Top Things to do in Gdansk, Poland

Gdansk is a port town in northern Poland that is known for it’s marine cuisine. Just about every restaurant had a fish option alongside traditional Polish food which was a welcome change after spending some time in Wroclaw and eating enough Pierogi to make me crave something different (something I never thought I’d say!).

Aside from the food, Gdansk is a beautiful town with a lot of history. I’ll talk more about 10 minutes from the city center is where the Germans invaded Poland and started World War II. Unfortunately, almost the entire city was destroyed in the war and was rebuilt afterward. Still, it is a gem of a place to visit any time of year.

Gdansk Google Maps List

I’ve created a free Gdansk Google Maps list with all of the top things to do in Gdansk pinned take with you on your trip! Just click this link or the image of the map to access it.

Here are some of the top things to do in Gdansk, Poland:

Walk the Royal Route

The Royal Route (or Royal Way) is a path through Gdansk Old Town that the king would walk whenever he visited this port city. This is one of the top things to do in Gdansk for tourists becuase it takes you past most of the historic sites you’ll want to see.

I’d recommend walking all the way to the edge of Old Town Gdansk and starting at Upland Gate. This is where the king would enter the city. Just past Upland Gate is the Prison Tower and Torture Chamber. This building was used for exactly what it sounds like in the 17th century. It now houses the Museum of Amber.

Upland Gate

The next spot to visit is Golden Gate. If you look up at this entrance, you’ll see statues depicting virtues such as peace, freedom, wealth, fame, piety, justice, and concord.

Golden Gate

After walking through Golden Gate, the route spans the length of Ul. Dluga which is a beautiful street to stroll down. It’s lined with restaurants, cafes, and shops and is usually pretty busy. After walking for a bit, you’ll come to Main Town Hall. You can’t miss its huge clock tower and spires. If you have time, Main Town Hall now houses the Gdansk History Museum.

Main Town Hall along Ul. Dluga

Continuing on the Royal Route, you’ll come to Neptune Fountain and Artus Court. During WWII, a lot of Gdansk was demolished. However, Neptune Fountain was dismantled, hidden, and preserved. Now, it’s back where it belongs, as the focal point of Ul. Dluga. Artus Court sits right behind Netpune Fountain and was a meeting place for important dignitaries during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Neptune Fountain with Artus Court in back

The last stop along the Royal Route is Green Gate. This is the end of Ul. Dluga and is the entrance to the walkway by the river. Green Gate was actually built as a palace for Polish monarchy, but was never used for that. Now, it houses the Modern Museum of Art.

Visit Westerplatte

Westerplatte is a must-see for any history history lovers. This is the site where Germans invaded Poland, thus starting World War II. This area is a large shipping port which made it an easy target to be attacked by those coming in on boat. Because of this, there were soldiers stationed at a bunkhouse in the woods you walk through to get to the monument.

The remains of the bunkhouse are still there today. The Polish held off the German Army for a while here, but eventually, the Germans bombed the residence. You can walk through the structure and see the concrete walls demolished and ceilings falling. You can even still see some tile on the ground from what I assume was a bathroom or kitchen.

This is one of the places that takes you back in time and for a second, you might feel an odd sensation, like you’re living back in 1939. This is because it looks like the structure hasn’t been touched since then.

Check Out the World War II Museum

The Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk is said to be one of the best World War II museums out there. The main, permanent exhibition is a look at what World War II felt like from Poland’s perspective. They also have temporary exhibitions that change every so often and an area dedicated to show children what life what like during WWII.

The museum is located along the Motlawa River and is very close to the historic Polish Post Office. If you need more WWII history, the Post Office is also worth a visit as this is the site where postal workers held back the German Army from overtaking it (along with the city) for 15 hours after the invasion of Westerplatte.

Walk Along the Waterway

When you visit the Museum of the Second World War, you’ll notice a ton of other shops, restaurants, and bars along the Motlawa River. I’d recommend walking along either side of the waterway when you first arrive in Gdansk to get a feel of where everything is.

This was is beautiful as it is, but you can stop in a souvenir shop, get a bite to eat, or grab a cup of hot wine from a street vendor in the winter and keep walking.

Eat Local Fish

Being a port city, Gdansk is well known for their fish cuisine. Therefore, fish is on the menu in almost every restaurant. I highly recommend trying at least a few fish dishes to taste local food, especially if you need a break from traditional Polish food.

For a more casual atmosphere, I recommend Fish & Chips. This is a restaurant right on the water with great food and great service. They have a patio that is enclosed in the Winter, so anytime you visit, you can sit outside. This was the best fish and chips I’ve ever had.

For a nicer dinner, I’d highly recommend Zafishowani. This restaurant was EXCELLENT. I’m not exaggerating when I say I’d visit Gdansk again just to go to this restaurant. They have a rotating menu, so I can’t recommend a specific dish, but everything they had was incredible, from the drinks to dessert.

Ride the Ferris Wheel or Carousel

If you spend time walking by the river, you’ll undoubtedly notice the farris wheel and carousel. These are pretty to look at when the sun goes down, but why not hop on yourself?! This is your chance to see Gdansk from above or have some fun pretending you’re a kid again on a rotating horse.

Walk Mariacka Street

All of Poland is known for amber. Pretty much any city you visit will have a ton of amber jewelry stores and Gdansk is no different. In fact, there’s an entire street lined with amber stores where vendors set up their displays ouside their stores.

Whether or not you plan to buy anything, this street is beautiful to walk down with its old architecture and stunning jewelry. I recommend doing this at twilight because it just seems magical at that time, almost like you’re in a Harry Potter movie.

Have you been to Gdansk?

If you’ve been to Gdansk, let me know what your favorite part of your trip was in the comments! Would you add anything to this list of things to do in Gdansk? I fell in love with this city so quickly and I know you will too.

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