• Gdynia (Gdansk), Poland

Gdynia (Gdansk), Poland

Modern-day Gdansk is a beautiful seaside town, with a lovingly restored Old City. In this vibrant atmosphere, it's easy to forget that the first shots of World War II were fired here—and that this is also where history took another sharp turn when the shipyard's dockworkers, led by Lech Waesa, brought down the Communist government. Reconstruction after the war was commendably sensitive. Gdansk's newly built Old City feels thoroughly authentic and lived-in by the locals. You can still see the shipyards where Lech Walesa and the embattled Solidarity dockworkers made history, about a 15-minute walk north of the Old City. Visit the Roads to Freedom museum, which details the tense moments of those years in the 1980s. Central Gdansk is one of the most pleasantly walkable cities in central Europe.

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