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.
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.
The TriCity's passenger airport is the Lech Walesa Airport in Gdańsk, offering a wide range of direct flights and connections, including intercontinental hubs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Molo. A beautiful wooden pier, that boasts to be the longest in Europe
- Heroes of Monte Cassino street. Walkway always full of tourists and artists
- Krzywy Dom (Crooked House). An unusually constructed building in the Bohaterów Monte Cassino Street
- Opera Leśna. An open-air venue in the nearby forest for various musical events
- Lighthouse. An old and defunct lighthouse from where you have a view from the top on the Sopot pier and the marina
- North Park. A park for longer walks and areas for biking and rollerskating - also refreshments to go are available
- Trójmiejski Park Krajobrazowy (Tricity Landscape Park). A forest landscape park surrounding Tricity good for recreation on the open-air
- bike in the nearby Tricity Landscape Park
- swim and relax in Aquapark
- have a meal in many fashionable restaurants and caffees in the Monte Cassino Street
- play minigolf next to the beach
- party in many clubs, bars and discos
- leisure and sports
- Handmade jewellery - You can buy in small street shops and street markets original hand made bracelets, necklaces, rings and earings made of amber and other minerals.
- Sopot Street Market - open on Tuesday and Friday every week, close to Sopot Wyścigi Railway Station. You can buy there fresh fruit and vegetables, antiques, old traditional jewellery as well as fashionable clothes and gadgets.
- Meta Restaurant, ul. Wybickiego 48-50 (at the sports stadium), ☎ +48 58 5512360. Italian cuisine, reasonably cheap, cosy and quiet
- Bar Przystań - a fish bar situated by the sea, 1km east from the pier. The best fried fish in town.
- Cafe Ferber, ul. Bohaterów Monte Cassino, ☎ +48 58 551 45 81. Chic, modern lounge/bar. Some of the better food in town, nice atmosphere, great drinks.
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.
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.
- GuestRooms Sopot, ul. 3 Maja 34, ☎ +48 500 77 55 57. 5 minutes walk to centre and train station, nice area, close to the beach.
- Idylla Sopot (Lodging House), ul. Parkowa 65/2 (Next to Museum of Sopot), ☎ +48 507 813 067. Check-in: 14, check-out: 11. Tenement house "Villa Dehn", built in 1902 - in location directly at the Baltic Sea. 60 zł.
- Hotel Opera Spa
- Hotel Miramar'
- Best Western Vila Aquila Hotel
- Sofitel Grand Sopot, ul. Powstańców Warszawy 12/14, ☎ +48 58 5206000, fax: +48 58 5206099, e-mail: H3419-RE@sofitel.com. Beautiful garden, indoor swimming pool, fitness center, and views of the sea. It's only a stone's throw away from the pedestrian boulevard and molo, but the crowds thin out around the hotel.
- Sheraton Sopot Conference and Spa
- Hotel Rezydent Sopot
- Bayjonn Hotel
- Hotel Haffner
- Hotel Zhong Hua
- Gdańsk Bay is berth to the Pomeranian metropolis of Gdańsk, with a beautiful old town and the biggest Gothic brick church worldwide. Nearby are the sea resort and port of Gdynia with the biggest Baltic port, and a smaller sea resort called Puck.
- Vistula Bay is home to the sea resort and medieval town of Frombork with the grave of Nicolaus Copernicus, the medieval town of Elbląg, and the sea resort Kadyny with one of the best European studs.
- Kashubian Coast with the biggest dunes in Europe in the Słowiński National Park and the sea resorts of Rowy, Łeba, Jastrzębia Góra, Rozewie and Władysławowo.
- Hel Peninsula has several sea resorts: Chałupy, Jastarnia, Jurata and Hel.
- Krynica Morska - a sea resort on the Vistula Peninsula.