Best Things to Do in Gdansk, Poland

April 2, 2019

It wasn’t the typical “see the view” tower that I’d climbed in so many other Central European cities.  Taking on the lofty turret in St. Mary’s church proved a worthy opponent.  The massive 14th-century Gothic basilica is the largest brick ecclesiastical structure in the world, and the 400 timeworn spiral steps to the viewing platform were almost double the number I’d come to expect.


Climbing to see the view from St. Mary’s Tower was one of my favorite things to do in Gdansk.

Thighs burning, lungs heaving, sweat pouring, I persevered and reached the tiny terrace.  I squeezed my way through the crush of people all vying for a prized Instagram spot at the edge of the platform.  Once there, just a fence separated me from the dizzying, nearly vertical drop.  The 360-degree view was worth the barely contained acrophobia – from the red-tiled roofs close enough to touch, the delicate light green spires and the deliberate Mannerist reconstructions just beyond, and the Motlawa River just visible on the horizon.

things to do in gdansk

Photos of the bombing devastation of World War II

If I hadn’t seen the 80-year-old photos in person, I would have found it hard to believe.  Gdansk was not just the place where World War II started, but it had been completely decimated by Nazi bombs.  Having traveled extensively throughout Central Europe, I expected the rebuilt city to have the look and vibe of the lovely-but-typical Austro-Hungarian architectural period.

What I found was both visually and viscerally different.  Gdansk was colorful and whimsical with a dash of defiance – an invitation to explore further. The way in which the citizens of Gdansk hoisted themselves up from World War II and the subsequent Soviet oppression is nothing short of inspiring.

[Read the rest of Why You Must Visit Gdansk This Year in GoNOMAD]

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Gdansk Beaches: 7 Reasons to Visit on the Polish Riviera

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Disclosure:  The author was honored to be the guest of JayWay Travel during her stay in Poland, but as always, the opinions, reviews, and experiences are her own.

About the Author

Patti MorrowPatti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of the award-winning blog Luggage and Lipstick. TripAdvisor called her one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials.”  Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 print and online publications, including The Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Travel, Travel Girl, Travel Play Live Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal. Patti has traveled six continents looking for fabulous places and adventure activities for her Baby Boomer (and Gen X!) tribe.

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