Gdansk, a great Polish city that is the most populated city in the Pomerania region of Northern Poland with a population of 455,830. Situated on the Baltic coast, it’s the principal seaport of Poland. Needless to say it’s a great place to spend a short break in.
If you’re feeling active, why not pay a visit to the huge Roman Catholic St Mary’s Church and climb the four hundred steps up to the glorious bell tower. Begun in 1379, it’s the largest brick church in the world, measuring 105.5m long and 66m wide at the nave. Once you’re inside, you’ll actually get a grasp of how big it really is – there’s actually room for 25,000 people in there.
Get an idea on how Communism affected Poland by visiting the European Solidarity Centre. You can’t go Gdansk and not visit this museum as it is simply fantastic. As the name suggests its main focus is on the Solidarity Movement that was crucial in freeing many countries from the Communism they had lived under for more than forty years. A lot of the content is accompanied with an English translation.
Another informative place to visit will be ‘Westerplatte’. What is the westerplatte? On the 1st of September 1939 World War II broke out on this site. The site now features a small museum alongside a large monument to the Polish Defenders. If you are remotely interested in World War II this would be a great place to visit to understand more about the Polish view on the War and how it started.
In contrast to the previous activities, a more relaxed place to visit and great for people with families is the Oliwa Zoo. A little bit out of the centre (on the tram line), it’s not just your typical Zoo; its surroundings include a great forest that looks stunning in the summer time on a warm day but you should be warned; the summer weekends are typically very crowded and you may struggle to get parked if you’re driving. Tickets are reasonably priced.
We also recommend the national art museum that features various exhibitions such as medieval fine arts, regional furniture and gold smithery. These are the permanent exhibitions but there are other exhibitions that change regularly such as the Abbots’ Palace showing contemporary art from Poland and the Abbots’ Granary showing ethnographic collections.
Finally, no trip to Gdansk would be complete without a visit to the Golden Gate – one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Built in 1614, it is located at the end of Long Lane and forms part of the old city fortifications. Constructed by Jan Strakowski and designed by Abraham van den Blocke, it shows a Dutch style, in contrast to the building next to it, the Botherhood of St George. Definitely, well worth a visit.
Just a quick and brief guide on what’s on offer in Gdansk, this often overlooked European destination. Flights are actually available from Luton Airport.