During the summer of 2022, my family and I went on a Baltic cruise. While we didn’t love the cruise line we picked (you can read all about the drama here), we really enjoyed each place we went, including our half-day port stop at Gdańsk, Poland.
Although, technically, our port stop was actually Gdynia, Poland, which was about an hour away from Gdańsk.
I heard that Gdańsk was really pretty and much bigger than its neighbor Gdynia, which is why I wanted to check it out.
How Long we had in Gdańsk, Poland
Honestly, we didn’t have as much time as I would’ve liked during our port stop in Gdańsk; this was the shortest stop on our whole trip.
Even though it sounds like we had a decent amount of time (8.5 hours), we spent a good two hours round trip on a train* (since our cruise actually docked in the neighboring port town of Gdynia), plus we always like to cushion our time getting back to the boat with about an hour just in case something happens.
All in all, we had about five hours to explore the town, which would have been plenty of time to do a few things, but a few days before our trip I realized we’d be there on Corpus Christi—a public holiday in Poland.
That meant that
some most places on our list to see were closed and the entire town was packed with people.
Once I realized it was a holiday it instantly made more sense as to why things that I usually book, like awesome free walking tours like this one, were sold out weeks before we arrived. That was one reason why we decided to just explore on our own.
Honestly, I wasn’t anticipating so many people traveling since we were just coming out of the pandemic.
*Yes, we could have taken cruise-appointed transportation, but adding up the cost times five people is really expensive. The train was pretty easy to navigate, even if it took some extra time out of our day in Gdańsk.
How to Get to Gdańsk
Gdańsk is only about 13 miles from Gdynia, and getting there via train was pretty easy and fairly fast—around 30 minutes.
Pro-tip for taking the train to Gdańsk from the Port of Gdynia: Grab a taxi when you get off your ship and at the train station go up to the ticket counter. The person we encountered didn’t speak English, but I had Gdańsk pulled up on my phone. She’s clearly seen enough tourists to know what we wanted. Using hand gestures (and pointing to the kids), we got our tickets and figured out where we need to go for the train. The train between Gdańsk from Gdynia runs pretty regularly so I wasn’t too nervous about missing it.
We arrived in Gdynia by cruise ship, but if you’d like to spend a weekend or longer in Riga, you can get there via the Riga International Airport.
Check for flights here:
Our Afternoon in Gdańsk, Poland
We docked at Gdynia at 1 pm, which is actually a little late when you think about it, and since wanted to explore the neighboring larger city of Gdańsk, we took a cab to the train station (15 minutes), and then figured out the train system and rode to Gdańsk (about an hour).
Fun Fact: You may have to snuggle close in the cab ride if you’re a family of five. Also, at the train station, we bought our tickets from an actual human since I wanted to make sure we did it right!
It was obvious right from the beginning that Poland was on holiday; the train was busy, and when we got off in Gdańsk, the place was popping.
On top of that, we noticed right away that places were closed.
Unfortunately, several museums we wanted to see were closed, too (see below). Thankfully, we didn’t let that get us down; we just changed our plans and wandered around more of beautiful Gdańsk.
Check out this tour if you’re spending a day in Gdansk!
Photo Dump From our Half Day in Gdańsk
I won’t pretend to know everything about Gdańsk, because I don’t. Since we didn’t do a walking tour or go into any museums, I honestly don’t even get a good sense of the history.
I think that’s why I’ve been hesitant to share about Gdańsk, but you know what? We were still there and we still enjoyed it. So here are some photos of the beautiful area.
I loved the homes that practically tower over you on Long Street. They’re bright and colorful, with street performers and artists lining the streets.
We heard that you can climb the tower at the Main Hall to get a great look at the city, but it was closed so we hung out for a little bit at Neptune’s Fountain just people-watching for a while, and then continued through Green Gate.
Gdańsk is known for its amber, aka “Baltic Gold,” and you’ll see it everywhere on Mariacka Street. Julia and I both got some earrings, which was a feat in and of itself. There were so many options.
All the shops had little kiosks that they took outside for you to browse as you walked by. Basically Poland’s version of window shopping.
We wandered around more after that, checking out the riverfront and going across the bridge to the other side.
We eventually had a delicious dinner and took the long way back to the train station for our journey back to our home away from home.
Where we Ate in Gdańsk
There were tons of options for eating around Gdańsk, but we had dinner at Pierogarnia Stary Młyn. We walked past it a couple of times and we liked the outdoor terrace that they had, plus we saw kids eating there, which is always a plus!
It was delicious, and even though we ordered way too much, it was perfect for us. They were so friendly and helpful with navigating their menu.
We also stopped for some bakery snacks/treats at Pellowski Piekania Cukiernia just after we got off the train and on our way into the city. We got several different things to try, and we used the bathroom (free downstairs).
This food tour around Gdansk looks AMAZING! Check it out here.
If we had more time in Gdynia/Gdansk we would have…
There were places/things we originally planned on seeing/doing. A few got scrapped because they were closed and another was because it was so busy and I wasn’t anticipating the crazy lines and wait times.
Visit Westerplatte (where WWII began) via the Black Pearl
Museum of the Second World War
Address: plac Władysława Bartoszewskiego 1, 80-862 Gdańsk, Poland
National Maritime Museum
Address: Ołowianka 9-13, 80-751 Gdańsk, Poland
The Amber Museum (ended up being a good thing we didn’t go here because we found another place in one of our next stops that was great)
Address: Wielkie Młyny 16, 80-849 Gdańsk, Poland
A Beer Tour. (Obviously, we were with our kids, but if we weren’t, this would have been awesome.)
Our Baltic Cruise Ports
Here’s a look at the other places our baltic cruise went, just in case you need ideas for other places around the Baltics to visit.
Have You Been to Gdańsk?
Our half day in Gdańsk isn’t what I thought it would be like, but it definitely left me wanting to go back again sometime since there’s so much we didn’t see.
Have You Been to Gdańsk? I’d love to hear about your trip and any must-see places you recommend.