A Self-Guided Walking Tour of Gdansk, Poland

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Gdansk is becoming quickly the most visited city in Poland after Krakow. Due to its extraordinary beauty it has been voted several time as destination of the year and is thus an absolute must-do when traveling to Poland. The city is so full of history and sights that you can easily spend more than 2 days in Gdansk. On top there is a wide range of day trips from Gdansk that you can choose from.

 

This self-guided walking tour of Gdansk will take you to many of the highlights and attractions that you must see when visiting Gdansk. The tour of Gdansk can easily be done in one day and includes a lunch and dinner recommendation.

This walking tour is foreseen to be done at daylight, however I strongly recommend to re-do the first part of this Gdansk city tour in the evening, when it’s dark. At night Gdansk has a magic of its own and it’s paradise for photography lovers. Gdansk is the largest city of the Kashubian Switzerland, the ideal setting for slow and sustainable travel. Don't forget to reserve at least one day for a day trip from Gdansk.

 

It’s key to have your hotel as close to the city center as possible so that you don’t need to take any public transportation. 

 

For foodies I recommend the traditional food walking tour, the Luxury Vodka Tasting or with a Polish Food tour.

 

Find a walking tour map at the end of the post!

What to do in Gdansk (Poland)? A self-guided walking tour of Gdansk including all attractions, best things in Gdansk incl. where to eat, where to stay and shopping.  Free walking tour +map | #gdansk #poland #walkingtour
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General Info

free walking tour gdansk, free tour, poland. things to do, attractions gdansk, map, restaurants, where to eat, pomerania, travel blog, kashubia, party, vodka, food, where to stay, panorama, instagram, photos, church, amber

Geographic situation: Polish city on the Baltic coast, capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and Kashubia, Poland's principal seaport and the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area. Complex history with periods of Prussian or German rule, of self-rule as a "free city". 

Language: Polish. English is widely spoken.
Currency: zloty
How to get there:

Activities: Formerly trade and shipbuilding, amber processing and export. Major tourist destination with many national tourists visiting the Baltic coast


Where to stay in Gdansk, Poland

Budget
Liberum
Marina Club Hotel
Mid-Range
Stay Inn Hotel *** (recommended because of its excellent location)
PURO Hotel **** (great interior design)
Luxury
Radisson Blu Gdansk *****
 Hotel Gdansk Boutique *****

1. Royal Route and Long Market

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Early Morning on the Royal Route

Let’s start our free walking tour at the Long Market (Dlugi Targ), the heart of Gdansk. It used to be the nerval center of the town and the place where the main city market was held.

 

The street that leads from one from Golden Gate to Green Gate, is also known as the Royal Route. Only the wealthiest merchants and patricians could afford to live here. Like in other towns with Flemish heritage, you needed to pay higher taxes the more windows you have. Thus the more windows, the richer the owner of the house.

 

The oldest house on the Royal Route dates back to the Middle Ages. Gdansk has been entirely destroyed during the Second World War, however the old town has been reconstructed during the communist regime and some parts of the outskirts are still under construction.

 

Nowadays the Royal Route is considered one of the most beautiful pedestrian streets in Europe.

gdansk: Get Your Guide

2. Neptune Fountain

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Neptune Fountain the symbol of Gdansk

The Neptune Fountain is situated since 1633 on the Long Market in front of the Artus Court and has become the symbol of Gdansk. The statue was made by a Flemish artist and is one of the oldest monuments of Gdansk. It’s a perfect meeting point as well.

 

The legend says that Neptune created Gdansk’s famous herbal liquorGoldwasser”. Apparently he got angry because the extremely rich citizens of Gdansk (10% of the population were billionaires in Gdansk best times!!) kept throwing golden coins in the fountain. With his trident he moved the water so much that all the gold fell into pieces and created the golden flakes that are typical for Goldwasser.

 

Just in front of the Neptune fountain you’ll spot the Fahrenheit monument that was built to honor Daniel Fahrenheit that was born in Gdansk in 1686.

3. Main Town Hall

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Gdansk at night is pure bliss

The Main Town Hall, next to Neptune fountain, dominates the skyline of Gdansk. It is one of the major attractions and has been rebuilt in Renaissance style after a fire. It's interior is inspired by Dutch mannerism and certifies the important role of Gdansk in Europe and the worlds. 

 

From the observatory you’ll enjoy a gorgeous view and hear the music from the bells ringing every hour. 

 

From here it’s only a stone’s throw to the Golden House, one of the most beautiful buildings in Gdansk built in 1609. The richly decorated facade and the sculptural decorations create one of the most stunning house fronts in Gdansk.

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4. Green Gate

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Fun Fact: the Green Gate is not even green!

Head towards the Green Gate (which is not green but rather orange) to continue your free walking tour. 

 

The Green Gate has been inspired by Antwerp City Hall and marks the eastern end of the Long Market and Royal Route. It is a yet another evidence for the Flemish and Dutch heritage and legacy of the Polish town. 

 

Cross the bridge across the River Motława and turn left immediately towards the end of the bridge on Chmielna road to approach the Crane from the opposite river bank.

gdansk food: Get Your Guide

5. The Crane

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Favorite Postcard Motive

The Crane on the Motlawa river bank became one of Gdansk’s symbols and is represented on almost any postcard. It is easy to spot as it sticks out among all other houses.

 

The crane is the largest wooden crane in Europe and handled cargo coming from the sea. You can still visit the driving mechanism which needed several man to make it work. Nowadays the crane hosts the National Maritime Museum.

 

The crane is a popular photomotive and you’ll get your best shot from the other side of the river.

6. Gdansk Marina and Lunch Stop

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Happy Girl in the marina of Gdansk

Continue the side paths along the river (streets names: Pożarnicza and Motławska) and walk along the marina of Gdansk until you reach the next bridge (Stągiewna street). 

 

After my boat hitchhiking adventure, I am obsessed with spotting boats and there were quite a few gorgeous boat models in the harbor. They made me daydream about a sailing trip on the Baltic Sea. 

 

You’ll walk along buildings that are being renovated or even rebuilt in the traditional style. 

 

At Stągiewna street you’ll stand in front of the Milk Can Gate, part of the fortifications and an important entrance gate.

 

It’s time to indulge in some typical Pomeranian food but with a modern twist. I recommend the restaurant Dancing Anchor at PURO Hotel. It’s not only a very stylish place to stay at, but also the restaurant is absolutely top-notch when it comes to food and intriguing interior design. They serve Polish-Asian fusion cuisine.

7. St. Mary Street (Mariacka)

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Beautiful Mariacka Street

From PURO Hotel cross the bridge towards the Green Gate again. However you bend left to continue your the self-guided walking tour of Gdansk and continue along the river on Długie Pobrzeże street. 

 

After the Gdansk Archaeological Museum turn left and you’ll stand at the beginning of Gdansk’s quaintest street: Mariacka. You’ll enter street by passing below the medieval St. Mary’s gate  and it ends at the St. Mary’s church.

 

Every single house of St. Mary’s street is absolutely gorgeous: entrances are terraced but narrow and the richly decorated house fronts testify the wealth of their former owners. No wonder that the street has inspired several painters and was a movie setting for several films.

 

Formerly Mariacka street was mostly inhabited by merchants and goldsmiths, nowadays it’s packed with amber shops. The Amber museum and amber souvenir shopping are some of the top things to do in Gdansk.

8. St. Mary Basilica

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The largest brick church in the world

Cross St.Mary street until you reach St.Mary church, the largest brick church in the world. The church was used by Catholics and protestants. It’s interior is bright white nowadays and forms a welcoming light contrast to the massive, heavy impression that you get from the outside. 

 

The main tower is 77 metres high and after climbing the 400 steps you’ll enjoy one of the best panorama views on Gdansk.

 

Next to St.Mary Basilica is the Royal Chapel, a baroque beauty which is often overseen next to the towering basilica. However it is an absolutely beautiful building to be visited.

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9.  Academy of Fine Arts and Golden Gate

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My favorite corner of Gdansk city center

Walk from the St. Mary Basilica through Piwna street which is packed with numerous terraces in summer. The street ends at the impressive house front of the Academy of Fine Arts. To me, this place was one of the most beautiful corners in Gdansk.

 

Turn left and you’ll find yourself at the Golden Gate (Złota Brama) from which you’ll enjoy a gorgeous view on the Town Hall and the Royal Route. The gate was built in the Renaissance style in 1612 and the statues represent  an allegory of citizen’s virtues: Prudence, Justice, Piety and Harmony. 

 

Continue the walking tour by passing through the Golden Gate which will lead you to the tower of the former prison of Gdansk.

10. St. Catherine’s Church

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From the massive former prison tower, turn right to Targ Węglowy street. It will lead you in about 10 minutes to  St. Catherine’s church which is the oldest parish church of the Old Town. It was built in 1227 but it was completely destroyed during the Second World War. 

 

Fully rebuilt in the after-war years, the church nowadays hosts paintings by  by Anton Möller and Izaak van den Blocke. The 76 metres high towers host a carillon and a museum of tower clocks. 

11. Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers

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Monument to the fallen shipyard workers

From the emblematic St. Catherine’s church it is only a stone’s throw (or 12 minutes) to the Monument of the Fallen Shipyard Workers. The impressive monument stands in front of the Solidarnosc European Center and at the former entrance gate to the shipyards of Gdansk.

 

More than 40.000 people used to work in the shipyards of Gdansk, which was one of the most important European harbors at that time. The imposing crosses with anchors have been built to commemorate the victims of the bloody workers’ strikes in December 1970.

 

Learn more about communism in Gdansk with the Gdansk Communist Tour.

 

The monument was finished in 1980 and was one of the most important postulates from the workers who fought for their rights. 

 

It’s actually the first monument to the victims of communist oppression to be erected in a communist country.

 

Book here your Gdansk Solidanosc Tour

12. European Solidarity Centre

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Inside the European Solidarity Center

Visiting the European Solidarity Centre in Gdansk is an absolute must do when traveling to Gdansk. It is not necessary to be a history buff in order to visit, in my opinion a visit to the museum about Solidarnsc movement and the bloody strikes in December 1970 are an investment in your general knowledge and an essential lesson about how every single person can contribute to change. All you need to do is take action!

 

The building itself is stunning and although it looks quite massive from the outside, it is very light and green inside. It’s full of trees and plants. The European Solidarity Centre is much more than a museum to this tragic episode of history, it holds the Solidarnosc offices where Lech Wałęsa is still working today, a library, archives, a winter garden, a bar… The center is actually an open meeting space for young and old.

 

Book here your Gdansk Solidanosc Tour

 

The permanent exhibition is organized in a very interactive and realistic way. There is original footage on the negotiations between the communist regime and the dockers. Original communist-era apartment interiors have been rebuilt and interrogation and prison cells as well. The museum thus provides a rare, realistic insight in the oppressive system of the communist regime. I definitely learned a lot during my visit.

 

I particularly liked the hall dedicated to the individual backgrounds of the strikers and the implication of Pope John Paul II in the transformative process. 

 

It’s an absolutely unmissable experience when visiting Gdansk, calculate at least 2 hours.

 

Book here your Gdansk Solidanosc Tour

gdansk solidarity: Get Your Guide

 

The permanent exhibition is organized in a very interactive and realistic way. There is original footage on the negotiations between the communist regime and the dockers. Original communist-era apartment interiors have been rebuilt and interrogation and prison cells as well. The museum thus provides a rare, realistic insight in the oppressive system of the communist regime. I definitely learned a lot during my visit.

 

I particularly liked the hall dedicated to the individual backgrounds of the strikers and the implication of Pope John Paul II in the transformative process. 

 

It’s an absolutely unmissable experience when visiting Gdansk, calculate at least 2 hours.

 

Book here your Gdansk Solidanosc Tour

13. A Local's Tip: Panorama view from Gradowa Hill

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Panorama Views of Gdansk

In case you still have some energy left, I absolutely recommend to visit Gradowa Hill to enjoy one of the best panorama views on Gdansk and the immense area of the shipyards. According to our guide Michal, you haven't seen Gdansk, if you haven't been to Gradowa Hill.

 

Gradowa Hill is located 20 minutes by walking from the European Solidarity Center. 

 

The hill hosts the a 19th century fort and a large cross which illuminated at night. Some of the buildings on the hill are still used for military purposes and visiting the museums might be a good option in case you’re interested in military history. 

 

On the same area you’ll find a interactive science center, the Hawelianum Center, named after the Polish astronom. 

 

Don't forget to reserve at least one day for a day trip from Gdansk.

14. Celebrate Polish Style in Gdansk

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Cheers to Gdansk

After visiting the most important attractions of Gdansk, I bet you’ll want to experience Polish hospitality and sense for celebrating food and drinks.

 

So , why don’t you finish your day with a Beer Tasting Pub Crawl through Gdansk most important bars or enjoy a local Vodka Tasting?


I hope some of these, admittedly very personal, highlights of my visit to Gdansk, Poland, could convince you to include Gdansk in your travel plans.

 

Have you been in Gdansk? Did you enjoy it? I would love to hear about the things you loved (or loved less) in the comment form. 


Walking Tour Map Gdansk


Before You Go: Top Tips for your Trip  

  • You'll be snapping tons of photos during your trip. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos. I travel with a FUJI XT2 (mirrorless, takes amazing photos) and our Action Camera GoPro HERO5 Session (takes beautiful photos in the most extreme situations, sim & lightweight) – all of the cameras are wifi enabled so you can share your trip pics to social media in real time!).
  • Since a few weeks I am the proud owner of a Galaxy Note 9. It has the best phone camera on the market and quality is similar to DSLR camera, I absolutely love it.
  • To edit photos and answer mails while traveling, I usually take my Touchscreen 2-in-1 Business Laptop with me.
  • When spending a lot of time on the road I love to wear my trekking sandals.
  • Travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected against all odds with World Nomads.

***

In order to get more information on tourism in Gdansk, Poland, I recommend the site of Tourism Board of Gdansk and Pomorskie Travel for its surroundings.

 

Some of the pictures in this article have been taken by the talented Kostas Deko


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Disclaimer: I have been a guest of Pomorskie Travel and the Polish Tourism Board. All my opinions, as always, are my own. This posts contains affiliate links. In case you purchase one of the items, I'll receive a small commission. The price remains the same for you.


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What to do in Gdansk (Poland)? A self-guided walking tour of Gdansk including all attractions, best things in Gdansk incl. where to eat, where to stay and shopping.  Free walking tour +map | #gdansk #poland #walkingtour
Like it? Pin it!
What to do in Gdansk (Poland)? A self-guided walking tour of Gdansk including all attractions, best things in Gdansk incl. where to eat, where to stay and shopping.  Free walking tour +map | #gdansk #poland #walkingtour
Like it? Pin it!


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