Things to Do in Tricity Poland for a Weekend

Things to do in Tricity Poland. Admire the architecture in Gdansk
Why visit Gdansk Poland, you may ask? Destinations in Poland are well-served from Dublin on Ryanair and Aer Lingus and Poland's Tricity in the Pomerania region is ideal for a 3-day weekend.

Gdansk and the surrounding metro area including Sopot and Gdynia are known as Tricity Poland. Tricity is an ideal place for a European city break because:
  1. The flight to Gdansk tends to be cheaper than to Krakow.
  2. Gdansk is more real and less touristy than Krakow.
  3. Gdansk is is teeming with history from WWII to Solidarity (just look to Westerplatte where the first shots of the war were fired when the Nazis invaded Poland).
What are the key things to do in Gdansk and Tricity more broadly? Read on to learn more about how to spend an ideal non-touristy 3-days in Poland.

Eat All the Polish Sweets and Then Some

We went directly from Gdansk airport to a local coffee shop to fuel up for the day since our flight left really early. Sweets are really popular in Gdansk. We tried a nutty, caramel-y pudding dish with our coffee. We encountered a man selling bread from a cart outside our hotel and had to try one of the pretzels he was selling. The Polish pretzel was a nice contrast to the sweets we'd tried. We also stopped at a local candy manufacturer along Długi Targ and actually got to see the craftsmen working the hot sugar to the delight of a group children looking on.
Things to do in Gdansk Poland: Watch candy being made

Where to Stay in Gdansk

We stayed at the Scandic Gdansk conveniently located across the street from Gdansk Główny Central Train Station which was quiet, clean, and very nice overall. I liked that they had a shoe-shine machine near the elevator on our floor and bicycles in the lobby making it easier to explore Tricity.
What to see in Gdansk Poland: Gdansk Główny Central Train Station

Walk Gdansk

Gdansk is best experienced on foot. Spend a day taking a photowalk around the city. Admire the architecture of Gdansk Główny railway station Look for impressive church edifices and archways. We passed the statue of Johannes Hevelius: astronomer, brewer, and one time mayor of Gdansk. Hevelius sits outside the Old Town Hall.
What to see in Tricity Poland: statue of Johannes Hevelius in Gdansk
Gdansk features ornate manhole covers -- a good reference point in case you forget where you are. A rapidly running canal slices the town and you can stop in the shade of a giant weeping willow along its banks like we did. Greenery spilled from the banks of the canal into the water.
What to see in Tricity Poland: manhole covers with the city name stamped on it in Gdansk
What to see in Gdansk Poland: Canal and mill
While taking a walk in Gdansk, keep your eyes peeled for unexpected art installations like the blue trees that we discovered on our visit.
Things to do in Gdansk Poland: Look for art like these blue trees
Look up as you walk around and admire the ornate decorations on various buildings. We noticed that the skleps (convenience shops) in Gdansk had an interesting style of displaying their wares. Everything was on display in a colorful, chaotic mass.
What to see in Gdansk Poland: gargoyle rain gutters
The buildings of Gdansk often feature gutters encased in stone gargoyles to channel rainwater. We discovered a fountain in Gdansk surrounded by lions that would come on periodically. We found it hilarious to watch a little dog caught off guard by the dancing water as his owner looked on. Walking around Gdansk is really about experiencing a slice of life in Poland. We covered about 8 miles in a single day.
Things to do in Gdansk Poland: enjoy the dancing fountain

Explore Gdansk’s WWII History

Certain sculptures and imagery around Gdansk remind visitors of the war torn history of the area. We stopped by the post office and WWII memorial in Gdansk to pay our respects.
Things to do in Gdansk Poland: visit the World War II (WWII) memorial near the post office

One of the first battles of World War II was waged here when the Germans invaded Poland. One side of the Motława River features many ruins from World War II that were not rebuilt. The rubble stands in memory of the destruction that befell Gdansk.
Things to do in Tricity Poland: Explore the ruins from World War II along the Motława River

Browse Gdansk’s Hala Targowa (Covered Market)

We stopped at the local Hala Targowa (covered market) and discovered the wonders of Polish baked goods. I practiced the couple words of Polish that we had prepared for the trip (e.g., hello = dzień dobry, pronounced jen dobre and thank you = dziękuję, pronounced jen coo ya) and the matron working at this piekarnia was very patient and tried to talk back to me very slowly in Polish. I think she appreciated my effort. Outside the covered market were a variety of produce stalls. I liked how many vendors were selling dried sunflowers. I couldn't figure out what they were used for until I looked more closely. In situ sunflower seeds to snack on!
Things to do in Gdansk Poland: shop at Hala Targowa for sunflower seeds

Polish Perogi and Beer

Work up an appetite and stop at Pierogarnia U Dzika for Polish pierogi and a beer. Pierogarnia U Dzika was decorated with disturbing boar heads everywhere but the meal was delicious.
What to eat in Gdansk Poland. Pierogi and beer at Pierogarnia U Dzika

Pay a Visit to Neptune

We soon arrived at Długi Targ (Long Market) and the ever popular Neptune fountain. Much of Gdansk was destroyed during WWII but citizens were able to hide Neptune away so that he survived the war and lived to stand before future visitors.
What to see in Tricity Poland: Neptune statue along Długi Targ in Gdansk

Step Back in Time Along the Motława River to Medieval Gdansk

A Medieval crane that was built in the 14th century to unload ships sits along the Motława River and is quite impressive. An imposing round tower dotted with domed windows sat beside the river.
An old galleon with ornate mastheads lends to the atmosphere and takes tourists to Westerplatte where the first shots of World War II were fired.
Things to do in Gdansk Poland: Check out the Medieval crane on the Motława River

Shop and Eat Your Way Along Ulica Mariacka

We walked along Ulica Mariacka, a popular shopping street and stopped in Cafe Kamienica. The second floor seating area was quite cozy.
What to do in Gdansk Poland: Have a coffee along Ulica Mariacka at Cafe Kamienica

Discover Gdansk’s Street Art

We wandered into a small alleyway off of Długi Targ and were surprised to find a mural. We were especially surprised to find one of the center figures wearing designer undies and standing next to a package of McDonald's French fries.
What to see in Gdansk Poland: Cool street art murals

Experience the Polish Solidarity Movement in the Gdansk Shipyards

Our final stop of the day was the Gdansk shipyards (Stocznia) where the Solidarity movement made its mark and cast Lech Walesa into the spotlight. In the early 1980s, Solidarity became the first independent labor union to form and make inroads in a Soviet-bloc country.
Things to do in Gdansk Poland: Tour Stocznia (the Gdansk Shipyards) and home of the Solidarity Movement
Things to do in Gdansk Poland: Check out the monuments to Solidarity at Stocznia (the Gdansk Shipyards)

Gdansk to Westerplatte For a WWII History Lesson

Things to do in Tricity Poland: Take a pirate ship from Gdansk to Westerplatte

We spent the second day of our 3-days in Tricity Poland exploring Westerplatte. We headed down to the Motława River to board a pirate ship bound for Westerplatte where the Germans first attacked Poland during World War II. Along the way, we passed reminders of Gdansk's past as we sailed by the now quiet shipyards.
Things to do in Tricity Poland: Visit Westerplatte where the first shots of World War II were fired when the nazis invaded Poland.
We soon arrived in Westerplatte and made our way to the beach to look out at the Baltic Sea. The water was cold but inviting so we dipped our toes in. We walked along a nearby trail past some of the relics and memorials of World War II.
Things to do in Gdansk Poland: Pay your respects at the WWII memorials at Westerplatte
Things to do in Gdansk Poland: Pay your respects at the WWII memorials at Westerplatte
We noticed that the rocks along the beach had rebar sticking out. It looked to be debris rather than material placed there deliberately -- another reminder of the senseless destruction that this area once experienced.
Things to do in Gdansk Poland: Explore the WWII ruins on Westerplatte
We re-boarded our ship and passed a line of handsome and colorful tugboats. Our jaunty captain looked the part as he steered the vessel -- Argh, matie! One of the sailors broke out his guitar and serenaded us on the return voyage.

From Gdansk to Sopot

From the Gdansk Główny Train Station, it is about a 15 minute ride on the local commuter train to Sopot, a Polish beach town. We walked down the main pedestrian thoroughfare toward the water. We treated ourselves to an ice cream cone (lody).
Things to do in Tricity Poland: Eat an ice cream (lody) in Sopot
Just like in Gdansk, the manhole covers in Sopot are intricately stamped with the town name. Shops and vendors ringed the area along the boardwalk. The boardwalk in Sopot is quite long (guidebooks suggest that it's more than a mile long but I think that's a bit of an exaggeration).
Things to do in Sopot. Walk the Baltic's longest wooden boardwalk
We had to pay a modest fee (2 złoty about 0.50 USD) for the privilege of strolling along the Baltic's longest wooden boardwalk. We sat on the beach in Sopot and watched the waves lapping in gently.
Things to do in Sopot: relax on the beach

Eat Polish Comfort Food in Gdansk

We returned from Sopot to Gdansk for dinner on Długi Targ. We ate outside despite a nip in the air in full view of the Neptune fountain. The polish sausage was delicious and a fantastic conclusion to our second of 3 days in Tricity Poland.
What to eat in Gdansk Poland: Polish sausage

Gdansk to Gdynia: The Third Component of Poland’s TriCity

On our last day in Gdansk, we visited the third component of Tricity Poland, Gdynia. Gdynia City features a large covered market near the commuter train station. They sell everything from kielbasa to clothing. We walked toward the water and passed a statue of Antoni Abraham. I didn't know this at the time, but he was the Kashubian representative to the Treaty of Versailles. It was a windy day and flags flapped in the breeze along the Baltic Sea.
What to see in Tricity Poland: The statue of Joseph Conrad in Gdynia City
We passed the statue of Joseph Conrad. This is the only statue memorializing the great author and interestingly, he never visited Gdynia. We ate lunch at a local spot called Bistro Luna. We ate outside and enjoyed an inexpensive meal of pierogi and soda. The "walk/don't walk" signals in Gdynia were quite musical and we could hear them as we ate our lunch. We stopped at the covered market on our way back to the train station and bought some baked goods for the ride. There were so many kinds to choose from, each one sweeter than the last. The Polish baked goods were so sweet, in fact, that there were bees madly buzzing around the kiosk.

Take A Walk in the Park in Oliwa

We stopped in Oliwa, a neighborhood in Gdansk known for its gorgeous park. We spotted floating musical notes in the pond in the park. The Abbot's Palace overlooks the carefully manicured gardens.
Things to do in Tricity Poland: Visit Abbot's Palace in Oliwa
We did our best to devour the cake that we bought in Gdynia. I have to say, we didn't really make a dent. It was so tasty, but huge!
Things to do in Tricity Poland: eat plenty of cake in the park
We took the tram from Oliwa to Gdansk City Centre and bid our farewell to our 3 day Polish city break in Tricity before heading to Gdansk's airport for the return flight to Dublin.
Things to do in Tricity Poland: Take the tram around between Gdansk and Oliwa

Is Gdansk Poland Worth Visiting?

Gdansk is often overlooked by tourists in favor to Krakow, Warsaw, or even Wroclaw but we found that Gdansk is definitely worth including on a Poland itinerary. If you enjoy history and aim to experience a non-touristy slice of life in Poland, Gdansk and the broader Tricity Poland metro area is a great idea for your next weekend city break in Europe.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for off the beaten path ideas for places to visit in Poland? Consider spending a Ryanair weekend in Poznan and Bydgoszcz.

Map of Points of Interest in Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia

Check out these handy maps of points of interest and our walking routes in Tricity Poland covering Gdansk, Sopot, Gdynia and Westerplatte.



View Gdansk, Day 1 in a larger map
View Westerplatte + Sopot in a larger map
View Westerplatte + Sopot in a larger map
View Westerplatte + Sopot in a larger map
View Gdynia and Oliwa in a larger map
View Gdynia and Oliwa in a larger map

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Things to Do in Tricity Poland for a Weekend
Things to Do in Tricity Poland for a Weekend
Read about Tricity Poland including Gdansk, Sopot, Gdynia and Westerplatte. Find out about things to do in Gdansk. Learn about things to do in Sopot and Gdynia City.
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