Gdańsk is a stunning city with a fascinating history which shaped Poland and much of Eastern Europe leading up to the fall of Communism and the USSR.
The history of Gdańsk is linked inextricably with that of Solidarność, the socialist movement and trade union of the 1980s. Solidarność, founded in the Gdańsk shipyard, ultimately had membership comprised of 30% of Poland’s workforce and their influence in standing up to the single-party state within a country in the Soviet Union brought about massive change during the breakdown of Communism in Central Europe.
When I visited Gdańsk I took the the (very) slow, (very) early morning train from Białystok. Just a few minutes from Gdańsk Glowny is a city centre of cobbled streets and and a picturesque river front. During WWII much of Gdańsk was destroyed by bombing but the decision was made to rebuild the city in its original image, albeit ignoring any German influence on pre-war architecture. It certainly doesn’t have the feel of only being a few decades old.
The main streets of the city are amongst the most picturesque you’ll wander down and the churches, city gates, museums and the riverfront seem to be buzzing with people. Furthermore, it’s only a short train ride to Sopot and Gdynia, which, along with Gdańsk, make up the Trójmiasto / Tri-city area.
Unless you’re flying, Gdańsk isn’t the easiest place to get to. The train network in Poland offers express trains from Warsaw to various cities but otherwise the journeys are very slow and direct trains the exception rather than the norm for longer routes. However, it’s well worth the journey.
St Mary’s Church has a great viewpoint over the city. The climb is worth it.
Sopot has a fantastic beach for sunny weather.
The Solidarność museum is a bit of a walk out of the city centre but well worth it.