When you’re visiting Gdansk, you’ll surely find more than enough sightseeing highlights within the tri-city area itself. Yet, there are a few interesting destinations outside the city that are worth going on a day trip. One of them is the iconic Malbork Castle, a 13th-century Teutonic castle and UNESCO World Heritage, only an hour drive away from the tri-city. The Malbork Castle and fortress is one of Poland's official national Historical Monuments and a fascinating place not only for medieval fans. Enjoy a day trip to Malbork: the world's largest castle and travel back in time to the 13th century.
Before I even get started on what you’ll get to see while walking through the huge castle (52 acres to be exact), let me give you one advice: don’t do the three and a half-hour guided tour. I did it and it’s definitely not worth it – unless you are indeed incredibly interested in the medievalism, up to the point where you find it fascinating to listen about what pencils the monks used to write their letters with (I certainly don’t care about those details, and it made me feel bored as hell). You will surely enjoy your visit more when discovering the Malbork castle by yourself and deciding how and where you want to spend your time. Trust me, the castle feels more like a small town than a fortress – in fact, it’s four times bigger than the average town in the medieval era. The simple impressions of the red bricks on the outside of the castle and the yards are already worth a visit. While in summer you’ll get to experience some markets and festivals around and inside the castle. A visit in autumn will enchant you with a beautiful play of colors -the yellow leaves of the trees in combination with the red bricks of the castle are mesmerizingly beautiful. You can visit the interior of the castle, the monastery, the beautiful rose garden and even climb on the top of the tower, which will give you an impressive view over the city of Malbork. Those of you who are interested in the history of this iconic place, you can book audio guides in different languages that will allow you to visit the fortress at your own pace and learn about whatever you find interesting.
I was fascinated by the progressive organization within the Malbork castle – starting from the innovative post office, the heating and toilet systems and incredibly high hygienic standards for those times. The residents, monks, and crusaders had to take an obligatory bath once a week, while people in the medieval era used to take a bath only a couple of times a year, even in high societies and other castles. Even though you might have seen the Malbork castle as a setting of many movies, being there in real life will almost make you feel like entering another world and another time. The entrance to the castle (with or without a guide) costs around 10 Euros – quite cheap for time travel, don’t you think?
My recommendation is to visit the Malbork castle either in summer or on a warm day in autumn, book an audio guide, and take some food for a picnic afterward in the rose garden. This experience is worth leaving the tri-city for one day and do a day trip to Malbork: The world's largest castle.
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