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Gdansk Poland Activities

Gdańsk Poland Activities

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Apart from the picturesque old town and excellent eating venues, Gdansk is home to a top-class selection of interactive museums. You’ll need at least 3 days to do justice to these as well as the other Gdansk Poland activities on offer.

Staying at the Liberum hotel in the heart of the old town, we were well-located for visiting the top attractions on our agenda. 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.

Gdansk Poland Activities

Gdansk Poland Activities – Lounging on giant signposts is also an ‘activity’

If there was time, we also had our eyes on a tiny 7D & Virtual Reality kino, and a few pubs to keep us well hydrated. We wouldn’t have time to get bored.

Gdansk Poland Activities – Museum of the Second World War

The Museum of the Second World War is located about a 20-minute walk north-east of the Old Town.

The officially-recommended time required to visit this World War 2 museum is 3 hours. In actual fact you’ll need at least 5 hours (and ideally longer) to absorb most of what the museum has to offer.

Gdansk Poland Activities

Gdansk Poland Activities – The lopsided World War 2 Museum

The reception area is large and spacious, and there are easy-to-follow routes through a series of World War 2 themed areas.

The museum houses a huge collection of photos, artifacts and film footage from the 2nd world war. In addition, there are impressive state-of-the-art audio and visuals. These include interactive screens which allow you to research specific aspects of the war and view photos and documents from a huge digital filing system.

The outside of the building itself is impressive enough, but inside you are treated to a masterpiece of an exhibition which allows you to follow the course of the war in all its different theaters. You travel from the invasion of Poland, through the Battle of Britain, war on the Western and Eastern Fronts, and the war in the Pacific.

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Everywhere you look there are photos and film projected onto huge screens. There are also some fascinating life-sized sets that you can walk through, such as the huge set of a bombed-out Berlin Street, complete with a Russian T-34 tank.

The emphasis is as much on the human suffering of the 2nd World War as on the political and tactical aspects. The story of the war is told without bias, sparing no nation from blame for the greatest human tragedy ever recorded.

Everything is beautifully arranged and depicted, and presented with obvious care and attention. The haunting images you see here will stay with you long after you have left Poland.

Gdansk Poland Activities

Blitzkrieg – The Game! …   next stop – Paris

Tickets to the Museum of the Second World War cost 23 zł (€6), but there is free admission on Tuesdays. As with most other museums in the city, it is closed on Mondays.

Gdansk Poland Activities – European Solidarity Centre

The European Solidarity Centre is a museum and library devoted to the history of Solidarność, the Polish trade union and civil resistance movement, and other opposition movements of Communist Eastern Europe.

Gdansk Poland Activities

Gdansk Poland Activities – Solidarność  Wall of Messages

This movement was publicized internationally during the seventies and eighties, and ended up making Lech Wałęsa a national hero and eventually President of Poland.

There are some memorable set-pieces in the museum, such as a reconstructed typical Polish-Soviet living room from the era, and the massive red and white Memorial Wall of messages, to which you are invited to contribute.

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Tickets to the European Solidarity Centre cost 20 zł (€5). This is one of the few places in Gdansk that is open on Mondays (and the rest of the week apart from Tuesdays).

Gdansk Poland Activities

The Poles seem very keen on constructing buildings with slanting walls

Gdansk Poland Activities – Maritime Museum

The Gdansk Maritime Museum actually comprises 4 separate areas: The Granaries on Ołowianka Island, the Soldek ship-museum, the Crane and the Maritime Culture Center. On our visit, we only had time for the Granaries (the main attraction).

Our Granaries tour was quite a pleasant surprise. It starts off very low-key, with an introduction to the earliest recorded boat-building activities in the Baltic.

Gdansk Poland Activities

Gdansk Poland Activities – The Maritime Museum

However the tour quickly gains pace as you pass from room to room, tracing the history of maritime events and the development of ship-building through Medieval times to the present.

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There are a lot of sensor-activated displays which come to life as you wander into proximity. This is a really good way of keeping visitors alert and engaged.

The museum also features interactive set-piece displays, such as the recreation of a cannon deck on an 18th-century galleon. This set includes a full-sized interactive cannon that you can ‘fire’ by lighting a fuse (cleverly adapted with sensors and digital technology). All great fun!

Tickets to the Granaries cost 11 zł (€3). It is closed on Mondays.

Gdansk Poland Activities – Kino 7D Max

As impressive as they are, a trip to Gdansk doesn’t have to be all about the museums. For a change of tempo we decided to try out something completely different.

The Kino 7D Max is a tiny establishment located close to the Brama Wyżynna Gate. They offer two types of entertainment: Virtual Reality and 7D Cinema.

Gdansk Poland Activities

Gdansk Poland Activities – Kino 7D Max VR Chairs and sets

We first tried the 7D cinema. From a selection of a dozen or so 7D film genres we chose the highly-recommended Pirate romp.

We had the small 12-seat kino to ourselves.

Since this was to be a 7D feet-off-the-ground experience, we were strapped into our seats before donning our 3D glasses. The movie lasted just 12 minutes, although it felt like a lot longer.

We we literally lifted off our feet, shaken and prodded. Wind and water droplets were blown into our faces at synchonized moments.

Thoroughly enjoyable for just 18 zł (€4.50).per person.

Piraci 3D – trailer

Zobacz trailer filmu Piraci 3D! Ta niesamowita przygoda to zupełnie nowe wrażenia w siedniu wymiarach! Oprócz okularów 3D doświadczysz tu dodatkowych efektów takich jak wiatr, zapach, ruchy fotela czy kropelki wody – wszystko dopasowane tak, aby przenieść Cię w tajemniczy świat pirackiego statku!Film dostępny w Kino 7D Max w całej Polsce.

Posted by Piraci 3D on Monday, October 10, 2016

 

For a truly immersive experience however we returned the following day to try out their Virtual Reality headsets and seats.

This time we donned headphones and VR headsets before being strapped into seats in the front of the kino.

We’d chosen an adaptation of the horror classic Afterlife.

Gdansk Poland Activities

Gdansk Poland Activities – Experience a state-of-the-art Oculus VR headset

The story involves a trip around a demonic lunatic asylum. Again it was just 12 minutes long but this time it really felt real. Hats off to the game designers for some truly horrific thrills … and spills (literally!).

Our Oculus VR experience cost 22 zł (€5.50).per person.

Finally down to the Pub

After a trip to the cinema, there’s nothing like a good pub.

We tried 2 pubs in Gdansk. The Piwnica – a self-styled Irish pub near the Brama Wyżynna and the Bruderschaft pub close to the Liberum hotel.

Gdansk Poland Activities

Gdansk Poland Activities – The Pubs!

Both are cavern-like underground converted bomb shelters with some quite unusual local beers on draft, and often live music.

Mondays in the Old City

On Mondays, apart from the European Solidarity Centre, most of the museums in Gdansk are closed. So on a cold Monday in winter your best bet is to find a cozy bar where you can sample some excellent Polish beers.

Our Final 4-Day Gdansk Budget

So how did our planned budget of €250 per person measure up after 4 days in Gdansk?

Our actual costs for 2 people sharing worked out as follows:

Return inter-Europe flights to Gdansk €104
Liberum hotel for 4 nights €161
Airport Transfers €3
Restaurants (Breakfasts & Dinners) €261
Museums (World War 2, European Solidarity Center and Maritime Museum) €16
Sundries (Kino, Pubs) €54
€599 

 

This works out at €300 per person, which is a bit more than we’d budgeted. Bear in mind however that we didn’t scrimp on location or food quality.

Gdansk is a fascinating and historically-rich city to visit, and we wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again.


If you found Gdansk Poland Activities useful, check out our other Short Breaks & City Stops. You may also like:



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Philippines Travel Plan – Central Visayas

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The initial inspiration for our Philippines Travel Plan came from the discovery of very reasonably priced flights with Emirates running from Rome to Manila (€528 return). Since Rome is a small hop from our home base in Europe, this seemed a perfect opportunity to extend our trip with a couple of nights in Rome both before and after the main trip.

However, the main itinerary was for a 20-day trip around the Philippines.

Philippines Travel Plan from Manila to Cebu and Bohol

Philippines Travel Plan – Choose your destinations wisely

Planning the Trip

The biggest problem we had planning the trip was the amount of choice available. There are so many islands and possible routes through the Philippines that it can become quite overwhelming. Clearly, you have to be extremely selective in order to put together a practical, enjoyable plan.

Despite the choice, there are also limitations regarding transit options between the destinations you do select.

Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit

 

We like to plan circular routes so that we don’t have to backtrack through places we’ve already visited. In the Philippines this is difficult to do if you will be taking local flights. The problem is that for a relatively short visit of 20 days, you will need to take a few flights in order to make the best of your available time.

Our first plan was to avoid the so-called touristy areas of the central Visayas area, and travel to Palawan. The problem with this plan was that due to our limited time frame we would have to fly from Manila to Puerto Princessa, and then back again to Manila from Puerto Princessa. This would involve a fair amount of  back-tracking, which we really want to avoid.

So we dropped our original plan (hopefully to be revised on a future visit), and concentrated on exactly what we wanted out of this trip. For these 20 days, our priorities are as follows:

♦  Have an active trip, moving from place to place, on foot as much as possible.
♦  Select 4 or 5 destinations where we can relax for a few days at each.
♦  Select destinations offering engaging and diverse activities.
♦  Eat the tastiest local food and fruit.
♦  Avoid backtracking or spending time in airports.
♦  Choose the best budget accommodation with the highest visitor reviews.
♦  Do all this on a budget of €35 per person per day (food, lodging, transport on basis of 2 sharing).

We did a lot of research online, and the results led to a complete turnaround. To achieve the goals of our wish list, we concluded that the best route would in fact be centered around the area we originally wanted to avoid – the Visayas. (see map).

We chose our destinations based on the availability and quality of the accommodation we could book in advance online. On previous trips, we sort of winged it with the accommodation, and left it to chance where we ended up staying. The trouble with this is that you often have to settle for inferior rooms, and it can actually turn out to be more expensive than booking in advance. Added to that is the extra time needed to find accommodations and to check them out (it’s not often we were happy with the first place we found).

So we made a shortlist of places to stay in the Philippines based on high, recent customer reviews, and beautiful locations. Once we had this list, we narrowed our choices to a shortlist of 5 destinations that could be combined into a viable route.

On this basis, our route through the Philippines would be:

1. Manila to Cebu
2. Cebu to Moalboal
3. Moalboal to Pangangan Island
4. Pangangan Island to Panglao Island South
5. Panglao Island South to Loboc
6. Loboc to Panglao Island North
7. Panglao Island North to Tagbilaran for flight back to Manila

Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit

 

Philippines Travel Plan – Manila to Cebu

Since we wanted to keep our city-stays to the minimum, we decided to skip Manila completely on our way in. We would have to leave from there anyway at the end of the trip, so we reserved 2 days at the end for that. Our plan instead was to arrive at Manila, clear customs, then take the first flight out to Cebu.

This would mean spending 6 hours at Manila airport following a long-haul flight from Europe, but it would save us time and costs in the long run. I have to admit not looking forward to our transit through Manila Nasay International airport: The place has a terrible reputation for chaos, noise, lack of services, and massive check-in queues. If we did a short stay in Manila before heading off for the islands, we’d have to experience the airport twice, so I concluded it may just be better to wait in the airport for a connecting flight, and head off again as soon as possible.

So, we booked online an early flight from Manila with Philippines Airlines. Leaving at 5 am (about 6 hours after our arrival), and arriving in Cebu City an hour later. Arriving very early in the morning at a destination in the Philippines has its drawbacks. For one, most hotels allow check-in from 2 pm. If you want to check in earlier, there may well be a surcharge involved, so you can end up paying almost the same as for 2 nights.

In our case, we did a wide search for hotels in Cebu City that allowed early check-in at no extra cost. There aren’t many! In the end we settled on the New Era Pension Inn Cebu. It had good reviews, central location, early check-in, and is walking distance from the Ayala Shopping Mall, and not far from the SM Shopping Mall. It also includes breakfast. Not bad at €32 for a double.

Philippines Travel Plan - Central Visayas

Philippines Travel Plan – Cebu City

Our plan was therefore to take a taxi from the airport directly to the Ayala shopping mall, where we should be able to get breakfast as they’re supposed to be open 24/7. All the taxi drivers know the mall, and the fare should be around 200 pesos (€4). We can then walk the 400 so yards to our hotel, and check in around 9 am.

After that, we have all day in Cebu City, before leaving early the next morning for Moalboal. We are not planning to stay any longer in Cebu City: We’re keen to get away from the metropolis in order to spend our time in a more relaxed environment.

Philippines Travel Plan – Cebu to Moalboal

Thanks to Google Earth, we were able to locate the South Bus Terminal from where we will catch a bus for the 3-hour ride to Moalboal. This place was on our hit-list from early on in our research. It appears to be a beautiful beach location with plenty of snorkeling/diving possibilities.

Also the place we booked to stay, the T Breeze Coastal Resort seemed to be the perfect place to relax properly after a long journey in.

We were able to book this place for €33 per night.

Philippines Travel Plan from Manila to Cebu and Bohol

Philippines Travel Plan – Snorkeling in Moalboal

The plan is to take it easy in Moalboal for a few days while we acclimatize (i.e. get sun burnt;), and eat plenty of tropical fruit.

Moalboal to Pangangan Island

After 3 nights in Moalboal, we’re heading back to Cebu City to take a ferry over to Tubigon in Bohol.

This will be a 3-hour trip to Cebu City, followed by a 1-hour ferry ride to Tubigon. From there, we travel 20km down the coast to Pangangan island. There we’ve booked a 3-night stay at the Isla Hayahay Beach Resort (€33 per night for a double – no breakfast).

Philippines Travel Plan - Central Visayas

Philippines Travel Plan – Pangangan

There are a number of ferry companies, but the one with the most trips per day to Tubigon is Starcraft. They charge 200 pesos per person economy (280 business class). Supercat ferries also go to Tubigon but only 3 per day at inconvenient times.

It’s about 14km from Tubigon to Pangangan island. The Guest House offers a pickup from Tubigon to Pangangan for 850 pesos. Hopefully, we should be able to get a tricycle for the 25 min trip for less than that.

We’ll be staying 3 nights on Pangangan Island.

More snorkeling and kayaking, and hopefully some decent local food.

Pangangan Island to Panglao Island South

From Pangangan, we’re heading straight to what will probably be the most touristy location of our trip to the Philippines: Alona beach on Panglao Island.

To get there, we’ll try and take a bus for the 65 km journey. The bus should cost around 50 pesos to Tagbilaran, then we can either walk or take a trike from there (another 15 km).

Apparently, the sand on Alona beach is amazing, if you can claim a small patch for yourself amidst the crowds that allegedly flock here. If it’s too over the top, we don’t mind wandering around to find more secluded locations, and hopefully some areas for snorkeling.

We’ve booked ourselves into the Ashiyana Resort, which seems to be close to the beach and gets very high traveler reviews. At €30 per night for 2 including breakfast, it’s within our budget. I’m glad we booked well ahead – this place was already fully booked for our dates 2 weeks before our arrival (we booked it 4 weeks in advance).

Philippines Travel Plan from Manila to Cebu and Bohol

Philippines Travel Plan – Alona Beach

We stay for 3 nights at Alona, before changing scene by heading inland. I reckon by this time we”ll need a break from sand and sun.

Panglao Island South to Loboc

Our next destination brings with it a welcome change of scene and pace. We’re heading up river into the jungle to Loboc on Bohol Island proper.

The journey is approximately 40 km mainly along the coast before heading up into the hills. For this we will most likely take a bus from the Tagbilaran Panglao bus terminal (there are 3 direct buses everyday: the trip takes around 40 minutes).

When we get there, we’ll be staying at the Fox & Firefly Cottages (previously, the ‘Paddle’s Up Guesthouse’). Luckily, we also booked here early (all they had left at 2 weeks notice was the mixed dormitory). We booked our ‘Sagwan Room’ cottage for €28 per night (exclusive breakfast).

Philippines Travel Plan - Central Visayas

Philippines Travel Plan – Sagwan Cottages

Here, we’re hoping to do some zip-lining, stand-up paddle tours, and general trekking around. Another 3 days at Loboc, then back to the beaches for the last time before heading home ways via Manila.

Loboc to Panglao Island North

For our last two days in the Philippines islands, we decided to return to the beach to soak up our last rays of sun before returning to a damp and cold Europe.

We wanted to be close to the airport so we didn’t have any last-minute transport issues. We chose a place to stay on the Northern side of Panglao island, presumably a bit quieter than Alona beach to the south.

The Seaside Boutique Hotel came highly recommended, and fits our budget at €27 per room per night (including breakfast).

Philippines Travel Plan from Manila to Cebu and Bohol

Philippines Travel Plan – Bohol Bee Farm

We also want to take the opportunity to visit the Bee Farm Restaurant nearby, which gets shining reviews, as well as the less frequented Dumaluan beach, and the Panglao Island Nature Resort.

Philippines Travel Plan – Tagbilaran to Manila

Tagbilaran airport is just 9 km from our hotel, so no problem there for the morning flight. We arrive in Manila at around lunchtime, and will take a white cab from Departures to our hotel. I read online that the white cabs are cheaper than the yellow cabs, and that you can avoid queues by not taking a taxi from Arrivals.

The fare should be around 250-300 pesos, and apparently we need to ensure we have a metered cab.

Philippines Travel Plan - Central Visayas

Philippines Travel Plan – Jeepneys in Manila

Anyway, we have 2 nights in Manila, staying at the Oasis Park Hotel in Ermita (€30 per night exclusive breakfast).

After that, it’s back to the airport and our return flight back to Fiumicino, Rome.

Our Philippines Travel Plan

Of course, all this is just the theory. Having a plan is important, but things tend to go off-plan from time to time. The first destination on our list was Rome, where we planned to spend our first night before jetting off to the Philippines the following evening.

We had already booked our hotel and ear-marked a really popular restaurant for the evening. With luck, we would also squeeze in a trip to the Vatican.


If you enjoyed our Philippines Travel Plan, check out our other Tropical Travel Plans. You may also like:



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