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Gdańsk is a touristy and architecturally rich city with historic land marks, beaches and churches aplenty. It’s a Polish seaside resort that is part of the famous Tri-City group of communities that also include Sopot and Gdynia. Aside from some truly unusual things to see and do and fabulous bars to visit at night, there is one gem in a local suburb that is fun to visit, but most tourists miss it. Welcome to Falowiec in Przymorze, a block of flats with an unusual shape that just happens to be Europe’s largest residential building!
Falowiec was actually the general name given to a block of flats built in Poland during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The word fala in Polish means ‘wave’, the plural of which is falowce. Due to the unusual design of these residential blocks, they were called Falowiec, as the flats wave in and out from block to block. While Falowiec exist in other Polish cities, Gdańsk has eight buildings of this type. The most famous of which is in the Przymorze block.
Falowiec is a typical Polish city housing block that was built between 1970 and 1973. Despite the fact that it is one huge building with 11 floors, it is separated into four segments; each segment has 110 apartments and four main staircases. While the exact population is unknown, it’s estimated that around 6,000 occupants live in the 1,792 apartments.
The Falowiec is a whopping 850 metres in length (2,788 feet), so it requires three separate bus stops. It is so impressive that it was featured in the fifth episode of the Amazing Race (season 23). It is the longest building in Poland and regarded as the largest residential building in Europe.
Although this Falowiec is an incredible sight and popular for Instagrammers, it is not actually that unique. In fact, Przymorze in Gdańsk has six more similar buildings, Poznań has five and Nowy Port in Gdańsk also has one. Slightly more surprising is that similar buildings to Falowiec are also present in Italy.
Being a residential housing block with people living in the apartments, it’s not really a typical tourist sight. There isn’t a museum, entry fee or tour guide available. However, it’s easy to get to and is a great building to admire and check out for the sheer size of it. To get to Falowiec from Gdańsk, there are a few options:
1.Take the local SKM train from Gdańsk Głowny (main train station) to Gdańsk Oliwa and then walk towards the seafront along Generała Bora-Komorowskiego Street until you see Galeria Przymorze, behind which is the Falowiec.
2. Take the local tram numbers 2 or 8. Both go through Przymorze and have stops close to Obrońców Wybrzeża, where the Falowiec is.
3. The local bus numbers 127, 139, 148, 149, 199 and 315 all go through Przymorze. Look out for any stops on or near to Obrońców Wybrzeża.
The exact address of this famous Falowiec is ul. Obrońców Wybrzeża, Przymorze, 80-001 Gdańsk
If you enjoyed this quirky place, you’ll love our feature on another Gdańsk suburb, Zaspa, which contains one of Europe’s most colourful housing estates.