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GDANSK - GETTING AROUND

On foot

Most of Gdansk`s sights are located in the Old Town which is approximately three-eighths of a square mile in area. The rough borders of this area are the 501 freeway to the south and the World War II Museum and Galeria Handlowa Madison to the north, and the 91 freeway to the west and the Motlawa River to the east. From the Old Town it is about a mile to the old Gdansk Shipyard, four miles to Westerplatte, and six miles to Oliwa. For those attractions, you may want to consider driving or using alternate transportation methods such as the bus and tram system, or taxis. Portions of Gdansk`s Old Town are cut off to automobiles, great for visitors who want to enjoy a nice, leisurely stroll. Definitely invest in some mode of transportation if you want to visit Sopot and Gdynia, north of Oliwa.

By bus and tram

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. Buses begin running at 5 a.m. and end around 10 p.m., at which point the 74 daytime bus lines cease operations and 11 nighttime bus lines run on a skeletal system, picking up once an hour. Locals recommend avoiding the bus system at night if you are a tourist as it can make you more vulnerable to a possible robbery.

By taxi

Taxis are affordable in Gdansk but locals recommend phoning for a cab if you want a better rate. Taxi fares begin at approximately 10 zl; add at least 5 zl for each additional mile and 35 zl for an hour of waiting time. 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.

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, as there are a number of unlicensed ones around. Ones labeled `Neptun` are fine. Also look for cabs with the phone number `19686` on the side (a local phone number used to summon said taxis).

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.

By bicycle

There are approximately 20 miles separating the tri-cities of Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia, and many people like to see these other cities by biking to them. Gdansk especially 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).

By car

We recommend driving a car in this area only if you wish to see sights further afield than the tri-cities of Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia, as it is easy to reach destinations in all three cities by public transportation or taxi. If you do wish to rent a car, you will be picking it up at the arrivals hall at Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport and not in Gdansk. You will find a convenient and free two-hour parking lot near the Old Town, located on Ulica Ksiedza 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.

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