We recently (end of April 2023) visited the beautiful Gdansk in the North of Poland, as a long city break with my mum and LM. It’s the first time we’ve travelled without his dad, and I was nervous (mostly to do with LM’s sleep and some elements of executive functioning which can be tricky), but it went really well! We all came back with huge smiles on our faces! It’s extremely accurate to tell you that LM lived his best life that weekend, and as a result of it, I did too! There are SO many reasons why you should visit Gdansk with kids!
Here are my top 6:
It’s in an extremely beautiful setting. Even just meandering about feels rather special- you know you’re in somewhere wonderful when aimless wandering feels that good! Dluga Street is it’s most famous of it’s streets, and you can see why! Chocolate box style, colourful buildings, rows of restaurants, patisseries, and shops. We stayed on Ogarna Street, which runs parallel to it- a lot quieter and just 2 minutes from the main action. It’s definitely more subtle, but a lovely place to stay. It wasn’t expensive either: we paid £260.00 for the 3 nights for a large 2 bedroom and supremely beautiful, apartment with high ceilings and top end decor. Check Downtown Apartments out on Air BNB. It felt like a dream at night to be cosied up in- even when raining).
It has lots of pedestrianised streets/walk ways in the Old Town, perfect for little ones running off! Lots of cobbled streets- so maybe not so great for sleeping babes in pushchairs, but perfect to feel a little more relaxed about your tiny one legging it away from you.
3. Free options
There is lots of activity on the streets and in the Centre, without necessarily paying for set activities, which also helps keep your costs down low. Really helpful reason to why you should visit Gdansk with kids!! We found a lovely park behind Dluga Street (in a square flanked by 2 streets: check out ul. Szeroka and ul. Grobla II for where to find the park) with swings and a slide, where we enjoyed lots of time in. We walked/ran after LM along the beautiful Marina, sat out on terraces for lunch and people watched, saw buskers and musicians- all of this was great for Little Man.
4. And general low cost
It’s really cheap for when you DO pay for activities. We paid for our own little bus tour via City Tours around £40.00 for the 3 of us (I mean, let’s not really count LM in who isn’t even 3 yet). This may not sound a great example as it’s maybe comparable to other countries, but we had the bus and the driver to ourselves. He was super kind, we were able to get a lot of local information from him and felt we had found out so much more about Gdansk and Poland, than say if we were to take the hop on-hop off tour, which would have been a similar price. I can’t find their specific website, but they are mentioned here https://www.getyourguide.com/gdansk-l1960/gdansk-city-tour-by-electric-golf-cart-t328966/ and you can find them at many hours beside the Golden Gate, at the top end of Dluga Street.
Children specific activities: we paid for the Carousel on the Marina for Little Man, which was 5 Zloty per 3 minute ride, around £1.00! That said, he really, really, enjoyed the bus tour we did too and getting on and off at various places (see pic below!)
The Amber Sky ride (like the London Eye) was sadly under maintenance when we visited, however its standard fare for when it’s back up and running is just around £5 per person. See here for more details: https://visitgdansk.com/en/aktualnosci/amber-sky-still-goes-round,a,3554 in case it’s ready for when you are there. The Museum of The Second World War is also meant to be remarkable. It isn’t something we were able to consider with LM unfortunately. Children under 7 go free, and you can get a family ticket (2 adults, up to 3 children) for 55 Zloty: around £10! A total bargain. Find more information here: https://muzeum1939.pl/en/sightseeing-children/4347.html. Gdansk is basically a beautiful place for children, and there is enough for them to do, take our word for it! An important factor in considering why you should definitely visit Gdansk with kids.
Meals and drinks were roughly half the price of what you’d pay in London in most standard restaurants. You can find far cheaper options in Milk Bars, which the country is famous for. I loved this blog post on Gdansk’s best Milk Bars- read more about them and which ones you should try out here: https://www.nothingfamiliar.com/gdansk-milk-bars/ I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t necessarily find great options for kids menus. Everything had chips, and when we asked one restaurant to swap the chips for potatoes, they said they couldn’t do it- but that perhaps just our experience, maybe you’ll have better luck!
Just for us as adults, we used reviews from Trip Advisor and tried the excellent Mono Kitchen https://gdansk.monokitchen.pl/restaurant, where a larger burger and chips meal was around £9.00- LM didn’t eat, as he was sleeping for this one- no kids menu either. Restaurant Holender https://www.latajacyholender.pl/ is where LM had a huge grilled chicken and chips dinner for just over £6.00. It would have been sufficient for a 10 year old! We had a bit of a meltdown crisis here and the staff were great, it’s a great spot for people watching as you’re sat on the terrace with heaters if required, overlooking Dluga Street, and the food was excellent. We really enjoyed the Polish dumplings “Pierogi” which you will find basically everywhere!
Top tip if staying in an Air Bnb: dotted around the Old Town, you will find lots of convenience stores called “Zabka”. Ignore these if you are looking to buy more than a couple of drinks, as they are super expensive! Instead, head to the shopping centre, “Forum Gdansk” at the top of the Golden Gate. In the basement there, you will find a supermarket where lots of locals go.
6. Easy to get to
It was less than a 2 hour flight. It should have been 2.5 hrs, but our captain was able to smash it in just under 2, and just a 15 minute taxi ride to and from Gdansk airport to the Old Town. These are both really helpful reasons to add to why you should visit Gdansk with kids! Just so straightforward and easy. We flew in April, so off season it was around £40 for LM’s flight and £80 each for ours (this included a cabin bag each). It’s a small airport at Gdansk, so you’re able to arrive and get out fairly swiftly (subject to passport control!) which is super helpful when travelling with kids.
We used to be able to time flights roughly with LM’s nap. Nowadays, it’s anyones guess when he’ll nap, so we don’t and can’t bank on it. Instead, the time went quickly enough anyway, and we were able to use the ideas of reusable stickers we got from the wonderful Twin Perspectives https://twinperspectives.co.uk/10-ideas-for-toddler-plane-activities/. As well as a magic sketch eraser worked wonders to entertain him, sat between his nanny and I for the flight. Wonderful time fillers both ways!
Have you taken your kids to Gdansk, or elsewhere in Poland? What’s your favourite places? LM and I are looking forward to getting back!