I’m going to start with a confession. Before I booked my trip to Gdańsk, I’d never heard of the place. And that’s what it makes it so good; nobody really has. It’s cheap. Beautiful. Metropolitan. Like an untouched, undiscovered London. All of the benefits. None of the crowds.
Tempted? Here’s a few more reasons to hop on that (crazy cheap) flight…
There’s more than just wódka on offer
50p shots of Polski vodka means some areas of Poland (think Krakow) can be catnip for thirsty stag parties. Luckily, Gdańsk is yet to make it onto their radar. Instead, you’ll find cocktails bars necklacing colourful streets, with jewels like Flisak ‘76 demanding a visit. Tucked into a basement, it boasts a décor even more tantalising than its cocktail ingredients. Think cozy armchairs on the inside. Deckchairs on the outside.
It’s also worth sampling local liquor Goldwasser – gold-flecked vodka. If its 40% strength isn’t enough to take you to new heights try out High 5 – a classy rooftop bar that sits on top of the Hilton and overlooks the river.
‘Researching’ a rhubarb cocktail at Flisak ‘76
You can sail on an actual pirate ship
There’s no better way to travel around Gdańsk than aboard a pirate ship. And you don’t need a treasure chest to afford it. For £9 you can enjoy a two-hour sail down the mouth of river Vistula and take in the city from top deck. Not only are there guides to tell you about the city’s history and monuments but there’s also a bar on board to grab a rum.
It’s where the first shot of WW2 was fired
Gdańsk is known as the city of beginnings. Sail past the Westerplatte memorial and you’ll find yourself at the exact point where war between Poland and Nazi Germany commenced. Fifty years later, it’s noted as the city that marked the beginning of the end of communism. If Teuton Knights are more your thing (I’m not judging) you can learn about their brutal takeover in 1308 where they murdered the entire city to call it their home. It’s worth taking your nose out the guidebook and taking a free walking tour to find out more – they last about two hours and occur daily.
There’s a gorgeous royal-worthy square
When the king of Poland visited Gdańsk from Warsaw, he was met with a procession of ornate gates which still stand today. Head along Stare Miasto, known as the ‘Royal Route’ that runs between the gates and take in the gorgeously colourful main square littered with buskers and ice cream stands. Climb up the Mariacka’s cathedral forgreat views and cool down afterwards by Neptune’s Fountain.
One of the many impressive gates in the city
Want to pay a trip before the rest of Europe finds out? You can secure a return flight for as little as £30 flying from Stansted (and most other major airports). Head from May onwards to feel the heat and avoid the crowds of August. It’s also worth timing your trip with a festival so consider the likes of Open’er in June – a great line-up at a festival less than an hour’s drive from the centre.