Continuing my Baltic adventures I booked a short city break to Gdańsk. This quaint city is often overlooked by those travelling to Poland for the bigger cities such as Krakow or Warsaw. Both the larger cities are those my other half wanted to visit, as such when I was looking for a way to tick Poland off my list without causing a domestic Gdańsk offered the perfect solution.
Whilst a beautiful city, it is rather small, therefore you can easily fit this into a weekend break without issue. Taking advantage of some cheap “small bag only” flights with Ryanair I headed off one Friday night with the plan to spend 48 hours in the Polish city.
My base for my break was the Hotel Grano, in the centre, with less than a 10 minute walk to the old town. With its luxurious rooms, swimming pool and spa, this 4 star hotel was a bargain out of season and offered a little bit of luxury for the weekend. In fact I probably spent a little longer than I normally would lounging about reading just due to the fact that the hotel was just so beautiful.
The proximity from the hotel to the old town was just perfect. After a late flight in I was up bright and early on the Saturday to explore as much as I could. Whilst out of season, yes you get the cold weather, but that does not matter when in the city. Not only are the colours of Gdańsk stunning no matter the weather but you also benefit from the lack of crowds in the winter months.
So what would I recommend whilst in the city?
Known as the “long market” Dluga Street is the centre of the old town within Gdańsk. Also know as the Royal Way, this this picture perfect street is lined with cafes, restaurants and casinos.
By walking the 500 metre street you will pass a number of well known sights in the city.
Probably one of the most popular photo spots, Neptune Fountain can easily be spotted strolling Dluga Street. Constructed in the late 17th century the fountain survived World War Two intact.
Main Town Hall
Next to Neptune Fountain on Dluga Street, you will find the main Town Hall. By climbing the gothic tower, it is said that on a clear day you can see out to the Baltic Sea. Sadly the tower was closed for the winter during my visit, but it is recommended to take in the view if you visit in summer months.
St Mary’s Church
Dominating the old town is St Mary’s Church. Whilst the interior is lacking somewhat in grandeur in comparison to other churches I have visited, the 408 step climb to the top of the bell tower is somewhat impressive.
The small observation deck provided a fantastic view over the roof tops in the city, even on the coldest of days.
Walking to the end of Dluga Street you will come to the Green Gate, known to be one of the oldest water gates within Gdańsk leading to the Green Bridge and the river front.
The Waterfront & Amber Sky
Even on the dullest of days weather wise, the river front in the city is rather picturesque.
Walk both sides to really appreciate the views – including the Gdańsk city sign and Amber Sky – the ferris wheel offering views across the river to the old town.
Head down Mariacka Street to explore some of the old Gdańsk architecture.
This is the spot in the city to head to if you are shopping for amber or on a rainy day pop into a wine bar.
The entrance to the courtyard of the prison tower is free for visitors to walk through and take pictures.
You will see many tourists joking about with the chains that hang in the courtyard – giving you a sense of what this tower was like when it was a prison and torture chamber.
Four Quarters Fountain
In the summer months enjoy the Four Quarters Fountain. In front of the Royal Chapel you will find the fountain with four bronze lions, with the four lions representing where the four historic areas of Gdańsk met.
Found in the main city area of Gdańsk is the Great Armoury. This impressive building was erected in 1600-1605, offering such architectural detail, stunning even against the greyest of skies and well worth checking out when visiting.
Soon enough it was time to head back home. Whilst there was a still a great deal of attractions to see in the city, with a deep history surrounding World War, and also various sites to see just outside the city too, my time was many spent wandering down the quiet cobbled streets, reading and people watching in cafes and generally slowing down.
The city provided the perfect opportunity to do all of the above whilst taking in some stunning surroundings. As my first experience for Poland, it also opened my eyes as to what to expect from exploring more of the beautiful country. With my only thoughts being, which city to head to next……..