The attractions of Gdańsk are mainly focused on over a thousand years of history of this city. Monuments and interesting places here are usually to some extent related to the sea trade known here for centuries, but also to the outbreak of World War II, or the beginning of the Solidarity movement in the 1980s. On the other hand, Gdańsk does not lack modern attractions or interesting museum objects and those related to broadly understood culture.
This city, together with Gdynia and Sopot, forms the more widely known Tri-City, which is a real magnet for tourists. On the other hand, the attractions of Gdańsk are right next to Warsaw and Kraków in the top three most visited places in Poland. In addition, its location on the Baltic Sea means that there are crowds of tourists here all year round.
The biggest magnet in Gdańsk is the large number of monuments, charming architecture and the pleasant atmosphere that prevails in this city. Not only sightseeing enthusiasts will find their way here, but also connoisseurs of night life or rest in a seaside town with plenty of urban greenery and cultural events, such as St. Dominica. The tourist offer of this city is created for everyone, from the youngest together with their families, to seniors who will also find themselves in Gdańsk.
Sightseeing in Gdańsk
Gdańsk can be easily explored on foot, just by walking. The biggest attractions and monuments of this city are located close to each other, so it should not be a problem to reach them all on your own feet. You can always use public transport, or, for example, in nice weather, you can rent a bike. Additionally, Gdańsk can always be admired from the water side by buying a tourist cruise along the bay.
You need at least a few days to visit Gdańsk. Unfortunately, during a one-day trip, we won’t see much. The city offers a lot of attractions and interesting places. You can always come to Gdańsk for the weekend and visit all the places of interest to us, and come back for the rest in some time.
Gdańsk can be visited practically all year round. There is always something going on in this city in terms of nightlife and culture. Summer is a good time to come, as long as we are not disturbed by the real crowds and high temperatures. Spring and autumn will be slightly less tourists, but then the weather can be changeable and it is worth getting ready for it. Even the winter in Gdańsk has its charm, the more so as it is then organized, as in many other Polish cities – a Christmas market. In addition, walks along deserted and frozen beaches are not only atmospheric, but also have a good effect on our health.
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Monuments of Gdańsk
Let’s start exploring Gdańsk from its greatest monuments.
St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption
One of the largest and most important monuments of Gdańsk is the Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption. Built for over 150 years, it is the largest brick building in Europe, built in the Gothic style. It can accommodate as many as 25,000 believers and, interestingly, masses for Catholics and Protestants were held here for some time. Its characteristic red, 14th-century shape with a soaring bell tower and turrets definitely stands out in the panorama of Gdańsk.
Inside the Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption, it is worth paying attention to the vaults and the Royal Chapel. There are also works such as the pieta of Mary with the dying Jesus on her lap, or the figure of the Beautiful Madonna and St. George. However, the most impressive is the astronomical clock from 1470. It is 14 meters high and measures the hours, but also shows the phases of the moon and the signs of the zodiac. Additionally, it is decorated with figures of the apostles and the figures of Adam and Eve. The attraction of St. Mary’s Basilica is undoubtedly the possibility of climbing the belfry, which offers a panoramic view of the entire city.
Another historic place in Gdańsk is Rue Real, i.e. a connection between Long Street and Long Market. This is the most touristic route in this city, which was once solemnly traveled by the most eminent monarchs. The Royal Route starts at the height of the Golden Gate and leads through the most representative buildings in Gdańsk, which belonged to wealthy and influential townspeople.
This is where the most historic buildings are located, from the Uphagen House, through the Main Town Hall, the Artus Court to the Neptune Fountain. Hence the crowds of tourists walking along Long Street and Long Market. There are plenty of eating places around and places where you can buy souvenirs. Rue Real ends with the Green Gate, which leads to the Long Quay.
Main Town Hall
Another important monument in Gdańsk is the Main Town Hall. This is another building that stands out in the city’s architecture. The town hall building dates back to the fourteenth century, although it has been rebuilt several times, it is now an example of the Gothic-Renaissance style. It used to be the seat of the Gdańsk authorities, but today it is open to tourists and houses the Historical Museum of the City of Gdańsk.
In the middle of the Main Town Hall, you can visit the Red Hall, the ceiling of which is decorated with as many as 25 paintings presenting civic virtues. It is also worth visiting the White Room, which is the most decorative in the building. On the walls there are portraits of Polish kings, and in the middle there is a large marble fireplace. An additional attraction is, as in the case of St. Mary’s Basilica, the possibility of entering the town hall tower, from where you can see the entire city.
The Olive Cathedral is also a well-known and eagerly visited monument of Gdańsk. Initially, it was a monastery temple of the Cistercian abbey, and its origins date back to the 12th century. However, the present appearance of Olive Cathedral dates from the 14th century and, interestingly, it is now the longest medieval temple in Poland.
Inside the cathedral you can admire 17th-century paintings, rococo and baroque altars, old canopies and tombstones. However, the greatest attraction of this temple is undoubtedly the huge rococo organ. They consist of almost 8,000 pipes of various sizes, the largest of which is 10 meters long. Additionally, the Olive Cathedral organ is decorated with figurines of little angels that move during play, creating an unforgettable spectacle together.
Tourist attractions in Gdańsk
After the monuments, we direct our steps to the tourist attractions of Gdańsk.
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One of the symbols of the city and the greatest attractions of Gdańsk is undoubtedly the Neptune Fountain. It can be found in every city guide and probably on every second photo from the trip. Neptune’s Fountain weighs 650 kilograms, and its construction took 27 years. The final body is made in the Rococo style, referring to Flemish mannerism.
The Neptune Fountain is situated on the Long Market as a representative building, right in front of the Artus Court. The water in it flows mainly from the sea horses placed at the base of the pedestal and through the trident, held in the right hand by Neptune.
Westerplatte and the Museum of the Second World War
A big tourist attraction in Gdańsk is also Westerplatte and the Museum of the Second World War. Westerplatte is a peninsula in the northern part of Gdańsk, which is a symbolic place where World War II began. Today, you can see the fort, the ruins of the barracks, a bunker and an observation tower, as well as a small cemetery where the dead were buried. However, the most important point on Westerplatte is the 23-meter-high Monument of the Coastal Defenders, built of granite blocks.
Another important place in Gdańsk is the modern Museum of the Second World War. It is entirely devoted to the heroes and victims of these tragic events. On site, you can see many exhibits related to the war period, as well as fragments of the reconstructed streets of Gdańsk and Warsaw. All this is accompanied by interactive projections, thanks to which you can listen to the reports of real participants in this armed conflict and watch some interesting videos.
Another attraction for tourists in Gdańsk is the Crane Gate. Located on the riverside wharf of the Motława River, it is the largest surviving medieval crane in Europe. Its creation dates back to 1442-1444, and its dark wooden structure, placed on a brick two-tower gate, stands out from the urban buildings.
The Crane Gate was used primarily for reloading goods from incoming ships and for erecting masts, but it was also simply a city gate. Today, a branch of the National Maritime Museum is located inside the historic crane. Its entire interior has been reconstructed, even including the drive mechanism. While visiting the Crane Gate, you can see what the port life looked like in the old days.
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A big tourist attraction in Gdańsk is also AmberSky, a huge Ferris wheel, located just above the Motława waterfront. The circular carousel with a span of 50 meters takes on board 36 small, air-conditioned gondolas for eight people, similar to London or Vienna.
Thanks to such a ride, you can look at the panorama of Gdańsk from the right height. This pleasure takes about 15 minutes, during which our gondola makes three full turns around the wheel. The current price list for AmberSky tickets can be checked on the official website – http://ambersky.pl/cennik (in Polish).
What’s worth seeing in Gdańsk?
What else is worth seeing and visiting while in Gdańsk on a trip?
In Gdańsk, it is worth seeing the Uphagen House, which today houses the Museum of Townhouse Interiors. It is a representative building that was once inhabited by wealthy residents of Gdańsk. Uphagen’s house is located on Długa Street and in the 18th century, Jan Uphagen, a Gdańsk councilor, lived there. It is thanks to his testament and the created foundation that the building has been kept unchanged until today.
Thanks to this, the Uphagen House can now be visited. Inside, you can see the conditions in which the wealthy inhabitants of the area lived years ago. Inside, it is worth paying attention to the extremely richly decorated red living room or dining room. In addition, it is necessary to check out the other rooms, where the painted paneling refers to various motifs – insect, flower or bird.
European Solidarity Center
During a trip to Gdańsk, it is also worth seeing the European Solidarity Center. It is an institution that is to commemorate one of the most important events in the history of Poland, i.e. the rise and victory of Solidarity and the fall of communism. It is located in a modern building in the shape of a steel ship, the interior of which is a successful combination of glass, steel and plants.
At the European Solidarity Center, you can see a permanent exhibition about the road to democracy in our country. Here you can see a lot of props related to this turbulent time, including photos from strikes, original elements of the Gdańsk Shipyard equipment or a police truck. All this is supplemented with multimedia presentations and the possibility of transferring your thoughts to a card that can be placed on a large board that makes up the word Solidarity. The most valuable exhibits at the European Solidarity Center are, however, the boards with all 21 strike demands, announced in August 1980.
In Gdańsk, it is also worth visiting the Amber Museum. It is here that you can learn about the history of amber, as well as its processing and use. The Amber Museum is located in the former Prison Tower, next to the Royal Route. The entire exhibition covers all floors of the tower, which is almost 440 square meters.
The exhibits in the Amber Museum are arranged in such a way as to learn about the history of amber sourcing, craftsmanship and the entire industry related to amber. Here you can see a collection of natural amber, as well as various historic and more modern products with their use. It is worth taking a closer look at flora and fauna embedded in amber resin, for example inclusions – the Gierłowska lizard. In addition, you can see antique jewelery made of amber, or the figure of the Amber Nightingale, the main prize of the Music Festival in Sopot.
This is not the end of our trip around Gdańsk.
Interesting places in Gdańsk
What interesting places are worth seeing and visiting in Gdańsk?
One of the most interesting places in Gdańsk is the Oliwa Park. It is located around the Oliwa Cathedral and is considered one of the most beautiful green areas in the city. It is the perfect place to rest for a while and relax among the greenery. The Oliwa Park tempts with well-groomed and trimmed lawns and shrubs, colorful flower beds and walking paths.
There are also ponds and ponds with plenty of wild birds. Interestingly, the whole park is divided into two parts, one of them is decorated in the French style (trimmed, geometric vegetation), and the other in English (nature grows freely and wild).
Another interesting place in Gdańsk is Hevelianum, a center of science and culture, located in a former military fort. An ideal place offering entertainment for the whole family. All the topics covered in the Hevelianum cover physics, mathematics, geography and history. Through an interesting form of communication and simply fun, it transmits valuable lessons.
The exhibitions at Hevelianum are divided into several exhibitions, so we have, among others, “Time Machine – Man and Missile”, “Puzzle”, “Around the World” or “With energy”. During their exploration, you can learn how the aurora is formed, what causes seismic shocks and what the Earth looks like when seen from space. Visiting this place, we have a chance to get to know all continents, along with their culture and customs. In addition, the Hevelianum building has a playground, a mobile planetarium, a traffic gallery and even a gym.
One of the most interesting viewpoints in Gdańsk is Góra Gradowa. This hill, 46 m above sea level, was once the site of the Jerusalem Bastion. It was supposed to protect Gdańsk from the west. The construction of these fortifications began here in 1655.
Currently, at the very top of Góra Gradowa there is the Millennium Cross (erected in 2000), which is nicely lit at night. It is worth climbing here to admire the panorama of Gdańsk from a slightly higher perspective.
Tourist map of Gdańsk attractions
On the map below you will find the biggest and most important monuments, interesting places and tourist attractions in Gdańsk.
What tourist attractions and monuments are your favorite in Gdańsk? We are waiting for your opinions on the forum.