I have to admit, my trip to Gdansk was extremely unorthodox: I didn’t know about the trip until 4 hours before the plane was due to take off on the Saturday morning. Talk about unprepared. One thing I can say, is it certainly taught me how to make the best of 31 hours in a foreign country.

Locations

Gdansk itself is a beautiful city and, for a weekend, there is more than enough to entertain yourself with in the old part of the town. In terms of accommodation, we stayed in a cheap hostel a couple of minutes’ walk from the centre of Gdansk. The location was perfect and being that close to the city enables you to go and come as you please from the main street, museums and Neptune’s fountain found in the main square. I’d definitely advise that if you aren’t picky about your rooms, go for location over comfort when you have little time.

Top Three Must-See

  • Neptune’s fountain at night.
    In the middle of the main square, there is a beautifully illuminated fountain and the stunning tower of the old city hall behind it – perfect for photos! If you visit Neptune’s fountain, beware of the scam that is set up there – people will offer to take a photo, print it out and then request compensation – you can easily take your own photos when in the area.
  • Gdansk Museum.
    The museum is right next to the fountain and well worth a visit. In the summer months, you can go to the top of the tower to get birds-eye city views included in the price of the museum. It is relatively cheap and you should leave yourself an hour and a half to visit the museum.
  • City Centre.
    One of the things that really struck me about Gdansk was how pretty all of the buildings were, and the old centre is totally pedestrianised. Take at least a morning or afternoon out of the weekend to get a feel for the city – you might always spot a bistro or restaurant down one of the side streets for a meal too.

What else to do

When I visited in early March, there were no street markets around – though we did spend half an hour searching for one before eventually finding ourselves back at the river. However, if you get chance, research some of the street markets as the Baltic city is home to some of the cheapest amber jewellery in the country.

You could also take a trip to the Amber museum, where you can dress up in traditional costumes and see some beautifully crafted amber structures and jewellery. 

Go on a night-time visit to the river – the river is honestly one of the prettiest places in the city at night, with all of the lights dancing off of it. Get a drink in one of the riverside bars or restaurants to absorb the atmosphere and rest for a few minutes.

Food in Gdansk

Meals out in the city centre are around £9 per person, and portion sizes are more than adequate. I would highly recommend trying the traditional polish dumplings – both meat and vegetarian. If you aren’t quite ready to delve into a totally different food, many restaurants offer both limited British/American cuisine as well as some traditional dishes. A platter of dumplings between a group would be enough to try the new food, as well as staying safe by ordering some tried and tested favourites off the menu. For breakfast, there are a few little shops. Our group had booked to have food in a small breakfast place just off the main street. A traditional sausage, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, bread, some sauce and ham makes for a nice change on your weekend away and proves to your taste buds that you are most certainly not in England.

Money

One thing to bear in mind is that Zloty is the currency in Poland, not euros. 1 PLN to GBP – Polish Zlotych to British Pounds Exchange Rate (xe.com) is a great site for current exchange rate, however it’s roughly five zloty to one pound.

Whether you end up visiting Gdansk for a week or a weekend, hopefully this will give you some insight into what your trip will be like.

This was actually the trip that also inspired my article: How to Make the Most of a Weekend Break in Europe – wanderlustandarucksack