Why Gdansk is Perfect for Part Time Travellers

As much as I loved my expat life in both Australia and New Zealand, one of the benefits of now being based in London is the fact that going to another country just for the weekend isn’t completely off the cards. When I lived in Auckland I’d take weekend breaks to Wellington or spend a couple of days in Queenstown. Exploring further afield when you’ve only got 48 hours to play with just isn’t possible (unless you don’t sleep but I quite like sleep, y’know?)

Weekend breaks in Europe though? Totally doable, even when you’re balancing your love of travel with a full time job, like me.

In February I went to Poland with my friend Brenna where, aside from filling up on pierogi (small Polish dumplings) and vodka, I discovered why Gdansk is perfect for part time travellers.

Cafe in Gdansk

It’s easy to get to

One thing you don’t want to be doing on a weekend break is spending hours in transit. You want to get to your destination as soon as possible so you can spend more time exploring. A flight from Stansted Airport to Gdansk takes just over 2 hours and, if you choose a direct flight from other airports in England, you’re looking at about 2.5 hours in the air.

You could have your breakfast at home in London and be in Gdansk in time for a late lunch of Pierogi and traditional Polish soup. If that’s not a good idea I don’t know what is.

It’s small

Another thing you don’t want to have to do if you’re only somewhere for the weekend is to navigate a complicated transport system and waste time getting from place to place. Gdansk has a bus network (great for getting to and from the airport) and a train network that’ll take you to nearby Gdynia and Sopot (both worth a visit) but, because Gdansk isn’t a huge city, you can quite easily get around on foot.

Side street, Gdansk

Honestly? Sometimes the only plans I make when I travel is to walk; it’s good for you, it’s free, it gives you lots of opportunities to take photos and it’s often the best way to get a feel for a new place.

It’s ridiculously pretty

Let’s be honest here. When you’re travelling somewhere just for the weekend you don’t want to have to seek out all the good stuff. You didn’t get up at 6am for an early flight to spend hours searching for a pretty street to photograph, a lovely church to look around, a river to walk along after dinner. In Gdansk you don’t have to. It’s all there in front of you. Beautiful pastel coloured buildings, cobbled side streets, unique architecture, and a bit of street art to top it all off. It’s all just so wonderfully photogenic.

Architecture Gdansk

colour in Gdansk

Gdansk at night

pastel coloured buildings Gdansk

Street art Gdansk

It’s cheap

If you time it right and you’re willing to be flexible about exactly which weekend you go, you can easily get a cheap flight to Gdansk: we booked return flights about a month in advance for £58 return. The real bargains, though, don’t start until you actually arrive. Alcohol-wise you’re probably going to be drinking vodka (hello, you’re in Poland) which you can easily get with a mixer for around 5 Zloty (about £1), a beer will cost a little less and a main meal will cost you around 24 Zloty, that’s about £5.

Accommodation, especially if you stay in a hostel, is also cheap. We booked a twin room at Grand Hostel Gdansk and paid £25 each which covered 2 nights.

So that’s £58 on flights, £25 on accommodation: £83. Seriously, Gdansk is probably the cheapest place I’ve ever travelled to.  You could easily stick to the free tourist attractions whilst still eating out and going for a few drinks and set yourself a budget of £100.  Although I think I might have gone slightly over that.  Vodka….clothes….have we met?

It’s got the best of both worlds

Beach holiday or city break? A lot of us seem to find ourselves choosing between the two when we’re planning our next trip. My favourite places to travel combine the two. I mean, there’s a reason I spent most of my expat life in Australia living in Sydney. Technically the beach you can visit on your trip to Gdansk isn’t actually in Gdansk, but it is only a 30 minute train ride away in Sopot and you can get there for around 3.80 Zloty (about 75p).

Sopot Beach

Walking along Sopot Beach

Apparently during summer the beach in Sopot is packed but obviously as we were there in February it was hardly the weather for taking any clothes off, let alone wearing a bikini. That didn’t stop us taking a stroll along the sand though and, with the sun making an short appearance, it was the perfect setting for a wintery walk.

More Gdansk inspiration

Waegook Tom – 5 ideas: Things to do in Gdansk
This Battered Suitcase – A weekend in Gdansk
Lines of Escape: Gdansk: Old Town

So what do you think?  Fancy a weekend break in Gdansk?

All prices correct at time of writing.

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  1. says

    When I first glanced at the title of this post, I definitely thought it said “Why Gdansk is Perfect for Time Travellers.” Uh, so, that sounds really cool 😉 That aside, I agree with you about just walking! It’s my favorite way to see a new place – easy to change your schedule, and somehow less intimidating when you don’t know where you are (no stops or appointments to miss!).
    Julie @ A Life Exotic recently posted..Kew GardensMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Julie! Gdansk may indeed be perfect for time travellers – lord knows Doctor Who could probably do with a holiday? But yes, it’s also perfect for part time travellers who don’t have the luxury of a tardis to transport them to wherever their mood takes them 😉
      I’m glad someone else agrees with my love of walking – well, like you say, sometimes it’s less of a love of walking that has me ambling around a city and more of a tendency to get lost on public transport and spend my entire trip stuck on a train.

      Thanks for commenting! :)

    • says

      So SO pretty! Pry yourself away from GoT for a weekend darling and go get wine-drunk (or even better; VODKA-drunk) in Gdansk. You’ll love it 😉

    • says

      Oh I’m so glad this has inspired you to have a weekend in Gdansk Caitlyn! I bought my flight direct through Ryanair because, somehow, it was cheaper than the results that came up on Skyscanner – hopefully you get a bargain and can start planning your trip! :)

    • says

      It’s such a bargain, Mon, and so nice to go somewhere that wasn’t super busy – although we did go in February and it was cold, so that could have been why. I’d definitely recommend it :)

    • says

      I hadn’t heard of Gdansk until I read about it on Waegook Tom’s Blog (link included at the bottom of the post) and then, when my friend Brenna and I were talking about where we wanted to go for the weekend, we decided to go there :) I love that not many people have heard of it but everyone I’ve spoken to who has been there absolutely loves it :)

  2. says

    Looks gorgeous. I will definitely have to search for flights from the north of England. And I’m always a fan of cheap holidays – means you can have more of them!

    I work full time, too, so I’m also a massive fan of the weekend break. One of the beautiful things about Europe having so many tightly packed countries is that it doesn’t take long to get somewhere with a totally different culture. I just got back from a weekend in Croatia, and it was the perfect little mini break.

    And I totally agree with you about walking round a city rather than using public transport. Best way to explore a new place, and cheaper too! :-)
    Katie recently posted..The Perils of Crossing a Fairy BridgeMy Profile

    • says

      That’s my thinking too Katie – spend a little less and go for a little less time and therefore see more places and have more breaks :) You’ll definitely still be able to get to Gdansk from the north of England.

    • says

      It is awesome being in Europe and having so many destinations close by – I mean, it’s not always the case that you’ll be able to get a cheap deal but, if you time it right, it’s usually doable. I think it’s also pretty cool that I can be, not only in a completely different country, but in a completely different culture in the space of 2 hours. I feel incredibly blessed that the Universe said “nope, Auckland’s not for you anymore my love, get your ass back to England” and saw me moving to London, because now I get to see these incredible places.

      I can’t believe it’s cheaper for you to fly to Florida than it is to Toronto, that’s crazy! How is that even possible! This sounds similar to our train fares here in the UK – it costs me £34 return to get to my parent’s house on the train, from London. You can get a flight to Europe for that!

  3. says

    I submitted a looong comment before, but unsure if it went through. Just in case it didn’t, the gist was:

    a) I love Gdansk.
    b) I love that the UK has such a wide array of places that can be visited as weekend breaks for people with full-time jobs.
    c) Korea sucked for that, but Taiwan? MUCH BETTER!
    Tom @ Waegook Tom recently posted..Teaching In Taiwan vs Teaching In South KoreaMy Profile

    • says

      a) I LOVE GDANSK (and thank you for bringing it to my attention, I probably never would have known about it if it wasn’t for your blog post)
      b) TOTALLY agree – I absolutely loved being in Australia and NZ, but I felt so damned far away from everything. Now, I love that I can get on a plane and be somewhere entirely different in a couple of hours especially as I work.
      c) I’m so glad you’ve found somewhere that you can do this in. Maybe you could do a post about weekend trips from Taiwan? Obviously I don’t live there but I’d definitely read it for inspiration!)

      I’m so sorry your longer comment didn’t get through, I don’t know what’s up with that. Whatever happened, thank you for coming back and commenting again, I appreciate it hun x

  4. says

    Beverley, What is it that everyone is talking about Gdansk? It’s everywhere lately. My travel pals and I have talked about getting up there in the fall. We still won’t be able to wear our bikinis, but we will be able to take lots of photos. Great post!
    Corinne recently posted..Early Spring in HallstattMy Profile

    • says

      I have no idea Corinne! :) It was kind of random that I went there, I hadn’t really heard of it before, but as you can see I had a great time :) Going in Autumn will be gorgeous, enjoy!

  5. says

    I think Poland in general is a great place for a weekend break from London. The whole country is so cheap and even though Warsaw is pretty big, the city centre and historical area is fairly compact. And all the cities are so pretty! Gdansk does have the advantage of being near the sea. Looks like you had a lovely weekend!
    Amanda @ Farsickness recently posted..Coming to Terms With History in BerlinMy Profile

    • says

      I did have a lovely weekend Amanda, thank you :) It’s good to know that Warsaw (and maybe Krakow) would also be good for a weekend :)

      • Ann says

        That’s true that all Poland is cheap for everyone from west and north Europe. I’m living in Wrocław (on the south of Poland) . We say that Wrocław is a meeting place – and I think it’s true :) This year Wrocław is European Capital of Culture 2016. There are a lot of performances, concerts etc. So if you have a weekend off, come to Wrocław. It’s really worth :)

    • says

      How I miss Sydney, Katie! I love being in London, I really do, and it makes taking those city breaks to Europe so easy but sometimes I really miss living in Sydney too – being so close to the beach, having a beautiful city to walk around. It’s an amazing city, hope you’re having a great time :)

    • says

      It’s lovely, Jackie! Definitely worth a visit for the beautiful architecture, the beach, and the food. Oh and the vodka, obviously 😉

  6. Nina99 says

    I love Gdansk for many reasons. Besides the beautiful architecture and unique atmosphere, as well for places such a Szafarnia 10, near Moltawa River on Marina. We can eat there delicious dishes, including cod cheeks or filet of duck, and also organize a very successful business meeting. What’s more, this place has an amazing character.