Gdansk, Poland: 3-Day Medieval Europe Travel Guide
After seeing a beautiful picture of the waterfront in Gdansk, Poland, I began planning my journey. Gdansk is located close to two other cities: Sopot and Gdynia. These three together are known as the Tri-City and you can spend several days relaxing and exploring.
Gdansk is known to be a part of the Tri-City because they try their best.
(pause for laughter)
Because they TRY their best.
(pause for more laughter)
Ok, it’s a tri-city because Gdansk is close to two other cities and they make up their own metropolitan area: Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot.
Spend The Day In Old Town Gdansk
There are several free walking tours in Gdansk that take you to different parts of the city. I took a morning and afternoon tour to learn more about this beautiful city.
The buildings are mostly made from bricks and give off a very old-world feel. Walking through the streets felt like walking back in time.
During the free walking tour the guide will point out a home that used to be Hitler’s house. I’m not sure if the home now belongs to someone or if it belongs to the city. But if it did belong to a private citizen, I wonder how difficult of a time the realtor had to try and sell Hitler’s house post-war. Note: Hitler’s house is the third building from the left in the featured image.
Take A Day Trip To Malbork Castle
When researching what to do in Gdansk, I found out about Malbork castle but couldn’t find any tours that included it. That’s when I decided to venture out on my own, so you can too! It was surprisingly easy and less than one hour each way.
From Gdansk station take the train to “Dworzec Kolejowy” then just walk north-west for 20 minutes. All I did was follow Google Maps and I got there with no problems.
Buying the train ticket to Dworzec Kolejowy was easy from Gdansk. The station attendants spoke English so the purchase was easy. On the way back, I had some difficulty explaining to the train station attendant that I wanted a ticket to Gdansk. I didn’t speak any Polish and the attendant didn’t speak any English. Be prepared with Google Translate. If you have Android, you can download the Polish language pack to work offline.
An Independent Expedition
When you get to Malbork Castle, you’ll have to purchase a ticket to enter the grounds. Included with your ticket is an audio guide available in several languages. I selected English. This was my first time using an audio guide and found it fascinating. As you walk through castle grounds, there are certain zones that trigger the audio guide to begin informing you about the history of the area you’re currently in. It updated very quickly as I explored.
This was the MOST independent tour of a castle I’ve ever been on. There is no supervision! I’ve been to castle tours in other countries and those tours were very strict about staying on a very supervised path. The Polish people are very trusting. Additionally, I didn’t see any signs of damage, graffiti or trash from tourists in the castle. This was also the biggest castle I’ve been to. It took over an hour to really quickly explore the grounds. Although there was a lot of open space in the castle, you’ll run into space issues when crossing paths in the narrow staircases.
Just outside the castle grounds, you can find gift shops, candy stores, beer, food and games all with a medieval style. For a fee, you can even ride a horses around the grounds.
If you’ve ever wanted to wander around a giant castle unsupervised, Malbork castle is the place to visit!
Take A Day Trip To Sopot
Uber is available in Poland and is very affordable. I took a 30-minute ride from Gdansk to Sopot for $10USD (July 2016). But if you want to save some cash Sopot and Gdynia are easily accessible by train and bus.
Sopot is a beautiful beach town. There is a large boardwalk that extends into the ocean along with shops, restaurants, churches, art sculptures and a movie theatre. Most importantly, there is a beach! Just relax on the beach and enjoy life.
The Sheraton Sopot is at the center of it all but will cost you significantly more than other places in Poland. If you have SPG points from the Starwood Credit Card, this would be a nice place to use it for a 10k point redemption…but I prefered to stay by old town Gdansk for a significantly lower price.
Check Out Gdynia
If you’re planning a trip here in the summer and like music, plan it around the Open’er Festival. It’s a music festival with popular bands from all over the world.
If you don’t like crowds of people, also plan it around the Open’er Festival. It’s easy, just don’t go that weekend.
Adventure Park Gdynia
Get your adrenaline at Adventure Park Gdynia. They have a lot of different outdoor activities from paintball, quads, off-road ATV’ing, archery and more.
In conclusion, the tri-city has a lot to offer! It’s not as crowded as other tourist cities in Europe and getting around with just English won’t be a problem.