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  • Writer's pictureDamian Brzeski

Gdańsk in one day - What is worth seeing?

Thanks to the concentration of most monuments and tourist points in the center, Gdańsk allows you to discover them during a longer walk, which is not only practical, but also pleasant.

This guide will prove to you that even time limited to one day does not have to be an obstacle to feeling the pulse of this unique city.

From sunrises over Granary Island, through the historic streets of the Old Town, to sunsets over the cranes of the Imperial Shipyard, Gdańsk offers unforgettable experiences. It is a city where every step brings new discoveries, and the richness of culture, art and architecture encourages you to delve into its unique atmosphere.

During a one-day visit, visitors have the opportunity to experience the essence of Gdańsk: visit key monuments, admire architectural masterpieces and taste local specialties. Walking through the picturesque streets of the old town, you can feel the spirit that makes Gdańsk so unique.

This article aims to show that Gdańsk is perfect for a one-day City Break, offering rich cultural, historical and sensory experiences within one day. With us you will discover how to effectively plan your time to make the most of every moment in this extraordinary city.

I invite you to discover Gdańsk with our guide, who will take you step by step through the most fascinating monuments that you must see when you are in Gdańsk, even for such a short time.

View of the Green Gate and Długi Targ

Main Railway Station in Gdańsk

Let's assume you arrive in Gdańsk by train. The first monument you will come across, and probably the last one you will see before returning, will be none other than the Main Railway Station.

Until recently, this building seemed a bit run down, but today, after several years of renovation, it has regained its former glory. The restored facade with new, stunning lighting will welcome you from afar, and the entrance to the main hall is like a gate to another era.

The changes that the Main Railway Station in Gdańsk has undergone are admirable. Architectural details that have lost their splendor over the years have been carefully renovated, restoring the building's historic character. From the moment you cross the threshold, you can admire richly decorated ceilings, classic arches and elegant columns, which together create an atmosphere worthy of the largest railway stations in Europe.

The renovation was not limited only to aesthetics. Modern technological solutions, such as a passenger information system, have been integrated with the historic interior, making the station a friendly and functional place for travelers. Ticket offices, waiting rooms and service points have been designed to meet the requirements of modern users, while respecting the historic character of the facility.

The Main Railway Station in Gdańsk is not only a transport hub, but also a symbol of the city , which proudly presents its renewed face to both residents and tourists coming here. Walking through its interior, you can feel the spirit of the old days, when traveling by train was an adventure and an elegant experience.

When in Gdańsk, you cannot miss this place, not only because of its functionality, but also as an architectural and cultural curiosity. Even if Gdańsk is just a stop on your journey, the Main Railway Station will leave a lasting impression on you, being a great introduction and farewell to the city.

The main station in Gdańsk at the turn of the century

Hotel Central and the New Town Hall "Dawny Żak"

Leaving the renovated Main Railway Station in Gdańsk, turning right along the picturesque street, you begin your adventure with this extraordinary city. At the very beginning of your route you will find Hotel Central, a facility with a rich history that was recently adapted to modern needs.

While maintaining its historic beauty, the hotel now offers a high standard of services, including the PG4 restaurant, where you can try the unique Jopej beer brewed on site . This is a great opportunity to start your visit to Gdańsk with a tasting of local flavors.

Continuing the walk, you will pass the New Town Hall, located in the former students' building. This is another point that combines historical heritage with modernity, testifying to the dynamic development of Gdańsk. It is worth stopping here for a moment to admire the architecture and feel the pulse of city life.

The New Town Hall in Gdańsk , a representative building with Neo-Renaissance architecture, was built in 1898-1901. It originally served as the headquarters of the Prussian garrison, and over time it underwent many transformations before finally becoming the seat of the Gdańsk City Council. The building, also known as Stary Żak, currently also serves a representative function, celebrating weddings within its walls.

Significant moments in the history of the New Town Hall include a variety of uses over many years. After World War I, the building was the headquarters of the High Commissioners of the League of Nations, representing various nationalities, including British, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Irish and Swiss, which emphasizes its international character during this period. In 1995, the city of Gdańsk took over the facility, which after extensive renovations became the seat of the City Council.

Over the years, the New Town Hall hosted many significant users, including the general command of the Prussian garrison, the command of the XVIII Army Corps, and during World War II it served Gauleiter Albert Forster and the Municipal Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party after the war. An interesting element is the fact that the building was the seat of the Coastal Students' Club "Żak" in the years 1957-1995, before it became the current seat of the City Council in 1999.

Another interesting feature is the image of an eagle above the main entrance to the building, which is a stylized emblem of Prussia, and the monument of Jan III Sobieski standing nearby, which also has its own history related to the past of the region.

The New Town Hall in Gdańsk, witnessing many historical changes, is today not only the administrative center, but also an important point on the cultural map of the city, symbolizing its rich past and dynamic development.

Your route takes you towards the Upland Gate, one of the icons of Gdańsk , located opposite the Gdańsk Forum. This is a strategic point on the city map, which was once part of its defensive walls. Today, it is a gateway to the rich history and culture of the Old Town, inviting you to further discover the secrets of Gdańsk.

The High Gate after filling the moat

Upland Gate and Torture House

As a rule, most tourists start their adventure here, the main entrance to the center of the old city, located next to another somewhat iconic and non-obvious point, the LOT building.

The LOT building in Gdańsk, originally used as a Furniture House, is a modernist pavilion designed by Lech Kadłubowski. It was built in 1959-1961 on the site of a hotel destroyed during World War II.

Over the years, it has changed its functions and owners, becoming an important point for LOT Polish Airlines, and is currently entered in the municipal register of monuments. Due to its location on the Royal Road and the characteristic "LOT" inscriptions, it has become an important meeting place for the inhabitants of Gdańsk.

Wały Jagiellonskie and the upland gate with a moat

But to the point...

The Upland Gate in Gdańsk, often called the "High Gate" in the past , today houses a tourist information point where you can buy cool guidebooks or arrange an appointment with a guide, is a Renaissance city gate located on the main car route connecting Okopowa and Wały Jagiellońskie streets.

Until the end of the 19th century, it was part of the 16th-century fortifications, constituting the main entrance gate to the city and inaugurating the so-called Royal Road. Its construction began in 1574 and was completed a year later. Rebuilt in 1588 by Willem van den Blocke, the Upland Gate acquired its current shape, presenting bas-reliefs of the coats of arms of Poland, Gdańsk and Royal Prussia.

It is worth paying attention to the special decorative and architectural elements of the gate, such as the Latin maxims that decorate its façade, emphasizing the importance of justice and piety as the foundations of all kingdoms. On the eastern façade, facing the torture chamber, there is a bas-relief coat of arms of the German Empire, added during the partitions in 1884.

The torture chamber, which is part of the complex of entrance gates to the former center of the fortified city, is also an object of great historical and architectural value, although detailed information about it requires a separate study.

During such a short trip, you only need to know that the Prison Tower was built as an element of the medieval fortifications of the Main Town in Gdańsk. Together with the Torture House and the so-called connecting them The neck is the foregate complex of ul. Długa. In the past, it served as a place of interrogation and torture. It is one of the most important monuments of the city, testifying to medieval methods of justice.

For visitors to Gdańsk, the Upland Gate is not only an entry point to the city's rich history, but also delights with its architecture and artistic details, a testimony to the past and architectural craftsmanship. The gate, which is the beginning of the Royal Road, invites you to further discover the monuments and history of this extraordinary city.

Upland Gate with a bridge

Golden Gate and the Royal Route

The Golden Gate in Gdańsk, designed by Abraham van den Blocke , is a Renaissance city gate forming the beginning of the Royal Route. Built in the early 17th century, it is decorated with allegories of civic virtues, reflecting the humanistic idea of social order and morality.

Its architecture, combining local elements with Dutch influences, makes it a unique example of urban art and a symbol of the wealth of Gdańsk. The gate, being the historic entrance to the city, welcoming kings and dignitaries for centuries, is today one of the most recognizable monuments of the city.

To the right of the entrance you will see an extremely characteristic but inconspicuous building. Manor of the Brotherhood of St. George in Gdańsk , built between 1487 and 1494 by Hans Glottau, originally served as the seat of the Main City patrician confraternity.

The facility is characterized by a Gothic architectural style and is located at Targ Węglowy 27. After war damage in 1945, the building was rebuilt in 1950-1953. Currently, it houses the headquarters of the Coast Branch of the Association of Polish Architects. More information can be found on the website.

Golden Gate in Gdańsk

Great armory

Before you enter the Golden Gate onto the Royal Route, it is worth stopping at Targ Węglowy , which was once a place teeming with life and trade. Today, while maintaining its historic character, the square is surrounded by important cultural buildings: the Wybrzeże Theater, an important center of culture and art in Gdańsk, and the Great Armory, an impressive example of architecture that once served the city's defense, and today serves cultural and exhibition functions.

The Great Armory in Gdańsk, also known as the Arsenal , is the most impressive secular Mannerist building in the city, inspired by the Meat Halls in Haarlem. It was built in 1602-1605 according to the design of Antoni van Obberghen. It is characterized by a facade decorated with sandstone decorations, gilding, and rich ornaments.

The history of the building is closely related to the city's defense needs against the threat from Sweden in the 16th century. Each of these buildings adds a unique character to Targ Węglowy, constituting a gateway to the rich history and culture of Gdańsk.

The large armory from the side of the street. Piwna

The Royal Route and the Long Market

Now I invite you to the Gdańsk salon. Namely, to the long market and the royal route. In fact, you could spend the whole day just on this one street and not visit all the monuments.

On the Royal Route and Długa Street in Gdańsk you will find many monuments, the most important of which are:

  • Artus Court - a meeting place for patricians, full of rich decorations and historical artifacts.

  • Neptune's Fountain - a famous symbol of Gdańsk, representing the city's connection with the sea.

  • The Main Town Hall - a pearl of Renaissance architecture.

  • The Gdańsk Museum located in the Main Town Hall, offering exhibitions devoted to the history of the city.

  • Długa Street and Długi Targ - a representative part of the city with beautiful tenement houses.

  • Uphagen's House - a historic tenement house with a museum of 18th-century bourgeois interiors.

  • Kamienica Pod Murzynek - known for its characteristic bas-relief on the facade.

  • Kamienica Pod Łodzią - one of the beautifully decorated tenement houses on Długi Targ.

  • The Golden Tenement House - also known as the Schumann House, is one of the most characteristic and impressive buildings in Gdańsk. Built in the style of Dutch Mannerism, it is distinguished by a richly decorated façade, full of sculptures and ornaments.

  • House of the Law - a historic building that once served as a meeting place for merchants and patricians from Gdańsk. Its name comes from the bench, i.e. the long table at which meetings took place. Currently, the building serves museum and cultural functions.

  • Green Gate - the culmination of the Royal Route, with a view of the Motława River.

The Royal Route and the Long Market in Gdańsk

Long Embankment, Fish Market and Granary Island

Now, in my opinion, will be the perfect time to post something interesting. Passing through the Green Gate, I invite you to cross the Motława River via the Green Bridge and enter the area of the rebuilt granary island. Here, literally within a few square kilometers, there are countless cafes and restaurants. Literally whatever your heart desires.

After you rest for a while and eat something tasty, I would suggest you return from the island to the mainland, crossing the Motława River using a new rotating footbridge.

You will then find yourself on the long seafront, Długie Pobrzeże is a picturesque boulevard along the Motława River, offering a view of the Crane and colorful tenement houses . It is the heart of Gdańsk's tourist and cultural life, full of cafes and souvenir shops. The Fish Market, once a center for trading fresh fish, is today a popular place for walks and relaxation.

The Gdansk Crane

The crane in Gdańsk is a historic port crane from the 15th century, a symbol of the city and one of the most important tourist attractions. It was used both for loading and unloading ships and for assembling masts. Its unique design, powered by human legs, made it one of the most powerful such devices in Medieval Europe.

Today, the Crane serves as part of the National Museum in Gdańsk, presenting exhibitions related to the history of the Gdańsk port and the art of sailing.

Granary Island in Gdańsk

St. Mary's Basilica and the Royal Chapel and the Four Quarters Fountain

Returning back to the very center of the old town, go along ul. Saint Spirit until you see the Royal Chapel on your left and the four-quarter fountain on your right .

The Royal Chapel in Gdańsk , built in 1678–1681 on the initiative of local Catholics and with the support of King Jan III Sobieski, is a baroque architectural pearl.

It was established as a temporary place of worship for Catholics when St. Mary's Church was in the hands of Protestants. Its construction was financed by a testamentary donation from the Primate of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Olszowski, and the king's contribution. The alleged architect was Tylman of Gameren. The chapel served as an important spiritual center for the Catholic minority in Gdańsk.

The Four Quarters Fountain in Gdańsk , designed by Ewa Koprowska-Szulc and Lucyna Kujawa, symbolizes the four historical quarters of the city: Kogi, Wysoki, Szeroki and Rybacki. Each quadrant is represented by a lying lion in a unique pose, referring to the coat of arms of Gdańsk. The fountain is decorated with water jets from 24 nozzles, which are illuminated at night in four colors, creating an impressive play of light.

Going further, turn left to reach another symbol of Gdańsk, St. Mary's Basilica.

St. Mary's Basilica in Gdańsk, considered the largest brick church in the world , is a majestic example of Gothic architecture.

Built in the 14th century, the basilica is a historical and spiritual testimony to the city. Its interior, full of artistic details, including the famous astronomical clock, delights with its richness and size.

As a place of worship and an important tourist point, the basilica attracts both believers and lovers of history and art. It's really worth going inside, and if your legs allow it, use the observation deck at the top of the tower.

The Royal Chapel in Gdańsk right after the War

St. Basilica Nicholas, Market hall

After visiting St. Mary's Basilica, enter ul. Piwna and head towards the Great Armory, then turn right and walk along ul. Kołodziejska, Węglarska, Pańska you reach the next basilica, St. Nicholas and right next to the Market Hall.

St. Basilica Nicholas in Gdańsk is a three-aisle building with rich Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo furnishings , although few elements refer directly to maritime matters, even though the patron is the protector of sailors.

Basilica of St. Nicholas in Gdańsk

The interior contains Gothic, Baroque and Rococo treasures, including a Pietà from the 15th century, paintings from around 1430, and a panel painting of the Virgin Mary and Child from around 1466. A tombstone of a Teutonic knight and epitaphs of the Pomeranian nobility have also been preserved. ​.

The Market Hall in Gdańsk, built at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries , is a significant commercial facility offering a variety of products from fresh vegetables to handicrafts. Currently, it is being transformed into a modern food hall, which aims to adapt it to contemporary consumer trends and create a space where residents and tourists will be able to enjoy local and international culinary specialties.

Market Hall in Gdańsk and Dominikański Square

Church of St. Catherine and the Amber Museum in Wielki Młyn

Now go towards the next church, today the last one you will visit. Church of St. Catherine in Gdańsk, the oldest parish church in the city, dating back to the 13th century , combines elements of Gothic, Baroque and Rococo architecture.

Since 2015, the Tower Clock Museum has been operating there, presenting a unique collection of clocks that have measured time in various places in Gdańsk for centuries. This exhibition is a testimony to the city's rich history and its technical and cultural heritage. More information can be found on the website of the Tower Clock Museum in Gdańsk.

Church of St. Catherine in Gdańsk

On the other side of the street , the Great Mill awaits you with a super interesting amber museum inside . The Great Mill in Gdańsk, dating back to the 14th century, originally served as a water mill. It is one of the largest and most important monuments of medieval technology in Poland.

Located on the Radunia River, the mill was once a key element of the city's economy, contributing to its development and prosperity. Currently, the Great Mill has been adapted for the needs of an amber museum, constituting an attractive place from both a historical and cultural point of view.

The Amber Museum in Gdańsk's Great Mill was opened in 2006 . This is a place where you can deepen your knowledge about the history of amber and its role in culture and art. The museum presents natural and artistic exhibitions, including unique inclusions and amber works from various eras.

The Great Mill in Gdańsk

We will end our trip here, leaving the Amber Museum on the left, walk along Rajska Street to the intersection with Heweliusza Street, then you can turn left and you will find yourself back at the Main Railway Station, where we started our one-day adventure.

In fact, what you saw today is only a fraction of what the old town of Gdańsk has to offer you, and now imagine what else you can see in other parts of this city.

But as you can see, you can do and see a lot in one day. I hope this is not your last day in Gdańsk and you will visit us again someday.



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