 feet) tower to look out over the city.
There’s also a museum inside the old crane along the water, and you can go up several stories and look out from there. However, the windows there have fencing over them, so while the views are nice, they don’t make for good pictures. But we really enjoyed going up there.
Visiting Malbork Castle: a great day trip from Gdansk
Malbork Castle is located a short distance from Gdansk, making it an easy day trip and one I definitely recommend. The castle is considered the largest in the world by land area, and it’s impressive to see. It was built by the Teutonic Knights and finished in 1406. This easily became one of my favorite castles. We got the English audio guide, which was really good, though a bit long.
To get to Malbork Castle, take the train from Gdansk to the town of Malbork, and then it’s about a 20 minute walk from the train station to the castle. Check out their website here. Or if you’d rather have someone else handle the logistics, consider a tour of Malbork Castle from Gdansk, like this one.
Other day trips from Gdansk
Malbork Castle is probably the most popular day trip from Gdansk, but there are a few other towns nearby you might want to consider, such as Gdynia and Sopot. We went to Gdynia, which is a port and seaside resort town. After getting off the train, we wandered through the town to find lunch and check out the boardwalk area. Honestly, we weren’t impressed. The boardwalk area was lined with generic souvenir shops, and the town itself wasn’t too exciting. Maybe we just didn’t see the right part of town. Sopot looks like it might be a bit better, and I wish we had gone there instead.
Where to eat in Gdansk
Trying to find places to eat when you’re not familiar with a city can sometimes be tricky. We had some not-so-great meals in the old town. Luckily we stumbled into a few restaurants that turned out to be really good places to eat in Gdansk, even in the more touristy part of the city.
If you’re looking to splurge on a nicer meal, check out Baryłka located at Długie Pobrzeże 24, 22-100 Gdańsk. It’s on the waterfront not far from the old crane.
Another nice restaurant was Gdański Bowke located at Długie Pobrzeże 11, 80-888 Gdańsk, also along the waterfront. This restaurant had a more nautical theme and the food was a little more traditional.
On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find Poland’s milk bars. These are cheap restaurants, sort of cafeteria style, that serve up good, simple, home cooked food at a low price. We found Bar Turystyczny and had a tasty and inexpensive meal. It’s located at Szeroka 8/10, 80-835 Gdańsk.
Hands down our favorite place was Kawiarnia Retro located at Piwna 5/6, 22-100 Gdańsk. Considering all my dietary restrictions, it’s always great to find a place that has lots of gluten free and dairy free options, especially for breakfast. Andy had porridge with different toppings, such as nuts or fruit, and I had smoothies and hot chocolate. We also came for dessert one night. Andy had some kind of caramel cheesecake, and I had a gluten free chocolate cake with peanuts and ice cream. The only thing I needed a lactose pill for was the ice cream.
Where to stay in Gdansk
I definitely recommend staying close to or in the old town in Gdansk. Most of the sights you’ll want to see are located there, and it’s easy to get around on foot. We stayed at Aparthotel Neptun in Gdansk, and it was comfortable and just a few minutes walking from the waterfront and the central street of the old town. Another thing we loved was that each room had its own WiFi router, which meant we had some of the best internet connection ever in a hotel.
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