I was sitting in my flat last October procrastinating a social geography essay when I started scrolling through my phone for a short Christmas getaway. I’d heard about the small city of Gdansk in Poland on the Baltic Coast a couple of times before, but I’ll admit it slipped under my radar and hadn’t really crossed my mind since- when I think about Poland, Krakow comes to mind.
However, when it flashed up on the Ryanair app, the first reason to visit this place presented itself in the £35 return airfare from Leeds Bradford (and if you make good use of Google Flights, you can get it for as cheap as £20). A quick flick through Google Images to glean a feel for the city’s aesthetic, and the trip was booked within ten minutes.
Firstly, as I mentioned before, you can’t go wrong price-wise. After landing, we got a £1.50 bus into the city, and then walked to our music-themed, £5-a-night hostel called ‘La Guitarra’ which we found via the fantastic Hostelworld app. And you know what? It’s one of the best hostels I’ve ever stayed in! So your flights, airport transfers and accommodation will hardly dent your wallet – our two-night trip amounted to about £55.
The general layout of Gdansk is quaint with colourful buildings surrounding a lake littered with sporadic ice patches – at this time of year, it’s important to wrap up warm! Whilst I know absolutely nothing about architecture, the buildings are definitely pleasant to look at – yellow, pink and grey are all colours that juxtapose each other surprisingly well. Even if you’re not a fan of Polish food (their staple food is dumplings), you don’t need to worry – we didn’t particularly enjoyed the food but there are plenty of other cheap food options to choose from like a pizza and a pint for a fiver.
There’s a Ferris wheel in the dead centre if you want to do some more touristy stuff. For 18 zloty (i.e. roughly £4 - £1 is approximately 4.5 zloty) it’s a great opportunity to relax and appreciate the beauty of this city at the same time. If you also decide to go around Christmas time, you’ll find a small but magical Christmas market. It sells local food and sweet treats for very cheap, but be aware it gets really busy!
So, if you’re stuck for somewhere to go this Christmas and you’ve got £100 left on your overdraft limit, grab a friend, and get yourself over to Gdansk for a couple of nights – you can fly seasonally from Newcastle (not over Christmas unfortunately), as well as from Manchester, Leeds and Stansted, just to name a few) and I’ll promise you, you’re not going to regret it!