The 1000 year old city of Gdansk on the Baltic coast has witnessed some defining events in the 20th century. It was here at Westerplatte where the WWII started and it was in the Gdansk Shipyard where Solidarity movement was born, led by Lech Walesa.
The historic part of Gdansk, totally destroyed during the WWII, has been beautifully restored to its former glory and the old town dazzles with its rich Hanseatic architecture.
Gdansk, together with two other Tri-city towns - Sopot & Gdynia - is an attractive tourist destination, a great place for holidays in Poland.
Exploring Gdansk old town is a must on a Gdansk city break. Walk down the scenic old Royal route from the Upland Gate to the Green Gate. Look up as you pass by the main town hall and colourful townhouses with narrow facades typical of Gdansk architecture. Have a photo taken with the statue of Neptune by the Artus Court and if you're feeling energetic, climb up the main town hall clock tower for amazing panoramic views of Gdansk old town.
Stroll along the quey of Motlawa river admiring Zuraw, The Crane, an example of a XV century wooden harbour crane. Take artistic pictures of old town through one of the old gates on the way. Try the local 'Zlote Lwy' (Gold Lions) beer in one of the picturesque riverside restaurants like 'Goldwasser'.
Take a trip to Westerplatte, where the WWII first shots were fired, on a boat modelled on a XVII century galleon. You'll also be in for some live music during the trip and when it gets back into Gdansk the party continues into the night.
Take a train to Sopot for a slice of an elegant beach resort life. The town is full of bars, restaurants, shops and spas and of course the key attraction is Sopot pier, Molo, the longest wooden pier in Europe. Try the delicious apple pie (szarlotka), spend a romantic evening in the Blekitny Pudel cafÃ© or have a picture taken with the crooked house (Krzywy Domek) on the main pedestrian street of Bohaterow Monte Cassiono.
Hel is a lovely narrow peninsula (with a village of the same name at the end of it) at the western edge of the Gdansk Bay. You could get there by boat from Gdansk, Sopot or Gdynia. You can even take a bike to try the cycling paths between Hel and Jastarnia. On the way back, catch the train and admire the sea view on both sides of the train.
Visit the Amber Museum in the old prison building to see new and antique amber jewellery and other amber artefacts. For amber jewellery shopping, walk along the picturesque Mariacka Street - famous for its amber shops & workshops. For some free amber try your luck at fossil hunting on one of the Gdansk beaches.
A city break in Gdansk is not just limited to city life. Go for a swim and spend time sunbathing on one of Gdansk's great beaches. A six kilometres walk along the beach from Brzezno to Sopot is a real treat for those who like being active on the beach - and tackling two cities in one!
Visit the Gdansk Shipyard, the birthplace of the Solidarity movement. When tracing back the history of Solidarity check out the exhibition 'Roads to Freedom' on Waly Piastowskie Street.
While in Gdynia, look around one of the most beautiful yachts in the world - 'white frigate' (Dar Pomorza) - built in 1909 and used as a polish the training ship for over 50 years, now preserved as a museum. For kids, take them to discover underwater treasures at the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium.
Have a cocktail in the High 5 bar of the roof of Hilton hotel in Gdansk for great panorama of the city... Why not stay there for a night too? The hotel opened in Summer of 2010 and has a rooftop swimming pool and sun loungers - perfect for a relaxing afternoon.
Set on the north coast of Poland, Gdansk is part of the Tricity (Trojmiasto) along with Gdynia and Sopot. Direct flights to Gdansk are available from London and regional airports.
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