A Local’s Guide to Gdansk with Justyna Malinowska
Gdansk blogger Justyna Malinowska runs Blog z Miasta, a website about cycling in Gdansk and the places she discovers on her travels. We recently caught up with her to find out some local tips on how to make the most of a visit to the city – check out Justyna’s advice and get up to speed on Gdansk’s best bits…
“When a friend visits me in Gdansk, the first place I take them is the Main Town and Długa Street – that’s where most of the well-known attractions are, like the old crane and the Neptune fountain. These are worth seeing at least once! Also, there are lots of options for grabbing a coffee or lunch here.
Spring is the best time of the year to come to Gdansk, the weather is starting to get warm, so it’s perfect for taking walks and going sightseeing. Plus, you get to see the city before it fills up with tourists. If you don’t like crowds, autumn is another great time to pay a visit.
Getting Around Gdansk
Trams and buses are the easiest way to get around Gdansk. You can avoid the traffic and just sit back and watch the city while you travel. And you don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot, which can be difficult near the most popular places. Keep in mind when travelling by tram or bus that you validate the ticket when on board, but when it comes to city trains (called SKM), you must validate your ticket at the station.
Gdansk is a cycle-friendly city and most of the interesting parts of the city are connected with bike lanes. A word of warning though – be prepared for hills! Getting to some of the city’s higher districts won’t be easy for inexperienced cyclists.
Where to Eat
Loveat is my favourite place for breakfast in Gdańsk because they have the best sandwiches and salads, always fresh and healthy. I really recommend their fruit or vegetable cocktails! One of the best things about Loveat is their locations usually located just where we need them – on the way to work or university.
Mantra Indian restaurant in the Przymorze district is a great spot for dinner because of its delicious, colourful dishes. It’s located a little out of the way, but it’s always busy. I’d also recommend Mandu (Oliwa) and their absolutely fabulous dumplings, but be prepared for long queues, it’s very popular!
Vegetarian? Head to Wajdeloty street, there’s a vegan bistro, a vegan café, and most of the nearest restaurants have vegan and gluten-free dishes too. There’s even a vegan, gluten-free pizzeria!
A lot of people think that the most interesting parts of Gdansk are located in the Main Town, but it’s worth making the effort to see places in more remote districts – the gorgeous beach on Sobieszewo, the colourful murals in the Zaspa district, the beautiful parks in Oliwa and Orunia or the cosy streets of Wrzeszcz. Every district hides something worth seeing!
Check for upcoming events before you travel. St. Dominic’s Fair (July-August), FETA – Street Theatre Festival (July) and Narracje – a festival of visual artistic installations in autumn. There’s always something going on!
Gdansk for Free
The best thing to do for free in Gdansk is visit Góra Gradowa and Grodzisko. Not only will you see the beautiful panorama of Gdańsk, but also the unusual bunkers hidden beneath the grass. You’ll find a tiny exhibition in each one!
Gdańsk is home to one of the biggest mural collections in Europe, you’ll find them in the Zaspa district. There are around 54 paintings here, and the number is still growing. Each year, new murals are created and you can come for a free guided walk and hear the stories behind each painting.
The Old Town and Main Town areas have the best nightlife, but a lot of people prefer going to Sopot, a city located just next to Gdańsk. Most of the clubs are located around Monte Cassino street.
Shopping in Gdansk
Head to the malls for the best shopping. There’s Galeria Bałtycka (Wrzeszcz), which is Gdansk’s biggest shopping mall, as well as Madison (Main Town) or Alfa Centrum (Przymorze).
Don’t Leave Gdansk without…
Taking a stroll around Dolny Wrzeszcz and checking out the architecture and unique atmosphere of this neighbourhood. There are a lot of hidden corners. Every time I visit, I discover something I haven’t noticed before.”
These are Justyna’s tips for Gdansk. Been to Gdansk recently? Got your own tips to share? Leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you!