Gdansk: Visit Poland it may surprise you

Poland isn’t a typical place I would think to spend a long weekend in but, when I was invited to go to Gdansk earlier this month, I jumped at the chance.

By Catherine Hancock
Thursday, 30th October 2014, 3:35 pm

Who wouldn’t?!

I spent four days in the heart of Gdansk, which is apparently also known as the city of: bricks, water, amber, gargoyles, freedom and much more.

Located on the Baltic cost the city is over 1000-years-old and has a tragic history after years of being fought over by many countries including the Germans and Russians.

It’s an eerie sadness which can still be felt.

I flew on a Friday from Robin Hood airport with Wizzair, who offer flights to Gdansk from as little as £50 per person return.

In less than two hours and after a pleasant flight I was at my destination, which thankfully wasn’t unknown.

Going in October and hearing the words Baltic Sea, in true English fashion, I expected the weather to be...well baltic but it was surprisingly mild for that time of year.

After a ten minute taxi ride from the airport I was at hotel Scandic, which is where I would be staying for the next four days.

The hotel is ideally located and less than a five minute walk from the town centre and has everything you need, complete with a mini-bar (don’t go mad Catherine remember you have to pay) gym and sauna.

Rooms cost from £46.80 per night for one person.

On the first day I had a guided walking tour through the main town which reminded me of Amsterdam with its tall colourful buildings.

I was shocked how pretty the town looked, the streets were clean and there was a nice hustle and bustle of people having a look round.

In the afternoon I was taken to the PGE arena which was built especially for the UEFA Euro 2012 and is home to Gdansk football stadium.

At nigh time the outside of the stadium glows in an amber colour to remind everyone, Gdansk is the world capital of this gem.

Now I’m not a football fan (sorry dad!) but the arena offers much more than just football.

It is home to a trampoline park and escape rooms.

The escape rooms are where you are locked in a creepy child’s room and have 60 minutes to get out, using various clues and keys - not a great one if you suffer from claustrophobia, but a good team building experience never the less.

Day two was jam packed and in the morning I visited the museum of what Gdansk is famous for, the Amber museum, which is open Tuesday - Sunday, with free entry on Tuesdays.

The museum has everything you can imagine moulded from Amber including a chess board, guitar and fruit bowl.

It’s truly impressive to see what you can make out of amber and the museum is educational.

I learnt that the gem is worth more if a dead animal is stuck inside it - who knew?!

In the afternoon it was time to visit the Solidarity Centre, which opened earlier this year and from the outside doesn’t look too appealing, but inside its’ a different story.

It is currently £2.43 or 13 zloty per person to get in and is full of pictures and videos explaining the history of the protests.

Unfortunately when I visited the centre hadn’t been fully finished, so couldn’t enjoy the audio tour but it is well worth a visit.

On the final day I was taken to Malbork Castle which is the largest gothic castle in the world and was built by the Teutonic Knights.

The castle is visually impressive but does have tight stair cases and steep step, so I wouldn’t advise it for pushchairs or wheelchair users.

Entry into castle is £4.10 or (20.50 zloty), which is a reasonable price for what you get to see.

There is an on site restaurant which serves what can only be described as a Henry VIII type meal, with huge portions and a fish with only its eyes missing.

During my visit I was impressed with the food and the portion sizes were huge.

I saw a lot of different soups served for starters including zurek, for mains it was either duck or fish and for pudding...lots of apples!

Gdansk is definitely a hidden gem in the heart of Europe, which needs to be discovered and I would recommend everyone to check it out.

It’s also very cheap.