Here are some of the more mundane bits and bobs that might prove useful.
Where to Stay –
I think you’ve got two main options 1) stay slightly out of the main town, closer to the main shopping areas and ‘life’ of the city or 2) stay in the more scenic old town area
If we went again, we would stay exactly where we did the first time – the marina area. It was a very short walk to the sights and in a well developed area. There is ongoing building work though so check up to date reviews before you book.
We were quite surprised at how many 4 and 5 star hotels were packed around the marina. They all looked very nice. We opted for an Apartment booked via booking.com
Where to Eat –
Tripadvisor is always my port of call here. The places that we visited on its recommendation were all very good. You can eat cheaply or spend more English range prices. All food we found to be of a really good quality.
There wasn’t a massive amount of advertising like you see in other city centres. So if you want local food – dumplings, soup etc you need to hunt it out. We did see some waiters trying to get people into restaurants on the main streets, but they were very polite and not at all in your face.
We were paying way less than £10 for breakfast for the 2 of us – hot food, cakes, coffees, juices etc.
We paid about £2.50 for a beer, about £5 for a cocktail (….more for my very special one!)
Bottles of Vodka from the local shops were very cheap. About £5
Our evening meals were both at English prices, but we did push the boat out and ate like Kings. Wendy had White Truffle Pasta in one place!
Food overall was either so cheap or so good that we did no cooking whatsoever in the apartment.
Our main food adventures were here –
Where to Shop –
The main streets were predominately Amber and tourist shops.
Local supermarket / corner shops were dotted about regularly.
For clothes shopping we went to two shopping areas. One had 200 shops and was slightly out of town – we took a taxi but you could get the train.
It was good to go to the Baltic one on early in the trip, but in reality we could have got most of what we wanted at the local one.
Getting Around –
All of the main town can be done on foot. Its mostly flat, with large cobbled areas.
Due to the buildings being narrow (due to taxes!), they are all very high. So be prepared to do many steps inside museums and landmarks. Not very pram friendly.
There are a lot of trams that run to the north of the centre. We never used them and they looked quite confusing – something when we feel a bit braver I think.
We used the trains twice. Once to go to Sopot and once for Malbork Castle.
Both times we used the Regional Trains rather than the National ones. The is a reception desk in the Gdansk Glowny station where an assistant was very helpful. (You have to validate or ‘punch’ your local ticket before you get on the train.)
There are no TV monitors or signs that help you out on the platforms themselves so its best to be clear what you are doing at the beginning or be prepared to ask people when you are on the platform.
The trip to Sopot was about £2 – extremely cheap. You get off at Sopot (there are about 3 stations with Sopot in the name – I’m assuming Sopot East, Sopot Centre, etc). It took about 15 minutes.
The trip to Malbork was about 45 minutes and cost around £6. You could have got there quicker on a National Train but it would have cost about £40. Again, there were two Malbork stops, we opted for plain old ‘Malbork’. We learned later that we could have got off at either stop – the walk to the castle was equal distance.
I don’t think either Sopot or Malbork cater for non Polish tourists – there are no signs directing you to the beach front, or the castle. But its pretty straight forward if you use Google maps. Neither places are particularly big.