Shopping in Gdansk
It's strange to think that in the 1970s there were hardly any things to buy
in Poland. At that time, the country's inhabitants had to queue with their food
vouchers, without guaranteeing that there was actually anything left of the item
in question when they came first in line.
Today it has turned 180 degrees, and we have the impression that there is a
significantly better selection in an average Polish grocery store than in a
After their membership in the EU, Poland has noticed that prices have
increased, but you still get very good value for money in Gdansk. Imported goods
are of course not particularly cheaper than at home, but all of the locally
produced goods have generally very reasonable prices. And forget about the
prejudice that everything produced in Eastern Europe is poor quality scrap. You
are still in the EU.
Sovereigns in Gdansk
Like almost everywhere else in Eastern Europe, amber jewelry and crystal
products are the most common souvenirs that tourists come home with. You will
find hundreds of street stalls almost everywhere in Gdansk, but head for one of
Poland's most charming streets, ulitsa Mariacka. Here you will find
souvenir shops, craft shops and galleries on both sides.
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products and has good prices. And on the main street Dluga is the
Gdansk Souvenir Center with everything a tourist could want, from Polish crystal
and amber jewelry to postcards and t-shirts.
A Gdansk specialty is the 40% herbal liqueur Danziger Goldwasser,
which has been produced in the region for over 400 years. The liqueur contains
small flakes of 22 carat gold, but the price is not scary for a Norwegian
anyway. Any self-respecting Gdansk bar can serve small glasses of Goldwasser, or
you can buy an entire bottle in the stores as souvenirs.
Shopping centers in Gdansk
Gdansk has had several major shopping centers in recent years. Among the most
central is the state-of-the-art three-storey Madison Shopping Gallery, located
in the Old Town just east of Gdansk Glowny Railway Station. At around 15,000
square meters you will find almost 100 shops and several eateries, including the
city's "only" Indian restaurant, Masala, which is also well
worth a visit. There is also a playground where you can park your kids.
The largest shopping center is Galeria Baltycka, located in the northern
district of Wrzeszcz. There are over 200 shops and eateries, including Zara, H&M
and Tommy Hilfiger. Both Madison and Baltycka are open every day from 0900 to
2100, Sundays 1000 to 2000.
Markets in Gdansk
Gdansk has one of the most special markets you will ever visit. Hala Torgowa
[see picture first in article] is a large market hall with countless
stalls selling everything from clothing to used books and LPs, as well as fresh
dairy products, meat and fish.
During the extensive renovation in 2006, the foundations of a 12th-century
church were discovered, and this is now a small archaeological museum you can
visit downstairs. The Market Hall is open every weekday from 0900 to 1800, and
from 0900 to 1500 on Saturdays.
Tax Free Shopping in Gdansk
Do not forget that you pay a large percentage of VAT in Poland, slightly
depending on the type of goods, and that on all purchases over 200 zloty, or
about 500 kroner (at the time of writing), you can be refunded the VAT on
departure. Not all stores have a VAT refund scheme, so look for the Tax Free
Shopping badge at the entrance to buy expensive products. Remember to bring a
completed and stamped form and receipt.
Eating in Gdansk
Few of us have any exact associations with the term Polish food, but if you
have been to the Czech Republic, you have some idea of what awaits you. Like
the rest of Eastern Europe, traditional Polish food is based on ingredients such
as pork, bacon, sausages, sauerkraut potatoes, and thick, brown sauces. In
addition to all the soups. The food is most often served in large, filling
An archetypal dinner in Poland would like to consist of the appetizer
smalec ie fried kebab with bread for, or soup Zurek, an sour rye
soup with potatoes and sausage, followed by the unofficial national dish
bigos. This is a hunter's garden consisting of meat, onions and sauerkraut
that has stood and "compensated" for a few days, and it is probably only the
country's own inhabitants who supply themselves twice. For dessert, the
cheesecake is often served sernik. Everything is washed down with bare
vodka or beer. Na zdrowie!
As Poland's largest port city, Gdansk has for centuries been well-accustomed
to visitors from other countries, from sailors to travelers. But although Gdansk
attracts almost as many tourists as Warsaw and Krakow, you will find
significantly fewer Irish pubs and Indian and Greek restaurants than in the
above-mentioned Polish cities or European cities of similar size. By the way,
seafood is more common in the port city of Gdansk than the rest of Poland.
Featured restaurants in Gdansk
If you want to try something intimate and romantic, the small restaurant
Czerwone Drzwi, or The Red Door, will not be wrong. Here are
only 4-5 tables in a bright red room with chandelier and antiques, and the food
is absolutely delicious. The restaurant is far from the cheapest in the city,
but you would have to pay it four times for something similar in Norway. The red
door is, not surprisingly, behind a red door in Gdansk's premier restaurant
street ulitsa Piwna 52/53, a parallel street to the main street
Dluga in the main city.
We also enjoyed our stay at Brovarnia, an international and newly opened
(autumn 2008) restaurant in the basement of Hotel Gdansk in ulitsa Szafarnia
9. Not least because of their microbrewery that produces one of the better
dark beer brands we can remember tasting. We can also go for Goldwasser, which
is located on the river bank with a terrace with nice views and a varied and
tempting menu. The address is ulitsa Dlugie Pobrzeze 22, right by the
Crane along the Motlawa River.
Vegetarians can head to Dluga 11, where you will find the small
Green Way restaurant. This is Poland's leading vegetarian chain, and is found in
most major cities. Common to all are large positions with tasty, meatless food
at reasonable prices.
Nightlife in Gdansk
Gdansk is a university town with over 60000 students, and this is normally a
guarantee of an exuberant nightlife. But be aware that outside of the
July-August peak season, it is actually quite quiet in the Capital and Old Town
in the evenings. Apart from the tourists, not many people live in the Capital
City itself, and the students usually stay around the University, north of the
If you expect life and touch on the dance floor, you should rather base
yourself in Sopot, the small coastal town a few miles north of
Gdansk and which has been the destination for entertainment and nightlife for a
number of years.
Vodka can be considered the national drink in Poland, and the Poles claim
that it was they who invented it. Here, the vodka should be drunk bar in small
glasses, and preferably swallowed in one sip.
However, there is no tradition of wine in Poland, and no wines are produced
here either. Wine is of course available at restaurants and shops, and the
Hungarian wines are considerably less expensive than Western European ones.
Beer, on the other hand, drinks a lot of poles, but beer is not necessarily
served cold as with us. Most popular are the bright pillar brands Zywiec, Okocim
and Duitsie. A pint of draft beer usually costs between 10 and 20 kroner at a
pub or cafe, a bit more expensive at restaurants and in hotel bars.
A Gdansk specialty is the 40% herbal liqueur Danziger Goldwasser, which has
been produced in the region for over 400 years. The liqueur actually contains
small flakes of 22 carat gold, but the price is still not discouraging for a
Norwegian. Any self-respecting Gdansk bar serves small glasses of Goldwasser, or
you can buy an entire bottle in the store as souvenirs.