The Royal WayWhenever the medieval kings of Poland would visit Gdańsk, they had a specific entry and parade route to help make a big fuss about such a public event. This route is known as The Royal Way, starting at Brama Wyżynna (Upland Gate) before continuing through the very fancy Złota Brama (Golden Gate) onto ul. Długa (Long Street), Długi Targ (Long Market) and ending at Zielona Brama (Green Gate).
Stroll Along the Waterfront (Długie Pobrzeże)The Long Waterfront (Długie Pobrzeże) in Gdańsk Old Town, is the promenade stretching along the western shore of the Motława river. This is where you'll find the defining landmark of Gdańsk - The Crane (Żuraw). While its unique shape is certainly memorable, this structure is also a symbol of Gdańsk’s great trading age. First mentioned in 1367, the working crane was used to transfer cargoes from ships on the canal and to assist in raising masts onto newly-built and repaired ships. At one time this was the biggest working crane in the world. It is now a part of the Polish Maritime Museum and you can view a collection of permanent exhibitions inside including one on port life between the 16th and 18th centuries.
Visit a Beer Cellar and Drink...Beer!Piwnica Rajców, which translates as 'Counsellors' Beer Cellar', is a popular multi-tap bar in Old Town that is, as the name would suggest, in a cellar. Though it is supposed to be that of the Old Town Hall, it is infact a weird extension into the cellar of Artus Court! Nevertheless, once you purchase your first pint of Danziger, you are effectively a living historian. Congratulations! If you like the idea of drinking underground, you should also consider heading along to ul. Piwna (Beer Street) and visiting Jopengasse, another 'Piwnica' which takes it's name from the street's former name, which in turn takes its name from the beer produced by astronomer Johannes Hevelius. But I digress - Jopengasse is not just a pub, but also an impromptu museum to old Danzig. As you move about the beer-warren like a rabbit (with a beer), you can browse the old images and memorabilia of the city before it was renamed Gdańsk after 1945. The Germannic culture of brewing is something that Poland has taken on in a very successful industry and it, arguably, was something introduced through old Danzig!
Amber WorkshoppingWe talked about Baltic Gold before but what about seeing it in action? Firstly, if you're interested in buying amber as a gift or a souvenir, you should head down to ul. Mariacka, which is something of an 'Amber District'. Going beyond that, some of these businesses have workshops that you can visit and see amber being worked into jewellry or sculptures. We recommend Manufaktura Bursztynu S&A and also Amberstyl, where Prince William and Princess Kate visited in 2017.
While you're visiting ul. Mariacka, it's an opportunity to appreciate arguably the most picturesque street in Gdańsk Old Town. Aside the fact that St. Mary's Church sits at the top like a pretty book-end, ul. Mariacka was pieced back together with salvaged-debris from elsewhere in the neighbourhood following the bombing of Gdańsk in 1945. This is unlike other restored streets in Old Town Gdańsk which were reconstructed with new materials. Keep an eye out for the eccentric-looking drainpipes, known locally as Rzygacze (Spewers)!