Poland is often overlooked as a travel destination, but it has a lot of history, beautiful architecture, art and culture to offer. The Tri-City, made up of Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot, is home to some beautiful murals, including one of the largest open air street art galleries in the world.
Follow me as I recall my experiences street art hunting in Gdańsk & Gdynia in September. In this post I’ll take you through how to get to Zaspa from central Gdańsk and some of the beautiful murals on display and give you an overview of Traffic Design’s art and signage around the nearby city of Gdynia.
Mural Spotting in Zaspa
Besides boasting 60 colourful, sky scraping murals, Zaspa is an otherwise average residential neighbourhood in Gdańsk, Poland, consisting mostly of large blocks of flats in the old communist architecture style. Since 1997, artists from around the world have been creating these eye catching murals and street art pieces on the sides of appartment blocks, turning Zaspa into a very colourful neighbourhood and one of the largest open air street art galleries in the world. I like that it adds some colour to otherwise drab and grey buildings, making it nicer for locals and also bringing tourists and art lovers, like me, into the area.
You can find a map of all of the murals and more information on the history here.
Getting to Zaspa
To get to Zaspa from central Gdańsk, you can take the number 8 tram towards Jelitkowo, which takes about 30-40 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a train from Gdańsk Glowny.
You can buy your tram tickets from tram stops that have self service machines, from newspaper kiosks and on some trams you can purchase a ticket onboard. A single ticket costs 3,20 PLN (approximately 65p in GBP), or you can get the 3,80 PLN ticket for multiple use of buses and trams within an hour. If you plan on making several stops, like I did, your best bet is probably a 24 hour ticket, which costs 13 PLN (approximately £2.62 – similar price to a one way ticket at home).
I set out on the rainy second day of my short stay in Gdańsk unsure exactly of where I was going with the vague memory of my Hostel owner’s instructions. As I was leaving I met a fellow solo traveler from the hostel who was going the same way, so we combined forces and went hunting for street art in Zaspa before going on to Sopot to walk on the beach, and then Wrzeszcz for a nice veggie dinner.
I was lucky enough to have someone to take photos for me in Zaspa, because it was so colourful and impressive I knew I’d need one for the gram! Here are a few of the murals we saw on the day. The first (also pictured in the title image) was my favourite piece. It’s by Brazillian artist Mazu Prozak. I love the motion in it, the vibrancy of the colour and the playfulness of the shapes. Originally named “Psychedlic Ivy”, the piece enlisted the help of locals to create the individual colour splashes at the bottom of the wall.
Guided Tour in Gdynia
On the following day, and my last in Gdańsk, I set off to Gdynia for my street art tour with traffic design. I hadn’t intended on such a street art heavy experience in Gdańsk but I can’t complain! I had booked the traffic design tour in advance, as I liked that it was guided so I wouldn’t miss any pieces. I also liked that it was a social impact experience, and so the money went back into Traffic Design’s work in the community.
Getting from Gdańsk to Gdynia
After a nightmare trying to understand the train system in Gdańsk Glowny, I finally arrived (quite late) in Gdynia to a very understanding tour guide. I advise buying a ticket in advance from Polrail to save making the same mistakes I did. If you have your ticket in advance it only takes 20-30 minutes by train to Gdynia Glowny.
Traffic Design & the Murals of Gdynia
Traffic Design is a Gdynia based design company that works on murals and signage in the city, transforming local businesses and old communist architecture into a nice place for the locals. I found the experience through Airbnb and was shown around by the very knowledgeable Gosia, who’s clearly very passionate about what she does, and with good reason. I was told that mine would probably be the last tour until spring/summer due to the weather, but I really recommend it if you want an authentic cultural experience with a local guide and to gain an insight into the history and design of the city. You’ll probably get some good recommendations of places to eat too!
Here are a few of the impressive mural designs I saw as part of the tour, which Traffic Design collaborated on with various artists:
Thanks for Reading!
Thanks for reading my post about street art hunting In Gdańsk & Gdynia. You may also want to check out my posts about sculpture hunting in Prague, things to do in Gdańsk and street art in Reykjavik. Keep up to date with my travels and see regular pictures and stories on my Instagram. If you liked this post please share it and follow me on Pinterest!