Gdansk, a former trader crossroads, industrial and port city, has sat in the background for years as one of the most underrated cities in Europe. For many years, this city went unnoticed until recently when tourists discovered the hidden gems that the city has to offer.
Gdansk is rich in history and brimming with activities for both young and old. Today, this once sleeping giant is popular, at least amongst the younger generation, for its annual festivals and events, particularly the Open’er music festival, which takes place every summer. If Gdansk is not on your bucket list, here are five reasons why you should visit at least once before you die.
1. Rich History
Gdansk is steeped in history. The city was founded in 997 and has been ruled by many rulers over time. Ever since its inception, the city has been a disputed territory, first in the Kingdom of Poland and then to the Teutonic Order and then included in the Kingdom of Prussia.
Only recently, precisely 1945, was the city returned to its rightful owner, Poland. This is the place where the attack on the Westerplatte Peninsula and the capture of the Polish post office began the Second World War.
One way to know you’re already in Gdansk is when you begin to see countless clock towers, wooden clock, and medieval crane. Despite the destruction that befell the city during World War II, Gdansk has been retransformed to give it such a unique look.
Experience an old town feel as you stroll through the city, taking you back into the medieval age. An experience you’ll never forget in a rush.
2. The Tricity
The Tricity in Poland comprises Gdansk, Sopot, and Gdynia. These destinations are within proximity to each other. If you think you’ve seen it all in Gdansk, consider taking a tour to the other cities that make up the Tricity.
Sopot is Poland’s most famous sea resort. The city is home to an array of exotic restaurants, bars, night clubs, and cafes, and in the summer, visitors can enjoy watching a movie on the beach. The main attraction in Sopot includes the Forest Opera (Opera Lesna), Krzywy Domek (Crooked House), and a Pier.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay a small access fee to gain entrance into the pier during peak season. On the other hand, it’s free when visiting during the offseason. You may walk along it without paying the access fee. The entrance fee is used for maintaining the pier.
History enthusiasts will enjoy visiting Gydnia. The city is home to lots of historical monuments and architecture. Here, you’ll find the Emigration Museum and the Museum of the Polish Navy. Another spot worth visiting in Gdynia is the pier located in the Gdynia-Orlowo area.
3. Food and Drink
If you are a food lover and enjoy it served alongside a chilled bottle of beer, then you will not be disappointed when you visit Gdansk. After all, the city is home to a street dedicated to a beer called Ulica Piwna, literally meaning ‘beer street.’ You’ll be spoilt for choice with the array of bars, taverns and drinking establishments found here.
If you can’t do without great food, Gdansk will spoil you with plenty of sea-inspired cuisines. Dluga Street is lined with lots of seaside restaurants offering stunning waterfront views. You can’t leave this city without sampling Pierogi, a small and incredibly sumptuous dumpling. If you go to Gdansk, don’t miss a chance to try out the local seafood. Also, there’s fresh fish everywhere you turn.
In addition to the food, Gdansk is a leader when it comes to authentic soup. The choice of food in Gdansk is endless. Of all the soups, make sure you sample zurek and flaki, both being local’s favorite.
With the various kinds of delicacies available, you risk gaining weight. It’s somewhat challenging to keep a check on your waistline. Apart from getting this food cheap, the serving sizes at restaurants and cafes are quite impressive.
Of all the reasons why you might want to visit Gdansk, the architecture may not be top on the list. But it may surprise you to know that Gdansk is home to simply stunning architecture.
There’s a guarantee that you’ll love every minute spent walking and taking in the scene in the city. This is one of the best ways to get soaked into the city’s architecture. The old town is brimming with lots of medieval buildings, including the wooden crane, presumably the world’s largest medieval crane.
Also in the city is the St Mary’s Church, which is the largest church built from brick and one of the three largest churches in the world. Find your way to the top of the church where breathtaking city views await you.
5. Intriguing Museums
This list will be incomplete without mentioning at least one reason why culture enthusiasts should visit Gdansk. One such idea is the city’s engaging museums. Check out the National Museum, where you’ll find impressive artworks such as The Last Judgment, done by the famous Hans Memling painting. Other top museums include the History Museum, the Maritime Museum, and the Amber Museum.
Another museum that you’ll find fanciful is the Free City of Danzig Historical Zone on Dluga Street. To learn more about the role Gdansk played in the Second World War, make sure you visit the recently opened World War II museum.
Gdansk is the home of the European Solidarity Centre, built to commemorate the Solidamosc movement. The collections on display in the museum are dedicated to the history of opposition movements around Europe.
Gdansk’s proximity to other European cities makes it a perfect destination for a weekend break. Visit during summer to get the most of the pleasant weather. Make sure you spend a couple of days exploring the city, and you’ll be glad you did.
Regardless of budget, Gdansk has something for you. You could easily visit this city on a tight budget. Here you will find a lot of things for cheap. Gdansk is relatively affordable.
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