Special Travel Feature: Gdansk, Poland

Holiday trips are oftentimes the outcome when you add three favorable factors for travel – autumn break for students, the availability of cheap airfare, and a nearby destination. Indeed, this is what turned out for us on our 3D2N family holiday trip to Gdansk, Poland a couple of years ago.

Gdansk is a must-visit scenic destination, considered as one of the most lovely port cities in Europe. This picturesque destination embraces a rich political history of being under different rulers, amid periods of self-rule and as a free city, until becoming part of present-day Poland. Gdansk is the birthplace of Solidarnosc or the Solidarity Labor Movement which was influential to the end of Communism in Central Europe.

A scenic view of Gdansk along the Motlawa River

Nearby destination

Gdansk is strategically located in the Baltic Coast making it as Poland’s principal seaport as well as an industrial hub. Interestingly, the Baltic Sea is bounded by some Central and Northern European countries which include Finland, where our family is currently based. From our residence in the city of Pori, it took us about 2 hours road trip to the airport in Turku, a city along the Baltic Coast in southern Finland, and from there we took a plane to Gdansk.

Budget airline

From Turku to Gdansk, we flew by Wizz Air, a budget airline. Wizz Air is a Polish/Hungarian low-cost carrier providing no-frills flights within Central and Eastern Europe (Glasgow, Prague, Oslo, Milan, Barcelona, Paris, etc.) and even in farther destinations such as Dubai and Tel Aviv.

Wizz Air budget airline from Turku to Gdansk
Here’s our plane… off we go to Gdansk. Let’s fly!

Tourist attractions in Gdansk

We hired a van to tour us around famous spots in Gdansk. First stop was the Oliwa Archcathedral, then the PGE Arena and some interesting sights along the way.

Oliwa Cathedral, Gdansk, Poland
A pose at the Oliwa Cathedral

The Oliwa Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church and close to Hotel Novotel Marina where we stayed in Gdansk. It also known as the Archcathedral Basilica of The Holy Trinity, Blessed Virgin Mary and St Bernard and famous for its Great Organ considered one of the oldest and biggest in Poland.

PGE Arena Gdansk, Poland
PGE Arena Gdansk

Walking along the Long Lane with the Main Town Hall seen ahead, in Gdansk, Poland
Walking along the Long Lane with the Main Town Hall seen ahead

The  European Center of Solidarity Movement in Gdansk, Poland
The European Center of Solidarity Movement

Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers in Gdansk, Poland
The symbolic Three Crosses Monument, popularly known as the Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers of 1970, near the Gdansk Shipyard

Entrance to the famous Gdansk Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland
Entrance to the famous Gdansk Shipyard (Stocznia Gdanska)

Some unforgettable moments during our trip

When we reached the Freedom Monument, our youngest son was already asleep. He missed our stop here. We just took few pics and resumed our trip towards the Old Town where the van left us. We walked a lot and our oldest son’s foot started aching. We had to look for a pharmacy, and the pharmacist recommended a gel for muscle pain? We also noticed something unusual during our stroll along the beach in the tourist city of Sopot, many people were searching for objects along the shore. We had no idea they were actually trying to find bits and pieces of amber, as we later learned that Gdansk is known as the amber capital of the world.

Searching for amber, at Sopot Beach in Poland
Searching for amber, at Sopot Beach

It was really a fun and memorable holiday trip for us, visiting Gdansk for the first time with the whole family, walking along the seashore and enjoying the autumn breeze. Food in Gdansk is generally cheaper than in Finland.

Dining in Gdansk, Poland Dining in Gdansk, Poland
Dining in Gdansk, Poland Dining in Gdansk, Poland
Here are some random food photos

We stayed at the Hotel Novotel Gdansk Marina, a nice and comfy accommodation by the sea, close to Jelitkowo Beach and located near Sopot. We opted for a private sightseeing tour as suggested by our hotel.

“Gdansk is really pretty,” our daughter commented, and I think it’s mainly because of the striking architectural style of the buildings, especially in the Old Town which is considered as one of the city’s major attractions.

Some travel tips

If you’re on a budget, you can save much with low-cost airlines such as Wizz Air. Schedule your trip according to your family’s availability, e.g. autumn break for students. Plan in advance and have a list of the places you intend to visit especially if you will be staying for few days only. And don’t forget to take your time and enjoy every moment of your trip!

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