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Krakow vs. Gdansk vs. more time elsewhere

I will in the Warsaw area in July for 9-10 days for a project but will have the weekends and evenings free to explore. I pretty much know all there is to do there, thanks to Rick Steves and all the other wealth of information online.

Some of the people I'm working with while in Warsaw are heading down to Krakow afterwards. I don't want to spend the entire week in Krakow, and I'm not sure I even want to go there at all. Right now my plan is around 3 days there, and 3 days in Copenhagen before I head back to the U.S. But a part of me wants to spend more time in Copenhagen, and then another part of me wants to check out Gdansk instead of Krakow.

In general I prefer just chilling out on vacation and usually am not as concerned about siteseeing, although I have always been a big fan of castles and art museums. Any thoughts on Krakow vs. Gdansk? Will I really regret it if I skip out on Krakow altogether? Which city is easier to get to from Warsaw?

Posted by
11263 posts

I haven't been to Gdansk, but I can say Krakow is a nice place to chill. It's about 3 hours on the train from Warsaw; I believe Gdansk is about 5 hours, but I haven't checked the schedule recently (they keep saying they're going to speed up the trains, but that hadn't happened for my trip in September 2013).

Will your regret not seeing Krakow? You'll only know once you've been there, so that's your call. If you've researched it and it doesn't "speak" to you, go somewhere else.

Posted by
11613 posts

I spent three nights in Kraków and wish it had been more. It's a lovely city with a good "chill" factor.

Posted by
456 posts

Gdansk may be a good choice for you. After a train trip directly from Warsaw, you could spend a bit of time exploring the old seaport city of Gdansk, visit the Teutonic Knights huge castle at Malbork, and then finish up at the nearby seaside resort town of Sopot. TripAdvisor will be a valuable resource. I don't know all the options for travel from Warsaw to Copenhagen but there is a flight with AirBerlin. There may be transportation by water.

Both Krakow and Gdansk are easily reached by train from Warsaw. I've visited and enjoyed both cities but Krakow, IMHO, is becoming "touristy." Gdansk is not as frequent a destination for Americans, but there are cruise ships that stop there for day trips.

Posted by
11263 posts

I just looked out of my own curiosity, and see that the trains have indeed been sped up since my trip. On the fastest trains, Warsaw to Krakow is about 2.5 hours, and Warsaw to Gdansk is about 3 hours. So the time and hassle factor getting from Warsaw to either one is almost equal; choose on the basis of other factors.

Posted by
12348 posts


Both places are well worth your time , at least a week. From Warsaw I would pick going to Gdansk. True, you most likely will see few Americans there, if any. I was there in 2003 for 4-5 days. The tourists I saw were Germans, in the city and en route on the train and departing, since the city was the former province capital of West Prussia. I would skip Copenhagen and spend the time in both Krakow and Gdansk, both of which are good walking cities.

Posted by
1 posts

The best way to get to both cities are trains.

Better place to chill out is Cracow, i've been living there over 5 years. Plenty of restaurants, coffees, pubs in the center is the greatest way to forget about job and relax.

Find below two days trip plan for Cracow:

Two days travel plan to Cracow

Posted by
106 posts

I've been to most cities in Poland, including Krakow and Gdansk. Something to keep in mind is that particularly in the summer, the Gdansk area might be a bit busier with tourists as the beach in the Sopot area is a big summer vacation destination.

I think you will find Krakow has more in the way of cafes, bars, etc., as it is a big university town. Krakow also has quite a bit to offer in the way of museums if I remember correctly.

If you decide on Krakow, and don't want to spend the whole time there, you may want to spend some time in Zakopane, which is close to the Slovakia border. In the winter, it's a big skiing destination. But in the summer, it's just a nice place to hang out with some good shops, restaurants, cafes, etc. and beautiful views.

Hope you enjoy your time. We had a fantastic time when we were in Poland a couple of years ago, and are going back this fall!