Gdansk Bay, Poland
The picturesque Gdansk Bay is a stunning Baltic Sea bay in Poland. There are several Polish cities along the bay, including the historic Gdansk as well as Sopot and Gdynia.
Gdansk is particularly fascinating. With more than a thousand years of history, the city holds an important place in Polish history. There are picturesque streets and centuries-old cathedrals for meandering through; sights that have inspired many artists over the years. Nearby Westerplatte Peninsula is one of the reasons Gdansk is historically significant, as it was where the first shots of World War II were fired.
The much newer city of Gdynia was transformed from a village to a city after World War I, by the League of Nations. Its cityscape is still characterised by the elegant architecture of the 1920s and 1930s, though much of Gdynia was reconstructed after the World War II.
The historic and scenic Gdansk Bay makes for an interesting port of call on any European cruise itinerary.
There are several ports in the Gdansk Bay. Large cruise ships usually dock at the Francuskie Pier, which is situated in industrial Gdynia. Some smaller ships, however, may dock at the New Port in Gdansk or at the Pomorskie Pier in Gdynia.
There are few facilities at the ports. In Gdynia there are some stores near the cruise piers, but most of what you’ll want to see is in Gdansk. In Gdynia and Gdansk there are plenty of eateries and stores, as well as Internet cafés for staying in touch.
How to Get Around
When arriving at the port in Gdynia, there may be shuttles provided to take visitors to the waterfront area of the city where there are cafés, restaurants and stores. To get to Gdansk from Gdynia there is a regular train service. Tickets can be bought from a kiosk, and there are ATMs near the train platform. A cruise shuttle is often provided to take you to the train station.
There are usually a limited number of taxis at the piers. It is about a 45-minute ride into the heart of the city and it is a good idea to negotiate a fare at the start of your journey. Once in the Old Town of Gdansk, it’s easy to get around on foot.
It is important to note that in Poland it is necessary to carry your passport with you at all times.
- Currency – The official currency of Poland is the zloty; however, the country has plans to switch to the euro (€) in the future. Some shops will accept the euro, and most will also take credit cards.
- Time Zone – Poland operates on Central European Time (CET), which is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Poland switches to Daylight Saving Time (DST) at the end of March, when the clocks are turned forward 1 hour. Daylight savings ends during October.
- Weather – Gdansk has an annual mean temperature of 8 degrees Celsius. In winter temperatures usually reach 1.7 degrees Celsius and fall to -2.7 degrees Celsius. In summer, the average high is 21.3 degrees Celsius and the average low is 12.6 degrees Celsius.
- St. Mary’s Church – At the heart of Gdansk’s Old Town is St. Mary’s Church, which was built in 1343 and is possibly the largest brick church in the world. It has an astronomical clock from 1464, as well as impressive artworks and over 300 tombs. The church is open Monday to Saturday, from 9.30am till 5.30pm and from 1pm till 5.30pm on Sundays.
- The Roads to Freedom Exhibition – Pay tribute to Gdansk’s history with a visit to the Roads to Freedom Exhibition. It is located at the Gdansk Shipyard, where Solidarity, the first trade union that was not under the control of the Communist Party, began. There is a monument to the shipyard workers, which was built in tribute to the 44 workers who lost their lives in a clash with police in 1970. The exhibition is a moving and stirring experience, featuring news coverage and important mementoes. The exhibition is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am till 5pm.
- Shopping – Gdansk offers a unique shopping experience to visitors. In its Old Town, there are many cobblestone streets to explore, which are home to wonderful stores selling all sorts of locally made goods, including lace items, ceramics, china and jewellery. Polish amber is beautiful and relatively inexpensive, and many stores offer stunning amber jewellery and figurines. The main shopping street in Gdansk is Royal Way.