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GDANSK FAQ'S

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport (IATA code GDN) is the international airport serving Gdansk, Gdynia, Sopot, and other cities on the Baltic coast of Poland. It is located 7.5 miles northwest of Gdansk, and is named after former shipyard worker and President of Poland, Lech Walesa. Over 4.6 million passengers traveled through this airport in 2017, making it the third-largest in the country after the international airports in Warsaw and Krakow. If you are picking up a car you booked during your TripMasters booking process, you will be picking it up from Gdansk Airport`s main hall, first floor.

Driving directions from Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport: From the terminal, make it to the roundabout that connects Spadochroniarzy and Droga Wojewodzka 472/Juliusza Slowackiego. Head east and after 1.8 miles, use the right lane to get onto the S6 (sign for Gdansk/Centrum/Lodz/Warszawa). After another 1.8 miles, take the exit for Gdansk/Centrum. This will place you on DW501/aleja Armii Krajowej. After nearly 6 miles, you will reach the edge of Gdansk`s Old Town. Turn onto Ulica 3 Maja, which runs parallel to Gdansk Glowny Station. Turn right and enter Gdansk`s Old Town.

Bus Route 210 picks up from a stop between the main terminal and the P1 parking lot. You will see signs for it that say `Gdansk Port Lotniczy`. There are ticket machines at the stop and you can also buy tickets on board. Tickets are 4 zl during the day and 5 zl on nights and weekends. Buses leave every 30 minutes during the week and every hour on weekends and holidays, from approximately 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The bus stops at the train station, which will be your jumping-off point for taxis to your hotel. The stop for the train station will be labeled as `Dworzec Glowny`. For more information on Line 210, including a timetable, visit www.ztm.gda.pl/rozklady/linia-210.html. A private shuttle company, MPA Poland, is another option; they transport travelers from the airport to Gdansk for approximately 15 zl. For more information, visit www.mpapoland.pl/home/en. There is also a taxi rank located in front of the arrivals hall.

How do I get from the train station to my hotel?

The main train station in Gdansk is called Gdansk Glowny and it is located at Ulica Podwale Grodzkie 2. Buses from the airport drop off here, and it is a hub for the ZTM transit system. Dozens of bus lines and tram lines stop at this station and connect the station with downtown and with the cities of Gdynia and Sopot. The intercity bus station located at the train station is connected to the train side by a tunnel and an escalator. ZTM buses and trams cost under 10 zl and tickets can be bought from machines at the station and on the buses and trams themselves. There is a taxi rank in the parking lot of the train station as well.

How do I get around the city using public transportation?

The mass transit system in the tri-cities of Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot is called Zarzad Transportu Miejskiego w Gdansku (ZTM, www.ztm.gda.pl/en/index.php). They operate 10 tram lines, 74 daytime bus lines, 11 nighttime bus lines and two ferry lines around the tri-cities area. Tickets start at 4 zl for a daytime ride and 5 zl for a nighttime ride and they can be purchased from vending machines at bus/tram stops as well as on the vehicles themselves. The main transit hub is Gdansk Glowny station (labeled on maps as `Dworzec Glowny`) which connects with trams, PKP intercity buses, and bus routes 100, 106, 108, 111, 112, 115, 118, 123, 130, 131, 132, 154, 161, 166, 167, 178, 184, 186, 189, 200, 205, 207, 210, 212, 232, 256, 267 and 315. The 100 route circles through Gdansk`s Old Town. Buses 138, 148 and 158 go to the Port and Westerplatte.

How do I call/hail a taxi?

It is acceptable to hail taxis from the street and you will see a few places around town where there are taxi ranks, such as the Golden Gate and Gdansk Glowny railway station. Make sure you step into a cab that is reputable and official. Ones labeled Neptun are fine. Also look for cabs with the phone number 19686 on the side. Taxis are affordable in Gdansk but locals recommend phoning for a cab if you want a better rate. Expect to pay about 15 to 30 zl for trips around Gdansk. If you are taking a taxi from Gdansk to Gdynia or Sopot, keep in mind that inter-city tariffs will cause the price to go up on your fare very quickly. A ride from Gdansk to Sopot is estimated at 80 zl, while the other direction is even higher due to these tariffs, at approximately 100 zl.

Note: Like in many cities, some taxi drivers may take advantage of tourists, particularly ones who cannot speak Polish. Research the distance between your location and your destination and have an idea of what a rough fare should be. Feel free to argue for a reduction in the fare if necessary before leaving. It is required by law for taxi drivers to give you a receipt if you request one, so don`t be too shy to ask.

I will have a car in Gdansk. Where can I park?

There is a free two-hour parking lot near the Old Town, located on Ulica Ksiêdza Franciszka Rogaczewskiego near Ulica 3 Maja. It will be the closest free parking you will find if you want to explore the Old Town; there are also free parking lots on the other side of the Motlawa on Dlugie Ogrody. Also note the free parking southeast of the city near the City Tax Office on Ulica Zabi Kruk. Every other parking lot you will find will charge, at the very least, 6 zl per hour.

Is Gdansk a dangerous city? Are there certain areas I should avoid?

Gdansk is considered a fairly safe city for its size, and crime has declined sharply from 10 and 20 years ago. The police have installed cameras in many tourist areas to spot criminals, which has been an effective deterrent against petty theft. With that said, pickpockets do still exist, so keep your valuables on your person and separated into various concealed pockets so all of your money is not taken from you should you find yourself an unwitting victim. Do not leave any valuables in your vehicle if you are parking in an area outside your guarded hotel parking lot, because break-ins do occur, even if the rate has slowed. Also, be sure to only take taxis that are officially marked. Names such as `Neptun` (a popular and respected company) and phone numbers such as `19686` on the livery mean the cab is officially licensed with the city. There will be some unofficial cab drivers driving around various tourist attractions, and they will be very pushy in trying to get you into their cab. Just ignore them completely and move on. A final note: if you are traveling on the ZTM bus and tram system, keep your validated ticket with you as there are routine inspections and fines for people without their valid tickets in hand.

Are there long lines at the museums? Does it make sense to buy a museum pass?

There are long lines to visit some of Gdansk`s museums, in particular during free admission days. You will find that there is free admission for visitors on Mondays during summer (and Tuesdays all other times) for the Main Town Hall, the Polish Post Office, the Amber Museum, and Uphagen House. The World War II Museum is also free to visitors on Tuesdays year-round. The Maritime Museum, including the Crane (`Zuraw`), are free of charge on Wednesdays. The National Museum in Gdansk, Oliwa Cathedral, the Ethnographic Museum in Oliwa, and Abbot`s Palace are free of charge for visitors on Fridays.

The Gdansk Tourist Card is useful for single travelers, groups and families who wish to navigate the city and visit the most in-demand tourist attractions. To order your Tourist Card, visit kartaturysty.visitgdansk.com/home.qbpage?setLanguage=en. While it won`t give you front-of-line privileges, you will receive discounts or free admissions to various attractions, and discounts on local transportation should you choose that option on the Tourist Card website.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency of Poland is the zloty (abbreviated zl). U.S. dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for euros upon arrival. Currency exchange desks (kantor in Polish) and ATMs can be found at the airport and many locations throughout the city.

I don't speak Polish. Will many people speak English?

Once upon a time, Poland had an `English drought` of sorts: the few people who did speak English left the country to work in the UK, Canada and the U.S. Now, there are lots of English speakers across Poland, including in Gdansk. The most recent European Union language survey says that 33% of Polish adults can speak English at a conversational level or better, a rate higher than in other Slavic countries like the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

Do keep in mind that English may be spoken at your hotel and in tourist areas, but not everywhere. We suggest you get a good English-Polish dictionary and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10. To ask someone if they speak English, say `Czy mowisz po angielsku?` (chi moo-vish po ang-gyel-skoo?).

Are there any basic Polish customs I should be aware of before arriving in Gdansk?

If you are invited to a Polish person`s home, it is customary to bring a gift, but not an expensive one. Pastries, wine and flowers are fine, but not even-numbered flowers (some superstitious Poles say such a gift invites bad luck or even death!). White and red flowers are also not recommended as gifts, as they are associated with death. Give a more elaborate gift for a name day (feast days of Catholic saints) than a birthday. Turning down a toast is considered bad form; alcohol is served in small glasses and it is customary to finish at least one glass.

What time do Poles usually eat? Do I need to make reservations to fancy restaurants in advance?

Supper (Kolacja), usually taken in the 8 or 9 o`clock hour, is a lot lighter than the mid-afternoon dinner (obiad). Informal affairs usually revolve around hot or cold sandwiches, or a simple dish with a main entrée of meat, a big piece of bread, and some form of potato. A dinner party will be more formal and will be served in courses, including a soup, salad, appetizer and dessert.

Most upscale restaurants do require a reservation, and depeding on the restaurant, may require booking weeks in advance. While there are no official Michelin-starred restaurants in the north of Poland, the Prologue Restaurant in Gdansk (Grodzka 9) has been given an honorable mention by Michelin`s Green Guide. GaRD Nordic Kitchen in Gdynia (Waszyngtona 19) and Cafe Polskie Smaki in Sopot (Ulica Powstancow Warszawy) are similarly mentioned.

Note: Anti-smoking laws in Poland prohibit smoking in restaurants and nightclubs unless there is a separate, ventilated `smoking room` on the premises.

What are the best areas for shopping?

Gdansk is the largest commercial center for the north of the country, so there are many shopping malls and boutiques throughout the area. The major shopping malls are Galeria Baltycka (Aleja Grunwaldzka 141), Galeria Handlowa Madison (Rajska 10), and Manhattan Gdanskie Centrum Handlowe (Aleja Grunwaldzka 82). If you are looking for authentic Polish souvenirs, such as amber or handicrafts, look at the shops along the Long Street (Dlugi Targ). Folkstar (www.folkstar.pl, Ulica Targ Sienny 7) comes well-recommended if you would like to buy traditional Polish folk costumes and other folk souvenir items.

Note: Since March 2018, there has been a moratorium on shops opening on Sundays in Poland. Through the end of 2020, the Sunday shopping ban will be introduced gradually. Here are the days in 2018 when most shops will not be open: June 10 and 17; July 8, 15, and 22; August 12 and 19; September 9, 16 and 23; October 14 and 21; November 11 and 18; and December 9. Exceptions are granted to pharmacies, gas stations, vending machines, bakeries, open-air markets and souvenir shops.

Where can I rent a bicycle in Gdansk?

Gdansk has promoted the use of bicycles over automobiles for a number of years. The bike rental shops that come most recommended by tourists are Rent a Bike (www.rentabikegdansk.pl, Ulica Kolodziejska, +48 502 751 120) and House of Bikes (www.houseofbikes.pl, Ulica Ogarna 119, +48 882 813 715). They both offer bike rental and delivery to customers in Gdansk`s Old Town (for an extra fee).

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