Frombork is a small town (only about 2 500 inhabitants) situated on the Vistula Lagoon, about 1-hour drive east of Gdansk. In the early 16th century, it was the residence of the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who was buried in the Frombork Basilica. Most things to see or do in Frombork are somehow related to the great astronomer.
But except for places to see in Frombork itself, the town is also a good starting point to visit nearby places: Braniewo, Elblag, Tolkmicko, or walk on nearby touristic trails.
Getting to Frombork from Gdansk
Gdansk to Frombork by bus
4 direct buses are going from Gdansk bus station to Frombork, the first at 9.50 am, the last at 5.45 pm. The ticket costs about 30-40 PLN and the journey lasts about 1,5-2 hours depending on the bus. Unfortunately, there are no return buses that would allow you to spend the day in Frombork and return in the evening.
Another option is to take a bus from Gdansk to Elblag (very frequent) and then from Elblag to Frombork (very frequent, too). This would allow you to make a round trip in one day.
Gdansk to Frombork by car
This would allow you to make a day trip, as the journey lasts about one hour. Beware, that the road going through Jedrychowo and Baranowka is narrow and in bad condition. It is better to take the one that goes through Milejewo and Pogrodzie.
Things to see in Frombork
Frombork Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Andrew
The original cathedral was completed in 1288 and was made of timber. It was replaced in 1388 with a brick and stone church, which was later expanded by adding chapels and a tower. The cathedral was heavily damaged during the Second World War but was reconstructed after the war ended.
Nicolaus Copernicus grave in Frombork Basilica
Nicolaus Copernicus was a canon in Frombork and worked here, although his workshop does not exist now. He wrote his epochal work, “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium” in Frombork. Copernicus died in Frombork at the age of 70 and was buried in the cathedral.
The first search of Copernicus’s grave was carried on at the beginning of the 19th century, but all attempts were unsuccessful. The historians weren’t even sure whether the grave was in Frombork or Torun. That was until 2005 when they found a skeleton of a man in his 60-70. Based on the skull, the face was reconstructed and compared with the face in Copernicus’s portraits. Thus, they estimated the certainty of having found the grave of Copernicus at 97%.
Then, history gave the scientists a helping hand. Nicolaus Copernicus owned the book of Johannes Stöffler, Calendarium romanum magnum for 25 years. After his death, the book was donated to the Warmia library and then robbed by Swedes in the 17th century. It is now being kept in the Uppsala library. As the book was in Copernicus’s possession for a very long time, scientists decided to look for any biological traces that might have been left by Copernicus. Thus, they found a hair in the book. They compared the DNA from the hair with the DNA from the bones of the skeleton, giving 100% certainty of the location of Copernicus’s grave.
Now, Copernicus;’s epitaph is presented in the cathedral, with a view of Copernicus’s coffin.
A ticket to visit Frombork Cathedral costs 14 PLN (reduced price 11/8 PLN, children under 6 – free). If you happen to visit the Cathedral during the organ presentation (11.30 am, 1 pm, 3 pm) you’ll be charged 18 PLN. You can buy tickets on-site or online (Polish only website).
Nicolaus Copernicus Museum in Frombork
Within the cathedral walls, Copernicus Museum was opened in the Former Bishop’s Palace. Although many people think so, this is not the place where Copernicus lived or worked. The museum gives insight into Copernicus’s life and work.
The Copernicus Museum has one more department, about 400 meters away from Cathedral Hill. The Department of the History of medicine, located in the former hospital, presents the history of medicine and pharmacy, including historical equipment, instruments, books and other objects. Some of them may be not appropriate for children to see.
Tickets to any department cost 13 PLN (9 PLN reduced). A combined ticket to both departments costs 20 PLN (14 PLN reduced).
Planetarium and Radziejowski’s Tower
Radziejowski Tower is the highest tower within the Cathedral Hill walls. Its bottom level is formed in the shape of an octagon, while the upper part is square-shaped. It was built as a military object, and its walls are 7 meters thick. For some time it served as the bell tower of Frombork Cathedral. Its reconstruction after the Second World War is considered one of the best post-war conservation works in Poland.
The lower part of the tower now serves as a Planetarium, while the upper is the viewing point, the highest in Frombork. It’s worth visiting both. On your way to the top, you will see the Foucault pendulum.
A ticket to visit the tower costs 14 PLN (8 PLN reduced). A ticket to the Frombork Planetarium show costs 13 PLN (9 PLN reduced). The show lasts about 30 minutes.
The Water Tower stands below Cathedral Hill, towards the marina and harbour. This is the oldest water tower in Poland. It used to supply water to Cathedral Hill. Now it serves as a cafe and viewing point, but there is also a small museum presenting the way the tower functioned. You can buy tickets in a small souvenir shop at the bottom of the tower. You may also ask there to borrow binoculars.