Visiting Gdansk with kids
There is no such thing as boredom in Gdansk. See for yourself! Follow the trail of Gdansk lions, cruise around the bay, relax on the beach, and have a great time all around.
Planning to spend a weekend with your children? Hit the road and come to Gdansk for tons of attractions for kids that adults can also enjoy.
Travel logbook and fun facts
A great weekend should start well so make sure that your journey to Gdansk feels short and pleasant. Fortunately, Gdansk has excellent transport links with other major cities, including Bydgoszcz, Torun, Poznan and Warsaw.
Next, prepare some road activities for your kids. You can never go wrong with standard pastime ideas, such as reading children's books, singing together, telling stories or riddles, or playing with cartoon character toys (preferably ones that your child has not played with for a long time). Since you are going to Gdansk, however, a more interesting way to spend the journey is to work on your own “travel logbook” together. This will require some preparation: collect pictures of the main attractions that you are going to see, an illustration of Gdansk coat of arms, and a map of Poland for plotting your start point and route. You can also obtain some colouring pages with beach and sea themes or the Gdansk Crane. Paste these into the logbook along with any stickers or tickets you get and note down your memories. This will be a lot of fun, and you will end up creating a souvenir that no shop can offer you.
Another interesting idea is to gather some fun stories about Gdansk, such as the one about all the lions looking in the same direction or the sea adventure of John Scolvus. You can print the stories, put them into coloured envelopes and ask your kid to pick one out during the trip to the city.
There is always something to do in Gdansk
Once you arrive in Gdansk you will never need to worry about running out of ideas to keep your children entertained: the city offers plenty of attractions intended for kids. We recommend that you start at Gdansk Glowny, the main railway station, which is located just a few minutes walk away. Follow Dluga Street until it meets Dlugi Targ Street to reach the Main City Hall, a Gothic and Renaissance building that you just can’t ignore. Kids will love the vantage point 50 metres up the tower, which affords a stunning panorama of the city. And they will certainly stop by a miniature model of the city hall right next to the original building.
A mere five metres from the Main City Hall is one of the city's most recognizable symbols: a fountain statue of Neptune, the lord of the sea. It is 2 metres high and weighs more than 650 kilogrammes.
Walk a bit further, and you will get to Szeroka Street and the Crane, a branch of the Maritime Museum, which also offers spectacular views of the Motlawa river, Olowianka Island and Granary Island from a height of 27 metres. It is the largest Medieval port crane in Europe, it is also an attraction that your children will certainly enjoy.
Once you are there, note the historic steamer Soldek, which is moored at Olowianka Island and serves as an advertisement for the Central Maritime Museum in Gdansk. A visit onboard requires an hour or so, and takes you through the engine room, officer and crew cabins, and the captain's bridge.
If the sea is your thing then take a cruise around Gdansk Bay: You can go to Westerplatte and board a ship operated by Zegluga Gdansk, or charter a seaworthy yacht or a motor boat.
Or if you prefer to savour the waterside atmosphere of the city while looking at it from above check out AmberSky Gdansk, a 50 metres tall Ferris wheel situated on Granary Island, for an opportunity to enjoy views of the historic part of the city, the dockyard area with its historic cranes, and the amber-like Gdansk stadium.
While you are at the Gdansk Glowny station you should should definitely pay a visit to the Gdansk Hewelianum centre on Gradowa Gora hill (a 17 minutes walk from the main railway station), right behind the coach station. It has amazing interactive exhibitions that can take visitors on a journey back in time and around the world, it appeals to children (including the youngest ones) and adults alike.
Afterwards, check out the vantage point next to the centre buildings for a spectacular view of the city.
One of the attractions you just cannot miss if you spend a weekend in Gdansk with your kids is the zoo in Oliwa. Located on the verge of the Tricity Landscape Park, it has an extensive area of 136 hectares. You can get there by taking an SKM train from Gdansk Glowny to Gdansk Oliwa, and then a bus (line 179 or 622) directly to the zoo.
Because of its size and the large number of animal species, including lions, giraffes, camels, bears, bisons and penguins, you should allow yourself enough time to walk around the zoo. This is the only place in Poland where you can observe bongo antelopes, Arabian oryxes, pygmy hippopotamuses and scavenger Andean condors.
Another interesting spot is the Gdynia Aquarium (with the Dar Pomorza sailing ship moored nearby and open to visitors). Its exhibits include unique fish, amphibian and reptile species from around the world. Note that the aquarium has special pushchairs for getting babies around the exhibition.
The trail of Gdansk lions
If you'd rather head off the beaten track with your children, follow the trail of Gdansk Lion Hewelion. Not sure where to start? We've heard that Hewelion has been spotted in the zoo in Gdansk Oliwa, at the Energa Gdansk Stadium, near the Brzezno Pier, in Gdansk airport (right next to the Gdansk Tourism Organisation's Tourist Information Office), and round the Tourist Information Centre in Dlugi Targ Street. You'll also want to have a look around the Great Mill and Olowianka Island. The lions are made from bronze and are more than a foot tall so you will have no problems spotting them. And once you do, take out your phones. If you want to take a photo, go ahead but it's not really about pictures: download iLeo mobile app (click for Android version; click for iOS version), put your phone close to the statuette and the lion will start telling interesting stories about Gdansk.
Going to a beach is an absolute must-do whilst in Gdansk. You will have a great time no matter which one you choose: the beach in Sobieszewo, Stogi, Brzezno (this one has a pier) or Jelitkowo.
If you opt for the Sobieszewo beach (furthest away from the city centre but accessible within half an hour using public transport) do not miss the opportunity to take a stroll around the Mewia Lacha and the Ptasi Raj nature reserves designated to protect seals and birds. Sobieszewo tends to be less crowded than other Gdansk beaches.
If you would rather stay in the city, you may want to visit the beach in Jelitkowo instead (take line 2, 4, 6, 8, 12 or 227 from Gdansk Glowny), Brzezno (line 3, 5, 8, 148 or 188), or Stogi (tram line 8).
Every beach has catering establishments, toilet facilities, souvenir vendors and attractions for kids nearby, including outdoor playgrounds.
You can also go for a cycling trip using the bike path that connects Gdansk and Sopot along the beach line. Check out the largest bike rental service in Gdansk at 2 Czarny Dwor Street.
Tourist Card: money saving and convenience
If you plan to visit a lot of attractions, the most convenient and economical solution is to get a Gdansk Tourist Card. As the name suggests, it is designed to address the needs of tourists visiting our city, and includes a bundle of special offers and free admissions to museums, cultural and entertainment facilities, and restaurants. You can use the card to top up your metropolitan ticket and use public transport across the Tricity.
The Tourist Card is available in 3 variants: “Transportation”. “Sightseeing”, and “Family & Fun”. The family package grants you free entry to 12 attractions, and discounts at 21 sightseeing hotspots, entertainment venues, as well as 15 restaurants and cafés.
The accommodation options available in Gdansk are yet another factor that makes the city an excellent destination for family weekends. Some of the hotels recommended by families include Kozi Grod, the Golden Tulip Gdansk Residence, Dwor Oliwski Hotel, Mercure Gdansk Posejdon and the Amber Hotel. Finding restaurants with a kids' menu should not be a problem, either. Check out "where to stay" and "taste Gdansk".
Just to be on the safe side be sure to ask if the place where you are staying has amenities for children. Also, make sure that it is recommended as a Family Friendly Hotel. You might want to check out testimonials from customers, on TripAdvisor for example.