The last post in our Euro 2012 series, we finish our football tour in Poland with Gdansk. Last but not least, beautiful Gdansk is ready to welcome hoards of fans next summer, will you be there?
Gdansk is a city where cultures come together. The city centre has seen the likes and influences from many cultures, each leaving its own mark on the metropolis: German, Jewish, Scottish and Dutch people have left bigs of their art, language, architecture and culinary traditions here in Gdansk.
This city is a cultural hot-spot! The liveliness of Gdansk hasn’t gone unnoticed by the low cost airlines. Today, more than ever before, low cost airlines are helping bring a continuous flow of foreigners to this city.
Culture isn’t the only thing that makes Gdansk so trip-worthy, it’s also the city’s geographic location. The urban area sprawls into Gdynia and Sopot, two cities worth exploring if you have a few free days while you’re in Gdansk. Surrounding the “triple city” is some stunning wilderness and just beyond that are the crystal clear waters of the Baltic Sea, a popular spot in the summer with the local Poles.
What to see?
Planning a trip to Gdansk? Don’t miss the chance to discover this incredible city between football matches. There’s so many layers of culture to experience that you’ll never be able to see it all in one trip.
In heart of the city admire the glorious shipyards which, in the past, made Gdansk the country’s most important port. Not to be missed are the old brick city gate. Looking east you’ll have a spectacular view of some gorgeous gothic buildings as you pass the old port. The Long Market on Long Street is a great place to do your shopping.
Outside the city walls
Gdynia: Established after 1921 on the site of a quaint fishing village, it’s clear that urbanization has settled in here. Check out the Aquarium-Oceanographic Museum as well as the City Museum. The House of Zeromski is also location there, the home of a famous Polish writer.
Sopot: Half-way between Gdansk and Gdynia, you can reach Sopot in 15 minutes by car and train. This little town has grown into a city thanks to its popularity in the summer as a seaside resort. Did you spot the lighthouse?
Westerplatte: A small peninsula overlooking Martwa Wisla (the Dead Vistual), the name is sadly appropriate. A fierce battle took place here at the beginning of the Second World War. There is a tall monument that commemorates those killed in battle.
What is Gdansk known for?
- Being the place where World War II started, after a dispute over who controlled the city between the Germans and the Poles.
- The birthplace of Solidarity, a labor and democratic movement that helping bring down Poland’s communist government.
- It’s shipyards… what really give this city its charm.
- Amber, the semi-precious stone. Gdansk and its surroundings are the richest known source for this pretty golden stone, easy to find in most souvenir and jewellery shops.
What’s on the menu?
Of course Polish cuisine reigns here but you’ll also find these staple dishes infused with flavours from other cultures. Think Polish with a hint of Italian, French, Hebrew and German… with very tasty results! Pretty much anything goes with a base of potatoes and pork. Soups are very popular with cucumber, beets and cabbage.
Essentials to taste: flaki (a traditional stew made with calf tripe), bigos (beef, cabbage and spices) and perogi (sweet or savoury).
How to get to Gdansk?
If Gdansk is your destination for Euro 2012, book your flight tickets early. For the best prices, stick to low cost airlines like Wizz Air and Ryanair. It takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes to fly from London to Gdansk. Wizz Air takes off from London Luton Airport twice daily (08:10 and 20:25). Ryanair flies from London Stansted.
Ryanair also flies from Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands and Edinburgh.
Quick links for your travel planning:
Have you ever travelled to Poland? Which cities did you visit?