Welcome to Gdansk, a vibrant city filled with rich history, breathtaking architecture, and a unique blend of cultures. Located on the Baltic Sea in northern Poland, Gdansk is a popular destination for weekend getaways, offering a perfect mix of historical landmarks, beautiful beaches, and a lively atmosphere.
Known for its strategic location as a major seaport, Gdansk has a fascinating history shaped by various influences, including Polish, German, and Scandinavian. Today, it stands as a testament to its resilient past, having undergone restoration and transformation.
Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a beach lover, or a foodie looking for culinary delights, Gdansk has something to offer everyone. The city’s picturesque Old Town, with its cobblestone streets and colorful facades, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit attraction.
In this article, we will explore the best things to do in Gdansk during a weekend trip. From wandering through the historic Old Town to relaxing on the beautiful beaches, there is no shortage of activities to keep you entertained.
So, get ready to immerse yourself in the charms of Gdansk as we take you on a journey through its captivating sights, cultural treasures, and culinary delights. Let’s discover the best things to do in Gdansk and make the most of your weekend getaway!
Visit the Historic Old Town
Step back in time and explore the enchanting Historic Old Town of Gdansk. This beautifully preserved district is brimming with Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture, charming cobblestone streets, and picturesque buildings.
Start your exploration at the iconic Upland Gate, the main entrance to the Old Town. From there, wander along Long Market, the heart of the city, and be captivated by the stunning facades of the colorful merchant houses. Don’t miss the Neptune Fountain, a symbol of Gdansk, and the breathtaking Artus Court, where historical events were once held.
As you meander through the narrow streets, be sure to visit the majestic St. Mary’s Church. Admire its towering spires and step inside to marvel at the intricate details of the interior, including the astronomical clock and stunning stained glass windows.
For a unique perspective of the Old Town, climb to the top of the Gothic-style Gdansk Crane. From here, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the city and the picturesque Motława River.
Make time to explore the Amber Museum, located in the medieval Foregate building. Learn about the rich history of amber, a precious gemstone often referred to as “Baltic gold,” and admire a stunning collection of jewelry and artifacts.
Take a leisurely stroll along the charming Mariacka Street, known for its amber shops and picturesque facades. Stop at one of the small cafes and indulge in a cup of traditional Polish coffee or try a delicious amber-infused liqueur.
As you explore the Old Town, be sure to visit the historic Granary Island, once a bustling trading hub. Today, it is a peaceful and picturesque area with beautiful waterfront views and the impressive Polish Maritime Museum.
In the evening, the Old Town comes alive with vibrant street performances, live music, and a lively atmosphere. Enjoy a meal at one of the traditional Polish restaurants or sip on a refreshing pint of locally brewed beer at one of the cozy bars.
Visiting the Historic Old Town is a must-do when in Gdansk. It offers a glimpse into the city’s rich history and architectural wonders, ensuring a memorable experience during your weekend trip.
Explore the Royal Route
Embark on a journey through history as you explore the Royal Route in Gdansk. This scenic route takes you through some of the city’s most significant landmarks, showcasing the grandeur and elegance of the past.
Begin your exploration at the Golden Gate, an impressive entrance gate that once welcomed Polish kings, dignitaries, and important guests. As you pass through the gate, you’ll find yourself on Long Street, which leads to the historic Royal Chapel.
Continue your journey along Long Street, admiring the beautifully restored 18th-century townhouses that once belonged to nobility. The street is lined with charming shops, cafes, and restaurants, perfect for a leisurely stroll and some people-watching.
One of the highlights of the Royal Route is the majestic Green Gate, a masterpiece of Dutch-influenced architecture. Once the residence of Polish monarchs, it now houses a branch of the National Museum, showcasing art and historical exhibitions.
Another notable stop along the route is the imposing Great Armoury, a former arsenal and armory. Today, it houses the Museum of the History of Gdansk, where you can learn about the city’s fascinating past and its importance as a trading hub.
As you continue along the Royal Route, you’ll come across the impressive Artus Court, a historical meeting place for merchants from all over Europe. Step inside to marvel at the opulent interior and discover the history of this magnificent building.
End your exploration of the Royal Route at the magnificent Gdansk Cathedral. This Gothic masterpiece boasts stunning architecture and houses an impressive collection of religious art and artifacts. Climb to the top of the bell tower for breathtaking panoramic views of Gdansk.
Along the Royal Route, you’ll also find charming parks, such as the Oliwa Park, known for its beautiful landscapes and the Oliwa Cathedral with its famous organ concerts.
Exploring the Royal Route in Gdansk offers a glimpse into the city’s royal past and its architectural splendors. Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the grandeur and elegance of this historic route during your weekend trip.
Discover the Fascinating History at the Museum of the Second World War
Delve into the captivating history of the Second World War at the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk. This award-winning museum offers a comprehensive and thought-provoking exploration of one of the most significant periods in human history.
Located near the Westerplatte Peninsula, where the first shots of the war were fired, the museum’s striking modern architecture is a reflection of the innovative exhibits housed within its walls. Prepare to be immersed in a multi-sensory experience as you walk through the museum’s thoughtfully curated galleries.
The museum tells the story of the war from multiple perspectives, showcasing the experiences of both soldiers and civilians. Through a combination of artifacts, photographs, videos, and interactive displays, you’ll gain a deep understanding of the impact of the war on individuals and nations.
Learn about the political tensions and events leading up to the outbreak of the war, the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, and the struggles and sacrifices of those who fought against the Nazi regime. The museum also sheds light on the post-war period, highlighting the efforts of rebuilding and reconciliation.
One of the highlights of the museum is the full-scale replica of a bombed Warsaw street, providing a chilling glimpse into the destruction caused by the war. You’ll also have the opportunity to step inside a recreation of a prisoner transport wagon, allowing you to experience the cramped and harrowing conditions faced by many during the war.
The Museum of the Second World War offers a powerful and educational experience that encourages reflection and understanding. It is a must-visit for anyone interested in history and the human impact of global conflicts.
Plan your visit to the Museum of the Second World War and gain a deeper appreciation for the courage, resilience, and sacrifices made by those who lived through this pivotal moment in history.
Relax at the Stunning Beaches of Gdansk
When it comes to picturesque beaches, Gdansk has it all. Located along the Baltic Sea, the city boasts stunning stretches of sandy shores that are perfect for relaxation and leisure activities.
One of the most popular beaches in Gdansk is Stogi Beach. With its soft golden sand and crystal-clear waters, it offers a relaxing escape from the bustling city. The beach is equipped with amenities such as beach chairs, umbrellas, and lifeguards, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors.
If you’re looking for a more secluded and serene beach, head to Brzeźno Beach. With its charming promenade and dune landscape, it offers a tranquil setting for a leisurely stroll or a peaceful picnic. You can also rent bicycles and explore the scenic coastline.
Sopot Beach, located just a short distance from Gdansk, is another popular choice for beachgoers. Stretching for over 4 kilometers, it offers a vibrant atmosphere with numerous beach bars, restaurants, and activities. Don’t miss the iconic Sopot Pier, which extends into the sea and provides stunning views of the coastline.
For those seeking adventure, Jelitkowo Beach is the perfect destination. With its strong winds and wide sandy expanse, it’s a hotspot for water sports enthusiasts, particularly windsurfers and kiteboarders. Lessons and equipment rentals are available for those looking to try their hand at these exhilarating activities.
While visiting Gdansk’s beaches, be sure to indulge in some delicious local street food. Grab a serving of scrumptious fried fish or try the famous Polish ice cream served in a crispy wafer cone. And of course, don’t forget to enjoy a refreshing swim in the cool waters of the Baltic Sea.
Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or simply a beautiful spot to enjoy the sun, Gdansk’s beaches offer something for everyone. So pack your sunscreen, towel, and beach essentials, and spend a day unwinding at the stunning coastal retreats of Gdansk.
Explore the Solidarity Center Museum
Discover the remarkable story of the Solidarity movement at the Solidarity Center Museum in Gdansk. This museum pays tribute to the historic events that unfolded in the city during the 1980s and celebrates the resilience and determination of the Polish people.
The Solidarity movement, led by Lech Walesa, played a pivotal role in the fight for workers’ rights and democracy in Poland. The museum provides a comprehensive overview of this turbulent time through interactive displays, multimedia presentations, and personal testimonies.
As you walk through the museum, you’ll learn about the origins of the movement, the strikes at the Gdansk Shipyard, and the negotiations that led to significant political changes in the country. The exhibits offer a glimpse into the hardships faced by workers and the extraordinary courage displayed during the struggle.
One of the highlights of the museum is the recreation of an underground printing press, allowing visitors to experience the clandestine activities of the Solidarity movement. You can also explore a reconstructed apartment from the 1980s, providing insight into the daily lives of those involved in the movement.
The museum’s immersive exhibits, including original documents, photographs, and artifacts, transport you back in time, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of this influential chapter in Polish history.
Make sure to visit the Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers of 1970, located nearby, which commemorates the workers who lost their lives during protests against price hikes. This powerful monument serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made in the struggle for freedom.
The Solidarity Center Museum is not only a tribute to the past but also serves as a platform for discussions on human rights, democracy, and social movements. It continues to be a symbol of hope and inspiration for people fighting for justice around the world.
Take the time to explore the Solidarity Center Museum and gain a deeper appreciation for the lasting impact of the Solidarity movement on Poland’s history and the world at large.
Enjoy the Vibrant Nightlife in Gdansk
When the sun sets, Gdansk comes alive with a vibrant and diverse nightlife scene. Whether you’re looking for live music, trendy bars, or unique cultural experiences, the city offers something for everyone to enjoy.
Start your evening in the heart of the city at Długi Targ, where you’ll find a wide selection of bars and pubs. Sample local craft beers at one of the many breweries or sip on a cocktail at a trendy cocktail bar.
If you’re a fan of live music, head to one of the many venues scattered throughout the city. The B90 club, located next to the Gdansk Shipyard, is known for hosting national and international artists across various genres. For a more intimate setting, check out one of the jazz clubs or underground music venues.
Gdansk is also home to a vibrant theater scene, offering a range of performances from classic plays to avant-garde productions. Check the schedules of the Wybrzeże Theater or the Polish Baltic Philharmonic to catch a captivating performance.
For a unique and immersive experience, visit one of the interactive escape rooms scattered throughout the city. Solve puzzles and unravel mysteries with friends or family as you work against the clock to escape.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed and laid-back evening, head to one of the cozy cafes or wine bars. Enjoy a cup of delicious Polish coffee or indulge in a glass of wine while soaking in the atmosphere of the city.
For those who prefer dancing the night away, Gdansk has a variety of nightclubs offering different music styles and atmospheres. From house and techno clubs to venues playing the latest hits, there’s something to satisfy all musical tastes.
As you explore the vibrant nightlife of Gdansk, don’t forget to indulge in some late-night snacks. Grab a zapiekanka, a delicious Polish-style pizza baguette, from one of the many food stalls or enjoy a late-night pierogi feast at a traditional Polish restaurant.
Whether you’re a music lover, a theater enthusiast, or simply want to soak up the lively atmosphere, Gdansk’s vibrant nightlife scene promises to offer an unforgettable experience. So, prepare yourself for a night of excitement, entertainment, and endless possibilities in this thriving city.
Take a Boat Cruise along the Motława River
Experience the beauty of Gdansk from a different perspective by taking a boat cruise along the scenic Motława River. This leisurely journey allows you to admire the city’s stunning architecture, historic landmarks, and picturesque waterfront.
Board one of the many boat cruises available and set sail along the gentle waters of the Motława River. As you glide along, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the colorful facades of the historic buildings that line the riverbanks.
One of the highlights of the cruise is passing by the iconic Gdansk Crane, a towering medieval structure that once played a crucial role in the city’s maritime trade. Built in the 14th century, it served as a loading and unloading crane for cargo ships.
As you continue upstream, you’ll come across the stunning Granaries Island, a historic trade center that now houses the Polish Maritime Museum. Marvel at the restored warehouses and learn about Gdansk’s maritime heritage.
Keep your camera ready as you pass under the iconic Green Gate and sail toward the historic Old Town. This enchanting part of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its charming streets, vibrant market squares, and magnificent historical buildings.
Along the way, you’ll also spot impressive waterfront attractions such as the modern Baltic Philharmonic Hall and the majestic Polish Maritime Authority building, showcasing the blend of contemporary and historic architectural styles.
Most boat cruises offer informative guided commentary, providing insights into the history and significance of the buildings and landmarks you pass by. Learn about the city’s rich maritime history, its growth as an important port, and the role it played in international trade.
For a romantic touch, consider taking a sunset cruise, where you can witness the sky ablaze with vibrant colors as the sun dips below the horizon. This magical experience creates a truly memorable moment during your visit to Gdansk.
Whether you choose a short sightseeing cruise or a longer excursion along the river, a boat cruise along the Motława River offers a peaceful and picturesque way to explore the city. Sit back, relax, and let the gentle flow of the river guide you through the enchanting beauty of Gdansk.
Indulge in Delicious Polish Cuisine
A visit to Gdansk is not complete without indulging in the mouthwatering delights of Polish cuisine. From hearty comfort food to delectable pastries, the city offers a wide array of dishes that will satisfy even the most discerning palates.
Start your culinary journey with a bowl of traditional Polish soup, such as żurek (sour rye soup) or barszcz (beetroot soup). These flavorful and hearty soups are often served with a side of freshly baked bread.
No visit to Poland is complete without trying pierogi, Polish dumplings filled with various ingredients. Whether you prefer the classic potato and cheese filling or opt for the more adventurous options like meat, mushroom, or fruit-filled pierogi, these tasty morsels are a true Polish delight.
For meat lovers, Polish cuisine offers a wide range of delicious options. Try a plate of golonka, a slow-cooked pork knuckle served with sauerkraut and potatoes. Or savor a traditional Polish kielbasa, a flavorful sausage often grilled and served with mustard and pickles.
Don’t forget to sample the iconic Polish dishes like bigos, a hearty hunter’s stew made with sauerkraut, various meats, and spices, or gołąbki, cabbage rolls stuffed with a savory meat and rice filling. These dishes are a true celebration of Polish flavors and traditions.
For seafood enthusiasts, Gdansk offers fresh catches from the Baltic Sea. Indulge in a plate of smoked or fried herring, or try the local specialty, flounder, prepared in various delicious ways.
Make sure to save room for dessert, as Polish pastries are not to be missed. Sink your teeth into a crispy and flavorful paczki, a Polish donut filled with jam or cream. Or satisfy your sweet tooth with a slice of sernik, a creamy cheesecake, or szarlotka, a mouthwatering apple pie.
To accompany your meal, sample some Polish beverages. Try a glass of Żubrówka, a popular Polish vodka infused with the flavors of the bison grass, or treat yourself to a refreshing glass of Polish beer, such as Żywiec or Tyskie.
During your stay in Gdansk, explore the city’s charming restaurants and street food stalls to experience the rich and diverse flavors of Polish cuisine. Prepare to indulge in delicious meals that will leave you craving for more.
Explore the Gothic Architecture of St. Mary’s Church
Immerse yourself in the architectural splendor of St. Mary’s Church, a magnificent Gothic masterpiece located in the heart of Gdansk’s Old Town. With its soaring towers, intricate details, and rich history, this iconic landmark is a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
As you approach St. Mary’s Church, you’ll be awestruck by its imposing size and intricate detailing. The church stands as one of the largest brick churches in the world, an impressive testament to the craftsmanship of medieval builders.
Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by a stunning interior adorned with beautiful stained glass windows, intricate woodcarvings, and a remarkable astronomical clock dating back to the 15th century. The vastness of the church’s naves and the intricate details of the vaulted ceilings will leave you in awe.
Climbing to the top of St. Mary’s Church is a must-do for breathtaking panoramic views of Gdansk. The climb may be a bit challenging, but the reward is well worth it. From the observation deck, you’ll be treated to sweeping vistas of the entire city, including the charming Old Town, the Motława River, and the Baltic Sea.
Be sure to visit during one of the organ concerts held at St. Mary’s Church. The majestic sound of the organ combined with the grandeur of the church creates an unforgettable experience. The church’s organ is one of the largest in Europe, with over 20,000 pipes.
As you explore St. Mary’s Church, take note of the intricate details that adorn the exterior. Marvel at the ornate sculptural decorations, including religious figures, gargoyles, and mesmerizing Gothic architectural elements. These details tell stories of centuries past and showcase the artistic talent of the craftsmen involved in its construction.
Throughout its history, St. Mary’s Church has survived multiple fires and wars, undergoing restoration to preserve its original glory. Today, it stands as a symbol of Gdansk’s resilience and a testament to the city’s rich history and architectural heritage.
Visiting St. Mary’s Church provides a unique opportunity to witness the beauty of Gothic architecture up close and appreciate the skilled craftsmanship of the past. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or simply appreciate breathtaking structures, St. Mary’s Church is a must-see attraction in Gdansk.
Visit Westerplatte, the Site of the Start of World War II
Travel back in time and visit Westerplatte, a historic site that holds great significance in the history of World War II. Located just a short distance from Gdansk, on a peninsula along the Baltic Sea, Westerplatte is where the first shots of the war were fired, marking the beginning of the devastating global conflict.
Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by a memorial and a museum that commemorate the events that took place on September 1, 1939. Explore the outdoor exhibition that showcases the remnants of the military barracks and fortifications, giving you a glimpse into the fierce battle that unfolded here.
Learn about the heroic defense of the Polish troops against the overwhelming German forces and gain a deeper understanding of the bravery and sacrifice displayed during those fateful days. Explore the museum’s exhibits, including photographs, personal accounts, and artifacts, that tell the story of this crucial chapter in history.
Take a walk along the scenic paths and trails that wind through the wooded areas of Westerplatte. Enjoy the serene atmosphere and take in the peaceful surroundings, contrasting the turbulent history that unfolded here many decades ago.
Pay your respects at the Monument to the Defenders of the Coast, a striking statue that stands as a symbol of remembrance and honor for the Polish soldiers who fought here. The monument’s powerful presence serves as a reminder of the cost of war and the resilience of the human spirit.
While at Westerplatte, you can also visit the Polish Army Museum, which houses a collection of military artifacts and provides further insights into the events that occurred during the outbreak of the war.
Visiting Westerplatte offers a somber yet enlightening experience, allowing you to reflect on the impact of World War II and pay homage to those who fought and suffered during this tumultuous period in history. It serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of peace and understanding in our world today.
As you leave Westerplatte, take a moment to reflect on the historical significance of this site and carry the lessons learned from this chapter in history as a reminder to strive for a better and more peaceful future.
Gdansk offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that makes it an ideal destination for a weekend trip. From exploring the historic Old Town to indulging in delicious Polish cuisine, there is no shortage of activities to engage in and sights to behold.
Immerse yourself in the rich history of the city as you wander through the cobblestone streets of the Historic Old Town and marvel at the Gothic architecture of St. Mary’s Church. Visit the Museum of the Second World War and the Solidarity Center Museum to gain a deeper understanding of the city’s significant role in shaping world history.
Take time to relax and enjoy the stunning beaches along the Baltic Sea, where you can unwind and soak up the coastal beauty. Embark on a boat cruise along the Motława River for a unique perspective of the city’s landmarks and waterfront.
In the evenings, embrace the vibrant nightlife of Gdansk, from live music venues to trendy bars and restaurants. Savor the flavors of delicious Polish cuisine, from traditional pierogi to mouthwatering desserts, and discover the culinary delights the city has to offer.
As you bid farewell to Gdansk, take with you memories of its rich history, architectural marvels, and warm hospitality. The city’s vibrant culture and captivating sights will stay with you long after you depart.
So, whether you’re a history enthusiast, a beach lover, or simply seeking a weekend adventure, Gdansk promises to provide an unforgettable experience. Plan your trip, pack your bags, and prepare to immerse yourself in the wonders of this enchanting Polish city. Your weekend in Gdansk awaits!