Oliwa district

Oliwa is one of the most charming Gdansk’s districts and lately it has also become a growing business centre. In Oliwa you can visit a beautiful Oliwa park, Palace of Abbots, Oliwa Cathedral and also climb to Pacholek hill to see the panorama of Gdansk. Another attraction is the biggest ZOO garden in Poland. Let’s plan your visit and check what to see in Oliwa!

Oliwa district
Oliwa district

Oliwa Park

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 of all, 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 to the park.

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.

Oliwa Park - the avenue of limes
Oliwa Park – the avenue of limes

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 - the Whispering grotto
Oliwa Park – the Whispering grotto

Oliwa park opening hours

May-September5:00 a.m – 11 p.m.
October – April5:00 a.m – 08 p.m.
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The entrance is free.

Palace of Abbots 

Entering the main gate to the Oliwa Park from Opata Rybinskiego street when 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 in the other side of the building – you’ll pass by it when going to the Cathedral.

Opposite to the entrance, there’s an old storehouse, now the Ethnographic Museum. Both museums are the branches of the National Museum.

Oliwa - Palace of Abbots
Oliwa – Palace of Abbots

Opening hours: Museum of Contemporary Art (Palace of Abbots) and Ethnographical Museum 

High season (01.05-30.09)
Tuesday- Sunday10:00-17:00
Thursday (01.06-31.08)12:00-19:00
Low season (01.10-30.04)
Tuesday – Friday09:00-16:00
Saturday – Sunday10:00-17:00

Tickets: Museum of Contemporary Art (Palace of Abbots) and Ethnographical Museum
Normal 10 PLN
Reduced 6 PLN
Friday – free entrance to the Museum of Contemporary Art

Oliwa Cathedral

Going under the gate towards Nowickiego street you’ll reach Oliwa Cathedral with its famous organ. The Cathedral is 107m long,  hence it is the longest church in Poland, and the longest Cistercians church in the World. First, the 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.

Oliwa Cathedral inside.
Oliwa Cathedral inside.

You can enter the church and hear the short presentation of organs.

Oliwa Cathedral organs presentation’s hours:

November-December, January-March: weekdays 12:00, Sundays: 15:00

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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

Pacholek hill

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

Oliwa - View from Pacholek hill.
Oliwa – View from Pacholek hill.

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.

Oliwa XVI century water forge
Oliwa XVI century water forge

ZOO garden

When you get down from Pacholek hill there’s another big attraction in Oliwa – ZOO garden. It’s about 20 minutes on foot from the hill. Gdansk ZOO Garden, covering the area of 125 hectares, is the biggest in Poland. You need at least 3 hours to visit it. 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.

Oliwa ZOO Garden
Oliwa ZOO Garden

Opening hours:

November-December, January-March 09:00-15:00
April weekdays and October09:00-17:00
April weekends, May-September09:00-19:00

The last admission to the Zoo is one hour before closing time

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Prices depend on the season:






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 the 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 nr G from Gdynia Pogorze during 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 the Oliwa Park, you need to walk about 10 minutes.

By tram

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.


Check also our suggestion for GDANSK IN ONE DAY. Another option is Westerplatte and Wisloujscie – a place where the IIWW started and fortress on the Vistula bank or  nearby town Sopot.

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