Not to be outdone by its neighbours, the small town of Gniew (pronounced ‘gnyef’) has an equally prominent and remarkably well-maintained castle on the other side of the Vistula. The town has also retained its original medieval layout in its tiny old centre. With few interruptions from modern life, it’s a charming place to visit for a couple of hours.
The first stronghold of the Teutonic order on the left bank of the Vistula, the castle was built in the late 13th century and is a massive, multistorey brick structure with a deep courtyard. In 1464 it came under Polish rule and remained so until the First Partition of 1772. The Prussians remodelled it to accommodate barracks, a jail and an ammunition depot. It was seriously burnt out in 1921, but the 2m-thick walls survived and it was later restored.
The castle now houses the Archaeological Museum. The archaeological exhibition is in two rooms, but you will also get to see the chapel and temporary exhibitions in other rooms, and wander through most of the castle. All visits are guided and the tour takes up to 1½ hours. At weekends historical performances are held twice a day.
Gniew’s bus terminal is about 200m northwest of the Rynek. There are seven mostly morning services to Tczew (9zł, 40 minutes), morning and afternoon buses to Gdańsk (14.50zł, 1½ hours) and three services to Toruń (30zł, two hours).