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My holiday, Gdansk or Kaunus, Lithuania? Help me decide!


pam
7 Jul 2012 #1
I am having a short break ( 5 days ) in late october/early november, and i am stuck between which country to choose.
Both countries will be bloody freezing......i must be insane to want to go at this time of year!!!
I want to book it in the next couple of weeks, so any thoughts/advice would be welcome, especially from posters that have been to both cities.

I have spent all evening looking at various sites and i think there would be plenty to see and do in both places.
Costwise, flights and accommodation are similar, and i've chosen 2 potential hotels in the old town areas of both cities.
Am hoping that kind pf posters can help me out on this one because i'm completely torn as to which city to choose!
strzyga 2 | 993
7 Jul 2012 #2
Pam, I'm not sure what exactly you want to do and see, but I think you realise Kaunas is not big and seeing all the tourist attractions will take you 2-3 days at the most. If the 5 days include the journey there and back, it should be all right but 5 days in Kaunas itself could be a bit too much.

It's certainly an interesting experience if you haven't been to Lithuania before.
Did it occur to you to go to Vilnius instead? It's more beautiful, there's more to see and you can also visit the Gedyminas castle and the Troki castle on the lake very close to the city. Vilnius is good for 5 days.

Comparing Gdańsk with Kaunas, well, Gdańsk is much better :) but you've been to Poland before and if you want to experience a new country, it's a good enough reason to go to Lithuania.

Both countries will be bloody freezing

oh come on, if you're lucky, October can be one of the best months here :)
Hipis - | 227
7 Jul 2012 #3
I have been to Kaunas. Apart from a small, renovated old town area the rest of it is a dump. Agreed that Vilnius is a lot nicer but I'm not sure that it's worth spending 5 days there unless you want to use it as a base to go and see other places. I'd definitely recommend Gdansk. The old town is fantastic and Sopot is just a short train ride away. If you like old castles then Malbork is about an hour away on the train and is worth taking a day out of your schedule to see.
OP pam
7 Jul 2012 #4
Thanks Strzga and HIpis.
When i decided to book my break, i looked at where i could fly to from my local airport, hence Kaunus and not Vilnius.
Oh dear its not looking good for Lithuania so far! It would be nice to experiwnce a new country Strzga, but not at the expense of having a boring holiday and running out of things to do!

The only person i know who has been to Gdansk is my lodger. His home in Poland is about an hour away, and he says Gdańsk is a beautiful city.

I like to do pretty much a bit of everything on holiday and i always do a fair bit of walking around. I am travelling on a budget, so anything i can do cheaply in either city is a bonus!
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
7 Jul 2012 #5
I've only been to Gdansk, so my opinions may not be appreciated. I only spent about 9 hours there, but even that seemed too long, and I had a lot of time to fill before my flight back to Warszawa. I liked it a lot, and it's definitely worth a visit, but it's not a huge city. It's not, in my opinion, a beautiful city, although the main pedestrianised areas are very attractive. Most of the rest of the city centre looks like Manchester's Northern Quarter: run-down but characterful. It doesn't look very Polish, but that is part of the attraction. If you are planning on spending 5 days there, then you will probably want/need to get out of town to Sopot/Gdynia, and possibly further afield (Malbork/Szczecin) as well.
cjj_
7 Jul 2012 #6
Filling 5 days in Gdansk at that time of the year could be challenging.
There was an earlier thread "what to do when it's raining in Gdansk" might spell it out a little more clearly ...
wawa_marek 1 | 129
8 Jul 2012 #7
5 days in Kaunas itself could be a bit too much

Yes, I confirm.
strzyga 2 | 993
8 Jul 2012 #8
Apart from a small, renovated old town area the rest of it is a dump.

Actually, it's one central pedestrianized street and just the front part of it that has been renovated. Last year we had rooms in one of the buildings in that street and the front was nicely painted, but the back, with the entrance to the studio, looked like a favela. The inside was good though, nice and clean, with all brand-new equipment.

And there are not many places around Kaunas to go to, either.
So Pam, Gdańsk with Sopot, Gdynia and Malbork seems to be your best bet. Even if the weather is not great, there are things like the amber museum and Malbork castle or the Gdynia Aquarium:

aquarium.gdynia.pl
mhmg.gda.pl/international/?lang=eng&oddzial=4
jon357 63 | 14,149
8 Jul 2012 #9
So Pam, Gdańsk with Sopot, Gdynia and Malbork seems to be your best bet. Even if the weather is not great, there are things like the amber museum and Malbork castle or the Gdynia Aquarium

I agree. I'd also suggest staying in Sopot or Wrzeszcz and bearing in mind that the TriCity is very spread out.
Hipis - | 227
8 Jul 2012 #10
It's a little bit more than one street to be fair, I asume you mean Vilnius Gatve, there's the square around the town hall which Vilnius Gatve leads to, Muitines Gatve leads from the other corner of the square into Kurpiu Gatve and both these streets are quite pleasant and of course thhere are a few smaller streets connecting them with Vilnius Gatve. If you walk from the bottom of the square past the seminary you come to what's left of the medieaval fortifications overlooking the river and of course there is a big, dilapidated brick cathedral there as well which looked like it was starting to be renovated when I was there last year. I agree it's not somewhere to base yourself for a few days. The only reason I was there was because Poland were playing a friendly with Lithuania and the only reason I'd go back would be if Poland played there again.
boletus 30 | 1,366
8 Jul 2012 #11
I like to do pretty much a bit of everything on holiday and i always do a fair bit of walking around. I am travelling on a budget, so anything i can do cheaply in either city is a bonus!

Well, October in Poland is not always gloomy, as it is time of a so-called "Golden Polish Autumn". So, after you have done all that standard obligatory touristy stuff in Tricity, you may want to spare a day or two to take some day trips into vicinity of Gdańsk.

Here are some examples:
Take a 35 minutes bus ride from Main Railway Station to Wyspa Sobieszewska (Sobieszewo Island), lines 112 and 186; or 20 minutes ride by fast bus 212. The 186 bus will take you directly to the beginning of the 6 km trail, with all information worth noting. The trail will take you through picturesque nature reserve "Raj Ptasi" (Bird Paradise) located in the north-western part of the Sobieszewo Island. The best time to visit the Bird's Paradise is the period from April to October. Bird lovers should plan their trip in spring or autumn, because then you can observe most of the species - about 200 of them. Following the entire trail you will pass along the edges of two coastal lakes, two observation towers with the view on Bold Vistula, the lakes, the spit between Bird Paradise Lake and the Gdańsk Bay. You then follow the Bay beach for a while, then cross the Island back to the road and the bus stops to take you home. The 6 km trail takes few hours to enjoy.

If you take a close look at topography of Gdańsk you will should notice a range of low hills just West of Gdańsk, and North towards Gdańsk-Oliwa and Sopot. Oliwa Hills, covered by Oliwa Forests are part of Tricity Landscape Park. Several 40-60 km long trails lead through this park towards Kashubian countryside, but the trails can be accessed within Gdańsk and Oliwa vicinity and shortened to 2-3 hours trips. [I could suggest some specific trips for you if you wished.] But if you do not feel like having a lot of walking then you can just climb the 100 m Pachołek Hill, with its steel observation platform and enjoy the beautiful panorama from there. You can get there from Stary Rynek Oliwski, for example. Anyone in Gdański-Oliwa could show you the way.
strzyga 2 | 993
8 Jul 2012 #12
It's a little bit more than one street to be fair, I asume you mean Vilnius Gatve, there's the square around the town hall which Vilnius Gatve leads to, Muitines Gatve leads from the other corner of the square into Kurpiu Gatve and both these streets are quite pleasant and of course thhere are a few smaller streets connecting them with Vilnius Gatve.

yes, Vilnius Gatve, and the whole area is just a 30 min walk.

a big, dilapidated brick cathedral there as well which looked like it was starting to be renovated when I was there last year.

I talked to a nice young priest who was there selling brochures and collecting donations for the renovation of the place. A huge task. The cathedral used to be in good condition still in the 1920s, but in the Soviet times it was turned into a storage place for some chemicals I think, which completely destroyed the interior, plus there was some war destruction. A pitiful sight, all the stained glass windows broken and covered with wire mesh, the walls in a very bad state, and so on. It's going to take loads of money to restore it. A powerful remnant of the communist times, but at least the building survived - many others had no such luck.

The only reason I was there was because Poland were playing a friendly with Lithuania and the only reason I'd go back would be if Poland played there again.

I hope you won't be going there with Legia fans ;)
Hipis - | 227
8 Jul 2012 #13
The people I go to watch Poland with support many different clubs in Poland including Legia. Club allegiances are usually put to one side when you go to support Poland otherwise it would be chaos ;D

It is a shame about that cathedral considering the one at the other end of the town looks so good.

Cat

A pity the area of the town around here is such a mess.
OP pam
8 Jul 2012 #14
Seems like Gdańsk it is then! Definitely a few more pros than Kanaus, and at least i will understand most of what people are saying!

Am particularly interested in doing a fair bit of walking, so the bird nature reserve Boletus suggested sounds good.Obviously i will do the normal touristy type things, but it would be nice to get outside the city and see a bit of the country as well.

It sounds now that i may not have enough time to see everything! Obviously the weather will be a factor if its a) non- stop raining or b) snowing !

Can anyone now suggest not to be missed things to do in the tri-city area? Also places to eat that serve good Polish food at reasonable prices.

I also need to find a bookshop which sells books on Polish grammar. I am after a particular one, but would like to browse through others. second hand grammar books are too expensive on Amazon, and i have been told they're much cheaper to buy in Poland.

Unless someone else comes up with a lot of pros for kaunus, Gdansk it is!
Thanks for everyones help :)

Gdansk it is! Booked my flights and hotel last night.
Please can i have suggestions on good places to eat without extortionate prices,both in Gdańsk and Gydnia.
Anyone on here actually live in Gdansk? It would be good to get some advice from someone living in the area. Thanks in advance.
jon357 63 | 14,149
14 Jul 2012 #15
Bistro Kwadrans on Skwer Kosciuski in Gdynia is very cheap and good food. But often crowded and an odd system for ordering and collecting your meal. There are plenty of reasonable places round the Tri-City.
Hipis - | 227
16 Jul 2012 #16
There's nothing worth seeing in Gdynia, I wasted an afternoon of my life there which I'll never get back :( Oliwa is a nice suburb of Gdansk, that's worth a visit. There's a nice park there although it might be a little cold and bleak in October. When I was there last month the weather was glorious and it was ever so peaceful and relaxing. Can't help you with the food places. I tend to eat where ever it's cheapest.
Harry
16 Jul 2012 #17
Interesting to see a supposed Pole 'dissing' modern Poland's first port. Gdynia is a cracking place and do not miss the monument to the shipyard workers who have so much to Poland, more than any plumber ever did.

This thread is not about plumbers, please stay on topic
OP pam
16 Jul 2012 #18
Thanks for everyones comments and advice, much appreciated.
I will be going to Gydnia and Sopot in addition to Gdansk. Can't see the point in not trying to see as much as possible while i'm there!

Hipis, i'm sure Gydnia can't be that bad! Am sure i will find plenty to do and see.
Hipis - | 227
16 Jul 2012 #19
Hipis, i'm sure Gydnia can't be that bad! Am sure i will find plenty to do and see.

Good luck. I went against the advice of my friend who lives there when I decided to visit the place. It's ok down by the harbour area and it's nice walking through the park and up to Kamienna Góra but I won't be going back there in a hurry. I'll be interested to see what you think of it when you get back :)
OP pam
16 Jul 2012 #20
I'll be interested to see what you think of it when you get back :)

Don't worry, i'll be sure to let everyone know my thoughts!
Just hate having to wait.......I want to go now!!!
boletus 30 | 1,366
16 Jul 2012 #21
Just hate having to wait.......I want to go now!!!

And when you go there don't miss the Maritime Museum with its ship model of Peter von Danczk, Piotr of Gdańsk. Originally Pierre de la Rochelle (1462), she was damaged by lightning, partially burned and abandoned by her owner in Gdańsk. She was then rebuilt in Gdańsk in 1470 and converted into a privateer vessel. According to some historians the fact of her repair in Gdansk was a turning point in the local shipbuilding. Carpenters repairing her hull were able to learn the technique of joining planks edge to edge instead of the traditional overlap.

Peter of Gdańsk, under the command of Paul Beneke and his 350-man crew, became one of the most formidable privateers of the times. During one of its voyages in 1475, it was damaged and left in the French port of Brouage, where it was scrapped.

Since 1473, under the command of Paul Beneke ship ran a successful action against England. He won the greatest fame by looting the Burgundian-Florentine galley "San Matteo", gaining a great booty, valued at about 48 000 guilders, including a picture of Hans Memling's "Last Judgment" .

The picture was subsequently passed to St. Mary's Church in Gdansk. It is now in National Museum in Gdańsk, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Judgment_(Memling)

Just hate having to wait.......I want to go now!!!

I know the feeling.. :-) If you like historical novels, you could sweeten up the waiting time by reading "The house of Niccolo: Caprice and Rondo" by Dorothy Dunnett.

This book opens with Nicholas in Poland. He's been kicked out of his company and exiled from Scotland and the Netherlands as a result of his actions in the last book. (...) In Poland he spends a winter womanizing and drinking with the pirate Pauel Benecke, who wants him to join in a pirate mission the following summer.

In this 7th volume in Dunnett's intricate, superb historical series, protagonist Nicholas de Fleury is bent upon an aimless, self-destructive existence, matching pirate Paul Benecke drink for drink and woman for woman after being exiled from Scotland for plotting to destroy the country. But Nicholas' natural curiosity and intelligence are soon rekindled by a visit from his former mentor, Julius and Julius' beautiful, mysterious wife, Anna.

:=)
OP pam
16 Jul 2012 #22
Thanks for advice Boletus, had already planned to go to the Maritime museum.
I think what i need to do now is make a list of everything i can feasibly fit into 5 days. Wish i was going for longer now!

Irony is that i finish work on wednesday and have 6 weeks off, but couldn't afford to go till October when i have one week off!

At least going in October the queues for museums etc shouldn't be as bad as in summer!
scottie1113 7 | 898
22 Jul 2012 #23
pam, I have been living in the Old Town in Gdansk for five years. You didn't mention what your interests are. other than walking so I won't throw up a list of must do-must see things. I was going to suggest Oliwa Park and the church there, and just past it heading toward the zoo there's a hill with a tower (Pacholek) on it. On a clear day you can see Gdynia and across the bay to Hel.

Where will you be staying and how will you get there from the airport? A taxi to the City Center will cost about 50zl and a bus is about 3zl.

There is a very good and inexpensive little restaurant called Jadalnia next door to DaGrasso Pizza on Szeroka-actually it's right around the corner from Tekstylia and it's in the basement. The best coffee shop is Pikawa on ul.Piwna.

If you like history, visit the Solidarity museum and one in the old town hall on Dluga.. Closed on Monday, free on Tuesday.

When you get to your hotel or hostel, pick up a copy of Gdansk in your pocket. It's free and it's a great guide to the whole area.

The weather in October can be nice, or cold and rainy. Plan accordingly.

If my schedule permits, I'll buy you a beer at Absinthe. Send me a pm and I'll give you my mobile number. You'll love Gdansk!


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