Where is Gdansk?
I’ll be honest. I hadn’t heard of Gdansk before. If you asked me what country Gdansk was in before this trip I couldn’t tell you. The northern Polish city came across my radar thanks to searching Poland to Edinburgh flights on my favourite flight planner, Skyscanner.
I made this charming city in Poland the last stop on my Europe mini break purely because the flight from Gdansk to Edinburgh was £18. I’d say I was more than happy when I realised it was actually a great destination in itself! Direct flights to Gdansk from around Europe seem to be plentiful and on the cheaper side, especially when the weather is colder. Another reason to travel Europe in winter.
Scotland was the first place I heard the word “baltic” used to in place of “freezing”, and Gdansk is where I learned why. It’s northern location on the Baltic Sea means the weather in Gdansk is cold in winter and not exactly tropical in summer.
I am a big advocate of winter travel in Europe, and I refuse to let the weather dictate where I go. The Isle of Skye was another destination that didn’t require a sunny day. It’s not often I wish I was visiting in summer but Gdansk is one place where I really thought it would make a difference. Cafes spilling on to the street, cruises on the waterways, and going to the nearby beach (although I hear the water is still cold!).
Things to do in Gdansk
This port city has an amazing Main Town, with buildings reconstructed after mass devastation in World War Two. I thought Prague had amazing colourful facades in it’s Old Town, but Gdansk took these to another level! I did a lot of bumping into people from staring up as I walked down the Long Lane between the Golden Gate and the Green Gate.
The top things to do in Gdansk are walk around the city and enjoy the food.
Walking gives you time to admire the amazing facades of the buildings. The cafes and restaurants are plentiful and being in the Eastern Bloc means they are relatively cheap compared to Western Europe. We stopped at a cafe called the Top Hat to sample their HUGE list of teas and warm up in the antique surroundings, but I imagine in the summer Gdansk really puts on the European cafe on the street atmosphere.
The History of Gdansk (also known as Danzig)
Having never heard of Gdansk I was surprised by it’s place in history and how the things to do in Gdansk centered around this. Gdansk was the starting point of World War Two, hence why the buildings were completely decimated. I found it incredible to see how well everything has been rebuilt so that you wouldn’t know otherwise. This strong testament to resiliency is echoed on the other end of history, with Gdansk being the birth place of the Solidarity movement, which contributed to the end of Communism in Europe. You get the feeling people here just absolutely refused to give up.
As usual there are a lot of options for accommodation in Gdansk. We only had one night there and chose the Riverside Hostel Gdansk. It had great facilities and the view overlooking the river was a beautiful scene to start and end our days.
While winter in Gdansk is still a worthy trip, especially if the flights are on the cheap side, I would love to experience this city in the summer. In the same way I think that a trip to Paris in the winter is amazing, but it would be another world in the summer.
Moving to Poland
Living abroad is one way to keep travelling the world long-term. Poland is part of the European Union, so you will need to have the right to work there, or access to a visa. New Zealand and Canada have working holiday visa agreements.
Poland is less expensive than other European countries and living is affordable. However, depending on your industry and language ability it might be harder to get into the workforce. Poland would be a more challenging choice of country to move to, but the reward would be in the cultural experience of living in a beautiful (if very cold in winter!) and central for travel location.