A Day Trip to Malbork: Visiting the Biggest Castle in the World!

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Planning a day trip to Malbork Castle so you can visit the largest castle in the world? Here’s everything you need to know!

If you’re travelling to Gdansk, a beautiful city on Poland’s Baltic Sea, then you’ll want to make time for a day trip to Malbork Castle. This historic redbrick castle is one of the most famous in all of Poland and for good reason – it is the largest castle in the world by land area, plus it’s super easy to get there by train.

We went on a lot of different day trips during our visit to Gdansk: we spent a day in the seaside resort town of Sopot, we visited good friends in Gdynia, and we, of course, tacked on a day trip to Malbork where we had a really fun day getting lost in the maze that is the castle.

In this article, we’re going to share everything you need to know to plan your own visit to Malbork.

A Day Trip to Malbork: Visiting the Biggest Castle in the World!

How to get to Malbork Castle

Malbork Castle is best visited on a day trip from Gdansk, which is just under 1 hour away.

If you’re coming to Malbork Castle by train, you have two options: you can either take the slow train which costs 11 PLN ($3 USD) and takes 50 minutes, or you can take the fast train which costs 55 PLN ($15.25) and takes 30 minutes. At that price, it’s worth taking the slower train if you ask me!

Both trains depart from Gdańsk Główny Train Station and once you arrive in Malbork, it’s about a 15-20 minute walk to the castle.

Alternatively, this Malbork Castle tour from Gdansk includes a guided castle visit and transportation there and back.

A Brief History of Malbork Castle

To give you a bit of background, Malbork Castle, also known by its full name as the Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork, dates back to the 13th century.

The castle was originally built as a fortress by the Teutonic Knights, a German-Roman Catholic religious order of crusaders, and it served as a stronghold in the region encompassing Malbork and what was then known as Danzig (present-day Gdansk).

The purpose of the fortress was to strengthen the Teutonic Knights’ control in the area, plus the castle’s favourable position on the banks of the River Nogat gave the Teutonic Knights easy access to both the Vistula and the Baltic Sea. That’s right, the knights collected river tolls from passing ships to fund their ventures!

The castle remained under the control of the Teutonic Knights until 1457 when it was seized by King Casimir IV Jagiellon and Polish forces. Over the subsequent 500 years, the castle witnessed a tumultuous history, oscillating between German and Polish control.

During the Second World War, the castle suffered significant damage, with around half of the structure being destroyed. However, it has since been rebuilt and restored.

Today, Malbork Castle is listed as a Historic Monument of Poland and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

How big is the biggest castle in the world?

It turns out that measuring a castle’s size isn’t a very straightforward task.

Are you looking at just one building or an entire complex? Do you take into account the land within the walls of the castle, or does that not count? What about later additions and expansions that veer from the original plan? And do fortresses count as castles? So many questions!

For classification purposes, Malbork Castle is the largest castle in the world measured by land area, and it occupies a whopping 143,591 square meters. Let me tell you, that means you’re going to be walking a lot on your day trip to Malbork Castle.

Also, when it was completed in 1406, Malbork Castle was the world’s largest brick castle, so this place has been setting records for centuries!

Visiting Malbork Castle from Gdansk

A Medieval lunch at Malbork Castle

But first, let’s talk about food because being the foodies that we are, we were hungry halfway through the morning (I’m talking as soon as we reached the castle) and we couldn’t imagine sightseeing around the biggest castle in the world without a little bite to eat.

Eating at a Medieval restaurant in Malbork Castle

Well, it wasn’t long before we sniffed out an outdoor restaurant by the name of Karczma Rycerska, which had a bit of a medieval theme going on. Bonus points!

They had a big cauldron of Hunter’s Stew cooking (this is also known as bigos and it’s a typical Polish dish made with cabbage and different types of meat) so our curiosity was piqued.

Once we wandered a little closer, the tantalizing aromas lured us in further, and before we knew it we were sitting at a table with two platefuls of food in front of us.

Eating Polish food at Malbork Castle
Polish food- hunters stew and Kielbasa sausage
Bigos and Kielbasa - Polish food at Malbork Castle

I ordered the Hunter’s Stew with Roasted Potatoes and Kielbasa, and it was a meal fit for a king! I already love Sauerkraut so I thought the stew tasted delicious, the potatoes were golden and perfectly seasoned, and the sausage was crispy on the outside but juicy on the inside.

Visiting Malbork Castle

With appetites satiated, we could now focus on exploring the castle. We paid our admission ticket with an audio guide (the cheapest option), which came to 39.50 PLN ($11 USD) and we set out to explore the castle. Once we walked through the main gates and into the central courtyard, we discovered that there’s quite a bit to see and do there.

Malbork Castle is divided into 3 sections: the Lower Castle, the Middle Castle and the Upper Castle.

  • Lower Castle: This includes the entrance to Malbork Castle where you walk across a drawbridge and through the portcullis. This was the castle’s main line of defence.
  • Middle Castle: This is where you’ll find the Grand Master’s Hall, which was used as a royal residence and it’s where key decisions were made; the Amber Collection, a museum dedicated to the history of amber in Poland; and the Historic Weapons Collection, where you can see weapons and armour that would have been used by the Teutonic Knights.
  • High Castle: This is home to the Central Courtyard, where the Teutonic Knights had a well in case they got caught in a siege; the Chapter Room, where Grand Masters of the Order were elected; St. Mary’s Church, which was used as the main castle chapel; and Wiezna Glowna, a tower that you can climb for the best castle views.
Visiting Malbork Castle - the biggest castle in the world!
Inside the Malbork Castle Museum

Because this is one of the biggest castles in the world, you really need to have a bit of a strategy if you want to see it all and it’s best to tackle one section at a time.

That was not our approach! We went on our own little exploration wandering down halls, through courtyards, popping in and out of museums, turning wherever something caught our attention, and avoiding crowds whenever we came across a place that was a little too crowded. I’m sure we missed plenty of things because we were winging it!

Exploring Malbork Castle in Poland
Red brick architecture of Malbork Castle in Poland

However, there were some nice surprises along the way. For example, we discovered this rose garden down one of the little paths and it basically felt like our very own secret garden. We plopped into the free lounge chairs for a bit of sunshine…but not for too long because I am married to a freckly redhead.

Relaxing on our day trip from Gdansk to Malbork
The rose garden at Malbork Castle
Cute cottage within the castle walls
Malbork Castle as seen from the backside on the Nogat River

After a bit more wandering around the castle grounds, we reached the backside of the castle, which looks over the Nogat River. As a tip, this is a really nice spot if you’re looking to photograph the whole castle (though the light is better in the morning), and this view also helps put into perspective just how big Malbork Castle is.

We also noticed there were river cruises on offer right along the banks, as well as a few cute little outdoor cafes just on the other side of the river, so there’s plenty to do once you’re done visiting the castle.

That being said, we were wiped from a long day of walking around, so we decided to call it a day soon after. We retraced our steps back through the town, stopped for a bite of cake and ice cream, and then hopped on the train back to Gdansk.


Read more about Poland

Do you enjoy visiting castles?
What’s the most impressive castle you’ve ever visited?

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  1. I think the only castles I’ve visited are Scottie’s Castle in Death Valley and Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland, both on the same trip when I was very young. I’m assuming that White Castle doesn’t count.

  2. says: Ioanna

    I can’t believe that I’ve never been to Malbork even though I’m from Poland! But sometimes you learn to appreciate what’s in your backyard when others visit! I hope I can find some time and go, your photos surely are convincing!

    Happy travels,
    A Woman Afoot

    1. says: Audrey Bergner

      Ahhh, I think when we have places so close to home, we feel like we can go anytime, so we often put it off. I’m guilty of doing the same with attractions in my own backyard! 😉

  3. says: Terra

    Looks beautiful! I definitely do enjoy visiting castles, but it’s been a while since I’ve managed to visit one. It’s always neat to think about how it would have been used in earlier times.

  4. says: Luminita

    Being the biggest castle in the world sure helped in preserving its medieval charm. It’s quite impressive and I can see how you could spend an entire day just visiting the castle. It looks very interesting.

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