11 min read
After our founder Greg shared his tips on how to spend 48h in Venice, our travel expert Ellis tells you all about how he spent his last weekend break in Gdansk, a magical port city on the Baltic coast of Poland.
At BeRightBack, there’s nothing we love more than a weekend away to a Polish city whose name temporarily baffles the average Brit with uncomfortably placed consonants at the beginning of the word. Don’t worry, I didn’t know how to pronounce Gdansk (-gd as in 'lagged') or guh-DANSK if you want to further anglicize it!
Well, put aside your quest for logically placed consonants and verbs my friends, it’s time to spend 48 hours in a city perhaps not as widely known as its well-visited ‘compadres’: Warsaw and Krakow – all the more reason to go and explore what I reckon is a hidden gem on the Baltic coast.
Gdansk (G as in garden, not germs or gnome) is a beautiful, colourful city bustling with people and is the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship – AKA a north western province in Poland. Its history is vast, having once been considered a royal city of Poland back in the early-modern age, to becoming known as the Polish Corridor in the interwar period.
The history of the city paired with cultural landmarks and museums make it the perfect destination for a cosy, quick weekend trip away; a much needed change of scenery from your living room or the local pub. A couple of hours on a plane and you’re there before you know it. I flew from London Heathrow as early as I could on Friday morning and arrived at my hotel well before lunchtime which gave me 2.5 days to explore the city!
You guys know the drill at this point; at BeRightBack, we have lovingly pulled together the absolute must-sees for your short time in this Polish city. All the hard work has been done for you, your only job is to not forget your passport. Oh and lock the front door!
After a 2 hour flight from London Heathrow, I land at Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport. I want to make the most of my time in the city so I jump in a taxi and head straight to the Craft Beer Hotel to drop off my bag.
Situated in the historic heart of Gdansk and close to some of city's most popular landmarks, such as Great Armoury (Wielka Zbrojownia) and St. Mary's Church, Craft Beer Central Hotel is the perfect place to be.
The rooms are decorated in a minimal design, with a touch of classy and comfort but the best part is yet to come, an antique staircase in your own apartment and a very cosy room in the attic, how amazing is that?
But that is not all! You can enjoy an early morning workout in the hotel's private fitness room to then have your morning coffee at the hotel's bar. What a better way to get energised for a long day of exploring?
Remember earlier when I said Gdansk was once considered to be a royal city in Poland? Well your first stop in the city is to walk where royalty once walked, on a route that was creatively named ‘The Royal Route'.
Photo Credit: @weltreize
Although it sounds grand, it is essentially a very long lane, or Ulica Długa to the locals, leading through the centre of the city. The grandeur of this particular pathway lay in its history, which once hosted ceremonies, royal processions and celebrations.
Located within this royal route is the opulent ‘Golden Gate’, and its regal, Late Renaissance architectural style explains why it is one of Gdansk’s most notable tourist attractions.
Photo Credit: @pedrovelpablo
After admiring the gate, go ahead and explore the city’s Long Street, where you will find Gdansk’s famous multi-coloured buildings and Neptune’s Fountain located by palatial townhouses once the accommodation for Polish royalty.
Photo Credit: @asia_journeys
You know we love an Old Town at Be Right Back, so start your trip off slowly and embrace the historical centre of Gdansk; take in the monuments, admire the vibrant buildings and grab some breakfast at one of the many surrounding cafes and restaurants.
Photo Credit: @ummaramiir
Up next is Ulica Mariacka, or St Mary’s Street, to continue embracing Gdansk history. It is a quaint, picturesque cobblestone street lined with those narrow, multi-coloured houses that almost look like cereal boxes lined up in a cupboard.
Photo Credit: @sandrazochowska
Fun fact, this particular street is often used as a shooting location for period movies, as its traditional architecture and narrow streets feel as though you have been transported back in time.
Whilst wandering this cute street you may or may not fail to notice the looming Gothic Church that stands tall, proud and frankly, humungous amidst Gdansk Old Town’s fairytale townhouses.
Photo Credit: @carolineeoff
You really can’t miss it. At 66 metres in length and 400 steps to climb your way to the summit, St Mary’s Church guards the city with her keen, gothic eye.
Make sure to go inside and marvel at the scale of the building, which can apparently hold 25,000 worshippers! And don’t forget to have your morning porridge in preparation for this landmark – 400 steps to the top is no joke, so bring your trainers and blister plasters and up you go for mega views of the city.
Photo Credit: @dynastiia
As the day begins to wind down, there is no better place to go than Dlugie Pobrzeze, the Long Embankment.
Photo Credit: @panizpomeranii
Like every part of Gdansk so far, the embankment has its own history and was once a port where all of Gdansk’s loading and unloading took place, before the port was relocated in the 19th century. The embankment is the perfect spot to revel in Gdansk’s status as Poland’s principal seaport and grab some dinner by the water.
I recommend trying Goldwasser, a restaurant with gothic interiors and plush red velvet seating, as well as a menu that offers traditional Polish and Kashubian dishes.
Photo Credit: @goldwasser_restaurant
Word on the street is they have the best steaks in town and offer their unique Goldwasser liqueur with flakes of 24-carat gold – it’s one not to miss.
Photo Credit: @goldwasser_restaurant
Speaking of liqueur, Gdansk is not shy and boasts a pretty vibrant nightlife scene with bars-a-plenty. To round off your first night in this quaint town, make sure to try Polish style beer: Piwo z Sokiem, a beer served with raspberry syrup.
Photo Credit: @bestbirpiwo
I recommend Bruderschaft for your night out location of choice – a pub located in Gdansk’s Old Town. It’s dimly lit, with an exposed brick interior and well-priced drinks including beers and cocktails, what more could you want?
Photo Credit: @pub_bruderschaft
Rise and shine for day 2 in Gdansk! Grab a glass of water and wash down those piwo z sokiems you were chugging the night before – time to head out to see the Gdansk Crane located back at Dlugie Pobrzeze.
Photo Credit: @bobbyfazza
Much like St Mary’s Church, it’s hard to miss the Gdansk Crane. You most likely spotted it whilst exploring the embankment the night before wondering what on Earth this oddly shaped building was.
Dating back to the 14th Century, this piece of machinery is an homage to Gdansk’s history as a port, with the crane being able to unload or load 4 tonnes of cargo, and lifting it 11 metres high. Although no longer serving its purpose as a crane, tourists can now go inside to see the mechanics as well as an in-depth history of the port from the 1500s to the 1700s.
To continue the theme of educating yourself on Gdansk history, you can spend your final afternoon in the city in one of Gdansk’s many museums. Although there are a few to choose from, I recommend the Museum of the Second World War.
Photo Credit: @erninda_nya
The building itself is a sight to behold, as it is a leaning tower with a glass front and bright orange bricks – it is so notable that the architectural team won the architectural competition for their work.
Opened in 2016, the museum has quickly become one of Gdansk’s must-visit attractions, and displays the journey and fate of Poland during the war, and the human suffering that was caused. It is a moving, powerful document of the story of Poland’s plight during the war, and leaves visitors feeling reflective.
Photo Credit: @nomadic_harper
Following your visit to the museum, you can make a trip to the historical Westerplatte, a peninsula in Gdansk that is famous for the Battle of Westerplatte – the first dispute between Polish and German forces that marked the beginning of the second World War.
Photo Credit: @tomvoyages
This great landmark is still home to the ruins of the defenders’ barracks, with memorials to the fallen soldiers and the magnificent Westerplatte Monument, “Coast Defenders”, erected in 1966 and 25 metres high.
Photo Credit: @oliwiaipoplawska
Although a heavy second day, embracing the emotional history of Poland and Gdansk, and paying tribute to fallen soldiers and civilians, it is a huge part of the city’s culture and should not be missed on your short visit.
Now don’t look at me like I’m crazy, but my suggestion for your final night in Gdansk may confuse you. That’s because it is quintessentially British. It’s time for a night at the theatre – the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre – to be exact.
Photo Credit: @adrianwerner
It’s not random, I promise. The theatre is actually built on the site of a 17th Century theatre where English travellers once performed English Renaissance Theatre, so it’s perfectly positioned, maybe just unexpected. The theatre is the perfect way to relax and wind down after these non-stop 48 hours. Make sure to book tickets in advance and pack your best frock, it’s a performance not to miss.
Photo Credit: @otwartascena
If like me you love taking short weekend breaks across Europe and spending 48 hours in cities like Barcelona, Prague, Porto, Split, Bologna, Stockholm or Venice, but if like me you hate wasting hours trawling travel sites to plan and research your next weekend break, only to be hit by increased flight prices just before booking, then BeRightBack is for you!
The team at BeRightBack believes that the mission of a travel company should be to save you both time and money.
With BeRightBack, you get three trips a year to three surprise European destinations, all for the monthly cost of £49.99, which includes your return flights and your hotel.
With BeRightBack, creating a trip takes 60 seconds. Simply tell us how you like to travel when you create your account, and our concierge service does everything else for you. You won't have to lift a finger.
Best of all, you always pay the same price for your trips, no matter when you go away and we help you spread the cost of your travel, thanks to our monthly subscription.
I hope you enjoyed my 48 hours city guide to Gdansk and do not hesitate to use our website chat or to email us if you have any questions!
Ellis (Travel Expert at Berightback)
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