Gdansk is an absolutely beautiful city, just inland from the Baltic Sea in the north of Poland. It dates back over 1,000 years, and it’s seen everything from vikings to the start of World War II and beyond. It’s been decimated and re-built, but it still looks like it did in its medieval heyday. This was the first city we visited on our recent trip to Poland, and it was a very good place to start!
No Public Transportation from the Airport
This one surprised me a little. I figured there would be a train, tram, light rail, bus, or something similar to take people from the airport to the city center, but nope! Uber and Taxis are available for around 55 PLN (around $13.50 USD), and the drive is about 20 minutes. Uber and taxi pick-ups are right outside the airport exit and easy to find.
You Can Walk Anywhere You Want to Go
What I love about Europe is the ability to walk just about anywhere you need to go within a city. All the main sites are within steps of each other, and the streets are partially set up in a grid (unusual but not unwelcome for a medieval city), making the old town easy to navigate. It’ll be very challenging to get lost, but if you do, just ask anyone for help. We found the Poles to be very helpful, whether or not they spoke English.
More here: The Best Tips for Your First Trip to Poland
Old Town is Mostly Closed Off to Cars
One reason it’s so walkable: Very few cars! There are barriers set up at many roadway entry points into the old city, so cars mostly avoid it whenever possible. There will be a few taxis and local resident vehicles around, but for the most part, pedestrians have free rein over the roadways. This made for a low-stress weekend of walking around.
Also helpful: 10 Things to Do in Gdansk
This was unexpected! There are a couple of drawbridges over the river that runs through Gdansk, and they open for half an hour, every hour. We ended up waiting about 20 minutes for one to open up so we could get to a museum (which was closed—disappointing!). We could have avoided that by crossing over the main bridge on the other side of the city from where we were, but we had already walked a long way and didn’t feel like backtracking at the moment.
Most of the sites are on the same side of the river, so this may not be an issue for you at all, but be aware of the drawbridge situation, just in case.
Read next: The Ultimate Guide to Train Travel in Poland
The Gdansk Card is Just Okay
I usually love a good city card deal. There were definitely some good museums included with this card, but we had to try hard to get our money’s worth, and I feel like we wasted some time visiting museums that didn’t really interest us just because they were included in the card. Plus, we didn’t know about the card until we arrived, so we had already visited and paid for a site that was included before we got it.
Also disappointing was the lack of information. Accurate info about opening days and hours was nowhere to be found, and even the places that were supposed to be open sometimes were not. A few of the places we wanted to visit that were included in the card were actually closed for renovations during out trip, but we still had to pay full price for the card. Overall, I think this particular city card system is not well executed. If I had it to do over again, I would skip it!
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