The Baltic port of Gdańsk feels more European than Polish - the French, Italian, and Dutch influences are evident in its grand, elegant architecture. With centuries of maritime history, Gdańsk is all about beautiful cafes and bars full of character, dockside beer gardens, a throng of seafood restaurants paying homage to the Baltic catch, an interesting host of museums, amber shops and boutiques, stunning baroque churches, and a wealth of pleasure-boat cruises along the Martwa Wisla River. From churches and museums to royal thoroughfares and churches that dot the Old Town area, here are the best things to do in Gdańsk, Poland.
The first Polish concentration camp built by the Nazis, Stutthof Concentration Camp was originally meant to kill educated Poles at the beginning of WWII. However, it ended up housing 110,000 prisoners from 28 different countries. Visit the old and new camp quarters, commander’s villa, crematorium and gas chambers, and the camp victims monument where you can pay respects as you hear tales of mass murder and Nazi occupation and persecution, before ending your visit with the Stutthof Museum.
Gdansk: Stutthof Concentration Camp Regular Tour
Duration: 5 hour
2. Visit the iconic Neptune’s Fountain
In the heart of Gdańsk’s historic square of Long Market stands a statue that is an enduring symbol for the Baltic port. The Mannerist Neptune’s Neptune Fountain is a bronze statue dedicated to the Roman sea god and stands right by the palatial townhouses where former Polish royalty would stay in the city. The sculpture itself depicts Neptune with his head bowed slightly as a sign of deference, while the basin underneath him are ornamental cherubs and fish. When World War II broke out, this beautiful symbol of Gdańsk was dismantled and hidden away, returning to its rightful place only in 1954. It was finally fully and completely restored in 2011/2012. Interesting fact: the fig leaf on Neptune’s private parts was added in 1988.
Address: Długi Targ, 80-833 Gdańsk
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
3. See the exhibits at the Crane. Branch of the National Martime Museum
The 14th-century Gdańsk Crane is an emblem for the city. Located on Motlawa’s Long Embankment, the Gdańsk Crane is a beautiful piece of machinery dating back to when Gdańsk traded tons of cargo as part of the Hanseatic League and even doubled as a waterside city gate used un till as late as the 1800s. The Crane. Branch is now maintained by and part of the National Maritime Museum, housed in the former 15th-century shipyard and featuring the history of the port and its people.
Crane. Branch National Maritime Museum
Address: Szeroka 67/68, 80-835 Gdańsk, Poland
Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)
One of Poland’s most bike-friendly cities, Gdańsk’s very fabric and culture is cycling around the entire length and breadth of the town. Tour Gdańsk on a bike and discover the histories and stories of Old Town and Low Town, admire the beautiful architecture of the old forts, take in the gorgeous greenery and panoramic views of Gdańsk from Gradowa Mountain and listen to the town’s extraordinary mysteries. The last stop on the bike tour is where you’ll ride right into Gdańsk Shipyard and hear stories about Poland’s struggle for freedom.
Gdańsk: Everyday Bike Tour
Duration: 3 hour
5. Reignite your love for history at Golden House
Façade of the Golden House, Gdansk It is one of the most beautiful buildings in Gdańsk. It was erected in 1609 by the...Posted by Learn Polish Daily on Thursday, 31 May 2018
A gold and white facade with classic Mannerist architecture makes the 17th-century Golden House one of the most striking and beautiful architectures in Gdańsk. Made for the former mayor of the city, the Golden House features Gdańsk’s signature height and narrowness and was designed by Johan Voight. The standout feature of the Golden House is the statues of Oedipus, Cleopatra, Antigone, and Achilles atop its balustrade, the 19 busts representing Poland’s kings, and its sculpted friezes.
Address: Długi Targ 41-42, 80-831 Gdańsk
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
6. Soothe your soul at Basilica of St. Mary
The 14th-century Roman Catholic Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, informally St. Mary’s Church, in Old Town of Gdańsk is one of the two/three largest brick churches north of the Alps as well as across the world. With enough room for 25,000 within it, the calming St. Mary’s Church features an 82-metre-tall (269 feet) tower, narrow, arched windows, a ceramic-tiled roof, side aisles with some of the best crystal vaults in the world, and a 17th-century organ.
St. Mary's Church
Address: Podkramarska 5, 80-834 Gdańsk
Website: St. Mary’s Church
7. Learn about Polish culture at the Museum of Second World War
The location of the landmark Museum of the Second World War is historic and important - it stands on the land of a quarter flattened in the war. With the Free City of Danzig (now part of Gdańsk) being the place where the Invasion of Poland begun, it is only natural for Gdańsk to have this museum, which was inaugurated in 2017. The museum features 2,000 photographs and immersive walk-through installations including two tanks and a Warsaw apartment ravaged by the war.
Museum of Second World War
Address: Plac, Władysława Bartoszewskiego 1, 80-862 Gdańsk
Website: Museum of Second World War
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 8pm (closed on Mon)
8. Admire the stunning architecture of Malbork Castle
Did you know that Gdańsk’s Malbork Castle is the world’s largest castle? Built with a whopping 12-15 million bricks, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Malbork Castle is now home to a museum housing a collection of 40,000 items - one of Europe’s largest. The collection includes an extensive coin collection with historic mints, old weapons and military equipment, a unique collection of artistic amber wares, and medieval architectural elements. Don’t miss listening to interesting stories and facts about the castle too!
Address: Starościńska 1, 82-200 Malbork, Gdańsk
Website: Malbork Castle
Opening hours: 9am - 7pm (daily)
9. Pay a visit to the Gdańsk Town Hall
One of the finest examples of Gothic-Resistance historic buildings in Gdańsk, the historic Ratusz (historic administrative building) that is the Town Hall is Gdańsk’s most popular part and houses the History Museum of the City of Gdańsk. With a golden replica of King Zygmunt August at the top, the spire of the Town Hall dominates the city’s skyline while its tower houses a 37-bell clarion. The interiors of the Town Hall are lushly decorated with elaborate carvings and furniture, colourful frescoes, and lushly painted ceilings. The 18th-century portal leading to the luxuriant Red Room is guarded by two solemn lions.
Gdańsk Town Hall
Address: ul, Długa 46, 80-831 Gdańsk
Website: Gdańsk Town Hall
Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)
Gdańsk is known for its lip-smacking traditional Polish food. Go on a palate-enhancing walking culinary tour of Gdańsk which takes you on a 1.5-mile-long (2.4 km) leisurely walk to the bustling Old Square and historic district to sample traditional Polish cuisine. The tour includes three types of dumplings, a soft drink, a traditional soup, different types of Polish meats and beer, and tea/coffee and even dessert at the greatest local patisserie in Gdansk!
Gdansk: Traditional Polish Food Private Tour
Duration: 2.5 hour
11. Stroll across the buzzing Dlugie Pobrzeze (Long Embankment)
End a day of exploring Gdańsk with a lovely picturesque walk along the Motlawa River Embankment or the Dlugie Pobrzeze, where the colourful buildings are reflected in the beautiful waters of the ancient port. Emanating the strong spirit of the old Hanseatic League that Gdańsk was a part of, the Long Embankment is home to breathtaking views, a multitude of monuments and architectural forms, plenty of amazing stalls with Baltic Gold-amber, shops, restaurants, and beer gardens.
A symbol for the beginning of World War II, the cold, tiny plateau of Westerplatte is the place where 200 Polish soldiers fought the Nazis who outnumbered them by eight times! Experience the area’s tumultuous past at this walkable outdoor museum and exhibition as you see the remains of barracks, Guardhouse No. 1, a small military cemetery, and a huge monument dedicated to the Polish defenders of the coast, and which marks the site of the battle. Walk the history, the prelude, duration, and aftermath of the war as you offer candles and flowers to the fallen Polish soldiers, even as a large sign next to the defenders’ monument reads “Nigdy Więcej Wojny” meaning “War Never Again”.
Private Westerplatte Tour by Car or Cruise Transport
Duration: 4 hour
13. Offer prayers at Oliwa Cathedral
The Oliwa Archcathedral in Gdańsk takes the pride of place at the western end of Oliwa Park, the 10-hectare (24.7 acres) huge city park with exotic plants and French-style gardens. Dedicated to St. Bernard, Blessed Virgin Mary, and The Holy Trinity, the now-towering 12th-century Cathedral has a tumultuous past - it was burnt down accidentally in 1350 and destroyed by marauding Swedish soldiers in 1626 who ransacked its contents. Ironically, Sweden and Poland signed a peace treaty burying their past in this very building in the year 1660.
Address: Biskupa Edmunda Nowickiego 5, 80-330 Gdańsk
Website: Oliwa Cathedral
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm; Sat: 9am - 3:30pm; Sun: 2pm - 5:30pm
14. Get an insight into history at the European Solidarity Centre
It will take you two-three hours easily to tour this massive, five-storey facility right outside the Gdańsk Shipyard’s entrance. The European Solidarity Committee (ECS) is a library and museum dedicated to the history of Solidarity, which is the Polish civil resistance and trade union movement, and other opposition movements of Communist Eastern Europe. The building houses reading rooms, restaurants and cafes. The building features both temporary and permanent exhibitions with traditional and state-of-the-art interactive tech displays with excellent audio guides available in Polish, English, Spanish, Swedish, Russian, Italian, German, and French.
European Solidarity Centre
Address: pI. Solidarności 1, 80-863 Gdańsk
Website: European Solidarity Centre
Opening hours: 10am - 8pm (daily)
15. Explore the fascinating Amber Museum
The multi-storey exhibit at the Amber Museum is located in Gdańsk’s medieval Fore-gate building, delving extensively into the history of Baltic amber. Being one of Gdańsk’s most popular museums, it features collections ranging from impressive modern amber jewellery and amber creations to ‘inclusions’ (plants, bugs caught inside amber). There’s also an exhibit on the building’s past as a torture chamber, with the lower part of the building once housing the city’s courthouse too.
Address: Targ Węglowy 26, 80-836 Gdańsk
Opening hours: Mon: 10am - 1pm; Tue - Sun: 10am - 6pm
16. Witness a spectacular sunset on the Jelitkowo Beach
Wind up an amazing vacation in sunny Gdańsk with a visit to the stunning Jelitkowo Beach. The sun, sand, and the sea make for a heavenly combination at the peaceful Jelitkowo beach, which is a favourite with travellers, especially families with children. The sandy beach is surrounded by clubs for those who’re interested in them, and there’s also a beautiful, serene park right next to it. A central square full of snack bars and food stalls makes spending a day here fun, but what’s really gorgeous is the spectacular sunset views. Don’t miss!
Address: Jantarowa, Gdansk 80-347
Website: Jelitkowo Beach
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
17. Create countless memories at the picturesque Long Lane
Bookended by the Golden and Green Gates, Long Lane is an incredible end-to-end bustling pedestrian thoroughfare with amazing Dutch-Flemish Mannerist architecture, making it look more like an open-air museum. This wide cobblestone pedestrian thoroughfare connecting the river and the marketplace was established sometime in the 13th century, eventually housing some of Gdańsk’s most wealthy, prominent denizens. Some of the key landmarks of the gorgeous Long Lane are the Golden Mansion Town Hall and its spire, Uphagen, Ferber, and Czirenberg Houses, Lion House, Artus Court, and the Fountain of Neptune, while the Long Market Square is its chief attraction.
Address: Długa, Gdańsk
18. Go animal spotting at Zoo Gdańsk Oliwa
Spread over an area of 124 hectares (306.4 acres), the Gdańsk Zoological Garden is Poland’s largest zoo. A member of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), the zoo houses a host of rare species such as the likes of great scavenging condors, pygmy hippos, killer whales, bongo antelopes, Javan lutungs, anoas, Siberian tigers, southern ground hornbills, takins, Visayan spotted deer, yellow anacondas, mandrils, Bali mynas, jackass penguins, and scimitar oryxes, among many others.
Zoo Gdańsk Oliwa
Address: Karwieńska 3, 80-328 Gdańsk
Website: Zoo Gdańsk Oliwa
Opening hours: 9am - 7pm (daily)
19. Gaze at the interactive exhibits of Hewelianum
The science museum/park of Centrum Hewelianum is located within the Napoleonic-era Fort Grodzisko, honouring famed astronomer and Gdańsk native Jan Heweliusz. The two-part exhibition features two exhibits ‘Time Machine – The Human & The Bullet’ and 'With Energy’. The former is a recreation of the fort in its initial glory days, complete with lifelike mannequins in active poses and in complete uniforms from the period, weaponry, and cannons. The second is a fun science exhibition for all ages.
Address: Gradowa 6, 80-802 Gdańsk
Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)
20. Satisfy your shopaholic soul at Forum Gdańsk
If you’re a shopaholic, you can soothe your soul at the modern entertainment and shopping centre of Forum Gdańsk, which is built on the remains of the historic Targ Rakowy (Crayfish market) and Targ Sienny (Hay Market). Having revitalized the area with its arrival, Forum Gdańsk also incorporates the 14th-century Radunia Canal flowing right through its very centre. The shopping mall is at the heart of Forum Gdańsk, which also has a fitness centre, a gym, and a fetching new public square offering magnificent views of Old Town.
Address: Targ Sienny 7, 80-806 Gdańsk
Website: Forum Gdańsk
Opening hours: 9am - 10pm (daily)
21. Treat your eyes to panoramic views of the city from AmberSky Wheel
The AmberSky, a London Eye-esque Ferris wheel, is now one of the most iconic attractions dominating the Gdańsk skyline. Located on the Olowianka Island, this massive Ferris wheel features 8-people cabins, a total of 36 in number, travelling up to a height of 50 metres (164 feet) and offers stunning panoramic views of the Old Town of Gdańsk. While it was previously seasonal, AmberSky now seems to be a permanent fixture.
Address: Ołowianka 1, 80-751 Gdańsk
Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 11am - 10pm; Fri: 11am - 12am; Sat: 10am - 12am
22. People-watch at Długi Targ Square
Once the main city market, Długi Targ today is all about postwar rebuild architectures, restaurants, and crowds, and is a fantastic site for watching people go by. Check out the statue of Neptune, Poland’s oldest secular monument, admire the rich facade of the 1618-built Golden House, and walk the length of the Long Market which was established in the 13th century as the arterial merchant road leading to the market place. After a walk around the entire square and the many lanes, settle down in one of the cutesy restaurants at the Square and watch the people go by as you sip a cup of coffee.
Address: Długi Targ, 80-830 Gdansk, Poland
Website: Długi Targ
23. Go pub crawling at the numerous bars in Piwna Street
The cobblestone Piwna Street in the heart of the main city of Gdańsk is crammed with colourful and quirky bars and pubs with amazing interiors and a great selection of alcohol. Head to No To Tick for a great vintage vibe, the vaulted basement of Flisak 76 for delicious cocktails, the bookstore bar of Josef K. for the honey beer, or the cosy Jopengasse for vodka and museum artefacts. Browar Piwna is for beer lovers, serving three types of beer - a seasonal one, pils (a classic lager), and wheat.
Address: Piwna, 80-831 Gdańsk, Poland
24. Enjoy a picnic at the pristine and clean Stogi Beach
Stogi Beach is one of the most beautiful and cleanest in the Tri-City Area of Sopot, Gdynia, and Gdańsk, complete with rescue services and modern sanitation facilities. Pack a picnic basket and head down to Stogi beach to spend a relaxing day by the water and swim in the sea, which has lots of lifeguards. This led to the Stogi swimming area winning the award of the National Blue Flag Program for high standards for the provision of services, environmental education, safety, and water quality in 2016.
Address: Wydmy 1, 80-656 Gdańsk, Poland
Website: Plaża Stogi
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
25. Witness a game of football at Stadion Energa Gdańsk
Watch a football game at the football stadium of Stadion Energa Gdańsk, which has a capacity of 41,600 spectators. Previously called the PGE Arena Gdańsk and Baltic Arena, Stadion Energa is the home stadium of the football club of Lechia Gdańsk. Not only is the stadium the largest arena in Ekstraklasa but it is also the third-largest arena in the country after the National Stadium and Silesia Stadium. The exterior of the stadium is designed to resemble the mineral amber, which has been extracted on the Baltic coast for a long time.
Stadion Energa Gdańsk
Address: Pokoleń Lechii Gdańsk 1, 80-560 Gdańsk
Website: Stadion Energa Gdańsk
26. Quench your thirst for local history at Artus Court
The impressive, grand Artus Court mansion is a symbol of Gdańsk’s power in the 16th-17th centuries, founded originally as a meeting place for dignitaries and also serving as the seat of St. George and the brotherhoods of rich patricians. Named after the famous King Arthur of the round table fame, the mansion was given a Gothic facelift after a fire in 1841 with grand paintings and sculptures. The centrepiece is a 10.64-metre-long (33 feet) 16th-century renaissance-tiled stove.
Address: Długi Targ 43-44, 80-831 Gdańsk
Website: Artus Court
Opening hours: Mon: 10am - 1pm; Tue - Sat: 10am - 6pm; Sun: 11am - 6pm
27. Check out the performances at the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre
The Shakespearean Gdańsk Theatre is built where the Fencing School, a 17th-century theatre where works of English Renaissance theatre were performed by English travelling players, formerly stood. The theatre combines design elements of earlier, traditional theatres and modern technology. The theatre usually holds week-long festivals in which the culture of European countries and other countries of the world are presented. These spectacular events encompass cuisine, films, music, dance, and the performing and visual arts.
Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre
Address: Wojciecha Bogusławskiego 1, 80-818 Gdańsk
Website: Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre
28. Treat yourself to authentic Polish cuisine at Gdański Bowke
Bowke were casual labourers and quayside wage workers in Poland whose wages earned would line the pockets of bar owners, giving the inebriated Bowke a bad name in old Danzig (now Gdańsk). Gdański Bowke is dedicated to them. The old-fashioned, concise menu features local Gdański Polish dishes such as Pierogi, Polish Soup, and Salmon with Sunflower Seeds, all washed down with traditional Gdański Bowke beer or other local beers. What’s more, there’s even a German poem about them as well as some pre-war ads!
Address: Długie Pobrzeże 11, 80-888 Gdańsk
Website: Gdański Bowke
Opening hours: 11am - 11pm (daily)
29. Enjoy the nightlife at Chmielna 101 Cooltura
Let your hair down at the Chmielna 101 Cooltura, a contemporary little bar located on the Island of Granaries (Wyspa Spichrzow) across the bridge from the Green Gate. Chmielna 101 Cooltura features regular live music and amazing special events, as well as a huge selection of spirits as well as Tyskie beer on tap. The modern bar features an extravagant, modern interior with a small dance floor, making it a lively place to party.
Chmielna 101 Cooltura
Address: Chmielna 101, 80-748 Gdańsk
Website: Chmielna 101 Coolturan
Opening hours: 6pm - 6am (daily)
30. Go back in time at the Great Armoury
Built in the early 17th century, the Great Armoury was a working arsenal until the 1800s, and till date continues to remain the finest example of Renaissance architecture in Gdańsk. Having been badly damaged in World War II, the armoury was rebuilt, regaining its former glory before even hosting a supermarket! The well-like structure in the front was an elevator for transporting cannonballs and gunpowder from the basement to the ground. The Gdańsk Academy of Fine Arts hosts an art gallery in the structure, complete with exhibitions and even a classy wine bar.
The Great Armoury
Address: Kołodziejska, 80-980 Gdańsk
The old-world Baltic port city of Gdańsk is one of Europe’s highly underrated gems and a gorgeous one at that. Fall in love with its laid-back vibes and charming streets even as you go exploring and indulge in the top things to do in Gdańsk, Poland.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.