Malbork Castle is Poland’s most famous castle. It’s also the largest castle in the world, classified by surface area. Located just a short distance from Gdansk and easily accessible by train, Malbork Castle is one of the best day trips to take from Gdansk.
In this article, get a brief history of the castle, learn how to get here, and learn how to have the best experience at Malbork Castle.
A Brief History of Malbork Castle
Malbork Castle, also called the Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork, dates back to the 13th century. This castle was built by the Teutonic Knights, German Roman-Catholic crusaders. The Teutonic Knights dominated the area around Malbork and Gdansk (called Danzig at the time) until 1457, when King Jagiellon and Polish forces captured the castle.
Over the next 500 years, the castle changed hands several times, bouncing back and forth between German and Polish ownership. During World War II, more than half of the castle was destroyed.
After World War II, the castle once again became part of Poland. The castle underwent a major restoration and now it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
View of the bridge leading from the middle castle (on the right) to the high castle (on the left).
How to Get to Malbork Castle from Gdansk
The easiest way to get to Malbork Castle from Gdansk is by train. From Gdansk Glowny, the main train station in Gdansk, it can take between 28 and 55 minutes to get to Malbork Castle, depending upon the type of train you choose.
Regio (R) trains: The slowest and the cheapest option. This type of train makes several stops before arriving in Malbork and the journey takes 39 to 55 minutes. Seats are first come, first serve and there is a chance that there may only be standing room only.
You can view the timetable and book your tickets in advance on the Polregio website.
TLK trains: Slightly faster than regio trains and will only make one or two stops on the way to Malbork. This journey takes approximately 34 minutes.
You can view the timetable and book your tickets in advance on the PKP Intercity website.
EIC trains: The fastest option. They are direct to Malbork and only take 28 minutes. However they are also the most expensive.
You can view the timetable and book your tickets in advance on the PKP Intercity website.
To see the entire train schedule for the day, go to the DB Bahn website and enter your date of travel. This will give you the train timetable for all three train types to Malbork.
You can purchase your tickets at the main counter in the Gdansk train station the day of your visit to Malbork Castle. If you do this, expect to stand in line for up to 10 to 20 minutes, depending on crowd levels.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: To avoid waiting in line at the ticket counter, purchase your tickets in advance using the links provided above.
What We Did: We bought our tickets at the counter in the Gdansk train station. We were able to get tickets for the next train, it just happened to be the slower regio train. Until the train made its first stop, several of us had to stand, but seats opened up once people got off. The regio train is a commuter class train with unassigned seats. It’s nothing fancy but it was cheap and ran on time.
During the train ride, you will get your first view of Malbork Castle as you glide by it on the way to the train station.
From the Malbork train station, you can either walk to the castle or hire a taxi. It is a 20-minute, 1.7 km walk to get to Malbork Castle. Or, you can take a 5-minute taxi ride, costing roughly PLN 15, about $5 USD.
How to Visit Malbork Castle
Plan Your Visit
The summer season runs from May 1 to September 30. The winter season runs from October 1 to April 30.
The Historical Route is the full castle tour. You will visit the entire castle on this tour. It is available Tuesday through Sunday. Get the hours here.
- Summer Season: PLN 70
- Winter Season: PLN 50
- Tickets include the cost of the audio guide
PRO TRAVEL TIP: You can purchase your tickets online in advance. This saves you from potentially waiting in a very long ticket line at Malbork Castle. Click here to visit the official online ticket website and choose “The Castle Tour with an Audio Guide in DE, EN, RU…” for admission with the included audio guide.
On Mondays and during the afternoons from Tuesday through Sunday, admission is reduced. However, the interiors of several of the castle rooms are not open so you will only be allowed to walk the grounds of the castle and visit select rooms. This is called the Green Route. Click here to learn more.
Visiting hours can change if it is a public holiday so I suggest clicking here to get the updated museum hours for the day you plan to visit.
How Much Time Do You Need?
If you follow the audio guide, a typical visit here lasts 3.5 hours.
Touring Malbork Castle
Malbork Castle is huge. It’s the largest castle in the world so you will need to be prepared to do some walking. To get to several of the rooms, you will have to walk up and down several staircases and some of them are a bit steep and narrow.
The audio guide does a great job directing you through the castle. It knows your location by GPS so there is no pushing of buttons or searching for the next number on the wall. After it is finished giving you the scoop at one spot, it tells you how to get to the next place. Once you arrive there, it gives you the next bit of information.
There are three parts to Malbork Castle: the lower castle, the middle castle, and the high castle. You will quickly pass by through the lower castle and spend most of your time in the middle and high castles.
Without going into a ton of detail about the tour (since you will get this with the audio guide) here are the highlights of a visit to Malbork Castle.
Entrance to Malbork Castle
Best Things to Do at Malbork Castle
Entrance Gate. You will enter Malbork Castle through the entrance gate in the lower castle. The walls and the drawbridge here were important fortifications of the castle.
From the lower castle, you will pass through a series of bridges and gates to enter the middle castle. You step out into a large courtyard that is surrounded by medieval buildings, a gift shop, and a restaurant.
Statues of the Grand Masters (and Kara)
Grand Masters’ Palace. This palace is one of the grandest sections of the castle. You will walk through a series of medieval rooms that were used as a royal residence, dining halls, and meeting rooms.
The Grand Refectory
Amber Collection. Learn about the history of amber in Poland in this museum.
West Terrace. There is a small, sheltered courtyard located near the rooms of the Grand Masters’ Palace. The audio guide will direct you here, but strangely, we saw few people here. It was quiet and peaceful and a nice break from the tour groups. There is also a mill here that you can tour.
To enter the high castle, you will walk across yet another drawbridge. The high castle is the oldest part of Malbork Castle.
Courtyard. The courtyard is the center of the high castle. The well that stands near the center of the courtyard was placed here so the Teutonic Knights would still have access to water in the event of a siege.
Chapter Room. This room was used for meetings and to elect the next Grand Master.
View from the Tower (Wiezna Glowna). For the best view over the castle, climb the tower. This is easily missed because it is not mentioned on the audio guide. On the second floor of the high castle, you will have to purchase a separate ticket. It costs just a few extra zloty and then you will have to climb a series of staircases to get to the top of the tower, but you get a nice aerial view over the castle.
Best View of Malbork Castle
When you exit the castle, cross the pedestrian bridge to the other side of the Nogat River for the best view of Malbork Castle.
Where to Eat
The Gothic Café is the place to eat in Malbork Castle. Have lunch prepared by a world renowned chef and dine on Polish cuisine. This place gets very busy at lunchtime. I recommend getting here before noon or making a reservation in advance. The Gothic Café is located in the middle castle.
How to Have the Best Experience
The best time to visit the castle is right at opening time or a few hours before closing time. By 10 am, the ticket line starts growing and by noon it can be an hour wait (or more) to get your tickets and audio guide.
To avoid waiting in the ticket line, purchase your Malbork Castle tickets online in advance.
We were hoping that taxis would be lined up in front of the castle to take people back to the train station. That was not the case in our situation. Be prepared to walk back to the train station at the end of your visit. But maybe you will be luckier than us!
If you arrive at Malbork Castle at 9 am, by 12:30 you will finish the tour, perfect time to have lunch at the Gothic Café. Take the train back to Gdansk, arriving in mid-afternoon. You should still have some time to do a little sightseeing or have a drink at one of the many outdoor cafes.
Tours of Malbork Castle
If you want to avoid the hassle of arranging your transportation to Malbork Castle, take a look at these options from Gdansk.
Are you planning a trip to Malbork Castle? Comment below if you have any questions or any advice for our readers.
More Information about Poland
POLAND ITINERARY: In our 10 day Poland Itinerary, visit Gdansk, Warsaw, and Krakow.
GDANSK: Start off with our list of the Best Things to Do in Gdansk. We also have 3 different ways on how to spend 2 Days in Gdansk, a Gdansk Hotel Guide, and information on how to day trip to Sopot and Gdynia.
WARSAW: For a list of the top experiences, take a look at our guide to the Best Things to Do in Warsaw and learn how to plan your time with our 2 Day Warsaw Itinerary.
KRAKOW: Discover what there is to do in our article Best Things to Do in Krakow. Plan your visit with our 3 Day Krakow Itinerary and get hotel recommendations in our guide on Where to Stay in Krakow.
AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU: Learn how to plan your visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau on a day trip from Krakow.
Read all of our articles about Poland in our Poland Travel Guide.
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Is Gothic Cafe still open for 2023? Could not find where to make reservations and website is in Polish but looks like a Blog website not a Restaurant. Thanks!
Hello Kat. I just looked at the website and it must have gotten a big makeover since the last time I looked at it (just 2 months ago). It’s harder to use now. In the top right corner, if you click “PL” there will be a drop down and you can change it to English. But I can’t find any info on the website about the restaurant so I don’t know to make a reservation in advance. You could try to go there in the morning and make a reservation as you tour the castle. Cheers, Julie
We are looking at 3.5 hours and thinking that this is much too long for a tour. The information we have found seems contradictory. Are we required to have a guide (person) on the tour, or can we just go at our own pace? Even if you skipped through some of the areas that are less interesting, would it still take 3 hours?
The audio tour lasts about 3.5 hours, but you don’t have to do the entire thing. You can skip the sections that seem not so interesting to you, making this a shorter visit. And no, you do not have to follow a guide around the castle…you can go at your own pace. So, a visit here could be as quick as 2 hours or much longer, depending on how you want to spend your time. Cheers, Julie
We enjoyed the day out. Just to update on the travel, there is what seems to be a new station – Malbork Mikolow – just 10 minutes from the castle. What you may save in travelling time taking Inter City train you will gain in walking time by taking a slow train (the faster ones don’t stop here). We took an Uber going, costing £42, and train back. Advise train, it is much cheaper.
Possibly due to Covid, we saw no sign that the Tower is open.
The audio tour is tedious in places. It is really too long. Not much you can do except walk through some parts and allow GPS to catch up. We think more could be done to enliven the experience with some empathetic commentary: what it is like to be a Teutonic knight, what the Grand Master did, for example. At least one video would help too. But well worth the ride!
Hello Chris. Thanks for the update about the train station. I agree, the audio tour could be jazzed up a little bit (I honestly think that we skipped through some of it). Cheers, Julie
Hi, my friend and I are visiting Gdansk in November. Is it easy to get around without a guide? I tend to get lost a lot but not afraid to ask for help. Also considering going to Malbork Castle. The train ride seems straight forward but I don’t really know for sure. Would appreciate your suggestions.
Yes, Gdansk is very easy to get around. It’s a small city, it’s safe, and easy to navigate. Using the train to get to Malbork Castle is also relatively straightforward, however, if you are worried about taking the train, you could take a tour from Gdansk, if that would make the visit more enjoyable for you. Cheers, Julie
I travelled to the castle today following every single detail of your guide (except for the last part – the tower climbing as I am acrophobic). This is so far the best guide I’ve ever read! Thank you so much your all the time, money, and effort spent to write such a blog post!
You’re welcome! Glad we could help! 🙂