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Sopot- the Jewel of the Baltic riviera

 

Unwind on the white sand of the Baltic riviera

 

Pristine sand, clean water, beach bars, volleyball, barbecues, and paddleboarding… It is no wonder Sopot is so popular with families, sunseekers, and sports lovers. Visitors flock to this seaside town, especially in the summer and autumn, when temperatures can top 30°C/86°F. 

 

The 4.5km/2.80 mi., of beaches in this eco-friendly town, are prized for their cleanliness. Lined with restaurants and beachfront barbecues, you will find something to suit every appetite. The Fishing Harbor, which also includes the small Fishing Museum, is an excellent place for anyone with a taste for fresh fish straight from the sea.

 

Stroll along Europe’s oldest / longest wooden pier

 

Take a walk along Sopot’s famous pier to breathe in the fresh Baltic Sea air. First opened in 1827, Sopot’s pier is the oldest and longest wooden pier in Europe, running almost half a kilometer or over five hundred yards into the Gulf of Gdańsk. In the summer, it hosts live music, food festivals and provides an ideal viewpoint for sailing events from its marina. The distinctive, century-old pier has appeared in dozens of Polish TV series and films.

 

At the land end of the pier, you will find the leafy Kuracyjny Square and elegant Dom Zdrojowy Spa House. In summer, music is played at the nearby bandstand and, in winter, the square is turned into a skating rink. Climb the iconic green-roofed lighthouse overlooking the pier and park to take in the views. 

 

See the Baroque Grand Hotel

 

The Grand Hotel’s Wilhelmine Baroque façade is a famous symbol of Sopot, depicted on countless postcards and fridge magnets you can purchase around the town. Between the wars, this five-star hotel hosted high society, including Marlene Dietrich and Fidel Castro, as well as the first disco nightclub in communist Poland. For many years it was also the headquarters of the International Song Festival, today known as the Top of the Top Sopot Festival.

 

Grab a bite on the Boulevard

 

From Kuracyjny Square, it is a short walk to the restaurants, pubs, and bars along ‘Monciak.’ Monciak is the moniker the locals have given to the main promenade, named after the heroes of the WW II Battle of Monte Cassino. 

 

The Monciak features another symbol of the city: The Crooked House, a squashed structure that looks like a giant has stepped on it. The design is a reference to the drawings of famous fairy-tale illustrator, Jan Marcin Szancer, and Per Dahlberg, a Swedish graphic artist, and sculptor who has been living in Sopot and Paris for many years.

 

Rent a bike and ride to Gdańsk

 

The 14km/ 9 mi., bike route from Sopot to Gdańsk is a great way to enjoy the sights of the Baltic coast. You can rent a bike in Sopot, and there are plenty of places in Gdańsk to secure your bicycle while you explore. The gentle route takes an hour or so to complete, winding through the town’s park and following the beach, before arriving in the historic port city of Gdańsk. You will see plenty of Gdansk’s history on the route to the Old Town, including a Russian tank and impressive train station. If you are too tired – or too full – to cycle home, you can take your bike back to Sopot on the train.

 

Soak in the sights of Sopot’s wealthy past

 

Sopot’s reputation as a spa town made it a popular place for wealthy Poles to visit and live. The 18th-century Sierakowski Manor and Sopot’s oldest Spanish Manor are mementos of the times when wealthy Gdańsk families built their residences here. You can admire some exquisitely restored villas in the town, including Villa Hestia, the Herbst Villa, the Basner Villa, the Werner Villa, and the Claaszen Villa, which now houses the Sopot Museum.

 

Go to heavenly Hel

 

Hop on the ferry across the Bay of Puck, and you will be rewarded with the heavenly Hel peninsula. This 35km/22 mi., long spit of land is a haven for nature lovers, with long pristine beaches bordering pine forests. The north side of the peninsula has a long straight sandy beach as far as the eye can see, while the south side has curves and coves to explore and views to Gdansk. The peninsula is popular with kitesurfers, watersport enthusiasts and walkers.

                       

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