Commuter Trains Don't Announce Stops
One of the most difficult things about train travel in the tri-city area, is that they don't announce their stops. The long distance trains do, but the commuter trains (the blue and yellow ones) don't. If you are a local, it is no problem, but if you are a tourist, who has never been there before, how are you supposed to know where to get off? They do have a chart that lists all the stops in order, but even so, it's easy to loose track of which stop you're on. My mom was traveling with me, and she is from the area, so she knew where to get off. It's best to ask a local to tell you when your stop is, otherwise it's almost impossible to know where to get off. They should at least have the stops light up.
Tram Travel: Tips For First Timers
If you've never used a tram in Gdansk before, here are a few things you should know.
1. Where To Buy Tickets: You can buy tickets in most kiosks, both above ground and in the walking tunnels. Some of the bigger stops, like the one at Gdansk Glowny had machines that sell tickets, but for me, it's easier to buy them at the kiosk. Make sure you buy the more expensive ones. IDK what the cheaper ones are for, but I know riding with them, can get you a fine.
2. Make sure you scan your tickets: There are boxes on the tram, to scan your ticket. Make sure you scan it, so it validates when you get on the tram. Tickets are good for an hour, after an hour, you must validate another one. Riding with an unvalidated or expired ticket, will get you a fine, and ticket checkers aren't the nicest people you'll meet. My mom saw a guy get thrown to the ground once.
3. You have to press a button to open the door: Sometimes the driver will open the doors, but sometimes he will not. I remember the first time I rode one of these new trams. Me and my uncle got on the wrong tram. He asked the driver, and he told him he was on the wrong tram. He was waving at me to come over. I had no idea how to open the doors. I was pulling on them, and they wouldn't open. The passengers were too lazy to get up and help me. I quickly ran to the front of the tram, which had the only open door, and luckily I made it out before it closed.
4. Announcing Stops: Stops are announced on most of the trams, but on some of them they're not. Trams are only announced in Polish, but each stop is named, so you will know where you are.
5. Some trams require switching to bus: Tram travel in Gdansk used to be as simple as hopping on a tram, and being at your destination. But because of recent construction, a lot of tram routes, require you to switch to a bus. This is also announced in Polish. My advice is, if you see EVERYONE getting off, get off an follow them. They are all heading to the bus, which is usually already parked there.
6. Some routes require switching trams: Ask a local who speaks English, to assist you with this.
7. Tram Schedules: Tram schedules and routes are listed on electronic boards at the major stops, and on paper at the small stops. Most trams will have the name of the place they are going to. Make sure you know which route is yours. Again, if you're not sure, ask a local.
8. Some routes are closed during events: We were found out that some routes are closed off during concerts and soccer games. Check the event calendar to make sure nothing is going on.
9. Trams only travel within their city: If you want to go to another city, you must take a bus or train.
10. Trams can pull in at the same time: At some of the large stations, two trams can pull in at the same time. This happens a lot at Gdansk Glowny. You never know with these guys. Sometimes, the second tram will wait for the first one to move, and pull up to the stop, or sometimes he will just sit back, and let people on where he is. I have seen people try to get on, than it started to move. Again, observe the locals, and do what they do.
Bus 210 from the airport
The plane from Stockholm landed 20 minutes ahead of schedule and as I had no checked in luggage I was very soon out in the arrival hall. I went straight to the tourist office where they told me it was unfortunately 45 minutes until the next bus was leaving. It was New Years Day and on Sundays and holidays the bus only runs once an hour, other days it runs every half an hour.
I bought a ticket for the bus in a machine next to the bus stop. The ticket was 3 zloty (January 2014). I didn’t have any coins but it was okay to pay with a 20 zloty-bill and I got coins back. Going to the centre of Gdansk you should take bus number 210 heading for Orunia Goscinna. Among other places the bus stops at Gdansk Glowy and at Brama Wyzynna, where I went off. From the airport to Brama Wyzynna it took around 40 minutes.
When I was going back to the airport a few days later VT-member zaffaran (Anita) drove me. It was Sunday and not so much traffic and I think it took around 15-20 minutes from the centre. Anita told me that some time in the future trains will be running to the airport too.
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Train from Sopot to Gdansk
The commuter train SKM runs frequently between Gdansk Glowny and Gdynia Glowna. One stop it makes along the way is in Sopot, so when I was going back from Sopot to Gdansk that is the train I took.
I bought the ticket over the counter and it was 3.80 zloty (January 2014). The guy at the counter said the trains were running every 15 minutes (it was a Saturday afternoon). Before going up on the platform I validated the ticket in the yellow machine below the stairs. It is important to stamp the ticket before the journey as there is no machine for that on the train (on buses and trams there are).
From Sopot to Gdansk Glowny it took around 20 minutes.
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Walking from Oliwa to Sopot
I had taken the tram to Oliwa and there visited the Cathedral and the Ethnographic Museum. From Oliwa I was going on to Sopot, and as it was a sunny day (the only sunny day during my visit to Poland) I decided to walk. I followed Pomorska out to the coast and then walked along the sea to Sopot.
I had been thinking of renting a bike but I'm glad I hadn't. The bicycle road follows the coast, but without sea view. Now I walked on the beach, in the sand. I was not alone. It was a Saturday and the first sunny day for a while, so lots of people were out walking and exercising. It was a lovely walk and I really enjoyed looking at the blue sea, birds and people, and I took a lot of photos.
I don't know how long it took to walk from Oliwa to the pier in Sopot, but probably 1 - 1.5 hours.
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From Gdansk to Malbork and back
The day before going to Malbork I picked up the timetable for the trains at the Tourist Office in Gdansk. I decided to take the train leaving Gdansk at 9:34 and arriving in Malbork at 10:40. That would give me around 4 hours to explore the castle, as it closes at 15:00 in low season.
The trains leave from Gdansk Glowny (the central station) so I went there in the morning and bought the ticket over the counter. The ticket was 13.50 zloty (January 2014). It was a regional train and made quite a lot of stops along the way. I had read that coming from Gdansk it is good to sit on the right side as you will get a nice view over the castle when arriving to Malbork, so when the seat opposite me became free I moved there. The weather was not nice and unfortunately the view was not great either.
The station before Malbork is called Malbork Kaldowo and according to my map it seemed to be at the same distance from the castle as Malbork. I asked the man in front of me but he wasn’t from the area and didn’t know. Well, I stayed on the train and continued to Malbork, but saw from the train window that it is okay to go off in Malbork Kaldowo too.
After visiting the castle I asked at the Tourist Office in town when the next trains were leaving. One was leaving too soon so I decided to go to a café and take the train at 16:14. To my surprise the ticket back to Gdansk was more expensive, 19 zloty. It turned out that this train was an intercity train. It arrived late, but it doesn’t make so many stops along the way and is faster than the regional trains.
From The Airport to The Old Town
Bus - It was easy getting the bus back to the airport. No need to walk to the main train station. I walked the length of Dugla Street towards the Golden Gate and hopped on Bus 210. Bus times and waiting times are displayed on signs next to the stop. The journey took about 40 minutes and stops right outside the airport arrivals hall.
Taxi - Due to serious snow blizzards when I approached Gdansk airport and all flights in and out cancelled the plane I was travelling on was diverted to Bydgoszcz. After a four and a half hour interesting!! bus journey I finally reached Gdansk airport late in the evening. Snow everywhere and minus temperatures and blizzards. The airport was practically deserted. With major traffic congestion and reports of journeys to the city centre taking 4 hours I was resigned to sleeping in the airport. But then I heard that a bus was on it's way and went to the stand outside where after a few minutes a taxi pulled up. I'm always reluctant to take taxis, especially from airports, (it did appear to be a genuine taxi), and when the driver quoted 40 zloty directly to my apartment I took up the offer. I don't know what the going rate is but 11pm on a Friday night in these conditions I think a reasonable price (I was advised by staff inside to expect anything from 70 - 100 zloty .. or more)
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Route Closures During Events
If you're planning to travel in the evening hours, check the event schedule to make sure there aren't any football matches or concerts taking place that day.
We took a day trip to Wdzydze the day that Lechia Gdansk was scheduled to play FC Barcelona. We got back to town after dark, just when the match was supposed to be at half time. I even joked about dropping in for the second half. We saw a bunch of cops rushing somewhere, so we thought some fans got in a fight. Anyways, we got to the stadium, and got off to switch trams. For some reason, the stadium was quiet, and the lights were off. I thought it died down for half time. I went towards the stadium to see all the cars, but couldn't see anything. I was talking to my mom about the game, and some lady overheard us and said, "There is no game today. It's been cancelled."
She then told us that if the match had been taking place, the tram wouldn't have made it through there. We would've been stuck in town, until they cleared the road.
We didn't even think about that. We figured the trams and buses, would run the same route as usual. I guess we got lucky. If the match hadn't been cancelled, we wouldn't have gotten home that night. It was a huge wake up call for us.
There are a lot of routes that run past the stadium, so avoid traveling them during events. I don't know how early they start closing the roads, so I would just avoid traveling on those days, or you will be stuck.
To and from Gdansk Airport
PORT LOTNICZY (Gdansk Airport).
DWORZEC GŁÓWNY (Gdansk Main Railway Station).
ZKM GDAÑSK (local public transport): http://www.info.zkm.pl:5000/rj_test/Default.aspx?lang=EN
Travel Information - How to get from the Lech Walesa Airport in Rebiechowo to the Gdansk City Center and Wrzeszcz: http://www.info.zkm.pl:5000/rj_test/Default.aspx?lang=EN
POLISH -ENGLISH POLISH translating program : http://www.poltran.com/
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These people need to learn how to be patient. I will start form the begining. We took a day trip from Gdansk to Wdzydze by bus. Our tickets had assigned seats on them. Ignore this, it doesn't mean anything. Everyone was sitting calmly at the station waiting for the bus, but as soon as it pulled up, everyone got up and rushed the door. Everyone was pushing, shoving, and stepping on eachother's toes to get inside. There was no order what so ever. The driver didn't even get a chance to check people's tickets. Everyone just rushed the door, and pushed themselves in. It was crazy. There are incidents when people literally get carried onto buses or trains. Once they start pushing, you have no choice but to get on, so make sure it's the right bus. My dad told me about this happening during Communist times, I thought the people have become more civilized since then, guess not. I heard of this happening on trains too, though the trains I took have never been that full. Wait, it gets worse. The bus is like a greyhound. Here in the U.S., everyone has an assigned seat, and the driver will only take as many passangers as there are seats. That's not the case in Poland. The driver will take as many people as he can fit. This is supposed to be Europe, not India. Half the people on the bus were standing, so if you're only traveling a few stops, there's no way you're getting off, so try to get as close to the front of the bus as possible. We were getting off before the last stop, so we didn't have to worry, since it emptied out before we got there. Once you get on and actually have a seat, it's not that bad, unless you're planning on getting off soon, or changing buses, which we thankfully didn't have to do.
Another bad thing is, the driver doesn't annouce the stops, so you have to get a window seat, and pay attention to the names of the towns, or you won't know where to get off. Not anticipating this problem, we sat on the wrong side of the bus, so I had to sit with a map in my lap, and look back at what towns we had just passed. Luckily, a guy in front of us knew every little village on the route, so I always knew where we were. Once it cleared out, we moved to the otherside of the bus. And it wasn't as crowded on the return trip, so everyone was calm.
I've never seen anything like this before. It was complete chaos. I'm never traveling on a Polish bus again, and I seriously recommend avoiding inter city buses. The city buses don't have this problem, it's just the buses that go to other cities. Most places can be reached by train, but I heard it's the same with trains, during the high tourist season, so if you're not afraid of crazy Polish drivers, just rent a car. If you have to take a train or bus, avoid traveling on weekends, which is when it gets crowded. Seriously, the Poles really need to fix their transportation system. This is unacceptable.
Luggage Storage in Gdansk
The bus and train stations at Gdansk have something of a luggage locker crisis. They have approximately 1% of the actual number of lockers they need, and about 75% of the lockers they do have are broken. Yup, that means that about 0.25% of travelers who need luggage lockers will get one.
Fortunately, there is a somewhat-hidden left luggage room in the basement of the train station. If you can't get a locker for your bags, definitely consider leaving them here. Similar facilities cannot be found in the bus station, so travelers using buses will inconveniently have to move between the two buildings (using their respective, looong staircases).
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Gdansk to Kaunas and Vilnius
For travelers without a visa for Belarus or Russia (Kaliningrad), moving onward to Lithuania can be a minor hassle. During my visit in summer 2012, overnight buses were running this route every other day. The route was very busy and I'd recommend buying a 150-zl ticket several days in advance (you can buy them at the bus station, which is behind the train station). The stops were not announced and it was only due to my keen eye that I noticed we were in Kaunas.
Travelers with visas for Russia or Belarus will find more transportation options.
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Transport between town and airport.
To get into town from the airport there are two options: bus line "210" takes you on a 35 min long journey on a quite bumpy road to the main railway station, Dworzec PKP, which is the transport hub for changing lines. At the airport you can buy tickets by the Tourist Info desk (if you are lucky!! The girl seemed to be much disturbed when I asked IF they had tickets to sell. Evidently her nails were much more important than some stupid visitor coming to her home country. Yes, well what to say? A good first impression is always nice.... Right person in right place it seems..)
You will need a ticket valid for one hour, cost 2,50 PLN (then you can change to another tram or bus in town if there is enough time for you to get to your destination within the hour) or a one-way ticket for only one ride without changings (but no time restrictions), cost 3,00 PLN. No extra fee for bulky luggage! And just be sure to validate your ticket, there are lots of controls, especially on this line!! I was checked myself last time I was in Gdansk.
The second option to get from the airport is to take bus "110" to Wrzeszcz but that is probably not suitable for most of you as Wrzeszcz is a bit out from city centre.
Arriving in Gdansk.
Whatever way you arrive in Gdansk, by air at the airport or by train, you will come to the main railway station, Dworzec PKP. If you come by air then there is the bus "210" to take from the airport to the city = Dworzec PKP.
The station is a real transport hub for, I believe, all trams as well as buses.
When you're looking for the right track for your train it might be a little tricky and confusing because you might have to go up and down a couple of stairs at different places.
I remember the times when there used to be problems with buying tickets for a tram or a bus, especially at nights. Then drivers were compelled to sell tickets, but not always was possible or easy to communicate with a driver if you are a foreigner and do not speak Polish. Now you can easily buy a ticket in a ticket machines which are scattered in the city in 49 places.
See the addresses of the spots on ( only in Polish):
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