Gdynia, Poland is one of the most underrated destinations in the country, always in the shadow of more popular places in the area. But there are so many things to do in Gdynia! Dominika from the blog Sunday in Wonderland has written for you all the best reasons to visit Gdynia. Read on and plan your trip to Gdynia!
If asked about what to see in Poland, many tourists answer “Gdańsk” with no hesitation. But not everyone knows about the charm of its younger sister-city: Gdynia.
If you wish to enrich your trip to Poland with new experiences, you should definitely go through this list of 9 reasons to visit Gdynia.
At first glance, it seems that there are no interesting things to do in Gdynia. It is still less than 100 hundred years old, so there are not many historical monuments, castles or even ruins to see.
But if you’ll dive a little bit deeper into its glorious history and unique character you’ll discover a travel destination pearl worth visiting. Gdynia, for its inhabitants, is a symbol of freedom and new opportunities.
So keep reading to discover its magic.
Table of contents
- 1 History of Gdynia: Pursuit the dream of future
- 2 The window into the world
- 3 The role in the fight against the communism
- 4 The center of Polish maritime history
- 5 Enjoy sailing world
- 6 See where the sea meets the land
- 7 Find happiness
- 8 Go crazy on festivals
- 9 Gdynia is a part of a bigger metropole
- 10 Travel resources
History of Gdynia: Pursuit the dream of future
To better understand the phenomenon of Gdynia, we should take a quick look at its history.
Gdynia gained city rights at the beginning of the 20th century when Poland became an independent country again. At those times, Gdańsk was an autonomous city as well, which was ending up with difficult access to its port for Polish trade. So the government decided to build a brand new port with the vision of worldwide service in mind.
This was the main reason why Gdynia was born as a city. Builders from the whole country were coming to participate in this great and promising project. Sometimes, the city was compared to New York because of the dreams and hope it was sowing in people’s hearts.
Because the city was built up from zero, it was a wonderful opportunity for designers to create an elegant and modernistic environment. If you’ll be perceptive enough, in the city center you’ll notice a lot of buildings with modernist lines and details.
Even today modern architects are true to the vision of the futuristic city. New buildings arising along the streets are still aligned to simple yet elegant rules, modern materials, and bright colors.
The window into the world
As I mentioned before, Gdynia was a symbol of freedom and a better tomorrow for its creators. During the interwar period, the new port was one of the most modern in the world. It was also well-known for its regular transatlantic connections with other cities, among other New York.
Huge ocean liners such as M/S Batory or M/S Piłsudski were the nation’s proud. They were known for sophisticated cruises with many contemporary celebrities. But it was also the way of the cultural escape from Europe for people who wanted to follow the dream from shoeblack to millionaire in America.
The story of legendary ocean liners is still alive and a lot of Gdynia’s inhabitants have a special sentiment for it. If you wish to know more about the age of transatlantic cruises you should definitely visit The Museum of Emigration which is symbolically located in the old building of the Sea Station.
The role in the fight against the communism
But Gdynia has lived through worse times too. After World War Two the country felt in a trap of communism. The government was controlled by the Soviet Union. Poland stuck in this system for many years.
It was the early 1970s when simple people finally started to revolt. The Gdańsk Shipyard was one of the main spots on the rebel map with thousands of people fighting for a better life.
Gdynia played its role too. The worst event took place on 17th December of 1970, also known as Black Thursday. Milita and the army opened the fire in the direction of protesting shipyards’ workers. After this, oppressed people started a march into the city center. On its front, on the wooden door, they carried the body of a young worker killed by bullets.
This event is one of the most recognizable in the history of the Polish fight with communism. The country finally won in 1989, becoming once more totally independent. You can discover the whole story of the Polish fight in the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk with an amazingly interactive exhibition.
The center of Polish maritime history
Gdynia is inseparably connected to the Baltic Sea. It is also a place where young people go to study the art of maritime building, navigation, and maintenance.
On the Kościuszko Square, if you’ll get lucky, you can observe young adepts preparing the traditional sailing ship – S/V Dar Młodzieży – for its next training cruise. You can also visit its older sister – S/V Dar Pomorza – which is currently a museum and is opened for tourists.
Next to it, you can also enjoy a visit on a military destroyer ORP Błyskawica (pl. Lightening). The ship is currently a museum as well but maintained by the Polish Navy with real soldiers on board.
Enjoy sailing world
Of course, the city is not only a military and navy location. The perfect reason to visit Gdynia is to enjoy the sailing cruises on recreational yachts.
The marina is located actually in the city center. That’s why it’s a perfect stop for sailors from all around the world. You can also get your sailing permissions in one of many sailing schools.
The most adorable picture from Gdynia is a view of small kids taking their sailing classes on tiny individual Optimist yachts in order to become world-class sailors one day.
See where the sea meets the land
From the city center, through Kościuszko Square and a marina, we can direct our steps to the most popular meeting place in Gdynia. The city beach.
This is the place where the heart of the city beats. Hundreds of people spend their time on the white sand, swimming in the bay, watching the yachts, and having fun with friends.
The cult cafés and bars and located almost directly on the beach. Where the sand ends, there starts a city boulevard being the traditional morning and afternoon walking path for people living nearby.
The Gdynia’s motto is the city of sea and dreams. And on the city beach, you can truly feel the spirit of this place.
For years, Gdynia was winning top places in many official happiness rankings. People simply like to live there.
There are many interesting job opportunities around, plus the apartments’ market still grows. Life in Gdynia flows slowly.
The city is surrounded by the sea from one side, and dense forests from the other one. It’s also small and young enough so everyone knows its history and can identify with it. Gdynia is simply a happy place to be.
Go crazy on festivals
But it’s definitely not only a calm life for families and seniors. Gdynia offers a few events which you should definitely know.
The most recognizable abroad of them is Open’er Festival in Kosakowo, in Gdynia’s suburbs. It’s a huge music festival which takes place in the city since 2003. Each summer it hosts the biggest stars of various music kinds such as Coldplay, Pearl Jam, Bruno Mars, Snoop Dog, Fatboy Slim, Florence + The Machine, and many, many others.
Another popular festival is the Cudawianki. Its motto is “The Summer Starts In Gdynia”. It’s the big party organized in the city center and on the beach for the occasion of the Midsummer night. Concerts, family activities, contests, and many other attractions are proposed by the city on those days.
The other cultural event, well-known in the Polish movie world, is the Polish Feature Film Festival. The film school in Gdynia each year hosts the biggest movie stars and celebrities to reward the most promising movies on the Polish scene.
Gdynia is a part of a bigger metropole
And the last reason to visit Gdynia during your next trip to Poland is that it’s the perfect base point for further adventures.
From here you can, of course, take a city train to Sopot and Gdańsk. But you can also take a ferry to the Hel peninsula, or rent a car and have an adorable road trip to Kaszuby region.
Transport opportunities are pretty well organized. And Gdynia is an important part of the whole metropolis of the Gulf of Gdańsk.
So now you know the main reasons why a trip to Gdynia should be on your Polish bucket list. In this young city, you’ll find the opportunities to calm down, enjoy the closeness of the sea, and dive deeper into Polish history.
Do you have any questions about planning traveling to Gdynia? You can ask them in the comment section, we’ll be happy to answer!
About the author: Dominika is a travel blogger who grew up in Gdynia in love with its tales and legends. Visit her blog Sunday In Wonderland to learn more about wonderful places not only in Poland but also in the rest of the world. She’ll give you also some clever tips about how to become a sustainable traveler and make the most out of your trips.
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