Summer in Sopot (Poland)

Summer holidays in Sopot on the Baltic Sea in the north of Poland
Welcome to my tourist review of Sopot. Sopot is a popular seaside resort of about 40.000 people in the north of Poland. It is located on the Baltic coast in between the cities Gdynia and Gdansk. According to the tourist brochures over 2 million people visit Sopot every year. The main attractions of this city are the sandy beaches and the beautiful wooden pier which is the longest in Europe (511,5 meters). Contrary to what you might expect the coast line of Sopot is quite hilly with steep cliffs and high hilltops land inwards

The sandy beaches of Sopot
The beaches of Sopot are well kept and easy to reach through multiple entrances. The beaches are sandy and reasonably wide eventhough they can be quite crowded on hot days. At the back end of the beach you will find little places selling ice cream, warm waffles and drinks. Some areas have bigger beach clubs with places to sit and possibilities for renting beach chairs. Lifeguards are on duty from morning untill six o'clock in the evening. They work from watchtowers on the beach and from rowboats in the water to keep things safe. Red and yellow buoys mark the areas till where you can swim. The red ones indicate the limit for kids while the yellow ones mark the outer limit for adults. Beyond the buoys you will find areas marked for other water sports. The water is quite undeep but gets progressively deeper. Quite a bit of green seaweed washes up to the shores and you can even see schools of tiny fish in this undeep water. Occasionally you come across small jellyfishes too. Right behind the beach a vegetated strip separates the beach from the paved paths running parallel to the beach. The paved paths are ideal for walks with plenty of benches along the way to sit. Part of the path is also reserved for biking. Some parts behind the beach are forrested which provides good shading on warm days.

Beach of SopotThe beach of Sopot in the direction of Gdynia

The longest wooden pier in Europe is in Sopot

To access the longest pier in Europe during the day you have to buy a ticket for 7 Polish zloty (pornounced as 'zwotty') per person however after 10 pm access is free. At the end of the pier or Molo as the locals call it it you will find a restaurant and a small marina with yachts. From here you can also rent jetskis, go parasailing or take off on a banana boat. You can also take a little boat trip on a recreated pirate ship. From the pier you have a nice view of the Baltic sea and the coast line that reaches all the way to Gdansk and Gdynia depending on which way you are looking. There are plenty of benches on the pier so you can sit down and enjoy the moment. At night time the pier is romanticly lit up by lights. On some nights they will put up a giant screen at the beginning of the pier to create an open air movie theatre. The movie is English spoken with polish subtitles and free for anyone to watch. More information and photos of the pier in Sopot

The pier in Sopot
The pier in Sopot

The market, main square and Behaterow Monte Cassino street

Coming off the pier you can walk straight through to the market and the main square
that leads to Monte Cassino street. First you will come across the permanent market that is open from morning till evening. The booths here sell anything from souvenirs to food and are set up in the open air under a roofed gallery that forms half a circle. On some days more market stands will be set up in the middle of the circle selling typical Polish products. Leaving the market behind you will come to the main square where you will find the tourist office, lots of restaurants with outdoor terraces and places to have just a drink. If you are looking for a nice lunch i can recommend W Biegu Cafe where they sell delicious Ciabatta sandwiches. At night time the square is also a lively place with lots of people walking around, street artists and music coming from different bars and clubs. From the main square you can walk up onto the famous Monte Cassino street or Monciak as the locals call it. It's called Monte Cassino in commemoration of Polish soldiers who fought at Monte Cassino in Italy during the second Word War. On Monte Cassino street you will find lots of different restaurants with outdoor terraces including a McDonalds and KFC. The street is probably most famous for Krzywy Domek, the 'crooked house' which is actually just an entrance. At night time the street is a very lively place too with plenty of restaurants, clubs and pubs to choose from. More information & photos

Main square at night in Sopot The main square by night in Sopot

Day trip to Gdansk
If you made it to Sopot you can't go home without a visit to the nearby city of Gdansk. It was the focus of attention at the beginning of the second world war. Most of the city was reduced to rubble by bombardments but parts have since then been restored to former glory. Especially Long Street is beautiful area to walk through with the Golden Gate entrance, characteristic houses, Town Hall and Neptune fountain. Gdansk once was famous for it's shipping industry but all that's left now are empty warfs and old kranes that can be seen from a distance as a reminder. Gdansk also took centre stage in the revolt against communism in Poland. The easiest way to get to Gdansk is by the SKM train. This train just runs between Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the last stop of Gdansk which is exactly where you need to be for the main attractions. More information and images of Gdansk

Gdansk Poland Long Street in Gdansk with the Neptune fountain

Day trip to Gdynia

If you have the time i would also recommend visiting Gdynia. My advice is to go to beach of Sopot in the morning and plan a day trip to Gdynia in the afternoon when it's less hot. Like Gdansk Gdynia is easiest reached by SKM train. The main attractions here are at the dock where you can tour an old war ship and a sail ship that have been turned into floating museums. You can also board a pirate ship like in Sopot for a little trip at sea. At the end of the dock there is also an aquarium and some statues.
More information and images of Gdynia

Gdynia Poland
Ship museum Dar Pormoza in Gdynia

The Aquapark in Sopot

While the beach is the main attraction in Sopot there is also an Aquapark near the beach with different pools and slides. It's ideal for rainy days or when the sea water is too cold to swim in. Even on warm days it can be fun because it's partially outdoors and has fun slides. It attracts lots of families with kids. There are 2 pipe slides and 1 wild water slide. There is also a pool for lane swimming but it's a bit undeep and short. I would recommend going at least for 3 hours eventhough you can choose to go for 1 hour. The lockers are a bit confusing when you are there the first time. After paying you get bracelets with a locker number but you first come across small safe deposit boxes where a sign says to leave your valuables like wallet, phone and watch. You don't have to use them but if you do you will need to put in 5 zloty (non refundable) and take the key with you. After that you go the changing rooms and the lockers down stairs. You need to find the locker which corresponds with the number on your bracelet. To open and close the locker you hold the bracelet against the locker door. A green or red light will indicate if it's open or closed.

Other things to do in Sopot
Along side the paths running parallel to the beach you can find a number of bike rental shops. You can rent bikes per hour, days or week. It's a great way to get around town quickly and see a little more of Sopot then the usual. You will discover for example that there is a nice tennis park with gravel courts. Other activities include visiting an art gallery or the Sopot museum. In the evening you can go to the cinema which is English spoken with Polish subtitles. If you would like to go shopping there are some big shopping malls in Gdansk (Galleria Baltica and Galleria
Madison) and Gdynia (Galleria Batory and Klif).
More attractions and sights in Sopot

A review of Hostel Sopotiera and other places to stay
There are plenty of hotels and apartements for rent in Sopot. Most of them seem to be within walking distance of the beach. The Grand Hotel and the Sheraton Hotel are one of the most prestige places to stay in Sopot and are located directly on the beach front near the pier. If you are on a budget i can highly recommend Hostel Sopotiera. It's located just a few minutes from the beach and walking distance of the pier. It's also close to a bus stop and small grocery stores in the neighborhood. Hostel Sopotiera has about eight renovated rooms and a small public kitchen on the 2nd floor of a historic building. There is no reception so you have to let the owner know ahead of time when you will arrive in order to get the key. The friendly owner will show you your room and also give you an internet access code for free wifi. The rooms are small but cosy and include your own privat bathroom and a tv which makes it more like a hotel then a hostel.
More information about Sopotiera and other hotels in Sopot.

Hostel Sopotiera
Hostel Sopotiera

Gdansk Airport

If you are coming to Sopot by plain the nearest airport is in Gdansk. It's a small but well organized airport that recently added a brand new terminal for departures. The easiest way to get to Sopot is by taxi and the journey will take around 20 minutes. When returning you will depart from the new teminal. It's a modern terminal with a few places to eat before check in and more (duty free) shops and restaurants after check in.
More information and photos of Gdansk Airport

Gdansk Airport
Departure terminal at Gdansk Airport

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