Best Things to Do in Gdansk in Two Days, Poland
So, if you are planning your Gdansk itinerary and wondering about the best things to do in Gdansk, this post is probably perfect for you – find out about what to do and about the most beautiful places to visit, as well as some important travel tips for your first Gdansk visit.
Poland is a very underrated country. After two visits, I can say that the cities I have been to were extremely beautiful. One of these gorgeous cities is Gdansk – a busy and fun city, though still a hidden gem.
Okay, not really. Gdansk gets really busy and attracts many visitors from within Poland, but also from countries like Germany. However, compared to many other pretty European cities, it is still under the radar.
Gdansk is a fun city with many restaurants and cafes, stunning architecture and beautiful houses, and quite a liberal atmosphere – with some cute locations nearby that are worth a visit (surely one of the more colorful cities in Europe).
Before talking about your Gdansk itinerary (kind of), here are some tips for your trip to this pretty city.
Gdansk Travel Tips
How to Get to Gdansk
The city is well connected to other main cities in Poland, like Warsaw, Wroslaw, etc., and you can get there by train easily.
If you arrive via train, you will have a short walk to the city center (about 10-15 minutes).
But it also has a decent airport that some budget airlines fly to (including flights from my hometown of Bremen to Gdansk).
You can buy a bus ticket for about 1€ (one way) and have a direct connection to the train station in Gdansk (do not take the train, but the bus that you will find outside the airport).
How to Get Around
You can walk to most of the below-mentioned places – the main tourist attractions are easily accessible as the town center is compact.
However, a few places in this post are outside the city center and you can rely on good public transportation that is also very affordable by Western European standards, and trains/buses run frequently.
Where to Stay
I truly recommend staying in or very close to the old town – prices are probably higher, but it is worth it as you can explore Gdansk early in the morning or in the evening when the crowds are gone.
Where to Eat
Polish food is known for being heavy and hearty – and quite unhealthy. You’ll find many restaurants in the old town and at the promenade. My tips for healthy vegan (vegetarisn) and very delicious food are:
Guga Sweet & Spicy (they also have yummy breakfast) – close to the World War II Museum
Manna 68 – especially teh noodles are extremely delicious (that is why I ended up having it twice in 5 days) – close to St. Mary Church
Though Poland is part of the European Union, it does not have the € as its currency. Rather, the Polish currency is Zloty.
While it is cheaper than many destinations in Western Europe, it is quite expensive for a Polish city (and Eastern Europe).
You can often pay with a credit card (even for the bus ticket from the airport) at many places, but should have some Zloty with you as well.
Best Things to Do in Gdansk in Two Days
So, let´s start with the main places to visit and top things to do in Gdansk – even if you have only one day in the city, I recommend to visit the places in and near the old town (which is absolutely doable in 1 day).
My main tip, however, not to rush and always look up, to fully get aware of the stunning architecture of the buildings in the house.
At the end – or actually at the beginning – of the Long Street (the main tourist place), you´ll find the Golden Gate.
It is not actually golden but built with light-colored stones and was opened in 1612 and marks the beginning of the famous shopping street.
The Gate has a Latin inscription: “In agreement, small republics grow, in disagreement great republics fall.“ You’ll also find many figures on the faces that symbolize peace, freedom, wealth, and fame on the Coal Market side, and signs for agreement, piety, justice, and prudence on the Long Street side.
Once you leave, it gets much quieter and calmer and there are less people around. However, there are still beautiful buildings, so if you are not short on time, get lost and just stroll the area, too.
From there, you will stroll the pretty colorful street and have a few stops along the way.
Long Street/Dluga Street and Long Market
Okay, here you are. You have just entered the fun and bustling Long Street – the main sightseeing area and tourist hotspot. But even though it can get crowded and busy (and touristy), I totally admired the street and the houses.
I felt a little like I was being transported back to Brussel with the architecture of the houses – you will find so many beautiful houses here.
The street was terribly destroyed during World War II, but got rebuilt, and nowadays nothing reminded me of the war when walking up and down it.
You’ll find restaurants, shops (with a lot of little souvenirs and gifts made from amber), and little stalls – as well as musicians and artists entertaining the visitors (thus, it is also a great place to visit with children).
Main Town Hall
In the top tourist areas of Long Street/Dluga Street you’ll find the main town hall. It just takes a minute or so (without stops) from the Golden Gate.
The town hall was the most important public building in the city – the seat of the municipal government and institutions showed the city´s power and wealth with beautiful interiors (mostly from the 16th and 17th century. You can see the Great Council Hall for a small entrance fee (it is quite small though but still interesting).
The main town hall is also my top tip to get the best view of the old town. Climb the few hundred stairs (partly with a very narrow staircase) to enjoy the fantastic view of the Long Street, St. Mary’s Church, and its surroundings.
It is tedious, but so worth it (and costs just a few € – which is so much less compared to elevated views you pay for in countries like Italy).
Nowadays, it is also the seat of the Gdansk Museum, which you can visit.
From there is is just a few steps to the next Gdansk attraction – the Fountain of Neptune.
Fountain of Neptune
Also on the Long Street, you’ll find the Fountain of Neptune, a bronze statue of the King of the Seas from 1633 that has become one of the main tourist attractions in Gdansk.
The fountain used to only be turned on occasionally (since the water tanks had to be manually refilled). But since Gdansk has gotten its waterworks running – back in the 19th century- the fountain is now turned on all summer long and has become quite a popular photo stop.
Walk towards the gate which you can see from the fountain.
The Green Gate is the end of the Long Street and you’ll pass it whether you get to the promenade from here or you come from the promenade. This is the entrance/exit, which was built in the 16th century, to the beautiful main street.
If you look up, you’ll see that there is a kind of house, which was initially built as a residence for the Polish king at the time. Once you are there, you have already reached another popular place amongst locals and visitors.
Long Riverfront (Dlugie Pobrezeze)
This is one of my favorite places in Gdansk – and over the span of 5 days, I visited the place numerous times. If you are in Gdansk for a day, you should still visit at least once and since it is so close to Long Street, it does not take much time.
This fun and busy promenade – in the summer months and even early in the morning – is a must-see in Gdansk. I recommend walking up the promenade – it is less than a kilometer long, but the number of restaurants is endless. From here, you can also get a view of the Gdansk sign and the Ferris wheel. If you want, head to the other side of the promenade (and also head to the other side of the riverfront so you can have great views from all angles).
You´ll see the River Mitlawa and ships (along with small, cute water taxis). In the past, this was the place where merchant ships moored, carrying wares from all over the world.
This is also where you will find the ships going to Westerplatte (more on that later).
If you walk along the promenade, you will see the Crane, another famous sight in Gdansk. This wooden building is shaped a bit like a sail-less windmill and is a 15th-century port crane located on the Dlugie Pobrezeze.
Most of the time, it was used to hoist beer and wine barrels, stone ballasts, and masts. Now, it is the National Maritime Museum (if you want to visit the museum, you can buy a ticket at the neighboring Maritime Culture Centre).
If you walk along the Long Riverfront, there is a little street that you should turn into. I admit, when I strolled this pretty street (which is parallel to the Long Street), I felt like I was exploring the pretty streets of Brooklyn. Though I am not sure if I was the only one who got this feeling, I am sure you would miss out if you didn’t get to walk it at least once.
With many cafes and little shops, selling mostly jewellery and souvenirs, this street had a totally different vibe than the Long Street, and is one of the best places to visit in Gdansk in my opinion.
St. Mary Church
Close to Mariacka Street, you’ll see pretty St. Mary’s Church. Once you have found the entrance, you can visit the church (for free), but keep in mind that you should dress modestly.
With its 82-meter-tall tower, it is one of the largest brick churches in the world and it took more than 150 years to build (construction started in the 14th century).
You have a chance to climb the tower here as well. As I stayed in the city for a longer time, I climbed both towers, but if you have less time or want to save a few €, I suggest skipping the tower here and enjoying the views from the town hall instead. The views there are much better from the town hall.
As I am a sucker for good views, I still enjoyed them from the tower, though nets up there did not allow us to fully soak in the views of this pretty city.
World War II Museum
Along the promenade, but a bit outside the main old town, you’ll find the World War II Museum.
While I did not visit myself (I know, shame on me :/ ) I am sure that you can learn a lot about one of the most lethal wars in history there.
A visit to the Westerplatte is a must. It is a little island in front of Gdansk (easily accessible via boat). The reason Westerplatte has become so famous is its sad history – it is here where World War II started.
If you are getting boat tickets, I recommend planning to stay on the island for at least about 1.5-2 hours (absolute minumum) at least to learn more about World War II.
You could easily get there via a boat – if you are into pirates (or your kids are) then buy tickets at the ticket office (you´ll see the ships and boats) and hop on a pirate ship which will get you there for relatively little money.
A trip to Sopot is perfect for escaping city life. It might be very busy here even in the summer months, as it is a popular beach resort town, frequently visited by locals and tourists, but it is easily accessible from Gdansk.
Once there, you have a beautiful beach area and the Baltic Sea in front of you – I openly admit that the water was not very tempting to hop into, but it is still beautiful and a great place to relax.
There is also one of the longest wooden piers in the world – to cross it you have pay a very small entrance fee (only in the summer months), but you then have a nice walk and a different view of Sopot.
Given its many cafes and restaurants, it is also a good place to spend a full day. Also, the town center is quite busy – and keep an eye out for the crooked building.
You can buy train tickets and pay only around 2€ (roundtrip) for this 40-minute train ride.
As you can see, there is a lot to do and see in Gdansk – and there is much more to add to your Gdansk itinerary if you stay more than 2 days in Gdansk – however, I am sure, with these tips you can create a great itinerary for 2 days and see some of the most beautiful places in the city.