How to Spend 1 Day in Gdansk
Northern Poland’s largest city, Gdansk sprawls along the Baltic coast, forming the Tri-City metropolitan area with neighboring Gdynia and Sopot. With one day in Gdansk, you have time to explore the watery Old Town, discover enormous Malbork Castle, and sample the region’s fabulous food and drink. Here’s how.
Morning: Old Town Road
With waterways running right into the heart of the city and a wealth of reconstructed 17th-century buildings, Gdansk’s Old Town should be your first stop. A walking tour is the perfect way to soak up the atmosphere in the cobbled streets and take in sights such as Golden Gate, Old Town Hall, Neptune’s Fountain, and the medieval Crane. Aim to hit 15th-century St. Mary’s Church at noon, when the astronomical clock springs to life. Or, get creative: Paddle a kayak through the center of Old Town, ride a Segway, join a bike tour—or board a hop-on, hop-off bus.
Afternoon: Crusader Castle
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Malbork Castle is an enormous brick-built fortress that started life as a fortified monastery in the 13th century. Just 40 miles (64 kilometers) out of town, it’s an easy half-day trip, and the castle’s turrets, spires, and churches repay the journey. A guide can explain Gdansk’s complex history (it’s been known by its German name, Danzig, for long periods) and bring you straight to the castle’s highlights. Learn how the Teutonic knights rose from the Crusades to found their own religious state, headquartered here in Malbork (also known as Marienburg).
Night: Foodie Fantastic
With one night in Gdansk, it pays to have a guide to help navigate the city’s vibrant food scene—not least because small plates are far from common in Polish cuisine. Discover delights from pierogi dumplings to potato pancakes, and Poland’s wealth of cheese, sausage, cured meat, and pickles. Be sure not to skimp on the drinks. Poland offers a rich vein of vodkas, made with everything from potato to rye. Besides traditional honey and cherry vodkas, don’t miss a Gdansk specialty: Danziger Goldwasser, a liqueur made with real gold. Wrap up at one of the city’s lively craft brewpubs if time allows.