The city of Gdynia was established to open Poland to the world. The construction of the port provided access to the sea and transport by sea. Ships full of goods and people stimulated Gdynia to intensive development. Life-giving energy flowed, just as if someone had put a plug in the socket. A Maritime School educating seafarers was established.
The central Gdynia Station railway station was built, where many trains end their runs. Trade and currency exchange flourished. Guests from abroad and Poles who wanted to go further into the world, across the sea and across the ocean, stayed in the hotels.
The city was bustling day and night. What attractions does Gdynia offer to tourists today? The century-old city is still developing. It is worth taking a trip to Gdynia for sightseeing and see what the world has given to a small fishing village for 100 years.
Gdynia – a city where You always hear the seagulls singing
Tourist attractions in Gdynia
Among the obligatory tourist attractions in Gdynia, the first place is occupied by the famous ships: the sailing ships Dar Pomorza and Dar Mlodziezy, moored at Kosciuszko Square. Right next to it, the Naval Museum in Gdynia and the museum Polish Navy Ship Blyskawica invite you to visit. Over the port, on the other hand, there is Kamienna Hill with a free cable car and a stunning panorama from the viewpoint. All ships moored at the wharf, standing in the roadstead and entering the port basins are clearly visible!
Tourists with children willingly visit the Sea Fisheries Institute located in the port. It is especially worth visiting the Aquarium in Gdynia, which is popularly called the Oceanarium. It was established in the early 1970s as the Oceanographic Museum and Marine Aquarium of the MIR. Many of the specimens presented in huge tanks with salt or fresh water are gifts from sailors of the Polish merchant fleet. Caught rare species of fish and other marine animals were also donated to the Oceanarium by local fishermen and scientists from their underwater expeditions.
The Emigration Museum in the former Maritime Station in Gdynia
Gdynia - visiting the Oceanarium
The living exhibits of the Oceanarium are unique tourist attractions. Gdynia, a city open to the world, has created conditions for many fantastic sea creatures. Over the years of collecting collections, an impressive collection from the most exotic corners of the world has been created. We will see interesting species of fish here, e.g. Nemo clownfish, epaulet sharks, marbled sharks, stingrays from the Amazon, cave blind and many others.
There are also finds from the waters of the Gulf of Gdańsk from Gdynia and Hel fishermen, e.g. sea devil. Specimens swimming in large aquariums hypnotize with their appearance and behaviour. The tank with Selena is surrounded by a group of tourists staring at the amazing appearance of the fish. Due to its shape and silver colour, it is called the moon fish. Its body is tall and short (up to 50 cm long), but strongly flattened on the sides. The profile of the head resembles the proportions of a human face.
The Oceanarium invites you to film journeys through the rooms of the permanent exhibition of the Gdynia Aquarium. You can see sea and river animals in specially arranged tanks. We will find out where they come from and what their true nature is. We will get to know the attractions of as many as five journeys into water depths rich in fauna and flora in Gdynia.
A journey through the Amazon.
The attention of tourists is focused on river stingrays. Fish spend their time mainly at the bottom, often motionless. Combined with the camouflaging body of the spots, this makes them difficult to see. It’s worth waiting for them to move…
A world of colours, or the current through the reef.
Nemo the clownfish is a frequent visitor to the coral reef. It lives in symbiosis with stinging anemones. This relationship is mutually beneficial: the clownfish is safe among the stinging antennae, while the sea anemone benefits from the fact that the presence of a colourful fish attracts other organisms. Nemo also attracts small and large tourists who want to see its natural habitat on the coral reef.
Aquatic animals of the world.
Fish active at night are usually distinguished by larger eyes and red coloration. In no other room of the Oceanarium, feeding the fish is as dynamic as at the exhibition among the aquatic animals of the world. It is worth getting to know what moray eels, hajduczek or striped fish called cleaners look like when they are hunting for food.
At the junction of water and land.
The animals portrayed in this exhibition come from the fresh waters of both Americas and Africa. The journey begins with an encounter with a crocodile, a species that inhabits streams, small rivers and ponds in dense rainforests. The animal leads a secretive lifestyle in an area that is difficult to explore (the least studied species of crocodiles).
Many tourists think that this crocodile is not real. The animal is most active at night, so during the day it is most often seen completely still. His heart beats only three times a minute. It’s worth seeing!
In the sea grass.
The animals presented in this room come from the waters of the Puck Bay close to Gdynia. There are perfect conditions for the development of life on the bottom and in the water column. The bay is shallow and rather closed, with little influence from the waters of the open sea. This part of the Baltic Sea is famous for the greatest biodiversity in the entire Polish coastline. The inhabitants of the bay could successfully become heroes of fairy tales, so it is worth delving into this adventure with children.
A walk along Starowiejska Street
After staying in the rooms of the Oceanarium, it’s time to take a breath of fresh air that Gdynia enjoys.
We will now move the tour in one leap from Kosciuszko Square to the area of the Constitution Square. You can go in this direction along Swietojanska and Starowiejska. Starowiejska Street is the oldest part of Gdynia. Settlement has been concentrated along it since the 13th century. The very centre of the village was located near today’s Kaszubski Square – the area of the intersection of Starowiejska and Msciwoj. There was an inn, a post office and a school. Yellowed photos and postcards remain from that period. Time has erased the traces of the former rural buildings. Currently, Starowiejska is an elegant street in the centre of a large city.
By the way – Gdynia is the largest non-voivodship city in Poland. The proximity of Gdansk (slightly over 20 km) does not give Gdynia a great chance of being the capital of the voivodship.
Over time, you can see how dynamically the coast changes. The declaration of Gdansk as a Free City by the League of Nations on November 15, 1920 was a strong impulse for Poland to act. In less than two years, a decision was made to build a Polish port. Exactly on September 23, 1922, the Sejm adopted a law authorizing the government to build a seaport in Gdynia. And so, thanks to the openness to the world, the fishing settlement became a modern city.
A modernist train station with a mosaic
Central Gdynia Station is the last trip of many trains coming from all over Poland: from the south, east and west. An impressive station was built in the 1950s. The building is maintained in a style that combines the late Art-Deco trend with elements of socialist realism. This interesting architectural combination is an attraction of Gdynia for travellers from all over Poland and beyond. The building combines the functions of the main, suburban and bus stations. It is there that we can change from the train from Katowice, Krakow or Warsaw to the bus to Jastrzebia Hill and go to the open sea.
When the unique wall and ceiling decorations in the hall – paintings and mosaics – were created, people came to the station to admire them. The glass mosaics in the hall of the main building were designed by Teresa Pagowska, who later became a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, was a representative of the Sopot school and the new figuration. The largest mosaic (to the left of the entrance) shows a pair of winged horses and a winged wheel, which is a symbol of railway workers. The background is a starry sky and grids, symbolizing meridians and parallels on the globe.
The theme of the smaller mosaic, which is located opposite the side entrance from the Constitution Square, is life in the port. The third one was located where the entrance to the station restaurant was originally located. On the mosaics you can admire the fauna and flora of the underwater world and the sky above the sailing harbour with flags that decorate the masts of sailing ships.
Architects pay attention to the rich woodwork at the station, coffered ceilings, black marble wall cladding, intricate wooden radiator covers and shutters. The granite floor in several shades imitates the ceiling decoration. It is therefore worth looking down at your feet and up at the ceiling to compare the two works.
Also interesting are the wooden railings of the stairs in the suburban railway station hall, elegant lamps in the shape of hourglasses in the main hall and a two-sided clock by the ticket offices. These are attractions worth seeing in Central Gdynia Station.
Gdynia - attractions, concerts, festivals
Does anyone remember the most exclusive night club in the times of the People’s Republic of Poland? At Maxim’s in Gdynia, which was located in a rather dark part of Orlowska Street (No. 13), life went on at night. Today, 30-year-olds ask if there is a nightlife in this city at all? You cannot have everything. Gdynia has other attractions, and Sopot now holds the title of the centre of the Tri-City entertainment.
You can definitely eat a good dinner in Gdynia. Going to a movie is better to plan in advance, because cinemas close due to lack of people. There is not much choice of clubs to spend a Saturday night. Cultural life looks better. Gdynia is known for three large festivals: the Opener music festival at the Babie Doly military airport (Gdynia Kosakowo), the Polish Feature Film Festival with its epicentre in the Musical Theatre (near Kosciuszko Square) and the Baltic Sail sea rally, which involves three ports in the Tri-City . All events are worth visiting! Gdynia’s tourist attractions gave us the opportunity to travel to exotic regions of the world. We also moved in time to the village of Gdynia.
Sightseeing is worth continuing and visiting, for example, the Emigration Museum and other attractions of Gdynia.