Oliwa is one of the most charming Gdansk’s districts and recently it has also become a growing business centre. In Oliwa you can visit the beautiful Oliwa Park, Palace of Abbots, Oliwa Cathedral or climb to Pacholek hill to see the panorama of Gdansk. Another attraction is the biggest ZOO in Poland. Let’s plan your visit and check what to see in Oliwa!
The whole complex: park with Pacholek hill, Palace of Abbots, Oliwa Cathedral was owned by the Abbot of the Cistercians and it was Abbot Jacek Rybinski who – in XVIII century – was the initiator of the complex in today’s form.
First, we go to Oliwa Park which is 11 hectares in size and seems to be a perfect place to hide from the sun and noisy streets. In December and January, there’re Christmas decorations and illuminations installed in the park, which attract many people.
In the park, you can find ponds with birds, arbours and botanical and Japanese garden. Unfortunately, the palm house is now closed for renovation but don’t miss the avenue of limes which ends in a pond. The interesting fact is that the pond is not a rectangular as it seems to be when you look at it. It is one meter wider in the end – as a result, you undergo a perspective illusion. In the past, because of the topography, it was possible to see the sea from the end of the avenue and it looked as if the pond ended in the Baltic. Nowadays the view is covered by buildings and trees, therefore the view is a little less impressive.
Finally, you should visit the Whispering grotto (Grota Szeptow). One person should be whispering in one grotto and at the same time, another person standing close to the wall in the opposite grotto will hear everything – provided no other people stand inside or between the grottos.
Oliwa Park opening hours
|May-September||5:00 a.m – 11 p.m.|
|October – April||5:00 a.m – 08 p.m.|
The entrance to Oliwa Park is free.
If Oliwa Park is not enough for you, the extensive area around is within Trojmiejski Park Krajobrazowy – forest area with lots of foot and bike trails.
Palace of Abbots
Entering the main gate to Oliwa Park from Opata Rybinskiego street if you go left to the French garden, you will see the Palace of Abbots. This Rococo style Palace was built in 1754-1756 by Abbot Jacek Rybinski. Nowadays there is a restaurant and the Museum of Contemporary Art inside. The entrance is on the other side of the building – you’ll pass by it when going to the Oliwa Cathedral.
Opposite to the entrance, there’s an old storehouse, now the Ethnographic Museum. Both museums are the branches of the National Museum in Gdansk.
Opening hours: Museum of Contemporary Art (Palace of Abbots) and Ethnographic Museum
|High season (01.05-30.09)|
|Low season (01.10-30.04)|
|Tuesday – Friday||09:00-16:00|
|Saturday – Sunday||10:00-17:00|
Tickets: Museum of Contemporary Art (Palace of Abbots) and Ethnographic Museum
Regular 10 PLN
Reduced 6 PLN
Friday – free entrance to the Museum of Contemporary Art
Going under the gate towards Nowickiego street you’ll reach Oliwa Cathedral with its famous organ. The Cathedral is 107m long, and this is is the longest church in Poland, and the longest Cistercians church in the World. First Cistercians Monastery was built there in XII century but it didn’t survive the fire. The present Cathedral was built in the XIV century in Gothic style. It really looks impressive inside.
In XVII century Abbot Jacek Rybinski commissioned the construction of famous organs. At that time there’re the biggest organs in Europe and probably in the world.
You can enter the church and hear the short presentation of organs.
Oliwa Cathedral organs presentation’s hours:
November – March: weekdays 12:00, Sundays: 15:00
April: weekdays 11:00, 12:00, Sundays: 15:00, 16:00
May, September: weekdays 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, Sundays and 03.05: 15:00, 16:00
June: weekdays: 10.00, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 15.00, 16.00, Saturdays: 0.00, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00, 15.00, Sundays: 5.00, 16.00, 17.00
July-August: weekdays: 10.00, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 15.00, 16.00 , 17.00, Saturdays: 10.00, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00, 15.00, Sundays and 15.08 15.00, 16.00, 17.00
October: weekdays: 11.00, 12.00, Sundays: 15.00
From the Oliwa Cathedral, you can climb the Pacholek hill. Go Cystersow Street, then turn left to Opacka Street and go towards Spacerowa Street. When going Spacerowa Street on the right you’ll see newly built stairs which go to the top of the hill. There’s also a viewpoint tower on the top. You can see a panorama of Oliwa with its business centre, Trojmiejski Landscape Park and if the weather is good, the Bay of Gdansk.
Read more about Pacholek Hill here: Viewpoints in Gdansk
About 1,5km from the Pacholek hill there’s a XVI century water forge (Kuznia Wodna), still able to process steel – unique in Europe and the only one in Poland. Nowadays is closed for tourists except for some special events like the European Night of Museums in May.
When you get down from Pacholek hill there’s another big attraction in Oliwa – ZOO. It’s about 20 minutes on foot from the hill. Gdansk Oliwa ZOO, covering the area of 125 hectares, is the biggest in Poland. You need at least 3 hours to visit. There’re many different species of animals, and they have big enclosures situated in the forest and using the natural topography.
In the summer it could be very crowded as many families go there with their children.
|April weekdays and October||09:00-17:00|
|April weekends, May-September||09:00-19:00|
The last admission to the Zoo is one hour before closing time
Prices depend on the season:
|November – March||15PLN||10PLN|
You can also buy tickets in the tickets machine (payment only with cards).
The parking costs 3PLN per hour for cars and motorbikes and 3 PLN per day for bicycles.
How to get to the ZOO?
ZOO is quite close to Oliwa centre but if you don’t like to walk you can take a bus from “Oliwa Petla Tramwajowa”. There’s a bus nr 179 which goes all year (only some goes to the ZOO) and bus 622 which runs every day from 01.05 to 31.10. There’s also a bus “G” from Gdynia Pogorze on weekends from 01.05 to 31.10 but it’s better to go by SKM train from Gdynia.
How to get to Oliwa?
You can easily go to Oliwa from the city centre. You should go to the main station “Dworzec Glowny” and from there you can go by train or tram. As you get off the tram/train everything is within the walking distance.
By SKM train
The ride takes 15 minutes from “Dworzec Glowny” to “Gdansk Oliwa”. To the main entrance to Oliwa Park, you need to walk about 10 minutes.
From the city centre, you can take tram nr 6, 11 and 12 with direction to “Jelitkowo”, “Oliwa” or “Zaspa”. It takes 25 minutes to ” Obroncow Westerplatte” tram stop. From the stop, it’s 2 minutes walking to the main entrance to the park.