Gdansk is growing as a tourist destination for those looking beyond the main tourist cities in Poland, like Warsaw or Kraków. If you get off that beaten path, you’ll be rewarded with a port-side city that is a symbol of the country’s resilience. Good history, good food and great scenery await on your one day in Gdańsk!
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When to Visit Gdansk
There’s also really no bad time to visit the city, as long as you’re fine with chillier temperatures and the wet Gdansk weather which is common in the low season. Just come prepared if you visit Gdansk in winter! This is a wet, breezy part of the country, so inclement weather is to be expected.
Poland enjoys all four seasons, so expect higher prices in the peak summer months of July and August, and more budget-friendly options for those travelling in the off-season. If you’re interested in checking out the neighbouring seaside towns as day trips from Gdansk while you’re near the Baltic then June is a good compromise for sunny skies, before the rest of the country heads up to the crowded shores for Gdansk beach vacations.
Where to Stay in Gdansk
Stay at the Kobza Haus for its lovely courtyard, a delicious buffet breakfast to kick off a day of sightseeing and great value for money.
The Kobza Haus is also in the heart of the Gdansk old town, an ideal central location for travellers who only have a short amount of time in the city. The hotel is less than a mile from the Gdansk Glowny Railway Station, a fifteen minute taxi ride or one hour public transport journey from the main airport.
What to Do In Gdansk for One Day
There’s so much to do and so little time with one day in Gdansk! With our Gdansk 24 hour itinerary you’ll be able to taste some of what the city has to offer, both literally and historically.
Take a Gdansk in One Day Tour
Gdansk is a very walkable city, and best explored on your feet. But those short on time might prefer a guided tour to ensure they tick off all those must see Gdansk attractions. Check out these options for Gdansk day trips, guided walking tours or even a sunset cruise to get a glimpse of the port city from an insider’s perspective, or from the water.
Walk the Royal Way and Explore the Old Town
Do as the royals did and walk the Royal Way. This was the road traveled by Polish kings and queens who came to visit the city and check in on their subjects. It’s also one of the best free things to do in Gdansk.
Start with the Upland Gate, the impressive main entry point for the city from the times when it was fortified against intruders. The gate was built in 1574, but made a little more fancy 1586, when the artist Willem van den Block was tasked with making it a little less drab. As a result, you’ll see coats of arms on the Upland Gate today from Poland, Prussia, and the city of Gdansk. The lions represent the city, by the way.
Walk through the Upland Gate and head towards the Golden Gate. You’ll pass the Amber Museum, which once operated as a medieval torture chamber.
Once at the Golden Gate, make sure you’re looking up and around you; you’ll see World War II-era pictures from 1945. As you pass through, you’ll be on Long Street, or Dlugi Targ. There’s much history here, as this is one of the oldest streets in the city, and as a result, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the city today.
You’ll pass by the Gdansk History Museum, which operates out of the Main Town Hall, and the impressive Neptune fountain. The fountain of the Roman sea god survived World War II because it was hidden before the looting and destruction began in the city. The Artus Court, a mansion named after King Arthur, is just beyond the fountain.
You’ll end your stroll down the Royal Way at the Green Gate and its four arches. The gate, or more of a gatehouse, leads to the Green Bridge, another easy stroll with great view of the Motlawa river.
Window Shop on Amber Street
The Baltic Sea is impressive enough, but it’s also where Poles – and jewellery-lovers around the world – get their Baltic amber, which even washes up on the seashores here.
The best place to see all of its applications in jewellery form is on Amber Street, or more officially, Mariacka Street in Gdansk city centre. You don’t need to buy anything, but you’ll want to; this street is everything amber!
Haggling isn’t really a thing in Poland, but if you see something you like at the start of the street, its checking out the other shops on Mariacka. You might find similar items at a lower price.
Climb to Panoramic Views at St. Mary’s
On the same street, as if things could get even more picturesque, you’ll come across St. Mary’s Basilica. If you have the energy, you should climb the 405 steps up for beautiful views of the city below.
Spend some time inside the Gothic church, as well, much of which had to be reconstructed after the war. There are more than 30 chapels inside, all decorated with religious artwork, and a collection of historical tombstones.
Meet the Crane, a Symbol of the City
Most panoramas of the city will include the Crane, or Zuraw, a symbol of the city’s history as a maritime trading powerhouse. The original structure dates back to 1367, but that one burned down. Parts of what you see here today have been overlooking the city since 1442, although much of the Crane was rebuilt following the destruction in the city during World War II.
If you’d like to learn more about the Crane, one of the largest working cranes in the world when it was still in operation, there are exhibits inside about the city’s port history. You can get tickets at the Maritime Cultural Centre next door.
See the Shipyards, a Big Part of the City’s Past
There’s more to the history of Gdansk than its rising from the ashes of World War II. The port city is also a testament to the resilience of the people who continued to fight for the city’s rights well after the second world war.
In 1970, 45 people died in the city during protests against communism. Visit Gdansk shipyard and see the site memorialising that event at the Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers.
Follow that with a somber moment at the #2 gate of the Gdansk Shipyards. It was here that Lech Walesa, who would eventually become the president of Poland, kicked off a movement in 1980 that would lead to the fall of communism in the country, along with labor rights for Poland’s workforce.
Learn More About Solidarity at the European Solidarity Centre
The movement led by Walesa was known as the Solidarity movement. The excellent exhibits at the European Solidarity Centre go into more detail about how a series of protests were able to lead to massive changes for Poland’s workers and working conditions across the country.
This museum is often a pleasant surprise for most visitors to Gdansk, as the building doesn’t look like much from the outside. There are seven halls for you to explore inside that take you from post-war Gdansk through the 1980s.
Where to Eat in Gdansk
Grab Lunch at Bar Pod Ryba
The name of this eatery translates to “The Bar Under the Fish,” but the casual Bar Pod Ryba is not known for its seafood. This place serves up stuffed potatoes that sound simple but are anything but.
The giant potatoes – you really have to see them to believe them – come topped with your choice of one of seven sauces like garlic, Icelandic, or a Polish favourite, dill. They’re then stuffed with a variety of fillings, like mussels, pork shoulder, chanterelle mushrooms, and pickled herring if you’re really wanting a deep dive into Polish food. One of the best Gdansk restaurants and a great base for all of the exploring you still have left to do, at reasonable prices, too.
And if you have the room and want something sweet, finish off lunch with a Polish crepe at the nearby Nalesnikowo. Nalesniki are thin, rolled and often stuffed with a sweet filling of your choice. Whatever you decide, they’re a must do in Gdansk.
Relax with Some Food (and Beer!) at Brovarnia
It’s time to take a load off and refuel after an exciting day in Gdansk. The Brovarnia in the Hotel Gdansk is one of the best places in Gdansk to do that.
If you’re in the city on a chilly day, the restaurant usually has some delicious bread bowl soups for you to try. Have some zurek if it’s on the menu! And if you want some beer to go along with your meal, they definitely have that, too. The name translates to “brewery,” after all.
As with many of the buildings in Gdansk, the brewery has a historic past. Somehow, the warehouse wasn’t destroyed in the war, so much of what you’ll see inside dates back to the 17th century, when it was a working granary.
A visit to Gdansk in the beautiful country of Poland is a step back in history, and your one day in Gdansk will certainly give you a taste of that!