Gdansk is located on the Baltic coast in northern Poland and is only a two hour flight from most UK airports. In many ways, Gdansk is the ideal place to spend a weekend break providing visitors with three cities for the price of one! Gdansk’s neighbours are Sopot and Gdynia, two seaside towns rich in attractions and both within 20 minutes driving time from Gdansk.
Gdansk has had a chequered history, once known as Danzig (with a large proportion of German speaking people), this city in northern Poland has surprisingly found itself as a catalyst for major historical events – not once but twice ! In 1939, the first shots of World War Two were fired at Westerplatte-a couple of miles away from Gdansk. Forty one years later, a modest shipworker from Gdansk by the name of Lech Walesa, found himself propelled to the forefront of the trade union, Solidarity. This flashpoint lit the taper that ultimately led to the downfall of Communism in Eastern Europe. We have many More Poland Vacation Information, Travel Review and Attractions Articles Now Available.
Today, Gdansk is one of the largest cities in Poland. In common with many countries that have survived oppression, Poland has gone through a period of dynamic growth and Gdansk is no exception. Ultra modern shopping malls are springing up throughout the area, service industries are replacing more industrial types of work and tourism is on the rise. The Gdansk area has always been popular with Poles holidaying in their own country but now with the advent of budget flights to Gdansk more and more British & Irish tourists are discovering that there is more to Poland than just Krakow.
The Old Town of Gdansk is the place to head for. Beautifully restored buildings frame Ulica Dluga (Long Street) and without a main square, Ulica Dluga acts as the main focal point of the city. The Fountain of Neptune and Town Hall building can be found here and further along, Ulica Dluga leads onto the riverbank which is lined with amber shops, restaurants and bars (think of Krakow but with a maritime flavour).
Gdansk is the best place to buy amber in Poland as the Baltic and North Sea coastlines are the main areas in the world where amber can be found. There are typically three types of places where you can buy amber in Gdansk :- Amber jewellery stores, souvenir stores and outdoor amber stands. The jewellery and souvenir stores will claim that only they sell original amber and suggest to you that the cheaper outdoor amber stands sell fake amber. The outdoor amber vendors will tell you that they do in fact sell genuine amber and that the jewellery and souvenir stores are simply trying to discredit them because their prices are much cheaper. There is a fascinating amber museum just one minutes walk from Ulica Dluga. Head out of the Old Town towards the medieval looking tower-this building use to be a Torture Tower and there are still some reminders of it’s grisly past. However, the building now houses a marvellous display of amber from how it was formed to how it can be formed into unbelievable pieces of art.
The neighbouring town of Sopot is only a very short drive from Gdansk and offers something completely different to it’s larger neighbour. In the pre war years, Sopot established a reputation as being a classy seaside resort for the well to do . The beachfront Grand Hotel hosted many illustrious and infamous guests including Greta Garbo. Charles Aznavour, Fidel Castro and Adolf Hitler. from Giscard D’estang to Adolf Hitler ! Today, Sopot still carries an air of sophistication about it but has also developed a reputation asa bohemian and artistic centre with movie and art festivals being held in the town as well as the famous Sopot music festival. Sopot’s most famous attraction is the Molo (wooden pier). Claimed to be the longest wooden pier in Europe the Sopot Molo is a magnet for locals and tourists alike. In the warmer months, cafes and bars open onto the beach itself with tables and chairs placed on the sand. If you’re feeling romantic you can always share one of the many wicker basket loveseats scattered across the beach. The beach also lends itself perfectly well to beach parties which overspill from some of the beachside bars and clubs and many people will argue that Sopot has the best nightlife in Poland.
A 10 minute drive away (or a 35 minute walk along the beach from Sopot pier) is the third town of the Tri-City, the port of Gdynia. This town was only founded in the 1920’s but has emerged as one of the most desirable places to live in the country. Situated between the forested Tri City National Park and the Bay of Gdansk, Gdynia has evolved into a very attractive coastal suburban town. Koscziusko Square is located at the tip of the Southern Pier and is where most people go to chill out. A retired warship and frigate are permanently moored at the quayside and are open to the public whilst on the opposite side is Gdynia Aquarium. A couple of minutes walk further along is the Gemini Retail Centre housing a cinema, bar with sea view and scores of different stores. The road leading to Koscziusko Square is lined with bars and grills with many places offering live music. Within walking distance is Ulica Swietojanska the main commercial artery of the town. Ulica Swietojanska runs for several miles and the whole length consists entirely of shops, bars, banks and restaurants.
A flight to Gdansk really does offer value for money in these difficult economic times and with the Polish zloty weakening against Sterling then the chance to explore three cities for the price of one is hard to argue against. We have many More Europe Vacation Information, Travel Review and Attractions Articles Now Available.