Gdansk is sailing up to become one of the most popular destinations for Norwegians on a city break. It is not without reason, because the city is very beautiful, it has a rich history, and the distance from Norway is short. It also helps that you can have a great long weekend in Gdansk for a pretty reasonable price.
Gdansk – a popular and affordable destination
Poland is a frequently visited destination for Norwegians, with first and foremost Krakow (read our guide to Krakow here) as the largest tourist destination. In recent years, however, traffic to Gdansk has increased considerably. The relatively short distance makes this an optimal destination for a long weekend.
The price level in Gdansk is very favorable for Norwegians. It is one of the cheapest cities in Eastern Europe and Europe in general, when it comes to accommodation, shopping, dining and most other things.
Travel to Gdansk
The short flight of less than an hour and a half from Oslo Airport to Gdansk makes it perfect for a long weekend . There are direct flights several times a day during the high season, and otherwise relatively often throughout the autumn or spring.
Airlines that have a direct route are currently Norwegian, SAS, Ryanair and Wizzair. However, Ryanair and Wizzair fly from Sandefjord (Torp) if you travel from Eastern Norway. Wizzair also has flights from Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim and Tromsø that go directly to Gdansk, as well as from other airports in Norway at times.
It does not have to be a scandal, neither in time nor in money, to stopover. From Oslo, for example, it is possible to get with SAS to Gdansk, via Copenhagen, in 3 hours, and at a price of less than a thousand kroner each way.
From the airport to the center of Gdansk
Gdansk Lech Walesa airport (GDN) is located no more than 16 kilometers west of the city center. From there you can get quickly and cheaply into the city by train, bus, minibus or taxi.
- Trains– Trains run directly from the airport to Gdansk Glowny Station, the main railway station located right next to the Old Town. The price is just under 4 zlotys each way. The train runs every half hour and takes about 25 minutes.
- Bus– If you want to take a bus from the airport to the city center, route 210 applies. It naturally stops in several places in the center. The price is, 320 Zloty, the bus runs every half hour, and the trip takes about 35 minutes.
- Minibus– Some hotels and some travel companies have regular minibuses to and from the airport. You can book these in advance, or book when you arrive.
- Taxi– Taxi is usually the fastest option (20 minutes), as long as you do not arrive in the middle of rush hour traffic. Neptun Taxi is the only company licensed to stand at the stop outside the Arrivals Hall. The trip to the city center costs between 50 and 80 zlotys, depending on time spent, time of day and weekday. You can pre-order taxis from, for example, Uber, or other of Neptun’s many competitors. These must then be parked in the car park (it is not allowed to stand outside where Neptun’s cars are in a row), and normally you must agree with the driver that you will find each other in the arrival hall.
Getting around the city
According to Abbreviation Finder, Gdansk is not the largest of the big cities we have mentioned, and most people manage without having to resort to means of transport of any kind. The exceptions are mostly in the evening, to and from nightclubs or restaurants, or to sights located just outside the city center. In addition, transport is relevant if you want to the beaches to sunbathe and swim.
- Taxi– It is reasonable to take a taxi in Gdansk, but you should preferably use licensed taxi companies. The best companies have clear markings on their cars, and you can call and order, or praise the taxi at marked parking spaces. Avoid driving with what looks like pirate taxis, so you avoid boring incidents with overpricing and arguing when you arrive at your destination.
- Bus and tram– Trams to the beaches of Brzezno, Jelitkowo and Stogi are easy, for example from the Dworzec Glowny stop. The tram is also nice to use inside the city center, but be aware that it can be packed during rush hour. The buses are not as relevant, unless you want to go to the districts around Gdansk, or take the airport bus to and from the airport. You can buy tickets on board, but then you must have the correct coin (the driver does not change). You can also buy tickets at vending machines at stops, stations, and in some kiosks and the like. The price for a single ticket that lasts (with changeover) for one hour is 3.80 zlotys. A day pass costs 13 zlotys.
- Train– The train is most relevant if you want to go to Sopot or Gdynia, for example. From Gdansk Glowny Central Station, the journey to Sopot takes no more than 20 minutes, and to Gdynia the train takes about 35 minutes. You can buy the ticket at vending machines at the train station, at the ticket office, or on board the train.
Exciting and rich history
Gdansk is located in the far north of Poland and has been an important port city for many hundreds of years. Danzig, a former name of Gdansk (and still used in Germany), was a central part of the Hanseatic League. During World War II, large parts of Gdansk were laid in ruins, but many important buildings and monuments have since been recreated.
Today, Gdansk is still considered one of the most important hubs for trade and transport in the Baltic Sea, as well as a scientific and cultural center for the northern part of Poland.
Money in Poland
The Polish currency is the zloty, with currency code PLN. As of January 2019, 1 Polish zloty costs approximately 2.3 NOK. In other words, a Polish hundred note is worth about 230 Norwegian kroner. Check the course here.
In many EU countries that have not adopted the Euro, it is common for most shops, hotels, travel companies, etc. to also accept the Euro. This is far less common in Poland. You should be prepared to have zloty in your wallet, as well as pay by card.
Switching at the exchange offices is generally a bad idea. You usually get a lower rate than at the bank, and there is usually a fee on top. Instead, withdraw cash at ATMs in Gdansk, and pay by card when it comes to larger transactions. Remember to choose the local currency if you are asked. Then you get the banks’ course, and not the store’s course.
Please note that payment by card is somewhat less common than at home in Norway. Small sums are normally settled in cash.