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Gdańsk, is a Polish city on the Baltic coast, the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland's principalseaport and the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.
The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay (of the Baltic Sea), in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the Tricity (Trójmiasto), with a population approaching 1.4 million. Gdańsk itself has a population of 460,427 (December 2012), making it the largest city in the Pomerania region of Northern Poland.
Gdańsk is the capital of Gdańsk Pomerania and the largest city of Kashubia. The city's history is complex, with periods of Polish rule, periods of Prusso-German rule, and periods of autonomy or self-rule as a "free city". Between the world wars, the Free City of Danzig was in a customs union with Poland and was located between German East Prussia and the so-called Polish Corridor.
Gdańsk lies at the mouth of the Motława River, connected to the Leniwka, a branch in the delta of the nearby Vistula River, which drains 60 percent of Poland and connects Gdańsk with the Polish capital, Warsaw. Together with the nearby port of Gdynia, Gdańsk is also an important industrial center. In the late Middle Ages it was an important seaport and shipbuilding town, and in the 14th and 15th centuries a member of the Hanseatic League.
Five centuries later, Gdańsk was the birthplace of the Solidarity movement, formed in 1980, which played a major role in bringing an end to Communist rule in Poland and helped precipitate the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
|POPULATION :||• City 461 489|
• Metro 1,080,700
|FOUNDED :||Established 10th century|
City rights 1263
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone CET (UTC+1)|
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
|AREA :||262 km2 (101 sq mi)|
|COORDINATES :||54°22′N 18°38′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48,3%|
• Female: 51,7%
|ETHNIC :||Polish 96.7%, German 0.4%, Belarusian 0.1%, Ukrainian 0.1%, other and unspecified 2.7%|
|AREA CODE :||58|
|POSTAL CODE :||80-008 to 80–958|
|DIALING CODE :||+48 58|
Gdańsk (also known by its German name Danzig) is a city in Poland on the Baltic Sea. It is the capital of Pomerania. Gdańsk with nearby Sopot and Gdynia are often referred as Tricity (pl: Trójmiasto). Gdańsk is considered one of the most beautiful cities on the Baltic Sea and has magnificent architecture.
- Tourist Information Centre, Długi Targ 28/29 (Next to Green Gate (Zielona Brama)), , e-mail: [email protected].
- Tourist Information Point, Podwale Grodzkie 8 st. (In the tunnel near the Main Railway Station (Gdańsk Główny)), , e-mail:[email protected].
- Tourist Information Point, Słowackiego 200 st. (At Lech Wałęsa Airport), , e-mail: [email protected].
- PTTK Tourist Information, 45 Długa st (Just opposite the Town Hall (Ratusz Głównego Miasta)), , e-mail: , [email protected].
At every Tourist Information point you can buy the Tourist Card.
Within the "Gdańsk-Sopot-Gdynia-Plus" Tourist Card nearly 220 offers are available, including: accommodations, performances, concerts, exhibitions, souvenirs, books, amber jewellery purchase, dinners and other meals, water equipment hiring, car rental, paintball, Aquapark, visits in beauty salon, and entertainment.
The first written record thought to refer to Gdańsk is the vita of Saint Adalbert. Written in 999, it describes how in 997 Saint Adalbert of Prague baptised the inhabitants of urbs Gyddannyzc, "which separated the great realm of the duke [i.e. Boleslaw the Brave of Poland] from the sea." No further written sources exist for the 10th and 11th centuries. Based on the date in Adalbert's vita, the city celebrated its millennial anniversary in 1997.
Archaeological evidence for the origins of the town was retrieved mostly after World War II had laid 90 percent of the city center in ruins, enabling excavations. The oldest seventeen settlement levels were dated to between 980 and 1308. It is generally thought that Mieszko I of Poland erected a stronghold on the site in the 980s, thereby connecting the Polish state ruled by the Piast dynasty with the trade routes of the Baltic Sea. The dates assigned to the oldest finds have been questioned, resulting in a verification survey in 2003, re-evaluating old finds and also examining new sites on the basis of dendrochronology. None of the remains of the medieval stronghold date to before the 1050. Traces of settlement dating from the 10th century have been found in parts of today's Gdańsk outside the fort area.
The site was ruled on behalf of Poland by the Samborides' duchy and consisted of a settlement at the modern Long Market, craftsmen settlements along theOld Ditch, German merchant settlements around the St Nicolaschurch and the old Piast stronghold. In 1186, a Cistercian monastery was set up in nearby Oliwa, which is now within the city limits. In 1215, the ducal stronghold became the centre of a Pomerelian splinter duchy. In 1224/25, German merchants from Lübeck established a presence in the area of the earlier fortress as "guests" (hospites) but were soon forced to leave bySwantopolk II of the Samborides in 1238 during a war between Swantopolk and the Teutonic Knights, during which Lübeck supported the latter. Migration of German merchants to the town resumed in 1257. Significant German influence did not appear until the 14th century, after the takeover of the city by the Teutonic Knights.
About 1235, the town was granted city rights under Lübeck law by Pomerelian duke, Swantopolk II. It was an autonomy charter similar to that of Lübeck, which was also the primary origin of many settlers. In 1300, the town had an estimated population of 2,000. While overall the town was not a very important trade centre at that time, it had some relevance in the trade with Eastern Europe. Low on funds, the Samborides lent the settlement to Brandenburg, although they planned to take the city back and give it to Poland. Poland threatened to intervene, and Brandenburg left the town. Subsequently, the city was taken by Danish princes in 1301. The Teutonic Knights were hired by the Polish nobles to clear out the Danes.
The Teutonic Knights
In 1308, the town was taken by Brandenburg and the Teutonic Knights were hired by the Polish prince (later king) Władysław I the Elbow-high to restore order. Subsequently, the Knights took over control of the town. Primary sources record a massacre carried out by the Teutonic Knights on the local population, of 10,000 people, but the exact number killed is subject of dispute in modern scholarship. Some authors accept the number given in the original sources, while others consider 10,000 to have been a medieval exaggeration, although scholarly consensus is that a massacre of some magnitude did take place. The events were used by the Polish crown to condemn the Teutonic Knights in a subsequent papal lawsuit.
The knights colonised the area, replacing local Kashubians and Poles with German settlers. In 1308, they founded Osiek Hakelwerk near the town, initially as a Slavic fishing settlement. In 1340, the Teutonic Knights built a large fortress, which became the seat of the knights' Komtur. In 1343, they founded Rechtstadt, which in contrast to the pre-existing town (thence Altstadt, "Old Town" or Stare Miasto) was chartered with Kulm Law. In 1358, Danzig joined the Hanseatic League, and became an active member in 1361. It maintained relations with the trade centers Bruges, Novgorod, Lisboa and Sevilla. In 1377, the Old Town's city limits were expanded. In 1380, theNew Town was founded as the fourth, independent settlement.
After a series of Polish-Teutonic Wars, in the Treaty of Kalisz (1343) the Order had to acknowledge that it would hold Pomerelia as an alm from the Polish Crown. Although it left the legal basis of the Order's possession of the province in some doubt, the city thrived as a result of increased exports of grain (especially wheat), timber, potash, tar, and other goods of forestry from Prussia and Poland via the Vistula River trading routes, despite the fact that after its capture, the Teutonic Knights tried to actively reduce the economic significance of the town. While under the control of the Teutonic Order German migration increased. The Order's religious networks helped to develop Danzig's literary culture. A new war broke out in 1409, ending with the Battle of Grunwald (1410), and the city came under the control of the Kingdom of Poland. A year later, with the First Peace of Thorn, it returned to the Teutonic Order.
In 1440, the city participated in the foundation of the Prussian Confederation which was an organisation opposed to the rule of the Teutonic Knights. This led to the Thirteen Years' War of independence from the Teutonic Monastic State of Prussia (1454–1466). On May 25, 1457, the city – jointly with Royal Prussia – became part of the Crown of Poland while maintaining its rights and independence as an autonomous city.
On 15 May 1457, Casimir IV of Poland granted the town the Great Privilege, after he had been invited by the town's council and had already stayed in town for five weeks. With the Great Privilege, the town was granted a measure of autonomy within the Kingdom of Poland. The privilege removed tariffs and taxes on trade within Poland, Lithuania and Ruthenia (present day Belarus and Ukraine) and conferred on the town independent jurisdiction, legislation and administration of her territory, as well as the right to mint its own coin. Furthermore, the privilege united Old Town, Osiek and Main Town, and legalised the demolition of New Town, which had sided with the Teutonic Knights. By 1457, New Town was demolished completely, no buildings remained.
Gaining free and privileged access to Polish markets, the seaport prospered while simultaneously trading with the other Hanseatic cities. After the Second Peace of Thorn (1466) with the Teutonic Monastic State of Prussia the warfare between the latter and the Polish crown ended permanently. After the Union of Lublin between Poland and Lithuania in 1569 the city continued to enjoy a large degree of internal autonomy (cf. Danzig Law).
In the 1575 election of a king to the Polish throne, Danzig supported Maximilian II against Stephen Báthory. It was the latter who eventually became monarch but the city, encouraged by the secret support of Denmark and Emperor Maximilian, shut its gates against Stephen. After the Siege of Danzig (1577), lasting six months, the city's army of 5,000 mercenaries was utterly defeated in a field battle on 16 December 1577. However, since Stephen's armies were unable to take the city by force, a compromise was reached: Stephen Báthory confirmed the city's special status and her Danzig Law privileges granted by earlier Polish kings. The city recognised him as ruler of Poland and paid the enormous sum of 200,000 guldens in gold as payoff ("apology").
Beside the large numbers of German-speakers, whose elites sometimes distinguished their German dialect as Pomerelian, the city was home to a large number of Polish-speaking Poles, Jewish Poles, Latvian speakingKursenieki, Flemings and Dutch. In addition, a number of Scots took refuge or migrated to and received citizenship in the city. During the Protestant Reformation, most German-speaking inhabitants adopted Lutheranism. Due to the special status of the city and significance within the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the city inhabitants largely became bi-cultural sharing both Polish and German culture and were strongly attached to the traditions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
The city suffered a last great plague and a slow economic decline due to the wars of the 18th century, when it was taken by the Russians after the Siege of Danzig in 1734. Danzig was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia in 1793, in the Second Partition of Poland. During the era of Napoleon Bonaparte the city became a free city in the period extending from 1807 to 1814.
In 1815, after France's defeat in the Napoleonic Wars, it again became part of Prussia and became the capital of Regierungsbezirk Danzig within the province of West Prussia. The city's longest serving president was Robert von Blumenthal, who held office from 1841, through the revolutions of 1848, until 1863. With the unification of Germany under Prussian hegemony, the city became part of Imperial Germany (the German Empire) in 1871, and remained so until 1919, after Germany's defeat in World War I.
The inter-war years and World War II
When Poland regained its independence after World War I with access to the sea as promised by the Allies on the basis of Woodrow Wilson's "Fourteen Points" (point 13 called for "an independent Polish state", "which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea"), the Poles hoped the city's harbour would also become part of Poland. However, since Germans formed a majority in the city, with Poles being a minority, the city was not placed under Polish sovereignty. Instead, in accordance with the terms of the Versailles Treaty, it became the Free City of Danzig (German: Freie Stadt Danzig), an independent quasi-state under the auspices of the League of Nations with its external affairs largely under Polish control. Poland's rights also included free use of the harbor, a Polish post office, a Polish garrison in Westerplatte district, and customs union with Poland. This led to a considerable tension between the city and the Republic of Poland. The Free City had its own constitution, national anthem, parliament (Volkstag), and government (Senat). It issued its own stamps as well as its currency, the Danzig Gulden.
In the early 1930s the local Nazi Party capitalised on pro-German sentiments and in 1933 garnered 50% of vote in the parliament. Thereafter, the Nazis under Gauleiter Albert Forster achieved dominance in the city government, which was still nominally overseen by the League of Nations' High Commissioner. The German government officially demanded the return of Danzig to Germany along with an extraterritorial (meaning under German jurisdiction) highway through the area of the Polish Corridor for land-based access from the rest of Germany. Hitler used the issue of the status of the city as a pretext for attacking Poland and on May 1939, during a high level meeting of German military officials explained to them: "It is not Danzig that is at stake. For us it is a matter of expanding our Lebensraum in the east", adding that there will be no repeat of the Czech situation, and Germany will attack Poland at first opportunity, after isolating the country from its Western Allies. As Nazi demands increased, German-Polish relations rapidly deteriorated. Germany invaded Poland on September 1 after having signed a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union in late August.
The German attack began in Danzig, with a bombardment of Polish positions at Westerplatte by the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein, and the landing of German infantry on the peninsula. Outnumbered Polish defenders at Westerplatte resisted for seven days before running out of ammunition. Meanwhile, after a fierce day-long fight (1 September 1939), defenders of the Polish Post office were tried and executed then buried on the spot in the Danzig quarter of Zaspa in October 1939. In 1998 a German court overturned their conviction and sentence.
The city was officially annexed by Nazi Germany and incorporated into the Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia. About 50 percent of members of the Jewish Community of Danzig had left the city within a year after a Pogrom in October 1937, after the Kristallnacht riots in November 1938 the community decided to organize its emigration and in March 1939 a first transport to Palestine started. By September 1939 barely 1,700 mostly elderly Jews remained. In early 1941 just 600 Jews were still living in Danzig most of whom were later murdered in the Holocaust. Out of the 2,938 Jewish community in the city 1,227 were able to escape from the Nazis before the outbreak of war. Nazi secret police had been observing Polish minority communities in the city since 1936, compiling information, which in 1939 served to prepare lists of Poles to be captured in Operation Tannenberg. On the first day of the war, approximately 1,500 ethnic Poles were arrested, some because of their participation in social and economic life, others because they were activists and members of various Polish organisations. On 2 September 1939, 150 of them were deported to the Sicherheitsdienst camp Stutthof some 30 miles (48 km) from Danzig, and murdered. Many Poles living in Danzig were deported to Stutthof or executed in the Piaśnica forest.
In 1941, Hitler ordered the invasion of the Soviet Union, eventually causing the fortunes of war to turn against Germany. As the Soviet Army advanced in 1944, German populations in Central and Eastern Europe took flight, resulting in the beginning of a great population shift. After the final Soviet offensives began in January 1945, hundreds of thousands of German refugees converged on Danzig, many of whom had fled on foot from East Prussia, some tried to escape through the city's port in a large-scale evacuation involving hundreds of German cargo and passenger ships. Some of the ships were sunk by the Soviets, including the Wilhelm Gustloff after an evacuation was attempted at neighbouring Gdynia. In the process, tens of thousands of refugees were killed.
The city also endured heavy Allied and Soviet air raids. Those who survived and could not escape had to face the Soviet Army, which captured the heavily damaged city on 30 March 1945, followed by large-scale rape and looting. In line with the decisions made by the Allies at the Yalta and Potsdam conferences, the city became part of Poland. The remaining German residents of the city who had survived the war fled or were forcibly expelled to postwar Germany, and the city was repopulated by ethnic Poles; up to 18 percent (1948) of them had been deported by the Soviets in two major waves from Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union, i.e. from the eastern portion of pre-war Poland.
Parts of the historic old city of Gdańsk, which had suffered large-scale destruction during the war, were rebuilt during the 1950s and 1960s. The reconstruction was not tied to the city's pre-war appearance, but instead was politically motivated as a means of culturally cleansing and destroying all traces of German influence from the city. Any traces of German tradition were ignored, suppressed, or regarded as "Prussian barbarism" only worthy of demolition, while Flemish/Dutch, Italian and French influences were used to replace the historically accurate Germanic architecture which the city was built upon since the 14th century.
Boosted by heavy investment in the development of its port and three major shipyards for Soviet ambitions in the Baltic region, Gdańsk became the major shipping and industrial center of the Communist People's Republic of Poland.
In December 1970, Gdańsk was the scene of anti-regime demonstrations, which led to the downfall of Poland's communist leader Władysław Gomułka. During the demonstrations in Gdańsk and Gdynia, military as well as the police opened fire on the demonstrators causing several dozen deaths. Ten years later, in August, 1980, Gdańsk Shipyard was the birthplace of the Solidarity trade union movement, whose opposition to the Communist regime led to the end of Communist Party rule in 1989, and sparked a series of protests that successfully overturned the Communist regimes of the former Soviet bloc. Solidarity's leader, Lech Wałęsa became President of Poland in 1990. In 2014 the European Solidarity Centre, a museum and library devoted to the history of the movement, opened in Gdańsk.
Gdańsk native Donald Tusk became Prime Minister of Poland in 2007, and President of the European Council in 2014. Today Gdańsk is a major shipping port and tourist destination.
Gdańsk has a temperate climate, with cold, cloudy, moderate winters and mild summers with frequent showers and thunderstorms. Average temperatures range from −1.0 to 17.2 °C (30.2 to 63.0 °F) and average rainfall varies from 17.9 mm/month to 66.7 mm/month. In general it is a maritime climate and therefore damp, variable and mild.
The seasons are clearly differentiated. Spring starts in March and is initially cold and windy, later becoming pleasantly warm and often very sunny. Summer, which begins in June, is predominantly warm but hot at times (with temperature reaching as high as 30-35C at least once per year) with plenty of sunshine interspersed with heavy rain. The average annual hours of sunshine for Gdańsk are 1700. July and August are the hottest months. Autumn comes in September and is at first warm and usually sunny, turning cold, damp and foggy in November. Winter lasts from December to March and includes periods of snow. January and February are the coldest months with the temperature sometimes dropping as low as −15 °C (5 °F).
Climate data for Gdańsk
|Average high °C (°F)||1.4|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−1.0|
|Average low °C (°F)||−3.4|
|Source: World Meteorological Organization|
The industrial sections of the city are dominated by shipbuilding, petrochemical & chemical industries, and food processing. The share of high-tech sectors such as electronics, telecommunications, IT engineering, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals is on the rise. Amber processing is also an important part of the local economy, as the majority of the world's amber deposits lie along theBaltic coast. The Pomeranian Voivodeship, including Gdańsk, is also a major tourist destination in the summer, as millions of Poles and other European tourists flock to the beaches of the Baltic coastline.
Gdańsk is divided into 34 administrative divisions: 6 dzielnicas and 28 osiedles.
Gdańsk dzielnicas include: Chełm, Piecki-Migowo, Przymorze Wielkie,Śródmieście, Wrzeszcz Dolny, Wrzeszcz Górny
Osiedles: Aniołki, Brętowo, Brzeźno, Jasień, Kokoszki, Krakowiec-Górki Zachodnie, Letnica, Matarnia, Młyniska, Nowy Port, Oliwa, Olszynka, Orunia-Św. Wojciech-Lipce, Osowa, Przeróbka, Przymorze Małe, Rudniki, Siedlce,Sobieszewo Island, Stogi, Strzyża, Suchanino, Ujeścisko-Łostowice, VII Dwór, Wzgórze Mickiewicza, Zaspa-Młyniec, Zaspa-Rozstaje, Żabianka-Wejhera-Jelitkowo-Tysiąclecia
Prices in Gdansk
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.65|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€4.60|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€15.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€28.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€41.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€3.90|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€1.85|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€1.65|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€5.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€5.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.07|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€3.50|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€1.20|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€62.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€32.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€68.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€0.70|
34 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
103 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport (Polish: Port Lotniczy Gdańsk im. Lecha Wałęsy), (IATA: GDN), is an international airport located west northwest of Gdańsk and not far from the city centre of the Tricity metropolitan area: Gdańsk 12 km (7.5 mi), Sopot 10 km (6.2 mi) and Gdynia 23 km (14 mi).
The following airlines operate service to/from the airport:
- Air Berlin (Berlin),
- Lufthansa (Frankfurt, Munich, Düsseldorf),
- LOT (Warsaw, Kraków)
- Finnair (Helsinki), operated by flybe
- Norwegian (Oslo-Gardermoen),
- Ryanair (Alicante, "Barcelona"-Girona, Birmingham, Bremen, Bristol, Leeds Bradford, Dublin, Edinburgh, Eindhoven, "Frankfurt"-Hahn, "London"-Stansted, Oslo-Rygge, Weeze),
- Scandinavian Airlines (Copenhagen, "Oslo"-Gardermoen),
- Wizz Air (Barcelona, Bergen, Cologne/Bonn, Cork, Doncaster/Sheffield,Dortmund, Eindhoven, Glasgow-Prestwick, Groningen, Liverpool, London-Luton, Lübeck, Malmö-Sturup, Milan-Orio al Serio, Oslo-Torp, "Paris"-Beauvais, Rome-Fiumicino, "Stockholm"-Skavsta, Turku)
- Ukraine International Airlines (Ivano-Frankivsk)
Transport from airport to city
Bus 210 — operates between the airport (bus stop: Port Lotniczy) and Gdańsk, and makes a stop at the train station, 35–50 minutes away. The fare is 3 zł if a ticket is bought from a news stand, ticket machine or Bilety shop, and 3.40 zł if the ticket is bought from the driver. Note that although the ticket has a picture of a tram on it, it is also valid for the bus. Make sure to get on in the right direction at the airport, because the bus goes into two directions from there. On the way to the airport, the bus picks up on the other side of the road, near the front of the Scandic hotel (look for the signs that have the 210 on them). From the tourist office in the tunnel, turn left, walk until you are outside and head right, go up the stairs, turn right, and the bus shelters will be in front of you.
N3 — night bus
Train — Since September 2015, there has been also a train connection to the city centre roughly every 15min during the day (Airport stop: Gdańsk Port Lotniczy). Less frequent services in the morning, evening and at night. The train station is accessible from the west end of Terminal T2 via a covered bridge. Ticket machines are on the platforms. There are a few direct connections to the main train station in Gdańsk. For other connections to the main train station you need to switch trains in Gdańsk Wrzeszcz. Single tickets to the main train station cost 3.50 zł.
Airportbus shuttle — operates a transport service to Gdańsk centre for 9.90 zł (you can buy ticket directly in the bus). This is a direct line between airport and city's centre. Bus stop in Gdańsk is located in front of Mercure Hevelius hotel (it's 5 minutes walk from Main Railway Station). Journey depends on traffic and takes around 25–30 minutes.
Taxi — Avoid the unofficial rip off taxis who will pounce on you as soon as you have cleared security, unless you know how to deal with them. A taxi to/from the airport to the city centre should cost around 50-60 zł however will cost more in the evenings or at weekends. Taxi drivers will be waiting in the arrivals hall offering fixed price transfers, 60-70 zł is not unreasonable for an evening (after 22:00) transfer to the centre of Gdańsk.
Private transfers — MPA Poland provides transport services around Tri-City and Pomerania region. An airport transfer from/to airport costs 100 zł up to 8 people.
The main railway station, Gdańsk Główny, is a beautiful historic building, although a rather confusing experience to non-Polish tourists. Information in languages other than Polish is almost non-existent. The station operates as 2 separate stations, one for the PKP trains (intercity/long-distance journeys) and another for the SKM commuter trains. Each station has separate ticket offices and platforms; the PKP station can be accessed from inside the station and the SKM station is found to the right of the main station (do not go into the PKP station).
Beware of pickpockets and people who may try to intimidate you for money around the railway station, especially late at night.
PKP operates long-distance trains to other cities in Poland and Europe. Buy a ticket before you enter the train. It is advisable to write the name of your destination on a piece of paper and then show it to the ticket sales person, as other languages than Polish are rarely spoken. Foreigners trying to pronounce the name of Polish destinations often cause confusion.
SKM (Szybka Kolej Miejska) operates frequent service between Gdańsk and Sopot and Gdynia, 35 minutes away. These trains are located on the right side when entering the station. Tickets may be bought from a vending machine at the platform or from a ticket office in the subway below (access from the street or from the SKM platforms). Never enter these trains without a valid ticket and remember to validate your ticket before getting on the train as ticket controls checking passengers tickets are frequent. As a rule, tickets are valid for travel by one specific type of train only. Don't try to travel on a student ticket unless you have an ISIC student card, even if they sell you the ticket. The ticket inspector also asks for your student card, and if you just have a normal student card, they will likely refuse you.
The Bus Station (Dworzec PKS) is located just behind the main railway station. You can recognise it by the big letters 'Dworzec PKS' on top of the building. Buses can be used to travel to regional destinations that lack railway connections, such as the concentration camp in Sztutowo. Polskibus operates coach services from here, with direct connections going to Poznań, Wrocław and Warsaw.
The A1 motorway connects Gdańsk with Toruń, Łódź, and Katowice to the south. The S7 connects Gdańsk with Warsaw and Kraków.
Transportation - Get Around
The centre of Gdańsk is very compact and almost everything is accessible on foot, the trams seem to go around the old town so none run through it. Trams and buses are cheap (3 zł/h) and frequent. Tickets can be bought from the driver at trams. Locals are keen to help with directions, you can also use website or mobile app jakdojade.pl to find suitable connection.
By tram and bus
Zarząd Transportu Miejskiego, the City Transportation Office.
Single journey tickets are valid until leaving the bus or tram. They cost 3zł on standard services and 4zł on night, fast, and special services (line numbers marked with A or N).
Time tickets are based on travel time, so you need to estimate the duration of the journey or have a few tickets extra to validate when your previous ticket expires. Time tickets are either valid for up to 60min or up to 24h and allow any amount of journeys and changes within that time. The 60min time ticket costs 3.60zł on standard services and 4.60zł on night, fast, and special services (line numbers marked with A or N). The 24h ticket costs 12zł and is valid on all trams, buses during the day and on night buses.
All tickets need to be validated at the start of the journey.
By water tram
ZTM offers a seasonal water tram service: route F5 Żabi Kruk - Westerplatteand F6 Targ Rybny - National Sailing Centre. A single ticket costs 10zł.
Use the commuter train (SKM) to quickly go to Sopot and Gdynia, ticket to Gdynia will cost 5 zł and Sopot will cost 3.40 zł.
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Gdańsk is sometimes called the Amber Capital of the World. The surrounding area is the richest known source of this semi-precious stone, and the product can be found in many of the city's shops. The ones with insects in are much more expensive.
- Galeria Sztuki Kaszubskiej(Kashubian Art Gallery), ul. Św. Ducha 48 (near St. Mary's church: one block left when facing church entrance), . Hand embroidered items in traditional and contemporary designs and colours including clothing, tablecloths, napkins, curtains, and other regional folk art souvenirs.
- Market Hall (Hala Targowa), Plac Dominkański 1. Fresh produce in the basement level.
- Bar Neptun (at the middle of ul. Długa (Long Street)). A milk bar serving hearty Polish meals at affordable prices.
You can buy fish on one of bars on Motława River bank (25 zł/meal)
- Cztery Strony Świata, Al. Grunwaldzka 417 (near the Gdańsk Przymorze city train station), , e-mail:[email protected]. International cuisine.
- La Cantina, ul. Długa 37/39 (up from Neptune Fountain), . Typical Polish restaurant. Try stuffed cabbage (19 zł) or the Polish sausage with sauerkraut (20 zł). They have heat lamps in the evening so you can sit comfortably outside.
- Goldwasser (on the waterfront just behind Długi Targ). Hearty Polish fare. End the meal with a Goldwasser.
- El Paso, Stary Rynek Oliwski 7, . Mexican restaurant.
- Pierogarnia U Dzika, ul. Piwna 59/60 (on Piwina), .Apparently known as the best Pierogarnia (Polish dumplings) in Gdańsk. This place is a large restaurant with an outside seating on the street behind the main drag (ul. Długa). Dzik is Polish for boar and this place is done out with all sorts of boar skins and stuffed animals. Try the specialty Pierogarnia Dzika (Wild Boar and Game Dumplings) - 22 zł, other fillings also available. Beer 9 zł.
- Swojski Smak, ul. Heweliusza 25/27. Good value, nice food, in a nicely decorated venue.
- Restauracja Filharmonia, ul. Olowianka (in Philharmonia Baltica building), . 12.00-22.00 or until the last guest."Molecular" cuisine in lovely building with great view on the river. Excellent service, but no vegetarian dishes. ~100 zł for 3-course meal.
- Fellini, Moltawa area, near Hilton. High-quality Italian cuisine and top-notch service. ~100 zł for three-course meal.
- Gdańska, ul. Św. Ducha 16, . An entertaining place to visit. The rooms are filled with antiques according to the principle less is not more, and the waiters are dressed like in the good old days. From 18-100 zł.
- Tawerna Mestwin, ul. Straganiarska 20/23 (Old Town). A regional restaurant serving traditional Kashubian dishes. Pretty expensive, but worth it.
Sights & Landmarks
The main city (Główne Miasto) is the historic part of Gdańsk and contains most of the sights. The Long Street(ulica Długa) and Long Market (Długi Targ) are two of the most beautiful streets in the city. They are enclosed first by the Upland Gate, then by the Golden Gate to the west and the Green Gate to the east close to the riverside. This entire stretch is also referred to as the Royal Way. Along those two streets there are many interesting sights.
- Main Town Hall (Ratusz Głównego Miasta), ul. Długa 46/47, . Mon closed. The old city hall has a museum inside showing off a nicely decorated room where the town council once met and some historic exhibits about the history of Gdańsk. There are also impressive photos of the destruction after World War II. It is possible to purchase tickets to the tower, which offers a great view of the surroundings and St. Mary's Church. 12zł adults, 6zł concessions, Tue free.
- Artus Court (Dwór Artusa), Długi Targ 43-44, .Mon closed. Part of the Gdańsk History Museum. 10zł adults, 5zł concessions, Tue free.
- Neptune Fountain, Długi Targ. Statue of Neptune, patron of the city, installed in 1549. During World War II, the statue was hidden. In 1954 it was put back to its original location on the Long Market.
- Golden House (Złota Kamienica), ul. Długi Targ 41/42.
- Uphagen House (Dom Uphagena), ul. Długa 12, . Tue 10:00-13:00, Wed, Fri, Sat 10:00-16:00, Thu 10:00-18:00, Sun 11:00-16:00, Mon closed. Named after the merchant, Johann Uphagen, who bought this house in 1775. It was destroyed during the war in 1945, but completely rebuilt within ten years. In the 1990s, it was opened to the public. There are temporary exhibitions on the second floor. It is part of the Gdańsk History Museum. 10zł adults, 5zł concessions, Tue free.
- Highland Gate (Brama Wyżynna). Also called Upplands Gate. It was built in 1576 as part of the city's fortifications. Once the main entrance to the city where the Polish Kings were officially welcomed.
- Prison Tower and Torture Chamber (Wieża Więzienna i Katownia), Targ Węglowy 26 (Between the Highland Gate and the Golden Gate). The viewing platform of the tower is open in summer months. This building also houses the Amber Museum. 12zł for admission to the Amber Museum, +5zł for the tower.
- Golden Gate (Złota Brama).
- Green Gate (Brama Zielona).
- Motława River bank, Długie Pobrzeże. Impressive houses stand along the river bank. They can be nicely observed from the other bank of Motława.
- Crane over the Motława River (Żuraw), ul. Szeroka 67/68, . , Opening hours for Dec and Jan: Tue-Sun 10:00-15:00, Mon closed. The former port crane is one of the most well-known buildings in Gdańsk. It is first mentioned in 1367, but was rebuilt several times since then. During World War II it was partially destroyed again. In 1962 after final reconstructions it was turned over to the National Maritime Museum. It now houses an exhibition about the former port of the city. The mechanism for lifting the crane can be observed as well. 8zł adults, 5zł concession, 1zł children. Last tickets sold 30min before closing. Tickets available in the museum next door.
- St. Mary's Street (Ulica Mariacka).
- Maiden in the window.
- St. Mary's Church (Bazylika Mariacka), ul. Podkramarska 5. Open daily. Tower closed in winter months (around Dec-Mar) and at bad weather conditions. One of the largest Gothic churches in Europe and supposedly the largest brick church in the world. There is space for more than 20,000 people in the church. It is possible to take the stairs to the tower (78m), but the view is not as inspiring as the one from Main Town Hall. The church also contains a large astronomical clock from 1464. There are tickets to visit the church and tickets to the tower, sold in different places. Apr-Nov: 6/3 zł including tower, 4/2 zł without tower; Dec-March: free (tower closed).
- St. Nicholas Church.
- St. John’s Church.
- St. Catherine's Church.
- St. Bridget’s Church.
- Royal Chapel (Kaplica Królewska), ul. Świętego Ducha 58. Open only during Sunday mass. Differs from typical Gdańsk architecture.
- Oliwa Cathedral (Archikatedra w Gdańsku-Oliwie), ul. Biskupa Edmunda Nowickiego 5 (at the western side of Oliwa Park). Contains an organ built in the mid-18th century as the largest organ in Europe at that time with slightly fewer than 8,000 pipes. There are daily organ recitals which are generally free (with some exceptions).
- Hall of the Old City (Ratusz Starego Miasta), ul. Korzenna 33/35.Built in the 16-th century. Its most famous resident was the councillor and mayor of Danzig, Johannes Hevelius, who was also an astronomer in his later life and a brewer in his earlier life. The building is now home to the Baltic Sea Culture Centre.
- New City Hall (Nowy Ratusz). The current seat of the Gdańsk City Council.
- Memorial to fallen Shipyard Workers, Solidarity Square.
- Grand Mill, ul. Wielkie Młyny 16. Old mill, but now used as shopping centre.
- Günter Grass Monument, Plac Wybickiego (close to the train station Gdańsk Wrzeszcz). A statue of the author Günter Grass, who was born in Danzig, facing his famous character Oskar Matzerath from The Tin Drum. Installed in October 2015, six months after his death, and on his 88th anniversary.
- Westerplatte (Take bus 106 from bus stop Akademia Muzyczna to Westerplatte, the bus ride takes about 20 minutes and leaves hourly, check schedule via jakdojade.pl). Park with many information panels about the first battle of World War II that took place here in September 1939. You can also see disused bunkers and a crumbled command-post, as well as a large monument to those who fought in the battle. From the monument you have a view of the Nowy Port area and the lighthouse. The bus ride also takes you past the enormous (now defunct) shipyards.Free.
- Nowy Port Lighthouse, ul. Przemysłowa 6a (Tram 3 to Nowy Port, tram stop Latarnia Morska), . May-August daily 10:00-19:00, September only on weekends 10:00-17:00. A 28m high lighthouse built in 1893. It features a time ball which was used to synchronize clocks on ships. 10 zl/6zl for students.
- Brzezno pier (Take tram 5 to Brzezno, walk or bike along the coast with the sea on your right hand for about 1km). A nice white-painted wooden pier. There is a small restaurant and an ice cream parlour.Free.
- Gdańsk Zoo, ul. Karwieńska 3, , e-mail:[email protected].
- Tricity Landscape Park (Trójmiejski Park Krajobrazowy).
- Wisłoujście Fortress (Twierdza Wisłoujście), Stara Twierdza 1, .
Museums & Galleries
- Archaeological Museum, ul. Mariacka 25/26.
- Tower Clock Museum, ul. Wielkie Młyny 10 (located in the tower of Saint Catherine’s Church), . Mon-Wed, Fri-Sun 11:00-19:00, Thu 10:00-17:00. Part of the Gdańsk History Museum.
- European Solidarity Centre (Europejskiego Centrum Solidarności), plac Solidarności 1, . May-Sep: daily 10:00-20:00, Oct-Apr: daily 10:00-18:00. The Solidarity Centre Foundation was established in 1998 with the mission to create the European Solidarity Centre dedicated to the history of Solidarity. In 2014, the building for the centre was completed. It contains a museum with a permanent exhibition and space for temporary exhibitions, a library, a research centre and venue for conferences. From the roof terrace, freely accessible via elevator (top floor), you can overlook the old port. There is free Wi-Fi in the building. Entry to the ECS building is free. 17zł for exhibitions.
- Gdańsk History Museum (Muzeum Historycznego Miasta Gdańska).This museum has several branches spread out in the city. The main headquarters is in the Main Town Hall.
- Gdańsk Post Office and Museum, ul. Obrońców Poczty Polskiej 1-2. Mo 09:00–13:00, Tu–Th 09:00–16:00, F–Sa 10:00–18:00, Su 10:00–16:00. There is a small museum which documents the events that happened on September 1, 1939 at the beginning of World War II. It also contains a small active post office. Even if the museum is closed, the square in front has a great (and free) series of billboards summarizing the start of the war. 8 zł adults, 5 zł concesssions, Mon free.
- National Maritime Museum (Narodowe Muzeum Morskie), , fax: , e-mail: [email protected].
- Sołdek Ship (Museum), ul. Ołowianka 9-13, +48 58 301 86 11 int. 327. Closed in winter. The ship was launched in 1948 as the first Polish ocean-going vessel and used as a coal and ore carrier. It was named after the "shock worker" Stanisław Sołdek. It is part of the National Maritime Museum.
- Wyspa Institue of Art (Instytut Sztuki Wyspa, ISW), ul. Doki 1/145 B, . Tue-Sun 12:00-20:00, Mon closed. Art Institute on the shipyard grounds. Exhibitions, concerts, performances. A bookshop, Zła Buka, has a selection of books on art and design.
Things to do
- Polish Baltic Philharmonic. Major orchestra for symphonic concerts and chamber music.
- Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre (Gdański Teatr Szekspirowski), ul. Wojciecha Bogusławskiego 1. Guided tours (in English and Polish) are available.
- Swim in the sea. The water is usually cold. Almost all of Gdańsk's coast consists of sandy beaches accessible for recreation. There are multiple areas with lifeguards, food stands and bars; the most popular ones are in Brzeźno and Jelitkowo. A less crowded one is in Stogi. The beach that's the furthest from the city center (and thus not well accessible using public transport) is on Sobieszewo Island.
- Canoe-tour through the canals, ul. Żabi Kruk 15.
- Play laser tag, Garncarska 18/20, , e-mail:[email protected]. Great laser tag arena with four levels and a labyrinth.
- Walk the Mariacka street, Mariacka. Take an evening walk down one of the most picturesque Europe's streets.
- St. Dominic's Fair (Jarmark św. Dominika). Large fair held since 1260 during mid-July and mid-August every year.
Danziger Goldwasser, root and herbal liqueur which has been produced since 16th century is considered the city's drink (it is now made in Germany though). It's vodka based, creamy and has small flakes of 22 or 23 karat gold in it. Cheaper alternatives include Gdańska Złotówka or Złota Woda.
"Gdańsk national drink" before World War II was Stobbes Machandel juniper vodka. After the war it was rejected and slightly forgotten due to association with German soldiers occupying the city, but today is gaining popularity again. There is a special ritual to be followed while drinking a shot of Machandel with a dried plum for a snack.
- Brovarnia Gdańska, Szafarnia 9 (on the other side of the river next to the old city). A mini brewery making their own really good beers in the basement of a hotel in restored 18 century granary. Food also served.Beer: 10 zł.
- Buffet, Doki 1 (entrance through the Historic Gate at pl. Trzech Krzyży).12:00 - 23:00 daily. A club on the premises of the famous shipyard. The interesting interiors are reminiscent of communist times.
- Bar Shpinx, Długi Targ (Main street). Another bar on the main street.Beer: 9 zł.
- Cafe Absinthe, ul. Św. Ducha 2 (in the theatre building, on the square), . A crazy little Bohemian bar, open almost 24 hours, frequented by artists, actors, freaks, among others, gets very very crowded and people dance on the tables or on the bar. One of the best bets for an off night too - if there's no people there, there's no people anywhere.
Safety in Gdansk
If you take the usual precautions against pickpockets, you will feel perfectly safe wandering around in Gdańsk. Gdańsk seems very well organized from a tourist's point of view. There are frequent police patrols and visitors usually get the feeling of Gdańsk being a secure and tourist-friendly city.
Don't walk around in Dolne Miasto and old Orunia area. Those areas are very poor and it's unsafe for a tourist to walk there, especially when flashing expensive jewellery or wads of cash.