What to do in Gdansk?
Here is our list of 10 things to do in Gdansk.
1. Dlugi Targ (Long Market): This bustling main street is the heart of modern Gdańsk. Surrounded on all sides by the colourful facades of the reconstructed city, either amble from one sight to another, or sit and watch the world go by from one of several street-side cafes.
Dlugi Targ is home to the Neptune Fountain dedicated to the symbol of Gdańsk and made between 1606 and 1613 making it the oldest secular monument in Poland. The stone creatures surrounding the sea god himself were added in the 1750s. Behind the Neptune Fountain you can find the Artus Court Museum which is a true reflection of a Gdańsk house. In the entrance you can see a photographic display of a full array of famous visitors from over the years. Like many other Gdańsk buildings, Artus Court was completely destroyed in WWII, but was painstakingly rebuilt to its original features using historical records, notably including the original Renaissance tiled stove with towers to the ceiling and incorporates 437 of the original 520 tiles
2. European Solidarity Centre: Reflecting the home of democracy, this exhibition-cum-museum was opened in 2014 and takes you on an audioguide tour through seven distinct halls telling of the Post-War fight for Polish freedom. There is a mixture of multi-media displays with genuine artefacts depicting a chronological journey. You can see what it was like for dockers under communism including a jail cell, an interrogation room and a family living room from time under the communists. An intriguing insight in to a past age.
3. St Mary’s Church: It’s impossible to take an stroll through Gdansk’s centre and not have your view dominated by the huge red brick tower and façade of St Mary’s Church. Begun in 1343 and finished in 1502, with the 15th Century astronomical clock, the 405 steps lead you up a tower to view the city. The 30 chapels within the church display a wealth of art and artefacts.
4. St Bridget’s Church: Ruined to dust and rubble in WWII this church has been entirely rebuilt, but if you like amber – and the draw of amber in this Polish city has enticed you – then this church is well worth a visit: The highlight is a nearly 2m-high amber sculpture depicting the tree of life made from a staggering 6500kg of the golden resin.
5. National Maritime Museum: Life at sea is inescapable in Gdansk and this museum depicts the maritime history of the Baltic and Gdansk’s role as a Baltic seaport through the ages. They have various changing displays, but the permanent interactive exhibit called ‘People-Ships-Port’ is worth a visit alone.
6. Golden Gate: Right at the end of Long Market is Gdansk’s Golden Gate, a triumphal arch originally designed by Abraham van der Block back in 1612 and rebuilt post-war. The four figures on one side represent the virtues of peace, liberty, wealth and fame, and on the other side represent wisdom, piety, justice and concord.
7. Oliwa Cathedral: Visited by about 1.5 million people each year. The best-known because of the Rococo organ, on which concerts have been performed during international summer festivals. The Rococo organ, consists almost 8,000 pipes, and was constructed in the second half of the 18th century by Johann Wulff from Orneta.
8. Westerplatte: During World War II invasion fist battle that really started the invasion of Poland. Great place to visit. Marked by a grand stone monument.
9. Pleasure Cruises: The Baltic is very much at one with Gdansk. Take in the sights with a pleasure cruise to give a different insight to this nautical town.
10. National Museum’s Department of Early Art: Tailored to quite a niche, if you are an art lover then be sure not to miss a little trip out of town to discover this gem of a museum housed in the vaults of a Franciscan Monastery. The exhibition displays a wide range of Polish and international art.