Westerplatte

Westerplatte is among the most significant symbols of the great 20th-century conflict that claimed the lives of 78 million people and once affected the families of us all: the World War II. This isolated peninsula at the mouth of Death Vistula became the first battleground between the units of Third German Reich and the Second Polish Republic the early morning of September 1, 1939. This week-lasting clash was unanimously determined as the casus belli of the international warfare that changed the world order forever.

Tour Overview

Dubbed into "Polish Thermopylae", the Battle of Westerplatte was a heroic struggle of 209 defenders of the Polish Military Transit Depot against nearly 3,400 German soldiers. This event marked the beginning of the Second World War. During your guided walking tour of Westerplatte, you will explore an open-air exhibition displayed among the remnants of the outpost of the Polish army, left as on September 7, 1939. Your expert guide will explain the origins of the war-triggering conflict of "the Free City of Danzig" to you, showing you around the modern monuments of Westerplatte that emanate with the strong air of anti-war philosophy.

Westerplatte is undoubtedly a must-see for those history maniacs who happen to arrive in Gdansk - a proud Hanseatic city conveniently located at the southern shore of the Baltic Sea. This former island was artificially transformed into a peninsula in the 18th century, when a dyke closing the mouth of Death Vistula was built. Serving various military purposes of the Prussian army, the area of Westerplatte became a demilitarised zone after the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. With Gdansk given the status of "the free city", subject to further territorial disputes between the Polish and German states, the sandy strips of  land encircling Westerplatte initially served as a spa resort, highly popular among the citizens of Gdansk during the interwar period. On January 18, 1926, a part of Westerplatte (previously assigned to the Polish state) became stationed with the Polish guarding staff. Subject to the development of military facilities until 1936, implemented in the face of upcoming war there, the Polish Military Transit Depot of Westerplatte was attacked by German Schleswig-Holstein battleship at 4:47 of September 1, 1939. While the Polish military units seemed taken aback with the fire of German naval units, infantry formations and dive bombing, they managed to repel the attack for the successive 7 days, as commanded by major Henryk Sucharski. Despite inflicting losses 10 times greater than the ones suffered by the attackers, the Polish units were forced to surrender after 7 days of fighting due to the lack of ammunition and external support. The defense of Westerplatte left the military depot heavily damaged, while its guardhouses, bunkers, towers and barracks can still be seen among the rustling trees of Westerplatte. It will take you slightly over 2 hours to have a highly informative walk around this historically important area.

The battleground of Westerplatte was inscribed to the List of Historic Monuments of Poland in 2003. As you leave the marina by the Pier of Westerplatte Defenders, you will come across the now-abandoned military shelter and observation towers. Further on, there will be "Fort" outpost located and one of the most popular attractions of the place – a well-preserved T-34 tank. Between Guardhouses no. 5 and 1, you will have a chance to sightsee the Cemetery of the Defenders – the battle officially claimed between 15 and 20 lives of Polish soldiers on site. Passing by the ruins of New Barracks and the remains of officer's villa (officially: Guardhouse no. 3), you will reach the impressive Monument of the Defenders of the Coast. The whole trail, running through an isolated forest, will also invite you to enjoy the instructive information provided by an outdoor exhibition of over 200 maps, photographs and documents, giving explanations on each detail of the local conflict which arose to a global-scale war. A walking tour of the currently tranquil area of Westerplatte is something that instills a lot of reflections on the course of the turbulent events of the 20th century in most of its history-conscious visitors.

Interested in visiting the site of one of the most groundbreaking battles of the 20th century? Contact us to have a tour of Westerplatte arranged especially for you.

Tour Details

  • It is possible for you to visit the battleground of Westerplatte regardless of your place of stay in Poland – simply, inform us of where you are, what the intended date of your arrival is and we will do the rest!
  • The price includes: transport (pre-arranged hotel pick-up and drop-off), the assistance of a guide for individial tourists / small groups of visitors.

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