Gdansk is a lovely city established back in the distant 10th century and for hundreds of years to come it was the largest, wealthiest and most beautiful city in Poland. As such, it should come to no surprise that the bay and its marine promenades aren’t the only things to see if you happen to be in the area. Here are some ideas on how to spend your time on your next trip to Gdansk.
Visit St. Dominic’s Fair
Germans have Oktoberfest, but Poles have St. Dominic’s Fair – and the latter one is not inferior to Oktoberfest in any way. Beer, wine and other beverages aren’t the primary focus of the fair and they shouldn’t be your only reason to visit it. There’s also food, artisan crafts (jewelry, paintings, wooden fretwork and so on), clothes, souvenirs, hobbyist stalls, festive parades with costumes, live concerts, fireworks… the list goes on and on.
Entertain the kids at the Gdansk Zoo
If you happen to be on a family vacation and your kids aren’t exactly big on history or sightseeing, just take them to the zoo… and treat yourself with it as well. What’s so special about the Gdansk Zoo you may ask? It’s the largest one in the entire country! Plus, it houses a bunch of rare animals, which you probably won’t see anywhere else in Poland, such as anoas and jackass penguins. Nope, that last part wasn’t a reference to the stunt show and the movies, there’s indeed such a species of penguins.
Take a stroll on Long Street
Ulica Długa (meaning Long Street) is probably the most famous street in Gdansk and for good reasons. A sublime array of rococo and gothic architecture, bright vibrant colors and perfectly asymmetrical shapes await everyone who wishes to go for a walk. Bask in the glorious grandeur, stop for a cup of coffee and some people-watching or discover the thrills of the Torture Chamber, which is yet another thing that tourists often include in their bucket lists.
Get some goosebumps at the Torture Chamber and the Prison Tower
Medieval torture devices are absolutely horrifying and that’s probably the reason why so many people are fascinated with them. The city of Gdansk has a Prison Tower and a “torture chamber”, which was once used for interrogation and execution. The grounds have a whipping post, gallows and tons of equipment that’s not for the faintest of hearts out there. If you’re looking for some thrills, you should definitely check them out.
Snap a selfie at the Golden Gate
Grim and gory details left aside, right in front of the infamous Prison Tower and its Torture Chamber is something that has become somewhat of an ultimate must-see for every single tourist visiting Gdansk. It was constructed in the early 1600s and it showcases the eight ideal virtues and qualities, which a respectable citizen should have, depicted in large sculptures – justice, prudency, piety, agreement, freedom, fame, wealth and peace. The gate initially served as a replacement to one of the numerous old gates on medieval Gdansk’s fortifications.
Check out the beaches
Being nestled in one of the Baltic Sea’s bays has its advantages – and for the city of Gdansk that means a whole lot of beaches. Each summer season the Baltic coastline welcomes millions of Slavs and other Europeans to the city and its municipality. Of course, the coastline is beautiful all year round, despite the fact that the Gdansk winter isn’t exactly ideal for outdoor swimming, to say the least.
Don’t pass on the museums
Gdansk is the home of a plethora of museums, which are not only unique in terms of their collections and exhibitions, but also in terms of their exterior. Take the crane of the National Maritime Museum and the futuristic design of the Museum Of The Second World War for example. Most of the museums have external departments, which are located outside the main buildings. In other words, if you’re into museum tours, you’ll definitely get to see quite a lot of Gdansk and its streets, simply because the exhibitions are located in various departments spread all over the city.