Poland

PGE Arena Gdansk

Name PGE Arena Gdansk
Capacity
Year Completed

The newly built 40,000 capacity PGE Arena, which will host three Group C games and a quarter-final this summer, exemplifies a city's upturn. Situated in the northern suburb of Letnica, the venue cost some €180 million to construct and is truly a sight to behold with its shimmering polycarbon exterior and coloured amber a nod to the extensive mining of the precious stone on the Baltic Coast.

An impressive ground in every sense, it is a stadium that Gdansk's leading footballing son, World Cup 1974 striker Andrej Szarmach, would have been proud to take centre stage on. Named after a national energy provider, the stadium is best reached by tram 92 or 94 from the main railway station.

Make sure you are heading in the direction of Zajezdnia Nowy Port and get off at Zalogowa or the PGE Arena stop. Trams depart for the stadium every five to ten minutes, with the journey taking roughly 20 minutes, and if you are based close to the sandy beaches of Sopot, take the SKM train to Gdansk Politechnika station, before changing to tram 92 or 94.

Where to go, what to see

With more than a hint of Amsterdam and Hamburg about it, the maritime Polish metropolis of Gdansk is very much an undiscovered gem. A compelling mix of distinctive gabled merchants' houses, bewitching quays, welcoming atmosphere and history by the bucketful, Gdansk offers so much for visitors looking to fill the hours between those crucial Euro 2012 clashes.

You are very much stepping into a scene from the history book when you visit this host city; the Second World War kicked off here in September 1939, when the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein fired on the Polish garrison. Then, some four decades later, the formation of the Solidarity trade union movement in the Gdansk shipyards effectively brought an end to communist control of Poland. This is truly a momentous scene of Polish folklore.

Formerly known as Danzig - for much of its existence the place came under German rule and influence - modern-day Gdansk is something of a minor miracle. In the wake of the Second World War, the city was literally rubble, levelled to the ground, but in a superhuman effort the old centre has been meticulously reconstructed and the authorities have made a wonderful job of it. There should be no danger of boredom in Gdansk on non-matchdays.

Check out the elegant buildings of the Main Town district (Glowne Miasto); stroll along the decorative side-streets; taste the brilliant seafood; have a drink in a dockside beer garden; take a pleasure cruise on the Motlawa River - leaving from near Green Gate on the waterfront three times daily - visit the nearby seaside resort of Sopot - connected to Gdansk by the SKM commuter train service.

If you fancy dipping into the struggles of Gdansk's turbulent past, take a trip to the shipyards, where an electrician by the name of Lech Walesa set about creating the first independent trade union in the Soviet Bloc back in 1980. The yards (Stocznia Gdanska) and their famous towering cranes are impossible to miss, just a ten-minute walk from the city railway station (Gdansk Glowny) on the western outskirts of the Old Town. Gdansk is a very walkable city, so much so that the Old Town can be crossed in just ten minutes on foot.

An efficient and good value bus, tram and trolleybus network covers all of the Baltic Tri-City (Gdansk, Sopot and the smaller port of Gdynia), with a single ticket, valid for 15 minutes casting 2 zlotys and a 10 zlotys day pass being the most sensible option. Gdansk's bus station (Dworzec PKS) is right behind the main train station, linked by an underground passage, while the city's airport, named after Lech Walesa, is about 15km west of town. Bus B runs there twice hourly from Gdansk Glowny station. As one might expect, the fruits of the sea are well worth sampling this close to the Baltic Sea.

There are a clutch of great fried fish stalls on the waterfront at Rybackie Pobrzeze and of the many formal seafood restaurants, it would be a sin not to partake of the culinary delights served up by the likes of Tawerna (ul Powroznicza 19/20), Kubick (ul Warta) and Targ Rybny (ul Targ Rybny 6C), the latter renowned for its fish soup, cod and sole.

Also, look out for the outstanding Czerwone Drzwi restaurant on ul Piwna 52/53, where you will be treated to divine herrings and delicious Russian dumplings with cottage cheese and bacon. Then there is the Goldwasser (ul Dlugie Pobrzeze), a spot for tender T-bones, a Masala, a top notch curry house, is on ul Rajska 10, while the cheap and cheerful brigade, Pod Ryba (Dlugie Targ 35/38) specialises in scrummy baked potatoes with every conceivable trimming. The two-level Brovarnia brew pub-cum-restaurant on ul Szafarnia 9 has to be worth a visit for its exceptional wheat beer and dark ale, while on a much smaller scale, the tiny Cup of Tea Zywe Club (ul Szeroka 119/120) has the all-important advantage of playing mein host to the best beer in the city, the products of the Amber brewery.

The Degustatornia Bar on ul Grodzka 16 has the widest of selections and don't forget to try Gdansk's favourite liqueur, a root and herbal concoction called Goldwasser. Either unset or in often set into silver jewellery, honey-coloured amber gems are on sale almost everywhere.

For shopping malls head for the Madison Centre (ul Rajska) and Great Mill on Na Piaskach and you will be certain to pick up a reasonably priced gift for the football widows left at home for the summer. Gdansk's Fan Zone will be held close top both the train and bus stations on Plac Zebran Ludowych, with the city tourist office is found on ul Heweliusza 27. There is plenty to enjoy in Gdansk, so lap it all up.