Gdańsk is Poland’s best-kept secret – an eclectic coastal gem that combines a rich patchwork of historic architecture with easy access to the charming Baltic Coast. Thanks to regular flights to Gdańsk from Glasgow Airport, exploring this Hanseatic hub has never been easier.
Walk the Royal Way
Named after the visiting Polish kings who used to parade down its length, the Royal Way runs right through the heart of Old Town. It links some of Gdańsk’s legendary sights, including the Golden Gate, the Town Hall and Neptune’s Fountain. Surrounding this major thoroughfare is a warren of medieval streets that constitute one of Europe’s largest historic centres. The scars left by WWII have been effectively plastered over by decades of painstaking restoration, and nowadays the city offers a fascinating window into the Middle Ages.
Rolling on the river
Gdańsk’s position at the mouth of the Motlawa River has shaped the city’s history. Take a stroll around the Długie Pobrzeże embankment to see the colourful buildings constructed by rich medieval merchants and admire the famous 15th-century Gdańsk Crane (Żuraw). Nearby, you’ll find the National Maritime Museum (Ołowianka 9-13) and the SS Sołdek museum ship. Continue to trace the city’s maritime past with a visit to the former Lenin Shipyard (Na Ostrowiu 15/20). The strikes and dissent that took place here in 1970 and 1980 eventually led to the collapse of communism across the Eastern Bloc.
Hit the beach
Just a 15-minute train ride from Gdańsk is the town of Sopot – a hedonistic hodge-podge of elegant architecture, golden beaches and high-end seaside clubs. Known locally as the Polish Riviera, it’s the perfect place to unwind after all that exhausting sightseeing. If you prefer to stay in the city, there are crescents of silvery sand at Stogi and Brzeżno. Keep your eyes peeled for the small pieces of amber that are often washed up on Gdańsk’s beaches – they make the perfect memento.