Sopot

Sopot Promenade

Sopot is a seaside spa resort city in Poland. Sopot with two nearby cities Gdańsk and Gdynia are often referred as Tricity (Polish: Trójmiasto). It is a smallest of the three and at the same time the most affluent on average, attracting the rich and famous both from the local area (who tend to settle there) as well as from Poland, Europe and beyond, who come over for vacations and/or maintain a pied-a-terre there.

Sopot boasts an impressive history of first-rate status, but remains small and committed to its original mission of leisure. Being locked between the larger Gdynia and Gdańsk and being able to take advantage of their big-city infrastructure, it retains its small-town charm and remains a very popular seaside destination in Poland.

Statue of Jean Georg Haffner next to the pierhead of Sopot

Understand

History

The first written record of Sopot date back to the 13th century, and has been popular as a summer residence of the local elite for centuries. It has been a property of the Order of Cistercians of Oliwa since 1283 until 1772, when it became annexed by Prussia.

It was not until 19th century, however, that Sopot took its present form. In 1808, a French physician named Jean Georg Haffner came to Sopot with Napoleon's retreating army and decided to settle there, marrying a local. He immediately recognized the resort potential in the local area, and started to organize appropriate facilities first in Gdańsk and later in the centre of modern-day Sopot, constructing the first pier and the Resort House, as well as creating the park that surrounds today's pierhead. Haffner is recognized as the father of modern-day Sopot and celebrated throughout the city.

Sopot quickly became a fashionable spa on a European scale, accessible by the seaport of Gdańsk and the railway line to Warsaw and Koszalin, built in 1870. It was granted city rights in 1901 by the German Emperor, and was at the forefront of adopting modern leisure facilities, not only of the spa kind, but also including a horseracing track, tennis courts and a casino. When the iconic Grand Hotel was completed in 1927, along with the final pier extension, Sopot gained its complete form it was to retain until the new millennium, in the meantime becoming a part of Poland again. In the 2000s, much effort was put into restoring Sopot's heritage, including the reconstruction of the Resort House, conservation of the pier and a major restoration effort at the Grand Hotel.

Get in

By plane

The TriCity's passenger airport is the Lech Walesa Airport in Gdańsk, offering a wide range of direct flights and connections, including intercontinental hubs.

By rail

Basically all the long-distance trains calling to Gdańsk and Gdynia stop at Sopot Główny, the only railway station in Sopot, right in the middle of the city. The local SKM trains run between Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot at high frequency, stopping at the same station.

By boat

Sopot has no proper port for that matter, but you can use the ferry connections from Gdańsk and Gdynia to other Baltic sea ports. There is also a marina next to the pier for those coming in their own, smaller vessel.

By road

Follow the directions to Gdańsk or Gdynia and either enter the TriCity ringroad and take the exit marked Sopot. You can also drive through Gdańsk or Gdynia to Sopot as their street systems are well interconnected. The main thoroughfare is called Aleja Niepodległości in Sopot, Aleja Zwycięstwa in Gdynia and Aleja Grunwaldzka in Gdańsk, all three being parts of a continuous road no. 468.

Get around

Sopot has no public transportation of its own, but it is served by selected bus lines extending from Gdańsk and trolleybuses from Gdynia. There are three SKM stations in Sopot - apart from Sopot Główny, those are Sopot Kamienny Potok near the northern border with Gdynia, and Sopot Wyścigi in the South of the city, close to Gdańsk and next to the Sopot Hippodrome.

That said, Sopot is very compact and walkable. Being not much over 4 kilometres across, it can be traversed within an hour, and most points of interest are closer apart than that. The distance from the railway station to the pier and beach should be a leisurely 20 minutes walk.

See

The Crooked House (Krzywy Dom)

Do

Beach seen from the pier

Buy

Eat

Drink

Monte Cassino Street (Monciak) provides the best selection of bars and cafes in the town. "The Pinochio" restaurant offer tables also in a little courtyard which is a particularly pleasant spot for a lunch or a drink

Bar Kinski (ul. Tadeusza Kościuszki 10) is only a short stroll away. You should not be put off by the unimpressive entrance up a pitch-black flight of stairs to the first-floor. Housed in the building where the explosive actor Klaus Kinski was born, it is dark and atmospheric with all sorts of little cubby-holes to enjoy a drink in with friends. There are also various souvenirs and photos from Kinski's acting career. The bar also has a selection of small sun terraces which allow you to sit outside and watch the action on the street below.

Sleep

The Grand Hotel is indeed rather grand, and one of Sopot's most recognizable landmarks

Sopot retains much of its historic "Kurort" character, which is also reflected in the accommodation choices, with heavy emphasis on upscale hotels and a wide choice of apartment rentals. For more mid-market accommodation options, you may want to consider lodging yourself in Gdańsk or Gdynia, as he TriCity is in effect conjoined and there are good, fast transit links.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 10, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.