Gdansk's position in recent history makes it an intriguing place to visit, the Solidarity Movement that came out of the Gdansk Shipyards in the early Eighties was a catalyst for the eventual collapse of communism across Eastern Europe. Add to that its attractive position on the Baltic Sea and access to some beautiful beaches, it makes a good starting point for exploring the local area. The town itself is small and compact with lots of options for eating out and museums to keep you occupied on rainy days. Nightlife is a bit on the quiet side but with options in nearby Sopot there is enough to keep you going
Gdansk is a safe town to visit and you will experience near German efficiency with the transport and taxi services. The Polish Currency is the Zloty which at the time of writing was about 4 to the English Pound. As Poland is now part of the EU there are no visa restrictions on other European visitors or visitors from the States, Japan or Australia wanting to stay less than 30 days. The weather in Gdansk is cold in the winter but come Spring the temperatures are pleasant enough and in the Summer the Baltic Coasts' popularity means that you should experience good weather in the summer months
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Think cold in the winter, sometimes very cold but warm in the summer, it can get quite hot in the cities in the summer which send most Poles to the Baltic Coast for the sea breezes.
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Getting there / Public Transport
Gdansk Airport is about 25 mins taxi ride (z50-60) from the centre of Gdansk, flights from the UK are about 2 hours and Easy Jet offer cheap flights from £40.
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Where to stay
We stayed in the Novotel which was clean and quite inexpensive. It is about 10 mins walks from the old part of Gdansk in a run down area of Suburbia but relatively safe. If you like your hotel room views then this is NOT the place for you, if you are here just to use it as a bed then you should have no problems!
Other suggestions for places to stay can be found on these websites:
Where to go
Gdansk Crane and Museum - Europe's oldest Medieval Crane is worth a visit even if the accompanying museum is perhaps only worthwhile if you speak Polish and like canoes from around the world!
Westerplatte - Take a boat from near the Green Gate (45 mins) past the Gdansk Shipyards to the point where World War II broke out after a German boat opened fire on a polish garrison. There is a memorial and derelict watchtower
Gdansk Shipyard Gates and Memorial - one of the most important places in the modern history of Poland, if not Europe
Gdansk Solidarity Museum - An excellent museum telling the story of the Gdansk Shipyards, the Solidarity Movement, recent history of Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe
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Pubs and bars
Pub U Szrota - Debatable Scottish Pub serving a collection of Irish beverages, food can be ordered here in the back room sporting quaint Scottish Landscapes on the wall
Piwnica (Golden Gate) - Modern bar in old converted church/gate, good place to enjoy a beer while the sun shines through the coloured windows
Celtic Bar (Podgarbary) - Situated in old public toilets, this tacky irish bar doesn't raise itself above those standards, dingy, crowded and touristy.
Red (Chkebnicka) - Modern bar and as the name suggests with a penchant for red lighting. Cool music, friendly staff and chill out areas up stairs
Latajacy Holander (Dlugi Targ) - The Flying Dutchman may have lost its quirky charm when it moved but its a good place to get tasty food (The Pirates Plate with 3 types of Polish Sausage is recommended), drinks and catch a game of football on the Sky Sports.
Yesterday (Piwna) - Smokey basement club playing music from well, er, yesterday! Popular with a young clientele but a good boozy option for groups
Club Czynny (Targ Rybny) - Pool Bar serving bottled beer, pool is z15 an hour.
Bar Fontana (Warzywnica) - Good outside bar next to cathedral
Pub Duszek (ul Sw Ducha 119/121) - The 'Ghost' is a small traditional polish bar with friendly owners, sprinkled with various strange paraphernalia including old radios, sculpted heads coming out the wall. Cheap drink prices and more seating downstairs and outside. Popular with students on the weekends. http://www.pubduszek.pl/
Also spotted but didn't try:
Spiritus Sanctus ( ul Sw Ducha) - Impressive looking wine bar with accompanying food, other reviews have said the food and wine is excellent here, although it can be a bit pricey)
PiKawa (ul Piwna 5/6) - Nice Cafe serving a good range of coffee and desserts
Greenway - Cheap but tasty vegetarian restaurant/cafe serving healthily plates of salad, tortes, enchiladas. Ideal for lunch
Polish Restaurant - traditional polish cuisine, the Borsch is recommended. Main dishes include wild boar
Kubicki - Gdansk oldest restaurant doesn't disappoint, either sit outside on the canal side or enjoy a seat inside listening to music from a bygone age or live piano music on some nights. Food is very tasty and main course, starter and 4 glasses or wine for 2 can be had for £30. Recommended is the duck in zest with sauerkraut with caramelized onion and apple, sweet carrot and potatoes with dill. The pork with sultana sauce with buttered peas is also recommended
Czekolada (ul Bohaterow Monte Cassino 41, Sopot) - Nice airy cafe bar serving tasty ciabattas (salami, mustard and gherkin recommended!) and gorgeous plates of pasta, a good place to people watch.
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Info supplied by Andy Webb (May 2008)