For most outsiders, Poland has long been associated with the stereotype of former Soviet-Bloc countries: a grey and miserable place with people queuing for basic goods. For sure, shopping options in the Tri-city have changed beyond recognition since the days in the late 1990s that Gdańsk In Your Pocket first rode into town. When the Tri-city's original 'western' mall, Klif, opened in Gdynia in 1996, Poles would more often visit to view than to buy – a reflection of the general lack of disposable income available at the time and the novelty value of huge shopping malls or superstores like IKEA or Carrefour. Like the rest of Poland, healing since the collapse of Communism in '91 and embracing the EU in 2004, Klif has now evolved into the most upmarket shopping centre in the whole of Northern Poland! Over the last 30 years, countless international brands have made their way into the Polish food technology, food and fashion market and their outlets can be found all the major centres, includng the Tri-city. As tourism increases in the Baltic region of Europe, so too does the interest in Amber, a material of which Gdańsk is, by far, the biggest trading centre.
Poland's Sunday Shopping Ban
Before heading out for big shop on a weekend, there's one important thing to keep in mind:
Since early 2018, a law was passed requiring trade businesses to give their employees a mandatory day off on every Sunday except the final one with a few small exceptions. The government hopes, to encourage citizens to return to a more ‘traditional’ family Sunday. For this reason, many shops will be closed on the first three Sundays of each month. While all major malls and chains will be closed there are some exemptions to the new law namely pharmacies, gas stations, kiosks, bakeries, open-air markets, souvenir shops (oh thank god) and smaller stores where the owner is present. And, just to be clear, Restaurants and Cafés are not trade businesses and can be open on Sundays as they choose. Note that the Sunday hours we list for venues are the hours they keep only on those Sundays when trade is allowed. The following is a list of Sundays when shops are allowed to be open:
2019: Dec 15, 22, 29
2020: Jan 26 | April 5, 26 | Jun 28 | Aug 30 | Dec 13, 20
Shopping in Gdańsk
If you're staying in the Old Town, your closest shopping centre is Galeria Madison, which you probably saw if you arrived via Gdańsk Główny train station. While this is the most central in Gdańsk and certainly has a huge amount of variety, by far the biggest in Tr-city is Galeria Bałtycka 4km north in Wrzeszcz. We would be hugely surprised if you couldn't find what you need there!
Shopping in Sopot
While Sopot's commercial scope does not reach the same heights as its neighbours do, Sopot Centrum is a decent little commercial centre with enough outlets to cover the bases. By now, we would've expected Sopot to have caved in to the pressures of its tourism market! On Plac Zdrojowy, however, you will find a sample of commercialism from a bygone era: a 3-storey, art-deco, mini department store called Walter. A tour around the Obwodnica (Tri-city Ring Road) will bring in the huge discount park which is Fashion House Outlet Centre as well as the huge hypermarkets of Carrefour, Auchan and Real.
Shopping in GdyniaCompeting with Klif in Gdynia is the more-recent Centrum Riviera development, offering more to the middle-class residential area of Tri-city. In the very centre, on 10 Lutego, you will find the ship-shaped Batory Centre, which has a food court, coffee, some clothes shops, a book store and a pharmacy.
Souvenirs and Gift-Shopping
While you can find more information on them and how to get to them in our shopping section, we have put together a list of gift and souvenir suggestions, which might take a little more searching in order to find. Generally-speaking, however, shopping chains like Folkstar and Gdańsk's Galeria Sztuki Kaszubskiej are great for finding souvenir items with traditional Polish and Kashubian patterns.
Gdańsk is synonymous with Amber (also known as 'Baltic Gold') and, whilst you can find stalls all over Tri-city, your best bet is to head to ul. Mariacka in Gdańsk Old Town. Make sure you read up on how to make the best purchase!