Looking to find out when is the best time to visit Gdańsk? Then look no further!
Gdańsk is a wonderful Polish city and one that should not be missed out on if you ever find yourself in the country or just across the border in Germany.
Well-known as being one of Europe’s most important port cities, Gdańsk is full of life and character.
Its rich history is kept alive through museums and architecture and it’s impossible to leave without stumbling across a historical or cultural site.
This article will give you all of the top details about when is the best time to visit Gdańsk and how to make the most out of your trip.
Where is Gdańsk?
Gdańsk is a historic port city located in northern Poland, on the Baltic Sea coast. Situated at the mouth of the Vistula River, Gdańsk is a vital maritime and industrial hub. It’s renowned for its rich history, marked by influences from various cultures due to its strategic location.
The city played a significant role in World War II and the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.
It’s part of the Tricity metropolitan area, alongside Gdynia and Sopot, all of which offer a blend of culture, history, and seaside charm.
The city is well connected to other large Polish cities like Warsaw and Krakow.
What is Gdańsk like?
Gdańsk is a tapestry of rich history, diverse culture, and distinctive architecture. The city is a testament to resilience, having survived almost complete devastation in World War II.
Gdańsk’s people are known for their warmth and friendliness. The city has a mix of Polish and international communities, creating a vibrant and exciting atmosphere. Locals take pride in their maritime heritage, often seen in their strong connection to the sea.
Gdańsk’s food scene consists of traditional Polish cuisine and international influences. You can savour pierogi (dumplings), kielbasa (sausage), and delectable seafood in charming restaurants and street markets.
Gdańsk’s culture is a fusion of history and contemporary art. Museums, such as the European Solidarity Centre, honour the city’s role in history. The city hosts various cultural events every year, including the St. Dominic’s Fair and the Shakespeare Festival.
Architecturally, Gdańsk is incomparable to many other European cities. The Old Town is a showcase of Gothic and Renaissance buildings, dominated by St. Mary’s Church and the iconic Gdańsk Crane. The city’s skyline is a mix of historic and modern, making it a photographer’s paradise.
Best Time to Visit Gdańsk
May is arguably the best time to visit Gdańsk, as it offers an ideal mix of favourable weather and a vibrant atmosphere. As spring transitions into early summer, Gdańsk comes alive with blooming flowers and lush greenery, making it a picturesque destination.
Weather in May is generally mild and pleasant, with daytime temperatures averaging around 15-20°C (59-68°F). It’s the perfect climate for exploring the city’s historic sites, strolling along the Baltic Sea coast, and enjoying outdoor activities without the intense summer heat or the chill of winter.
Towards the end of May, you may get lucky with particularly warm days that allow you to explore the city’s coastline and perhaps relax on the beach with a picnic.
May marks the beginning of the tourist season, but it’s not as crowded as the peak summer months of June and July. You can explore Gdańsk’s charming Old Town, visit museums, and savour traditional Polish cuisine in a more relaxed atmosphere.
Gdańsk in Spring
Spring is a wonderful time to visit Gdańsk as it begins to liven up after its post-Christmas lull. The city has so much to enjoy all-year round but a visit out of peak season makes a visit so much more enjoyable.
The historic Old Town, with its charming pastel buildings and cobbled streets, becomes a picture-perfect setting for leisurely walks when springtime weather emerges.
The gardens and parks, such as Oliwa Park with its magnificent cathedral, burst into bloom, creating a lush, green oasis for relaxation and picnics.
Cafés and restaurants begin to spill seating onto the streets, inviting you to devour traditional Polish dishes and international cuisine amidst the gentle breeze.
The atmosphere is invigorating as locals and tourists alike begin to enjoy the city’s cultural offerings, from art exhibitions to music festivals.
In March temperatures can be below zero, days are still short and there’s not so much sun, but this does not mean you should avoid the city – if you’re not a fan of crowds and are prepared to wrap up warm then March can be the perfect time to visit Gdańsk.
The weather in Gdańsk in April isn’t very predictable and can alternate between sun and snow.
As suggested above, May is the best spring month to visit. Plants and trees start to become green again and the days become longer. Days are warmer and warmer, and sometimes very sunny.
Overall, spring is a good time to visit Gdańsk but to make the most of the better weather, you’d be best visiting in late May.
Gdańsk in Summer
Many top blog sites will argue that you must visit the city in the summer months – and they’re not completely wrong. Summer is when the city is at its peak and most lively. There is so much to do in the city in the summer months and it’s quite impossible to miss out on festivals.
June is still a great month to visit Gdańsk with crowds being quieter and a good weather prevailing. As you move into July and August, Gdańsk reaches its peak tourist season.
You’ll have to book your accommodation months in advance should you want to visit Gdańsk in the summer months. Not only is it a cheap destination to visit from the UK and surrounding European countries, but many Polish residents also venture north to the city to enjoy the beaches.
Crowds can get pretty hectic but all for a good reason. St. Dominic’s Fair is the highlight of a trip in late July or early August. The event is one of the biggest in Europe and well-worth a visit.
It can be pretty hard to do some sightseeing in the city during the fair as the streets become very packed but if you’re looking for a unique experience then the fair is definitely an enjoyable way to spend a few days in Gdańsk.
The weather in the summer months is usually warm and sunny. July can be quite rainy however so if you can opt for August then certainly do.
Gdańsk at Christmas
Visiting Gdańsk during the Christmas season is a truly enchanting experience. The city transforms into a winter wonderland, adorned with festive lights and decorations, creating a magical atmosphere that captures the festive spirit.
Gdańsk’s Old Town, with its historic architecture and charming streets, takes on a fairytale-like quality as it’s draped in twinkling lights and garlands.
The Christmas markets, notably the one in the Main Town, come alive with stalls selling handmade ornaments, warm mulled wine, and delicious Polish treats like gingerbread.
A highlight of the season is the Gdańsk Nativity Scene Contest, where locals display intricately crafted nativity scenes in windows throughout the city. These artistic displays offer insight into Polish Christmas traditions and are a treat for the eyes.
Additionally, Gdańsk’s churches, including the stunning St. Mary’s Church, hosts beautiful Christmas concerts and midnight Mass services. The best time to visit Gdańsk could definitely be Christmas.
Top Things To Do in Gdańsk
Gdańsk is full of great cultural and historical things to see and do. Here are a list of my top 5 things to do in Gdańsk.
Visit the WWII Museum – Gdańsk took a very hard hit during WWII (being the place where it first started) and so there is a lot of history to see around the city surrounding the war.
The museum is one of the most interesting that I have ever been too and some of the exhibits were extremely hard-hitting. I enjoyed the museum’s collection of war-time objects and artwork and learned a lot in my short visit. A two hour walk around the museum was all that I had time for but I could have easily spent the entire day there.
I suppose that the visit is slightly less gruesome than a visit to a concentration camp – which I appreciated. Many people may find a tour of the likes of Auschwitz far too chilling and overwhelming – no matter how hard they try to convince themselves to go.
The museum provided a great educational resource with so many real objects from camps that it could be somewhat comparable to a visit to a concentration camp. They were presented in a way that did not force you to look at anything you did not want to and allowed visitors to take their own route.
While I think a visit to a camp is a must-do at some point when visiting Poland, I would highly suggest visiting the museum in Gdańsk should you not be able to bring yourself to do so.
Westerplatte – Again, on the topic of war, Westerplatte is an unmissable location when visiting Gdańsk. Just a short taxi ride from the city centre, Westerplatte is one of the most historical locations you can visit in all of Poland.
Westerplatte was the starting location of WWII and the great monument that stands upon the hill today is testament to the men that gave their lives in the war’s early days.
A visit to Westerplatte will consist of a walk around an old army barracks, with collapsed buildings and guardhouses left untouched. Graves for soldiers are on the grounds and there are plenty of information signs to guide you around the area.
The huge monument on the top of the hill is a great place to pay your respects and it is a truly beautiful monument. The beaches along the coast are lovely for relaxing and reflecting on the past.
Papugarnia Gdańsk – Papugarnia Gdańsk is unlike any visitor attraction I’ve been to before. It is a very unique experience and is the perfect place for animal lovers to visit.
Again, located just outside the city Papugarnia is a wild bird zoo that allows up-close interactions with parrots and other exotic birds. Once you’ve removed your jewellery and buttoned clothes, you’re free to pretty much roam around the sanctuary at your own leisure.
You’ll be offered to buy some feed for the birds and they will quickly jump at the opportunity to be fed by you. The birds instantly flocked onto my arms and shoulders when I entered the enclosure and I had such a great time interacting with them.
The zoo also houses lemurs, alpacas, goats, fish and reptiles. The lemur experience is perhaps the most fun as you’re offered to go into their enclosure and have time to stroke them. Watch out for a huge tortoise roaming the ground as he can get up close and personal very speedily.
Neptune’s Fountain – Neptune’s Fountain is located right in the heart of Gdańsk and is a well-known symbol of the city. The fountain is a highlight to all visitors and is truly very pretty.
The grand bronze statue was constructed in 1633, and depicts Neptune (Roman God of the Sea) standing on top of his sea-shell chariot, trident in hand.
The fountain serves as a great reminder of Gdańsk’s history as a vital port city and trading hub. It is a wonderful testament to the maritime traditions of the local people and the culture that has formed around the trade.
Today, the statue stands in a crowded spot, surrounded by wonderful, colourful buildings which provide a beautiful backdrop for photographs.
St. Mary’s Church – St. Mary’s Church, otherwise known as the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a work of art in the centre of Gdańsk.
The Gothic style church, constructed in the 14th century, is one of the largest red-brick churches in the world – a remarkable example of medieval architecture.
Inside, visitors can admire the stunning stained glass windows, a beautifully adorned altar, and the grandiose astronomical clock. The spires dominate the skyline, at 80 metres high and offer some unparalleled views from the top for just 10 PLN.
Conclusion: Best Time to Visit Gdansk
Gdańsk is a wonderful city to visit, and there are many times a year that would be ideal. I’d personally recommend a trip in May, since I can vouch for it being such a great time of year.
May is the best time to visit Gdańsk as the tourist season hasn’t truly kicked off yet and there is a wonderful atmosphere to enjoy. You’ll likely get there for cheaper and spend a lot less on accommodation.
However, if you’re looking for a magical experience then you should definitely consider venturing to Gdańsk during the Christmas period to enjoy the wonderful celebrations and markets.
Whenever you decide to go I’m sure you’ll have a great time and learn a lot from this historical and cultural paradise!