I’m doing a new series.
Since being in the UK, I’ve done a bit of travelling, which was one of the main reasons why I moved here. It’s been quite exciting having the option to travel around to such magical places and I thought I’d share my experiences with you dear reader.
First up in my series is a really spontaneous trip that I went on with my flatmate and my boyfriend in April of this year to Gdańsk, Poland.
Gdańsk may not be the first place on people’s minds to visit when they think of Poland but it was on the forefront of our mind because return tickets were cheap and as it wasn’t somewhere tourists typically travelled to, we figured it’d be quieter.
Gdańsk is nestled by the Baltic coast and is Poland’s main seaport and the fourth largest metropolitan area. It is part of a wider municipal area called Tricity (Trójmiasto) alongside Gdynia and Sopot – both are easily accessible by bus and/or train.
Getting around in Gdańsk is incredibly easy – we caught the 210 bus from the airport to Dworzec Główny, which is the main train station in the city centre, and then caught a tram to our Air BnB. I would highly recommend catching the bus as it is the cheapest mode of transport to the centre (3.80 PLN which is approximately 89p) and the journey was around 20-30 minutes. Our main method of transport while exploring Gdańsk was by tram – I suggest buying a day pass which was about 5.00 PLN.
We stayed at an incredible two-bedroom apartment about a 5-minute tram ride away from the Old Town and get this – it cost us approximately £30 each for two nights. Let me know if you want a link to the apartment and I’d gladly share it!
Our first day in Gdańsk was spent exploring the magical Old Town and checking out Neptune’s Fountain and Artus Court – both found in the Long Market. Fun fact: parts of the old town was actually destroyed during the Second World War. Reconstruction of the old town started in the 50s and 60s and was politically motivated by removing any form of German influence.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about myself during my travels, it’s that I’m obsessed with old towns. All the European cities I’ve been to have old towns and they’re just so colourful, filled with character and somewhat cathartic.
We ended up with a newfound obsession with these long, swirly ice creams – just what you need on a blistering, hot day. We basically had one everyday while we were there. If that doesn’t tell you how delicious they are, I don’t know what will!
On our second day, we visited the Gdańsk History Museum which is located in the centre of Old Town. We also walked past the iconic St Mary’s Church which is quite a sight to behold. It’s truly breathtaking!
The museum itself is quite interesting – it’s a Gothic-Renaissance inspired structure originally built in the 14th century. It was repaired and restored following it’s destruction in the Second World War. It covers all aspects of Gdańsk’s rich history, from music and art and architecture to modern politics and local government. You could easily spend two hours in the quaint, little museum.
After the museum, we headed off to Brzezno Beach and walked along it to Jelitkowo, just to get a taste of the Baltic Sea (which is bloody freezing by the way but apparently that didn’t phase the locals who we spotted swimming and rubbing themselves down!). We stopped by at a seaside restaurant and treated ourselves to a delicious seafood meal downed with a couple of pints of Tyskie.
That evening, we headed back to the Old Town where we drank one too many beers and shots – which I have to say is more than your standard double – and ubered home.
On our last day, with a heavy, thumping head and heart, we set off to visit Malbork Castle, the world’s largest castle. This wasn’t actually part of our original plan – in fact, we didn’t even know it was there until a couple of days beforehand when I was researching things to do around Gdańsk and came across a few blog posts on the castle. Being a castle fiend, I knew I just had to get my ass there.
Located in the nearby town of Malbork and at the southeastern bank of the river Nogat, the castle was built in the 13th century and was originally constructed by the Teutonic Knights after the conquest of Old Prussia. Malbork Castle is divided into three separate castles: High, Middle and Lower and they’re all separated by dry moats and towers.
When you visit, your entry fee includes an audio guide which is handy as it actually guides you through the castle and its various rooms and tells you where to go next so you can avoid getting lost.
I highly recommend visiting the castle, not only for its rich history and beauty but also for bragging rights – who doesn’t want to tell people they’ve been to the largest castle in the world?! Plus, it’s easy to get to from Gdańsk and the entry fee is quite reasonable at 29.50 PLN. There are various trains that will get you there, some are intercity and some are local trains, so travel time and costs are dependent on which one you catch. We caught an intercity train there and returned on a local train so the journey there was faster than the journey back. The train ride varies from 40 to 55 minutes and the distance from Gdańsk to Malbork is approximately 60km.
Once at Malbork, you can either walk to the castle (it takes about 15-20 minutes) or you can catch a taxi. We opted to walk because we wanted to take in the surroundings. Plus, it’s free to walk and the entire route is flat.
Once there, I would recommend giving yourself two to three hours to completely explore the entire grounds. It may sound like a lot of time but you’d be surprised at how quickly time flies!
After spending about three hours at the castle and getting food at a nearby McDonald’s (I know, I know – how cultural!), we made the journey back to Gdańsk central and got an Uber to the airport where we caught our plane back to not-so-sunny London.
As you can see, you can fit A LOT in three days when visiting Gdańsk. Food and drink in Poland is relatively cheap and trust me, you can afford to live like a royal once there. I think overall I spent about £200 which to me is a decent amount to spend on a three-day holiday. I could’ve probably spent less but given how cheap everything was, I thought I’d treat myself.
Hope you enjoyed the first post of my travel series! Have you been to Gdańsk or are you planning on visiting? I’d love to hear about how your trip went or what you’re planning on doing when you go!