Visiting Gdansk, Poland: Everything You Need To Know
Post Summary: Your one-stop guide to visiting Gdansk, Poland. Keep reading to learn how to make your trip to Gdansk incredible.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I was struggling with some mental health issues during our trip to Poland. I just wasn’t feeling myself for the first half, and unfortunately, it affected the first half of our trip pretty significantly. However, when we got to Gdansk, things started to turn around.
I don’t attribute me feeling like myself again entirely to this city, but Gdansk has a special place in my heart because it was the place where our trip turned around for the better! This city is so charming, full of things to do, and has such a rich history that it is a must-see when you visit Poland!
Here is everything I can share about Gdansk to make your trip as good as mine was:
History of Gdansk
The more I travel through Europe, the more interested I become in WWII. The interest has always been there, but it was solidified when we visited the Auschwitz Concentration Camp Memorial back in 2019. If you’re as interested in WWII as I am, visiting Gdansk should be high on your bucket list!
If you drive about 10 minutes from the center of Gdansk, you’ll come to a place called Westerplatte. This is the site where Germans first invaded Poland and started WWII. There is a monument at Westerplatte and when walking to it, you’ll pass the Polish soldiers’ residence that was bombed by Germans at the very beginning of the war.
Aside from Westerplatte, Gdansk is also home to the famous Polish Post Office where everyday postal workers held off German soldiers for several hours.
During the war Gdansk was almost completely destroyed, so it was rebuilt afterward. Walking along the river, you’ll see a lot of German influence in the architecture. I’m not sure if this is because of the German population that might still live in Gdansk, or the city’s proximity to Germany, but it was interesting nonetheless.
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Best Time of Year for Visiting Gdansk
Visiting Gdansk is a good idea any time of year, however, I’d recommend coming in the spring or early fall to have great weather. Gdansk is such a charming city, so you’ll want to spend a lot of time walking around outside and maybe even enjoying a boat tour.
The only exception here is New Years Eve. There are a few cities around Poland that put on huge concerts during New Years Eve and Gdansk is one of them! This city is so fun during this holiday, so this is another great time to visit.
However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend coming in winter if it’s not NYE. The skies were gray the whole time and the icey ground made it hard to enjoy walking around sometimes. While Gdansk was still beautiful, I think better weather in the spring, summer, or fall would have made our trip even more amazing.
Where to stay in Gdansk
Unfortunately, I wasn’t very happy with the hotel we chose to stay in during our time in Gdansk. However, that means I scoped out the best places to stay while I was there so I can share them with you! There are three main areas you can stay in:
1. Gdansk Old Town
If you’re a lover of old European Architecture and walking down cobblestone streets, this is where you’ll want to stay! Specifically, I’d recommend staying right on Ul. Dluga if you can. This is the most popular street in Old Town and, in my opinion, the prettiest!
You’ll find mostly apartment-style accommodations on this street including Navy Group, Blue Mandarin, and My Old Town Gdansk. All three of these offer lovely appartments to stay in Old Town. I love this style of accommodation because it almost feels like you’re living there.
There are also a few hotels in this area such as IBB Hotel Dlugi Targ. This looks like a simple hotel, but it’s in a GREAT location!
2. Along the River
If you’re visiting Gdansk for more of the nightlife scene than the architecture, you’ll likely want to stay along the river. This is where all the restaurants and bars come alive when the sun goes down.
There are several apartments for rent on this side of town as well. I’d start your search by looking into Apartamenty Deo Plaza nad Motławą, Kamienica Goldwasser, and Apartamenty MICHEL Gdańsk. The reviews on all of these apartments say they have incredible views of the river and Old Town.
There’s also a Hilton on the edge of Old Town that sits right on the river if you’re looking for a more traditional hotel.
If you’re up for an adventure, you can also stay on this houseboat! It looks like it’s parked in the river, so you can’t get any closer to the water than this.
3. On the Island
The last area I’d recommend is on the island formed between the two canals of the river. This is where we stayed. If we visit again, we will likely stay in an apartment in Old Town, but this location would be great if you’re looking for a quieter stay. There aren’t many people walking around this area, but that also means you’ll have to walk somewhat far to get to restaurants, shops, etc.
If you opt for this area, Hotel Krolewski is where we stayed. There wasn’t really anything remarkable about this hotel, but they did have a good breakfast.
Other options include Olowianka BnB and Gdańsk Ołowianka
What to do in Gdansk
She Travels Poland has an excellent article that details all the top things to do in Gdansk, but I’ll outline a few of them here.
If you’re into World War II history, you will love Gdansk! I’d recommend visiting Westerplatte (where WWII started), the Polish Post Office in Gdansk, and the Museum of the Second World War. Westerplatte is about 10 minutes away via Uber or taxi. You’ll see the monument as well as the residance of the Polish soldiers who tried to keep the Germans from invading Poland.
I’d also recommend walking the Royal Route to see a lot of the landmarks in Gdansk Old Town. She Travels Poland created a Google Map with all of these locations pinned, if that’s easier for you to visualize.
The Royal Route starts at Upland Gate, then you’ll walk a short distance to the Prison Tower and Torture Chamber. Next is Golden Gate. Once you pass through Golden Gate, you’ll walk along Ul. Dluga which is a beautiful street. During your walk on Ul. Dluga, you’ll pass Main Town Hall, Neptune Fountain, and Artus Court. The last stop is Green Gate which is back near the river.
–> For more information on these landmarks, visit this post! <–
While you’re walking around Gdansk, you’ll likely notice a large ferris wheel and carousel. Anyone can ride these and let out their inner child for the night!
Lastly, there are a few areas I’d recommend walking around while you’re visiting Gdansk. The first is Ul. Dluga, but if you walked the Royal Route, then you’ve already been down this streed. It has a lot of restaurants, cafes, and shops along it. The next street that you need to see is called Mariacka. It’s lined with vendors who sell amber jewelery (a stone Poland is known for). This street at twilight looks magical. You should also walk along the river while you’re in town and see the night life come to life after the sun sets!
Where to Eat in Gdansk
I don’t always feel comfortable sharing the “best restaurants” in certain cities that I only travel to for a few days because there’s no way I could try all the restaurants in town to determine which ones are the best. However, we had some AMAZING food while in Gdansk, so I wanted to share the different places we loved.
The restaurant at the top of our list is Zafishowani. This came as a recommendation from a friend and it was incredible! We started with drinks – the Finlandia Caipiroska was delicious. Then, they brough us a surprise appetizer which was goat cheese topped with apple puree and walnut. Next, I had potato and eel soup. For the main dish, I chose the veal cutlets with mustard sauce. Lastly, for dessert, we shared the ricotta cheesecase. I am not exaggerating when I say I’d go back to Gdansk JUST for this restaurant! Keep in mind that their menu is rotating, so they will likely have different options when you visit, but I know it’ll be amazing.
The other restaurant we really liked in Gdansk was called Fish & Chips. It was much more casual and they had covered patio seating on the water, so you can sit outside even in winter. Given the name of the restaurant, I tried the Fish & Chips and it was one of the best I’ve ever had! The fish is local and fried to perfection. We also had a couple glasses of Prosecco to toast our first day in Gdansk.
Have you been to Gdansk?
If you’ve been to Gdansk, Poland, let me know if there’s anything you’d add to this guide! Obviously, I can’t experience everything a town has to offer in just one visit, but we loved this city from the moment we started walking around and I know you will, too!