Day 1: Gdansk Old Town
Part of the charm of Gdansk is its small size. This means that the old town is easily walkable, as all the main sights are within touching distance of each other.
Piwna Street & St Mary’s Basilica
Start your day on the peaceful street of Piwna. Wander along the cobbled avenue, sip a coffee at the many cafes, and visit the cute souvenir shops. It’s the perfect place to sit outside one of the restaurants, people watching and admiring the beautiful architecture in summer. There’s plenty of places to try a typical ‘pierogi’ (polish dumpling) here too!
St Mary’s Basilica
The main attraction on Piwna Street is the St Mary’s Basilica: the largest brick church in the world! It’s so large, in fact, that it can fit up to 25,000 people inside.
Visiting the inside is completely free, see the famous astronomical clock, and climb the 400+ steps to the top of the bell tower for one of the city’s best views!
The Royal Chapel
Next head to the Royal Chapel, a gorgeous, orange building with pistachio colored window frames and detailing. Build in the late 1600s. Unfortunately, it is not open to the public.
Four Quarters Fountain
Opposite the Royal Chapel is the Four Quarters Fountain. The fountain is a contemporary piece of street art, created to show where the old four quarters of Gdansk once met. On a hot summer’s day, people are cooling down in the fountains of water!
Gdansk has been a mining center for amber for hundreds of years, a product used to make jewelry, art, and sculpture. Mariacka Street is a hub of jewelry shops and art galleries.
Mariacka Street was almost completely destroyed during WWII and has been restored to its former glory. Thus, the architecture is stunning and has some unique features, such as the ornate gargoyles found on many of the rain gutters.
Dluga Street & Dlugi Targ
Gdansk’s main street, named Dluga Street, runs through rows of beautiful, colored townhouses and is alive with the buzz of street artists and musicians. The lively street is the very heart of the city and is an absolute must-see while in Gdansk.
Check out the grand houses, gold gilding, and stunning paintwork, with the Uphagen House as the absolute eye-catcher. This was an 18th-century merchant’s house reconstructed after the war and is now part of the main Gdansk City Museum.
Dlugi Targ Street
Continue to walk along Dluga Street until it runs into Dlugi Targ Street (the Long Market). This is the street where the main market of the city once was. It is quite busy and touristy, but it is still worth walking along to admire the beautiful architecture.
Green Gate & Green Bridge
At the end of Dlugi Targ, pass through the Green Gate, before crossing the Green Bridge over the river. The Green Gate is particularly impressive with its four huge stone passageways.
Neptune’s Fountain in Gdansk
At the beginning of Dlugi Targ, after coming off Dluga Street, is the most iconic statue in Gdansk: ‘Neptune, the God of the Sea’. The bronze statue is iconic to the city and is popular among visitors. If you are visiting during Christmas, this is also the spot for the huge Christmas tree with twinkling lights.
The fountain sits in front of Artus Court, a beautiful building which is now part of the Gdansk History Museum. Its white brick facade sits beautifully between the vibrant pinks, yellows, and oranges of the surrounding mansions, making it a great setting for photographers.
Motlowa River & The Holy Spirit Bridge
The Motlowa river runs through Gdansk and out to the Baltic Sea. The lovely promenade along the river has many incredible restaurants. It’s a lively place with many boats and ‘pirate’ ships coming in. It’s even possible to do a kayak history tour along the river, which is a great way of viewing the buildings from a different vantage point.
The interesting new footbridge (2016) lights up at night and twists and rotates when it opens or closes for passing boats. It’s located HERE.
The Crane, Gdansk (Zuraw)
Another iconic symbol of Gdansk is the Crane. This building was once a port crane, used to remove cargo from ships. During the war, like many other buildings in Gdansk, it was destroyed. However, it was later returned to its former glory in the 1950s and now houses the National Maritime Museum of Gdansk.
Wielki Młyn (Great Mill)
A 10-minute walk from the Crane is the Great Mill. It’s currently closed for renovations so it’s not possible to visit inside but its sheer size is extraordinary to see if you’re nearby.
Day 2: Outside Gdansk
Jump in your car, a bus/tram, or on a water ferry, and head out towards the Baltic coast for all of day two’s activities.
First, make a stop at the phenomenal memorial of Westerplatte, located on a peninsula off the Baltic Sea. This was where the first battle of WWII took place. Now an impressive stone column stands here, as a memorial to the soldiers who died. Here’s an in-depth tour to learn even more about the history.
Vistula Mouth Fortress (Wisloujscie Fortress)
On your way back from Westerplatte, further inland, visit this circular fortress. From above, the circular building sits on top of a star-shaped green bank, surrounded by a moat. The shapes and symmetry of this incredible building are a must-see and a surprising find in Gdansk.
Get there: Driving, bus 106, or in the summer via the F5 water tram.
Don’t miss out on a trip out a little further along the coast to Kepa Redlowska, an incredible nature reserve. This area is beyond surprising; you truly won’t believe you’re in Poland!
Discover stunning white beaches, with crystal clear water that gives it an almost Mediterranean feel, apart from the colder water ;-) ! Walk on one of several nature trails alongside white cliffs and lush green forest and enjoy this slice of Polish wilderness.
Just 20 minutes from Gdansk is the small seaside city of Sopot. It is known for its beach and great sunset at the pier. Don’t miss out on visiting the weird and wonderful ‘crooked house’ on Monte Cassino street; a warped, twisted building like the one in Prague!
Restaurants in Gdansk
Gdansk has a great selection of restaurants. These were our favorite places to eat:
- Lao Thai
- Ostro (Italian)
- Guga Sweet & Spicy (Vegan)
- Familia Bistro Garbary
- Machina Eats and Beats
- MANNA 68
- Dom Sushi
Getting To & Around Gdansk
Gdansk has its own international airport, so it’s possible to fly directly into the city from other European destinations. If you are coming from Krakow or Warsaw, there is also the option of taking the train. This can be done in roughly 7 hours from Krakow, or a shorter 3-hour journey from Warsaw. The best option, for both nature and city, is to travel by car on a Poland road trip itinerary.
All the best things come in small packages and Gdansk is no exception. The city is small and perfectly formed, so that you can see all the main sights within a 30-minute walk. If you’re wishing to venture further outside the city, there are good public transport options.
Where to Stay in Gdansk
Stay anywhere inside the old town to soak up the charming atmosphere of historical Gdansk. We stayed at Hotel Hanza, a contemporary hotel located right on the waterfront, right next to the iconic ‘Crane’ building. This is a good option for a nice outlook over the harbor.