Part living museum, part vivacious modern port, Gdańsk is an atmospheric maritime city surrounded by glorious beaches. With colourful Christmas markets in winter and the sun-drenched PolishBalticCoast to explore in summer, this is a year-round destination.
A walk through time
The red-roofed medieval centre of Gdańsk was decimated by bombing during WWII but has since been meticulously restored. Enjoy a stroll around the OldTown, taking in the historic landmarks of St Mary’s Church (Podkramarska 5), the Royal Way and Oliwa Cathedral (Biskupa Edmunda Nowickiego 5) before learning about the Polish struggle against communist rule in the heart-rending underground Roads to Freedom Exhibition (Wały Piastowskie 24). Former Lenin shipyard Stoczinia Gdańska (Na Ostrowiu 1) is the birthplace of the Solidarity movement and another important tick on any culture lover’s Polish itinerary.
Hidden away behind the narrow cobbled streets and pastel-coloured terraces of the OldTown is a stupendous selection of bohemian cafés, microbreweries and live music bars. Most big nights out in Gdańsk start at Brovarnia (Szafarnia 9), a beer hall that brews award-winning ales in its own polished copper vats. Locals prefer classy wine bar Spiritus Sanctus (Grobla I 13), live music venue Café Ferber (Długa 77-78) and Beatles-themed cellar bar Yesterday (Piwna 50-51).
Coast with the most
The beauty of Poland’s Baltic Coast is one of the best kept secrets in Eastern Europe, and a holiday to Gdańsk from Glasgow Airport is the perfect opportunity to discover this ‘Polish Riviera’. Hel, a laid-back resort town built at the base of a slender sandbar, is popular with locals and in-the-know visitors; but venture out to the dunes around Łeba and you’ll have a long stretch of golden coast virtually to yourself. If you’re looking to fit in a few hours of sunbathing between exploring the streets of Gdańsk, then the Blue Flag beach at Stogi is just a short journey from the city centre.