ALTERNATIVELY THROUGH POLAND: SOPOT
has always been associated with an expensive, yet crowded resort, and also with an exclusive spa climate, where a lot of celebrities like to rest and be seen. And in fact it is so, especially in the summer season. However, just a moment before the summer, you can enjoy the empty streets, free entry to the uncrowded pier, or walk along the sea, which has not blossomed yet.
The period between long May weekend and the end of June is the perfect time to come to Sopot. And if you have a little bit of patience, wait until the end of September - the weather can then positively surprise you :)
Sopot is one of the youngest cities in Poland, which buildings started to form only two centuries ago, which is why you won't find many historical monuments in here. What you can admire in Sopot are art nouveau houses and villas, parks and gardens. As much as 60 percent of the city is covered by green areas, which favors the healing nature of this place. The first so-called Bath House was established in Sopot at the beginning of the 19th century, and to this day, among others, South Łazienki SPA is still existing, built already in the twentieth century, now functioning as a hotel.
Most tourists, whose number reaches even 2 million a year, come here to relax, take a dive in the sea, walk on the pier and inhale iodine. In the summer season, prices in Sopot are among the highest on the Polish coast, so a lot of visitors here are just passing through, not staying over. Beaches and streets are then constantly crowded, so if you want to rest in silence, it is worth going to Sopot off the season.
One day will be enough to see the whole city, but its unique character will probably make you want to stay longer. The most interesting places in Sopot include:
OPERA IN THE FOREST
Earlier known as the Forest Theater, it was established in 1909 and at first exhibited opera and theater plays. It was only after the Second World War that the opera was hosted by the International Song Festival, currently operating under the name Polsat Sopot Festival. There were many native and foreign big-format stars on the stage, including: Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Elton John, Witney Houston, Norah Jones, etc.
Since 2012, we can admire a renovated building, housing over 5.5 thousand viewers. During the modernization, the unique character of the opera was preserved, and its 950-ton roof is very impressive.
The pier in Sopot is 511,5 m long, which makes it the longest in Poland. It is the most recognizable and the most visited object of the city. Over 450 meters of the wooden bridge enters into the Baltic Sea, and at its end there is a modern harbor, housing up to 100 yachts.
From 27 April to the end of the summer season, admission to the pier is payable (dates change every year). Currently, the ticket costs 8 PLN regular and 4 PLN discounted. Only Sopot citizens can use it free of charge.
In the land part of the pier is preceded by the Skwer Kuracyjny, where there is a historic fountain, a lighthouse with a viewpoint and a concert shell, and in winter there is an artificial ice rink.
This is another well-known Sopot building, which began its activity at the beginning of the 20th century. He hosted many celebrities and stars appearing in the Forest Opera. Together with the Sheraton hotel it is situated right on the beach, offering guests a fantastic sea view.
That is the nickname of Monte Cassino Heros’ Street and it is also the main promenade of Sopot, well-known throughout Poland, with numerous shops, restaurants and cafes. It is distinguished by buildings in the eclectic style, with well-maintained tenements on both sides of the promenade. Monciak is also the most crowded street of the city, excluded from traffic, where street traders and artists sell their services in the season.
It is one of the oldest buildings in the city, located in a side street leading directly from Monciak. At present, it operates the atmospheric, artistic Café Młody Byron. The interesting fact is that during the times of Sierakowski, the then teenage Fryderyk Chopin was a guest in this classicist building.
HOW TO GET TO SOPOT?
The easiest way to get to Sopot from Gdansk or Gdynia, is by the SKM train. One-way ticket costs from PLN 3.70 (Gdańsk) and PLN 3.80 (Gdynia). Trains run every twenty minutes on average. Gdańsk is easily accessible by bus or train from any part of Poland, and what's more, you can also fly there by plane.
Is it worth visiting Sopot? In my opinion, yes, but on one condition: you have to come here off the season. It is difficult to say whether it is possible to relax in the city in the middle of summer, but judging by the number of tourists arriving every year, probably not. I would definitely recommend Jurata for this type of vacation, which I wrote about HERE. Of course, the aim of your vacation can be playing with friends, or relaxing in a luxurious hotel with a private beach - then Sopot is perfect for this, and the crowds will not bother us. It's definitely worth visiting Sopot, even for one day, especially when it's already green outside (and I don’t mean Baltic Sea here :))