If you’re based in Europe and are looking for an inexpensive long weekend away, you might want to consider a Gdansk Poland 4-day break.
The beautiful old town of Gdansk offers plenty of excellent hotels and restaurants, but the real attraction is the culture and epic history of this town and Baltic port formerly known as Danzig.
We were struck by the number of places in Gdansk that convey the idea of ‘freedom’ somewhere in their names. The hotel where we stayed was called Liberum, we ate breakfast at the Cafe Libertas and one of the principal museums we visited was the European Solidarity Centre (Europejskie Centrum Solidarności).
As we were soon to learn, pursuit of the roads to freedom has been the very essence of the Polish people.
Our Target Budget
For this 4-day/4-night trip to Gdansk, we set ourselves a target budget of €250 per person, on the basis of two sharing.
This budget was to cover all expenses, including flights, transfers, hotel, all meals and (alcoholic) drinks, entertainment and museum tickets.
Considering we could easily spend a similar amount back home on 4 restaurant outings, our budget didn’t seem unreasonable.
Gdansk Poland – Airport and Transfers
We booked an inter-European flight to Gdansk with the budget airline Ryanair. We paid €52 each for return flights (at this price we were not offered seats together, but we were able to switch seats on-board).
On arrival at Gdansk airport, the first thing you might want to do is to get some local currency to pay for your trip into town (though this isn’t absolutely necessary – see below).
We found a couple of banko mat ATM machines in the Arrivals Hall. However, when I inserted my card and selected ‘English’, I was asked to enter my ‘membership’ number! (and no, it wasn’t my pin it wanted). From this point I could get no further, so I warily retrieved my card.
I’ve already had enough experience of losing a credit card in a foreign ATM machine, far from home.
Instead I went to a currency exchange desk and paid an exorbitant rate to change €20 into Polish złoty. The rate they gave me was 3.20 instead of the regular rate of 4.13. I reckoned I’d find a normal ATM machine when we got into town.
We next headed out of the Terminal building into a chilly 3°C November evening. We were looking for the bus station.
The bus station is ahead and 300 meters to the right as you exit the Arrivals terminal. You need the No.210 bus which runs every 30 minutes Monday-Saturday (every 60 minutes on Sundays).
You need to buy a bus ticket from the machine at the bus stand before boarding. You can’t count on paying cash directly to the driver. Fortunately, the ticket machines can be switched to English. They also accept credit cards if you weren’t able to get any local currency.
The one-way fare from the airport to Gdansk Główny central train station (close to Gdansk old town) costs 3.20zł per ticket (€0.77).
Just remember to validate your ticket when you board the bus.
If you’re heading to the old town, stay on the bus for one more stop after Gdansk Główny, and get off at Brama Wyżynna. This is as close to the center as you can get using public transport, though at the time, we didn’t know this.
We got off the bus at the station and walked into the old town from there. From the station, its an easy 15-minute walk to the center.
Taking the Bus back to the Airport
At the end of your trip, the cheapest way to get back to the airport is to take the same No. 210 bus from Brama Wyżynna bus stop (right in front of the old city gate).
Give yourself plenty of time to reach the airport as traffic can be heavy and the bus journey may take well over an hour.
Accommodation at the Liberum Hotel
For accommodation, we chose a highly-recommended hotel in the heart of Gdansk old town – the Liberum Hotel.
We paid 680 zł (€161) for 4 nights excluding breakfast. This included a 15% discount on any food items we purchased in the adjacent Rekawiczka Restaurant.
We had a clean and comfortable room with windows overlooking the picturesque street. The bed was really snug and the shower was great. We also had a small fridge.
Almost all TV channels were Polish, or dubbed into Polish. However, we could switch the audio of some of the dubbed channels back to the original version (usually English).
Actually, the best TV entertainment was watching Polish versions of X-factor and Gogglebox (complete with the 2 gay Polish hairdressers!).
Buffet breakfast at the Rekawiczka Restaurant (right next to the Liberum Hotel) was the best we had in Gdansk – even taking into account 2 excellent breakfasts we had at other establishments in the area. The set price was 35 zł per person, for a total of €17 for two.
There were a lot of small but nice touches in this hotel, such as the little note under the bed stating that they also clean there, and the appearance in our room of a complimentary bottle of wine after we had a minor problem with the air conditioner.
Gdansk Poland 4-Day Break – ATM Cash Machines in Town
Of course, once in town we needed to get hold of some extra Polish money – the €20 I’d changed wasn’t going to last too long.
Credit cards were accepted everywhere we went, but for small payments it’s useful to have some cash. I found an ATM machine on the high street that happily accepted my card. I made one withdrawal of 700 zł – at another exorbitant exchange rate : 3.726, which ended up costing €187.
With 4 full days ahead of us, we were planning to visit the World War 2 Museum, the European Solidarity Center and the Maritime Museum. We also had our eyes on several restaurants and pubs that looked very promising.
The old town of Gdansk is an area that should be discovered on foot. We were just hoping that the rain (or snow) would hold off for long enough…
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