If you have been to the Old Town in Gdańsk within the last several days, it’s likely you have noticed something unusual. The streets are now filled with a plethora of vendors, food trucks, artists, and many more. So, what is the reason behind all that? We visited the ongoing St. Dominic’s Fair to find out.
When it comes to annual events in Gdańsk, St. Dominic’s Fair is a staple. In fact, it has been so for over 750 years!
The history of the Fair begins in the 13th century at the St. Nicholas Church in Gdańsk. The church, located next to St. Dominic’s Square, belonged to the monks of the Dominican Order. They aimed to encourage believers to take part in the parish fair for their patron, which was approved by Pope Alexander VI in 1260. Thus, St. Dominic’s Fair was born. Now, the event has grown to be one of the most significant summer attractions in Gdańsk, bringing thousands of tourists to the city each year.
Things To Do
It’s safe to say that St. Dominic’s Fair does not lack in attractions. No matter your age or what hour it is, there is always a multitude of activities to try out.
During the day, we suggest you wander around the Main City, as the streets are now filled with hundreds of stalls of local artists, craftsmen, and collectors. Each of them offers unique, regional goods that are not to be found anywhere else. You are also likely to stumble upon multiple entertainers and musicians, all of whom create a lively, merry atmosphere in the city.
In a need to relax? No worries – just visit the Świętopełka park, the Kobzdeja square or the beautiful Ołowianka stop. Each of these places offers a place to sit back and unwind. Moreover, in the latter location, you’ll find a book exchange – perfect for all the bookworms.
During the evening hours, don’t forget to stop by the Music Station to hear live performances of jazz, soul and classical music. If movies seem like more of your thing, make sure to visit the Cinema Station at Ołowianka, where screenings take place on selected days.
You can find the full, detailed program of the event here.
Our Top Picks
If your time is limited, here are some of our top picks from the event that can’t be missed:
1) Food: Various food trucks are spread out all over the place, serving both local and international cuisine. It’s a perfect opportunity to try authentic Polish food like oscypki, pierogi, and various sweet pastries. Multiple stalls offer packed goods as well, selling items such as spices, meats, condiments and fresh bread – perfect for preparing delicious meals at home.
2) Antiques and flea markets: An unmissable part of the fair. Antique furniture, coins, vintage clocks, old books, toys… Composed mostly of private vendors, the flea markets offer anything you could think of. This section of the fair can be found on the Długie Ogrody street.
3) Handmade goods: At all the stalls dedicated to handmade items, you’ll find everything from clothing to original accessories, all created by local craftsmen.
Tips for Visitors
Before you go, there are some things you should consider.
Firstly, if going by car, be aware that finding available parking space will be tough. Not only is the Fair taking place, but it is also the height of the holiday season, making the Old Town full of visitors. Taking this into account, we recommend using public transportation to get there. From Gdynia and Sopot, the SKM train is the wisest choice, as it will take you directly to the Gdańsk Śródmieście station. If traveling from within the city, it’s equally easy – just take the tram number 2, 3, 6, 8, 9 or 1, to the Brama Wyżynna stop.
Secondly, note that the area will be crowded. Very crowded, in fact. But don’t let this issue discourage you from visiting! If you prefer to avoid large groups of people, it would be a good idea to get there early. Most stands and activities should be open after 10 a.m.
Last, but not least – take your time. St. Dominic’s Fair is huge and takes up a vast area, so there’s so much to see! We encourage you to download the official map of the Fair [link], which will make planning your visit much easier.