15 Best Day Trips from Gdansk, Poland
Your guide to the best Gdansk day trips for history, hiking and culture in East Pomerania!
Oh Gdansk, it’s so obvious why you have been chosen destination of the year: your pretty pastel house fronts, your delicious Pomeranian and Polish cuisine, your Flemish inspired architecture, your soft colored coast…
There seems to be no reason why anybody ever wants to leave Gdansk! If I could, I would take year trips to Gdansk!
However the Polish city on the Baltic coast is surrounded by one of the most pristine and enchanting landscapes in Northeastern Europe: the Pomeranian Kashubia also known as the Kashubian Switzerland or Kashubian lake district. Enjoy untouched Polish nature and quaint Kashubian towns by exploring the surroundings of Gdansk.
So here you go, the 15 best day trips from Gdansk, Poland.
Even though you can easily stay 2-3 days in the picturesque town and wander through its cobbled streets, I strongly recommend saving at least one Gdansk day trip in your travel schedule to visit one of these gems in the surroundings of Gdansk.
If you’re short on time, you can see all the best of Gdansk in one day to ensure you can do at least one of these day trips!
Gdansk is the largest city of Eastern Pomerania, home of the Kashubs. The Kashubs are an ethnic and linguistic minority. They have their own embroidery, traditions and language.
However they consider themselves as Polish, they don’t want to separate from Poland.
Kashubia, the land of the Kashubs, is also known as the Lake District as it counts over 3000 lakes. It’s thus a paradise for nature lovers and sustainable travel enthusiasts. Let’s turn exploration mode on and discover some of the best Kashubian attractions by going on a day trip from Gdansk.
This post contains affiliate links. If you buy through them, I will earn a small commission that will help me run this blog. All opinions are always mine. Thanks a lot!
Practical Information for travel to Gdansk, Poland
$ I withdraw money without hidden fees and avoid exchange rates with Transferwise (you’ll get a free card on top)
⚘ Get a travel guide in order to prepare your trip. I recommend the Lonely Planet Guide – Poland (get a 10 % discount with the code “PAULINA10”).
General Info about the Pomeranian Province
Geographic situation: Gdansk, Polish city on the Baltic coast, capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and Kashubia, Poland’s principal seaport and the centre of the country’s fourth-largest metropolitan area. Complex history with periods of Prussian or German rule, of self-rule as a “free city”.
Language: Polish. English is widely spoken.
|How to get there:|
By airplane to Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport. Within Europe, you can often find cheap flights to Gdansk, East Pomerania. Airport. – Book here your airport transfer to hotel
By train from Warsaw, Gdynia or Sopot. Check railway prices here
By long-distance bus (super cheap here) from Warsaw and other Polish cities.
Rent a car to drive from Warsaw or to explore Kashubian Switzerland. Check rental car prices here.
|Activities: Formerly trade and shipbuilding, amber processing and export. |
This means there are plenty of options for boat trips in Gdansk, as well as along the Baltic coast where many national tourists head. Read more about tourism and things to do near Bialowieza forest, Poland.
Where to stay in Gdansk, Poland
|Marina Club Hotel|
|Stay Inn Hotel *** (recommended because of its excellent location)|
|PURO Hotel **** (great interior design)|
|Radisson Blu Gdansk *****|
|Hotel Gdansk Boutique *****|
Sopot is the exclusive and most famous beach resort of the Polish Baltic coast. As the resort has never been destroyed by the bombings of the Second World War (not as Gdansk which has been entirely destroyed), its original architecture is still well preserved.
Sopot has a century of history when it comes to wellness and spa tourism. The health benefits of its coveted mineral fountains are well known and thus even famous personalities like Fidel Castro, Marlene Dietrich or even Adolf Hitler stayed in the grand hotels of Sopot.
The main attraction of Sopot is the wooden pier which is the longest in entire Europe (entrance fee is about 2€ in summer). There’s a lovely bar at the end of the pier and you’ll enjoy fabulous views on the Baltic coast, Sopot’s legendary Grand Hotel and Hel peninsula.
The main pedestrian street Monte Cassino is the place to be seen and obviously for people watching. It’s filled with numerous terraces and shops, the most famous building being the Crooked House.
Sopot is also a great place to indulge in Polish food and I highly recommend Sztuczka Bistro which serves traditional Polish cuisine with a modern touch. The watermelon salad and ceviche with local cod were heavens!
If you’re planning a trip to Gdansk, Poland, this is one of the best day trips you can take!
2. Kashubian Switzerland
The region of Kashubia, also known as Kashubian Switzerland, stretches over an area counting more than 3000 lakes and several hectares of untouched woods. Even though Gdansk is the largest city in Kashubia, the capital of the Kashub region is disputed among Kościerzyna and Kartuzy.
The Kashubs are ethnically and linguistically different from the Poles, but without a separatist movement. They are living on the Baltic coast and Eastern Pomerania since 7th century AD. A colorful culture developed during centuries where pottery and embroidery are the main arts.
Due to its extensive forests and vast lakes, the Kashubian Switzerland is a playground for nature lovers and active travellers. If you love the outdoors, it’s hard to imagine a Gdansk trip that doesn’t include exploring the Kashubian lake district.
Indeed you can choose among a large many outdoor leisure activities such as sailing, hiking, trekking, mushrooming (according to our guide the national sport of East Pomerania – never go mushrooming without a guide btw!)…
Canoeing from one lake to another (they are often connected) is a sport with a long tradition in Pomerania. Almost on any lake you visit, you’ll find a canoe or kayak rental service.
There are over 133km of water routes to be explored. Canoe rental stations can be found in Wdzydze or in Kociewie. If you were hoping to take some boat trips in Gdansk, head to the Kashubian lake district!
An extensive cycling network covers most parts of Kashubia. It’s thus perfect to cycle from one town to the next one. Many lakes have lake side bars inviting to relax and enjoy peaceful views.
The most popular lakes in Kashubia are Lebsko Lake, Biale Lake and Klodno Lake.
3. Wdzydze Ethnographic Museum
The Ethnographic Museum is definitely one of the most educational day trips from Gdansk. It’s the first and largest open air museum in Poland and hosts over 50 buildings showcasing the traditional Kashubian architecture, among them a church (service is still held on Sunday) and a school.
Here you can learn about the traditional lifestyle of the Kashubs and about their daily grind including weaving, food preparation, fashion, spinning.
This valuable knowledge which sometimes risks to become forgotten is transmitted to the museum visitors in interactive workshops.
There is a wide range of workshops that you can choose from: spinning, clay and pottery workshops, painting traditional Kashubian motives on glass or making paper flowers, one of the most emblematic Kashubian traditions.
On top the crafts make a good souvenir from your excursion to the Kashubian Switzerland.
I was lucky enough to join a paper flower and painting workshop and against my expectations I never felt more relaxed. The ladies organizing the workshop were super patient (with me being rather clumsy…) and were an incredible source of knowledge.
The workshops are held in the exposed buildings of the museum and you can pop in spontaneously or ask at the reception.
On top there is an excellent restaurant onsite. They serve traditional Pomeranian food including fish from the surrounding lakes and the mandatory dumplings (pirogi).
The interior is decorated with Kashubian items like colorful paper flowers and you can purchase traditional pastry at the bar. I absolutely recommend their kompot juice which was prepared with more than 4 different kinds of berries.
You should calculate at least 1-2 hours to visit the museum (without doing a workshop). This was one of my favorite places to visit near Gdansk because I learned so much!
Kashubian Ethnographical Park
ul. T. i I. Gulgowskich 68
4. Lawendowa Osada – Lavender Farm
The Lavender Farm, Lawendowa Osada, is one of the most intriguing day trips from Gdansk. This purple paradise has been created by Barbara and Bartosz because they were seeking a more fulfilling and slow-paced lifestyle.
They built 4 beautiful guest houses, all of them with the lavender and Kashubian theme, where you can spend the night but also learn about the health benefits of lavender.
Indeed Barbara offers workshops like proceeding lavender, cooking workshops but also workshops about women’s empowerment.
The offer of Lawendowa Osada is completed by the wellness and spa facilities. There’s a salt cave onsite with salt from the Adriatic sea, a jacuzzi located at the edge of the forest, a sauna and a swimming pool.
The most surprising attraction is however the astronomical observer (!!) with a massive telescope. Bartosz will be pleased to give you a short introduction on the Polish starry sky.
While this is one of the best day trips from Gdansk, I highly recommend to spend at least 1 night if you can. This way you get to enjoy what the Lavendar Farm has to offer to the fullest and live the slow life for some time.
On top you can’t leave without trying Barbara’s lavender cheese and honey, she definitely served the best Polish dinner and breakfast during my trip to Kashubia. Pay a visit, you won’t regret it.
Młyńska 6a, 83-047 Przywidz, Poland
Tel.:+48 511 975 929
5. Wdzydze Watch Tower
The Wdzydze Watch Tower will provide you the most beautiful views on the Kashubian Switzerland and on its biggest lakes Jezioro Jelenie and Jezioro Golun. The Wdzydze Watch tower is located only a 5-minutes drive from the Kashub Ethnografic Museum, it can thus be easily combined.
The Wdydze watch tower is strategically located on the intersection of several lakes in the Kashubian lake district. It will give you a good sense of the vastness of the Pomeranian highlands.
The observation tower offers a breathtaking panorama view and there are camping facilities in the immediate surroundings. You’ll also find a bar onsite which serves delicious Polish soups and the traditional pirogi (dumplings). Its terrace is very inviting to relax and enjoy the views.
In case you want to get active, you can even rent a canoe or a windsurf next to the watch tower and explore the lakes by canoeing.
Wdzydze Kiszewskie 29,
83-406 Wąglikowice, Poland
Lipusz is know to be the capital of bread. Indeed the bread of the quaint town is known all over the area.
Even though the town has only about 2500 inhabitants it is famous for rural tourism. It’s thus the perfect location to slow down and enjoy the beauty of Kashubian Switzerland.
In case you want to fully immerse in Kashubian culture, I recommend to do a breadbaking workshop with Karola in Lipusz or a pottery master course with Asha from Gospodarstwo Zielony Kot. Both crafts are emblematic elements of Kashub culture.
I am missing the words to describe breadbaking with Karola: she bakes over 300 bread leafs every day and won several awards for the best bread in the region.
She is also an avid collectionner of ancient baking molds and recipes. Some of the over 400 molds go back from the First World War. She even holds the oldest Dr.Oetker mold.
The clay workshop with Asha from Gospodarstwo Zielony Kot is a great way to learn about Kashubian culture and create a meaningful item with your hands. Admittedly, I underestimated the relaxing effect of forming vessels from clay, but finally it gave me a deeper understanding of pottery as a Kashubian cultural expression.
7. Koscierzyna, the Kashub capital?
The title of being the capital of Kashubia is disputed by several towns, among them Koscierzyna located 50 km from Gdansk. The history of Koscierzyna goes back to the end of the 13th century and is situated in what was once called West Prussia, in the Kaszuby district.
I particularly liked the Market Square of Koscierzyna because it is composed by pastel colored houses. Its benches invite to relax and observe the Polish daily grind.
Koscierzyna is famous for its accordeon music and nowadays it is a hub for furniture.
However my favorite place in Koscierzyna was the Stary Browar brewery where you can learn about the Pomeranian brewing tradition. On top the restaurant and hotel perfectly manages the gap between preserving traditional and an interior design based on the latest trends. The entire building has been built up from ruins and has a 150 year hold history.
The brewery pours nine types of beer everyday: Indian Pale Ale, Wheat, Cranberry, Keller, Dark Beer, Red Lager, New England Wheat, Lemon and American IPA. The hops and malts come mostly from Polish plantations and they use water from their own intake. Feel free to ask for a beer tasting.
There is a direct railway connection from Koscierzyna to Gdansk. This makes it one of the best cities near Gdansk for a day trip!
An excursion to the Westerplatte is one of the classic day trips from Gdansk. Located on the Baltic Sea coast mouth, it was the location of a Polish Military Transit Depot until 1939.
Westerplatte is famous for the Battle of Westerplatte, which started the Second World War as it was the first clash between Polish and German forces during the invasion of Poland.
During your visit of the Westerplatte you can spot the former defenders’ barracks and guardhouses. One of them was converted into a museum and a monument to the events has been unveiled in 1966. A museum dedicated to the battle of 1939 opened in 2015.
Gdynia is one of the 3 cities forming the so called Tri-City (Gdansk, Sopot, Gdynia). All three of which are some of the best places to visit near Gdansk for day trips!
Gdynia is one of the fastest growing towns in the area and doesn’t really have a historic center. It’s now one of the youngest and trendiest places to live in the region.
The city was only founded in 1926 and is famous for its harbor and the longest sea boulevard of Poland. Nowadays it’s the main port for cruise ships. The two 130-metre high Sea Towers are the symbol of Gdynia.
The most important tourist attraction is the historic vessels moored at the quayside: the only preserved Polish pre-World War II ship, and the oldest destroyer in the world today and the over a 100-year-old Dar Pomorza a former merchant vessel, today a museum-ship.
How to get there:
30 min by train from Gdansk – Buy here your tickets to Gdynia
10. Hel Peninsula
A day trip to Hel peninsula is not as hellish as it might sound first. The 34km strip reaches in the Baltic Sea and is not wider than 500m.
The peninsula is dominated by the 2 fishing ports, Hel and and Władysławowo at its base. Chałupy, Kuźnica and Jurata are tourist resorts during the short summer season and can be quite packed from July to September. The northern shore is famous for its beautiful beaches which are mostly deserted.
Hel island is famous for its delicious seafood restaurants and due to its rare bird species it’s a paradise for birdwatchers.
Hel peninsula can be easily reached from Gdansk by train or bus and from Sopot by ferry.
11. Stutthof Concentration Camp
If you know anything about WWII, you know this is one of the more difficult day trips from Gdansk, Poland. But visiting Stutthof Concentration Camp is an important place to visit and a must for any history lovers.
Stutthof was a Nazi concentration camp during WWII where over 110,000 people were help prisoner.
The conditions in the camp were terrible, and over 63,000 of the inmates died within the camp. Unfortunately many more died during death marches just before the camp was liberated.
12. Malbork Castle
One of the best cities near Gdansk for day trips is Malbork. In particular, you need to visit the magnificent Malbork Castle.
Malbork Castle sits inside a large Gothic fortress complex that was built in the 13th century and today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to its fascinating history, the castle is full of interesting statues and beautiful architecture. It’s also the largest castle in the world by land area.
It’s worth it to travel to Gdansk, Poland just to go on a day trip to nearby Malbork Castle! If you only have a few days, you can easily do one day in Gdansk and then a day in Malbork.
The train from Gdansk to Malbork is only 45 minutes! – Book train tickets here
Tczew is a beautiful town on the Vistula River in the Eastern Pomerania province.
The most popular reason to visit Tczew on a Gdansk day trip is to see the Ship Wreck Center for Conservation, which is part of the National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk. Another popular site is the Vistula Museum.
If you are interested in maritime history, then this will probably be one of your favorite daytrips from Gdansk! If maritime history doesn’t interest you, it’s still a nice place to visit if you have the time.
14. Łeba and Słowiński National Park
Did you know that Poland has sand dunes? You can bet this came as a shock to me, too!
People come from all over to see the ‘shifting’ sand dunes, which shift slightly every year due to strong winds. The air in Łeba even actually proven to help with respiratory conditions like asthma.
Located near the most northern point of the Pomerania province is Łeba and the Słowiński National Park, one of the most amazing places to visit in Poland. This is also a great option if you’re looking for some Gdansk hiking options as it’s a pretty easy day trip!
15. Kaliningrad (Russia)
Many people don’t realize there is a tiny part of Russia right next to Poland and the Baltics. This is called Kaliningrad and it’s full of some amazing sites you’ve probably never heard of! This makes it one of the most unique day trips Gdansk has to offer.
The must-visit sites in Kaliningrad are the Königsberg Cathedral, Amber Fort, Botanical Garden, and Bunker Museum. There’s even a bizarre monument to Baron Munchausen!
You can visit Kaliningrad as a day trip from Gdansk either by bus, or by car, but make sure you have any required visas in place before you go!
Have you been in Gdansk? Did you enjoy it? I would love to hear about the things you loved (or loved less) in the comment form.
Map: Best Day Trips from Gdansk
Before You Go: Top Tips for your Trip
- You’ll snap tons of photos and I love to take my GoPro in order to shoot even in extreme situations.
- Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and hiking sandals when traveling to warm countries.
- Sunscreen is key! I always take with me my eco-friendly sunscreen by Thinksport.
- I always carry a light rain jacket, just in case.
- Travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected against all odds with HeyMondo.
To make the most of your trip, I recommend Lonely Planet Poland (get -10% off with code “PAULINA10”)
Some of the pictures in this article have been taken by the talented Kostas Deko
Disclaimer: I have been a guest of Pomorskie Travel and the Polish Tourism Board. All my opinions, as always, are my own. This posts contains affiliate links. In case you purchase one of the items, I’ll receive a small commission. The price remains the same for you.