Our family recently took a train from Warsaw Poland to Gdańsk for a couple days. When I first learned we were traveling to Gdańsk, I was curious and had no idea what to expect – I was not familiar with this small Polish port town. It turns out this was one of my favorite cities on our recent trip around Poland, Germany and France. Located on the Baltic Sea, Gdańsk has influences from nearby Scandinavia and also lots of Dutch. The streets are charming, the food (and beer) is incredible and the kid-friendly museums and parks are plentiful. Even with some rainy weather, we adored walking around and exploring the town and learning the history of its destruction and re-building after WWII. Again, it is super kid-friendly and a place I would love to return to – perhaps in the summer months.
Wonder: Activity 1 – National Maritime Museum Culture Centre
The National Maritime Museum Culture Centre in Gdańsk is amazing for all ages of kids (and adults). Located along the Motlawa river, there is an entire floor dedicated to hands-on kids activities such driving remote control boats, dressing up like a sailer and practice balancing supplies on barges. Plus, other levels of the museum have additional interactive and educational activities. The small gift shop was also very well-priced for maritime souvenirs.
Adventure: Activity 2 – Mariacka Street Shopping & Exploring
Mariacka Street is a narrow cobble stretch of street between the waterfront at St. Mary’s Gate and St. Mary’s Church. Like many places in Gdańsk, it was completely re-created after destruction during WWII based on photographs and documents. Today, it is full of artisan amber jewelry shops along with some wonderful cafes and bars – we enjoyed strolling and exploring the street with kids.
Navigate: Activity 3 – The Shakespeare Theatre
Unfortunately, The Shakespeare Theatre wasn’t playing anything when we were in Gdańsk, but even exploring outside the beautiful theatre and paths was fun! With some pre-planning, there are guided tours of the theatre and shows year round. We walked to the theatre from the waterfront (with quick stops at 2 playgrounds for the kids on the way) and then explored the “dramatic” all black building. The Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival takes place in July – so maybe we’ll return some day to attend.
Discover: Activity 4 – Long Market & Neptune Fountain
Long Market (or Dlugi Targ) is full of shops, restaurants, street entertainers and more. It has so much to see and do with kids! The focal point of the Long Market is the Neptune Fountain, a bronze statue of the sea god erected in 1549 and converted to a fountain in 1633 (restored in 2012.) During WWII, the fountain was dismantled and hidden with many of the city’s other treasures. It was returned to its original place in 1954. The square around the fountain and along Long Market is surrounded by colorful and ornate houses, shops and restaurants and the history of royalty (and executions) throughout the square is intriguing for both kids and adults.
Eat: A Great Place to Eat – Palce Lirać Lodziarnia-Kawiarnia
Thanks to the city’s Dutch influences, Gdańsk is full of amazing waffle and ice cream shops. We certainly indulged in waffles, ice cream and cakes with the kids at Palce Lirać Lodziarnia-Kawiarnia – just a few blocks from our hotel. But you’ll see waffle (or gofrey) shops throughout the town.
Rest: A Great Place to Stay – PATIO Apartments
A short walk from the train station, PATIO Apartments was the perfect spot for our family (and friends) to stay. The apartments included a kitchen, futon, a sitting area and lovely architecture. Also, it is walking distance to all of the places I’ve shared and directly across from St. Mary’s Cathedral – very central to everything. It was reasonably priced and for an additional fee you could get breakfast delivered to your room and even childcare. They also kept our bags while we explored the city before our train ride back to Warsaw. One note is that parking is tricky if you drive in, but the train station is a simple walk.