Gdańsk Backpacking Travel Guide

Information on hostels, transportation, cheap food and drinks, sights to see, activities and more.

Search for Gdańsk hostels at Hostelworld and budget hotels at Agoda.com

About


Gdańsk is a major Polish city in the north of the country with one of the largest ports on the Baltic coast. Gdańsk is a very beautiful city with a Flemish/Dutch architecture style influenced by its membership within the Hanseatic League.

Within the last century Gdańsk has been the location for two significant events. World War II is considered to have started during the German invasion of Poland which was done so under the pretence of incorporating the Free City of Danzig into the Nazi Reich. By the end of the war the city lay almost completely in ruins at the hands of Soviet and Allied bombing.

Gdańsk is also known as the birthplace of Solidarity (pl: Solidarność), the labour and democracy movement that sparked a series of protests that successfully overturned the Communist regimes of the former Soviet bloc. The movement was led by the charismatic leader, Lech Wałęsa, who became Poland's first post-Communist president.

Hostels


Mamas and Papas Hostel

In my opinion the best hostel in Gdansk. Fantastic free breakfast and a warm welcoming common area. The couple who run the hostel are awesome, friendly people. It is located outside of the old town which means you need to use public transport to get there, but buses and trains are readily available and it is only a 3 min walk to the closest bus stop. The hostel staff provide you will all the public transport details as soon as you check in. Book Mamas and Papas Hostel here!

Moon Hostel

Moon Hostel is located at the edge of Gdansk’s Old Town, a few steps from the marina, and museums such as the National Museum in Gdansk  and the Archaeological Museum. This area of the old town has undergone a lot of development in the last few years and is now one of the most lively parts of the city. The hostel is quite large, but retains a pleasant customer focus and includes some nice social spaces such as a big lounge room and kitchen. Book Moon Hostel here!

5 Point Hostel

A really comfortable hostel, more like a home, with tea, magazines, games etc supplied in a cosy common area. Comfortable beds and proper duvets, the room was cute and very clean. Great location for both the train station and the old town. There isn't always someone on reception but they are always contactable. Free coffee and little treats were put out during the day. The bathrooms are very clean, with quirky decor and premium touches such as flowers. Book 5 Point Hostel here!

Midtown Hostel

Midtown is very comfortable, safe, fun and close to the city centre. Free coffee and tea, free wifi and a common area equipped with comfy sofas, a TV, movies, books and games. It feels a bit like staying in an apartment and is certainly not a party hostel, but a great place to relax and for enjoying Gdańsk. Book Midtown Hostel here!

Grand Hostel

Grand Hostel is located in a renovated, 15th century building, Brama Swietojanska, which is one of Gdansk's main sights. Excellent placed right on the canal - close to everything you need to see. They provided candy and ear plugs upon check in. Breakfast is included and is delicious. Only downside is the lack of people there, but that is to be expected in smaller cities in the winter. Book Grand Hostel here!

Sights and Highlights


Free Walking Tour

Joining a free walking tour is always a great first activity in a new city. Freewalkingtour.com run 2 walking tours in Gdańsk. Their main tour is of the Old Town of Gdańsk and is run Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Their other tour is a Solidarity tour and is run only on weekends. The meeting place is between the Golden Gate and the Amber Museum very close to the centre of the city.

Gdansk, Poland

European Solidarity Centre

The European Solidarity Centre is a museum and library devoted to the history of Solidarity, the Polish trade union and civil resistance movement, and other opposition movements of Communist Eastern Europe. It a must-see museum for anyone interested in modern European history. Very modern, good price, really interesting and reflective. This is a must if you are in Gdańsk, even for a couple of hours. Visit the ESC website for more info.

The Museum of the Second World War

This museum, located here, is devoted to World War II. It is a new museum that opened on 23rd March 2017. The building has a very interesting architecture style. It looks like a very large piece of rubble, perhaps from a bombed building, jutting out of the earth at an oblique angle. It is very distinctive and can even be seen from the river bank in the city centre.

The museum is perhaps the most thorough WW2 museum I have ever seen. The main focus is understandably on the European theatre, but it is comprehensive none the less. Allow at least 3 hours for a visit. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday: 10am – 7pm. It is closed on Mondays. Head to the museum home page for more info.

Sopot

Gdańsk, together with the nearby cities of Sopot and Gdynia form a metropolitan area called the Tricity. Sopot is located only 12km and 15mins by train from Gdańsk and definitely worth visiting. Sopot is a trendy seaside resort town that comes alive with visitors in the summer. The beaches here are long and white and as nice as any in the Mediterranean. Make sure to include a visit to Sopot Pier for a sunset as a part of any day trip. Two spots I recommend for coffee, food or a drink are Dwie Zmiany, especially for coffee during the day, and Browar Miejski, a great brewery/restaurant.

Sopot Pier

Sopot Pier

To Eat


Jadalnia Pod Zielonym Smokiem

A cheap and tasty restaurant that is quite similar in style to Polish milk bars. I wouldn't expect too many fancy dishes here. They serve simple food (pierogi, pasta, curry/rice, hearty soups) for a very good price. It is relaxed and cozy, more like a tavern and with lots of students. The staff is very friendly. Overall the perfect place to return to again and again during your stay.

Pyra Bar

My favourite little place to eat in Gdańsk. These guys are the potato specialists. They serve potato in a variety of forms. You can start with a potato soup and then move on to either a potato pancake or roasted potato topped with one of many of their delicious options. Suitable for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians (plenty of dishes with lots of meat). You can read their menu here. It is in Polish so you will need to use google translate plugin to read. Another place that you will want to return to many times while in town.

Original Burger

Lovely little place on the main street. Top notch place. You can find an english menu here. Vegetarians will love the chickpea and halloumi burger. A burger and two sides will set you back about 6€.

For Drinking


Degu-Degustatornia

These guys have a fantastic choice of craft beers from Poland and international beers. During the winter you can hide away in the basement and then in summer, use the beer garden. The outdoor area is one of the nicest spots in Gdansk to drink beer on sunny days or warm nights.

Klubogaleria Bunkier

A very unique and interesting place. This club is located inside a six-storey, re-enforced concrete cube built as an air-raid shelter, bunker and anti-aircraft battery by the Germans during WWII. Each level has a different look and feel about, make sure you explore the whole place to find the area you like. Due to the sheer size of the place, make sure visit when a big crowd is expected otherwise it will feel a bit empty. An event calendar can be found at http://bunkierclub.pl/#KalendarzPage

LUMI Shot Bar

A Gdańsk institution. Great service and great shots. There's plenty to choose from so just ask the bartenders and they will help you. This is the perfect place to head to for some cheap drinks at the start of the night before heading out to a gig a or club a bit later.

Pub Pixel

A retro styled cocktail bar that also serves a couple of nice tap beers. The theme in Pixel bar is old school cool meets geeky video games. The range of cocktails is very good and the bartenders are excellent. If in doubt, feel free to ask the bartender to give you a recommendation.

Transportation


Local

Gdansk is located very close to the cities of Gdynia and Sopot. To check out these cities take the SKM train from Gdańsk Główny. Tickets to Gdynia will cost 5 zł and Sopot will cost 3.40 zł. A route map can be found at www.skm.pkp.pl/

Lithuania

There are night buses to Kaunas in Lithuania and from there it is easy to connect to buses to Vilnius or elsewhere in the Baltic states. You can find and buy tickets from www.eurolines.lt. The bus leaves at 19:00 and arrives at 5:00 the following morning. Tickets are around 31€.

Warsaw

There are trains travelling back and forth between Warsaw and Gdańsk all day. Train tickets can be purchased at intercity.pl/en/. Ticket prices vary according to the speed of the train and how far in advance the booking is made. Tickets can be as low as 12€ for some trips but most tickets seem to be around the 25€ mark. The fastest train journey is 2hrs 40mins. A bus journey with Polskibus will cost around 6€ but the journey will take about 4 hrs 35mins.

Poznan

Trains to Poznan can also be purchased at intercity.pl/en/. Tickets are around 11€ if booked in advance but closer to 20€ when booked on the day. The fastest train journey is 2hrs 54mins. A bus journey with Polskibus will again cost around 6€ but the journey will take right on 5 hours, 2 hours more than a fast train.

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