You may or may not already know it by now, but Gdańsk, Poland, is a city well worth a visit. Thanks to its stunning architecture, fascinating history seen throughout the city and proximity to the seaside it's been a well-known tourist destination for many years now.
The Royal Way is the main tourist route, leading through the centre of the Old Town. A definite must do in Gdańsk!
It is essentially a long street, starting at the Wyżynna Brama (Upland Gate) in the south, through Ulica Długa (Long Street), Długi Targ (Long Market) and Zielona Brama in the north (Golden Gate). The walk itself would take you around 10 minutes, but you would probably enjoy it way longer, as you will probably find yourself stopping and admiring the views around quite often!
Here are the sights worth looking out for:
The first building you start your walk with. It's a very beautifully decorated city gate, a masterpiece of Gdańsk's golden age. The colourful coat of arms of Gdańsk greets the main passage on both sides of the gate. On the top, you can admire stone sculptures symbolising Peace, Freedom, Wealth and Fame.
The representative street of the Main Town. It was inhabited by the most influential and wealthiest families of Gdańsk patricians: bankers, mayors, councillors, ship owners and merchants. It was a showcase and a symbol of the wealth of old Gdańsk. To this day, its main attraction are houses with richly adorned façades, some of them are truly showstopping!
One of those houses worth mentioning. It's a Rococo-Classicist tenement house, built for the city councillor Jan Uphagen. According to the owner's will, its period décor was preserved until 1945. Currently, it houses one of the most beautiful museums in Gdańsk - the Museum of Townhouse Interiors (entry costs 16 PLN or 8 PLN concession).
It is the next attraction and you simply can't miss it. You will see it from a long way away walking from each end of the Royal Way. This monumental building located at the intersection of Long Street and Long Market, it's the former seat of Gdańsk authorities. Its origins date back to the early Middle Ages and it served many Polish kings. Today it houses the Historical Museum of the City of Gdańsk (tickets to enter cost 16 PLN or 8 PLN concession). During the tourist season, you can enter the viewing gallery of the town hall tower, which offers a wonderful view of Gdańsk.
This square has been a bustling centre of city life for centuries. It was here where the trade flourished, tournaments were held and knights made oaths of allegiance to the kings. The view of Długi Targ from different spots has been an inspiration for artists: graphic designers, painters and photographers. It is an extremely charming quarter of Gdańsk with its own unique atmosphere.
This bronze statue of the Roman god of the sea is located in the centre of Długi Targ (Long Market) and it's Poland's oldest secular monument (that is: not connected with religious or spiritual matters). Fun Fact: it was ordered to be placed facing the townhouses, which were the residence of the Polish kings, so during their stay in Danzig (the German name for Gdańsk) the mythological god was to have his head bow down to them.
Located just behind the fountain. It is the former meeting place of wealthy patricians and an important centre of social and commercial life, modelled on the legendary Round Table of knights of King Arthur!
One of the most beautiful buildings in Gdańsk, built in the Renaissance style. The facade, richly decorated with sculptures, formerly richly gilded (hence its name), presents the heads of rulers and leaders, battle scenes and coats of arms of the founders.
The southernmost point, that leads you out to the Motława River Embankment. This building was back in the days the official residence of Polish kings, but actually only one royal stayed here over the years. Above the four passages, there are coats of arms of Gdańsk, Poland, Royal Prussia and the eagle of the Prussian kings. It currently houses the National Museum and the office of the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Lech Wałęsa. The Museum is closed on Mondays and the entry costs 10 PLN or 6 PLN concession.
And once you pass under the Green Gate you could say that you have completed the Royal Walk!