gdansk old town architecture
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Gdansk Old Town

The picturesque Baltic seaside city of Gdansk has been developing rapidly during the last couple of years and has slowly become popular with tourists for a good reason. Although we do not live there anymore, there are places we love to visit whenever we return. The following blog post is a display of all you need to know before your next visit to Gdansk old town. All experiences are based on a local’s perspective.

A guided tour at Shakespeare Theatre

The Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre in Gdansk old town has been built on the historic site of the 17th century Fencing School – the first public theater of the then Republic of Poland. It is here where English players presented William Shakespeare’s plays, already during his own lifetime. Nowadays, one of the most extraordinary and modern theaters in the world is located here. Certainly, you will not pass indifferently by the theater building – it is distinguished by the dark anthracite bricks, is covered, and with a huge opening roof, which allows stage performances also in daylight. We recommend taking one of the guided tours to hear colorful stories about the theater during Shakespeare’s time and the unusual architecture.

A panoramic view Gdansk old town from Ink Above

Ink Above is a hidden roof-top cocktail bar with a great panoramic view of the Gdansk old town. It is located inside Puro Hotel making it quite difficult to find, but if you find it, it is going to be well worth it. Ink Above has been made for lazy Sundays and long evenings since you can get very comfortable with a range of new and classic cocktails.

Classic Italian Pizza at Oliwa do Ognia

By far the best pizzeria in the Gdansk old town. The place itself is cozy but tiny, with barely four small tables. If you’re lucky to find a place to sit, it’ll be more than worth it. Oliwa do Ognia is located on one of the side streets, making it less popular compared to other places. Feel free to try some of their truffle and pepperoni pizzas, they are amazing and of course, there is a selection of good Polish craft beers.

Sea Sculptures at Stocznia Cesarska

Just a short walk away from the Central Train Station and the Gdansk Old Town. The Imperial Shipyard is located on the banks of the Martwa Wisla river. The Imperial Shipyard is a place of great historic importance. From its origins in the 19th century to the memorable events, which led to the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. Currently, the shipyard is being revitalized. There are art installations like sea sculptures, historic buildings you can explore from the inside, and chillout areas.

Unique drinks at Craft Cocktails

Craft Cocktails is a small, intimate drinking bar in the Gdansk old town. It is stylized for the years the 20s-30s of the 20th century – the days of prohibition in the US with dimmed lights, stylish chandeliers, and high bar stools. The bartender is wearing an elegant shirt and suspenders. The music is usually swinging, or more rarely old rock. But the key thing is the shelves with bottles. There are more than 200 different alcohols.

Specialty coffee at Drukarnia Café

This place is a must-visit on your next trip to Gdansk old town. Drukarnia Café is located on one of the most famous and charming streets in Gdańsk – Mariacka Street. The café was established in the place where at the end of the 19th century there was a printing house that published the first Polish daily newspaper in Gdańsk and Kashubia – „Gazeta Gdańska”. The overall character of the café refers to the industrial climate of the printing house, using elements characteristic of it, such as steel, wood, paper, or printing ink.

Gdansk old town Kayaking on the Motlawa river

There is no better way to explore the beautiful Gdansk old town. You can have the river all for yourself when the streets are buzzing with tourists. Although you won’t see everything, you will have the best view of the historic crane and all the buildings next to the river. In general, you shouldn’t need more than 2 hours to swim through most of the canals open to the public. The rental place is located only a 10 min walk from the Long Market.

Gdansk historic crane

Partying and relaxing at 100cznia

Located next to the still functioning Gdansk shipyard, 100cznia is a project combining container architecture, cultural events, and street food from distant corners of the globe. Within 100cznia there are over a dozen pubs, four bars, a concert stage, shops, a book exchange point, a city beach, a playground, and a street art gallery. Throughout the week there are regular concerts and DJ parties, clothing and vinyl fairs, film screenings, yoga classes, workshops, and meetings with authors – all this in a complex of rooms built of interconnected cargo containers from the recovery of historic shipyard halls. 100cznia is a 2 minutes walk from the SKM station and 5 minutes by bike from the Gdansk Old Town.

Climbing to the top of St. Mary’s Church

The 78-meter tower is part of the St. Mary’s Basilica and is definitely worth visiting. The building is currently one of the two or three largest brick churches in the world. Getting to the top can be challenging for some, as it involves climbing 405 steps. Once up there you can admire the beautiful panorama of Gdansk old town. Keep in mind that there is a small platform at the very top. Therefore it is key to visit the Basilica when there are fewer people. Usually during the week and right after the church opens for tourists.

Delicious cherry liquor at Wiśniewski

A fantastic place dedicated to one product: a delicious cherry liquor served in two variations, cold and warm. Everything about this place is custom, starting with the welcoming interior and ending with the beautiful glassware. There is also the possibility of having some cherry liquor outside. Wisniewski is the perfect place to have a little break whilst wandering through the picturesque old town. There is also an option to buy a bottle of this delicious beverage.

If you want to read more about other places in Poland, feel free to visit this dedicated category page on our blog.