There is a saying „a few hours in Gdańsk are still better than a week anywhere else”. If you have shortage of time then you need a good plan to take out most of your stay. We will be happy to host you for a private Gdańsk Express tour if you want to skip all the research and planning.
But if you want to organize the tour on your own we have made a plan for you. Let’s see what you can do in Gdańsk in one day. We scheduled a tour including stops for visiting a few attractions, having lunch, coffee and dinner. In addition the tour is flexible. If you want to start your walking tour from the spot where we end it no problem at all. For your convenience at the bottom of this article we have added a map. It shows the route of your walking tour.
If you stay overnight in any of Gdańsk hotels then you probably eat your tasty breakfast in the hotel restaurant. If you live in one of the many apartments available in Gdańsk or arrive in the morning by plane or train then we recommend taking breakfast in one of the bistro bars. There are many spots good at serving delicious breakfast in the Main Town.
Pop in Retro on Piwna Street (ul. Piwna 5/6 ) a cosy and as the name says retro style cafe. They serve delicious breakfasts e.g. oatmeal with lots of different toppings, and sandwiches. You can also order fresh squeezed juice, delicious coffee, quality teas and homemade cakes. Retro offers also vegan dishes. They open at 10 am.
Just 5 minutes walk from Retro Cafe and you are at the Uplands Gate (Brama Wyżynna). That’s where the main entrance to the city was and where the Royal Way started. It was here the Polish kings were welcomed and given the key to the city. At present, it houses a tourist information point if you need e.g. a city map for you tour. Leaving behind Forum Shopping Mall you continue your walk along a medieval fore-gate building. Once a Torture Chamber and Prison Tower. Nowadays you can find the Amber Museum here. You can admire impressive displays of amber and inclusions. If you are fond of amber history or amber jewellery book around 1 hour for a visit.
The next gate you walk through is the Golden Gate. It’s absolutely the most notable and the prettiest gate in the Main Town. Flemish architect Abraham van den Blocke designed it. The gate was built between 1642-44, later destroyed during WWII and not restored until 1997. While you pass through the gate please pay attention to the pictures on the walls illustrating Gdańsk straight after the WWII, damaged in more than 98%!
You are now on ul. Długa (Long Street), the heart of Gdańsk Main Town. Surrounded by picturesque tenement houses you continue your walk until you reach the Neptune’s Fountain. It’s situated where the Long Street turns into Długi Targ (Long Market). You can see the street is wide, actually resembling the square. From here you can admire 3 very beautiful historical buildings: the Main Town Hall, the Artus Court and the Golden House. The Artus Court is a symbol of the city’s power in the 16th and 17th century. Founded as meeting place for merchants and local dignitaries. The Golden House was once a residence for Gdańsk mayors. Well down! Having passed through the third gate the Green Gate you have completed The Royal Way.
Now you can admire a beautiful view of Motława river in front of you. On the other side of the river you can see the Granary Island. It’s a newly developed part of the city. The key granaries have been recreated and given a new function.They remind us about numerous granaries built here in 16th and 17th century. It was then the city lived from sea trade and flourished. Nowadays you can find new hotels, housing premises and restaurants here. We will come back to the Granary Island at the end of this tour.
Now you turn left (before the bridge). Then you walk along the waterfront promenade called Długie Pobrzeże (the Long Waterfront). You pass by the beautiful gateways, small restaurants, amber and souvenirs shops on your left. On your right ferries, pirate boats ready to take you for a boat tour in summer. Moreover in spring 2020 a new rotating footbridge will connect the Long Waterfront with the Granary Island.
Further you continue your walk until reach Mariacka gateway and Mariacka Street. Mariacka is, without a doubt, the jewel in Gdańsk’s crown. With its gabled houses and gruesome gargoyles, Mariacka Street is the most picturesque streets in Gdańsk. In the end of the street you will see the tower of St. Mary Basilica which is believed to be the biggest brick church in the world. It took 159 years to build it but it was worth waiting.
But before you go and visit the church you deserve a cup of coffee. We recommend dropping into Drukarnia, on Mariacka Street no 6. It’s a small, stylish cafe with a good choice of coffee from all over the world. It also serves tasty cakes, some sandwiches and toasts.
Coming back to St. Mary Basilica the interior vault supports 37 windows, over 300 tombstones and 31 chapels. It can hold up to 25,000 people. It was useful during the period of martial law between 1981 and 1983. Members of the Solidarity movement sought refuge here then. If you have time consider climbing the bell tower. It means more than 400 spiral steps but believe us it’s worth it. From the top you can admire 360 degree lovely view of the city. The cost of 10 PLN is donated to the church.
Are you hungry after visit in the church? No worries. You are more than welcome to take a lunch stop now!
We recommend Piwna 47 Food & Wine which you find close to the main entrance to St. Mary Basilica. The name of the restaurant Piwna 47 stands for the exact address of it . The restaurant serves delicious Polish and international cuisine. It’s an excellent option for a fine dinner as well. However if you prefer more traditional Polish food then Pierogarnia u Dzika would be perfect. It’s situated 1 minute walk (100 m) from St Mary Basilica. Pierogarnia u Dzika is a great choice when you would like to taste typical Polish dishes and flavors.
After that it’s time to go down the route back to Motława river. Choose Mariacka Street if you have not not seen enough of it. But choose the lane between the church walls on the left facing the main entrance to the church to explore ul. Świętego Ducha (Holy Spirit Street). Unlike Mariacka Street, this is what a replicated ‘old’ street in Gdańsk looks like. Restoration has been done with varying success. Most notably, the concrete-rendered fronts were done during the Communist-era.
Walking down the street you reach the Crane. It’s definitely also a symbol of the city’s golden trading age. As a working crane, it was used to transfer cargoes and to put up masts on ships. At one time this was the biggest working crane in the world. It also served as a defense function and as one of the gates to the city. Leaving the Crane behind you, turn left. Continue your walk along the promenade until the footbridge. It lifts up every hour for 30 minutes, but please check the timetable for exact hours.
No worries when the foot bridge is up. It’s an excuse to have lunch in Prologue. It’s a fine dining restaurant located just at the footbridge. If you feel for something less formal but just as delicious then go to Correze . It’s situated 2 minutes (200 m) walk from Prologue.
When you crossed the bridge you are now on the Ołowianka Island. It takes its name from ołów=lead due to the fact that lead metals were stored on the Island in the Teutonic era in the 14th century.
Consider 360 degree view across the city from 50 m high Amber Sky Wheel. The ride takes 15 minutes and costs 30 PLN.
After having passed the bridge you turn right and the red-brick building you see is The Philharmonic Hall. It used to be the city’s hydroelectric power plant. Transformed in the late 90’s to the show and concerts’ hall. Walking along the embankment you pass by the Royal Granary on the left. It was a symbol and major source of the city’s wealth in the 15th century. Today the building houses Hotel Królewski. The ship you see on the right is Sołdek. It’s the first steamship built after WWII in the Gdańsk shipyard. Launched in 1948 this old ship was an ore collier before retiring to become a museum ship. On the left you will see the National Martime Museum. You continue your walk along the river.
Soon you reach ul. Szafarnia. It has recently become a new and favorite promenade. This part of the city was modernized in the late 90’s. Gdańsk Yacht Marina was built here. Since then this quiet and almost abandoned area has got new life. Numerous restaurants, cafes and bars are located here. If you are beer lover then you should pay a visit to Brovarnia Gdańsk. They serve locally brewed craft beer.
Then turn right and go over the bridge. Here you are on the Granary Island again. We mentioned before this island has been modernized and redeveloped during recent years. But the history of the grain industry reaches the 17th century. There were 315 granaries on the island. They were capable of storing up to 250,000 tons of grain and servicing over 200 ships. Thus, Gdańsk became the largest harbor on the Baltic and one of Europe’s richest cities. In the end of WWII the island was levelled and most of the warehouses were destroyed. The damage remained untouched for 6 decades.
We recommend spending some time on the Granary Island. Stroll along and admire the Main Town from the different perspective.
Finally, consider the island for a fine dining at True Steaks&Seafood restaurant. More relaxed after an eventful day you can enjoy excellent food and view. You can also choose Słony Spichlerz (Salty Granary). It’s a restaurant concept with 9 restaurants and a salty bar under one roof. Last but not least go to the top roof of Sassy Bar. Choose a well deserved coctail or a drink. Then admire spectacular panorama view of the city at the sun set or by night. You can approach the bar from Słony Spichlerz. Just take the elevator to the 8th floor. Sassy Music&Venue is a new music club perfect both for a drink but also for a Saturday night fever.
Enjoy your day and tour in Gdańsk or choose any of our private guided tours.