Observation tower - see Gdańsk from a bird's eye view without leaving the ground
Updated: Nov 9
Gdańsk is a city full of charm and history, which attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world every year. But did you know that Gdańsk also has something that will make you see it from a completely different perspective?
We are talking about observation towers that tower over the roofs of the city and offer unforgettable views of the Gdańsk Bay, the Old Town and the surrounding attractions. In this article, we will present you a guide to the observation towers in Gdańsk that are worth visiting during your stay.
You will find out what the most interesting lookout towers in the city are, how to get to them and what you can see from their tops. Do not hesitate and see Gdańsk from a completely different perspective - I guarantee you won't regret it!
Tower of St. Mary's Basilica in Gdańsk
If you want to see Gdansk from above, you can't miss the viewpoint at St. Mary's Basilica, the largest brick Gothic temple in Europe. St. Mary's Basilica is one of the most recognizable symbols of the city and its spiritual center. Its characteristic "cut" tower towers over the roofs of the Old Town and offers unforgettable views of the Bay of Gdańsk, the Main Town Hall, the Prison Tower in the Katownia and many other attractions.
To reach the viewpoint, you have to climb as many as 412 stairs that lead through a narrow corridor in thick walls and a wide "chimney" of the tower. Along the way, you can admire the two mighty church bells: Gratia Dei and Ave Maria. At the top of the tower, you'll be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of the city from a height of 82 meters.
From the observation deck you can admire the districts of Gdańsk on the lower terrace as well as Hel, Sopot and Gdynia. You can also try to locate other lookout towers in the city and compare them with the basilica tower.
Town hall of the main city in Gdańsk
Another vantage point worth visiting in Gdańsk is the tower of the Main Town Hall, which is located at the junction of Długa Street and Długi Targ. The town hall is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city and was the seat of the city authorities from the mid-14th century until 1921.
Inside it is the Museum of Gdańsk, where you can admire historic rooms, furniture, paintings and an astronomical clock.
The Town Hall tower is 80 meters high and is the second tallest building in the historic part of Gdańsk (right after St. Mary's Basilica). At its top there is an observation deck from which you can admire the panorama of the city and the Bay of Gdańsk. The tower is crowned with a gilded statue of Zygmunt II August, which symbolizes the relationship between Gdańsk and Poland.
To reach the viewpoint, you must climb over 200 stairs that lead through the interior of the tower. Along the way, you can see the town hall bell and bugle call.
Amber Sky - viewing wheel
If you are looking for an attraction that will allow you to see Gdańsk from above in a modern and comfortable way, and at the same time you do not want to climb 200 stairs, be sure to visit Amber Sky - a viewing wheel located on the island of Ołowianka.
Amber Sky is a 50-meter observation wheel that opened in 2016. This is one of the greatest attractions of the capital of Pomerania and its showcase, comparable to the London Eye in London.
Amber Sky offers 36 air-conditioned and heated gondolas, including one VIP gondola with a glass floor and a TV. Each gondola can accommodate a maximum of 6 people. The ride lasts approximately 15 minutes and includes 3 turns of the wheel.
Tower of the church of St. Catherine - museum of tower clocks
If you want to see Gdansk from above in a historical and cultural setting, you can't miss the Tower of St. Catherine, which is located in the Old Town. Church of St. Catherine is the oldest parish church in Gdańsk and its patron saint is St. Catherine of Alexandria of Egypt. Its beginnings date back to the end of the 12th century, but only the first half of the 13th century is certain.
The church tower was erected in the 15th century and is 76 meters high. In 1634, the Gothic tower received a magnificent Baroque helmet by Jakub van den Block, a member of the Flemish family of Gdańsk artists.
The church tower is not only a viewing point (50 meters), but also a museum and a carillon instrument at the same time. The Gdańsk Science Museum (formerly the Tower Clock Museum) has been housed in the church tower since 1996.
This is the only museum of tower clocks in Poland, which has gathered a collection of clocks from the entire period of mechanical and mechanical-electric watchmaking. You can see mechanisms dating back to the 14th or 15th century, as well as those created after World War II. You can also admire the world's first clock made in the technology of pulsar signals and the most accurate pendulum clock HEVELIUS-2011.
Carillon is a musical instrument consisting of a set of bells tuned chromatically and controlled by a keyboard or automaton. The first Gdańsk carillon was the one that was hung in 1738 on the tower of St. Catherine.
The bells for this carillon were made by the Dutch bell founder Jan Albert de Grave. The carillon burned down in a fire in 1905 and was replaced by a new one in 1910. This one, however, was taken down during World War II and scrapped.
Currently, there is a 50-bell carillon on the church tower, which was funded by the inhabitants of Gdańsk and presented to the public in 1999.
A cone in Oliwa - at the end of the walk around the Oliwa Park
If you want to finish your walk around the Oliwa Park in an unusual way, go to the Pachołek Hill, which is located north of the Oliwa Cathedral. Pachołek is a 107-meter hill, which is the highest observation point in Gdańsk. Its name comes from the word "pachoł", meaning servant or guard.
At the top of the hill stands a 15-meter observation tower, which was built in 1962. From the observation tower you can admire the panorama of the city and the Gulf of Gdańsk, as well as the Hel Peninsula, Sopot and Gdynia. You can also see other lookout towers in the city and compare the view from them with Pachołek.
Pachołek is not only a vantage point, but also a place with a rich history and culture. The hill was probably a place of pagan worship before the Christianization of Pomerania. In the 18th century, the Cistercian monks from the nearby monastery beautified the hill, creating walking paths and planting exotic plants. In 1798, a viewing pavilion was built on the top of the hill, which was visited, among others, by Queen Louise of Prussia.
Before the war, there was a brick observation tower here, during the defensive battles the German army blew up the tower so that it would not become a convenient observation point for the Red Army.
Today, the new bollard is one of the most favorite places of this type by local residents, and in my experience it will also be great for a date or other romantic event.
Oliwa Star - observation deck 130 meters above the ground
I left a real firecracker for the end, the observation deck, which is currently the highest in the city. It is about Oliwa Star - the tallest building in Gdańsk and Olivia Business Centre, which is 156 meters high and has 35 floors.
On the 32nd floor, 150 meters above the ground, there is a public viewing terrace, from where you can admire a unique view of the entire Tri-City and the Bay of Gdańsk. In addition to the unforgettable view, visitors can count on an attractive culinary offer, intimate concerts and other cultural attractions.
Oliwa Star also has two restaurants run by one of the most successful chefs in the world - Paco Pérez, who has five Michelin stars to his name. Arco by Paco Pérez is an elegant restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine with a local twist.
Treinta Y Tres is a less formal restaurant serving Spanish cuisine. The two restaurants are separated by a bodega where around 800 types of wine are available.
For customers of the restaurant, the breathtaking view of the city from the observation deck is free. It's worth taking advantage of. For tourists who do not want to eat the terrace is paid.