Last month I checked another Polish city off my list. Having been almost everywhere in Poland, from Wroclaw to Lublin and many more, this vast country doesn’t have many secrets for me anymore. However there was one area that was still a blank spot on my map: Pomerania and its capital Gdansk. As it turns out, Gdansk is actually part of a larger metropolitan area consisting of three cities: Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia. This means there’s three times as much to do than I initially expected! Read along to learn more about this interesting Polish region.
I arrived at Gdansk Lech Wałęsa Airport after a short domestic flight from Warsaw with LOT, although the airport is actually quite well connected with other European cities. From there I headed straight to Sopot, the ‘smallest of the great cities’. Sopot is a seaside resort town along the Baltic coast crowded with pubs and restaurants, which creates a very vibrant atmosphere considering the size of the town! Make sure to drop by for a few beers at Browar Miejski Sopot, a microbrewery with a fine selection of their own crafted beers which you can only taste there! If you get away from the famous Monte Cassino street and turn into one of the smaller streets, it quickly gets a lot quieter and you can have a stroll among some very beautiful houses.
Sopot is also home to the longest wooden pier in Europe: it measures over 510 metres! Right next to the pier is the Grand Hotel, originally build in 1924-1927 as the infamous Kasino Hotel. Over the years it has welcomed guests as famous as Adolf Hitler, Charles de Gaulle, Fidel Castro and many more. Funny story is that the hotel experienced a resurgence in popularity when Vladimir Putin stayed at the Grand Hotel. ‘If it is good enough for our president, it’s definitely good enough for us!’ Thought many Russians. These days it’s still a five-star hotel owned by Sofitel, so you can still stay there if you want to become part of the history!
A bit north you can find another beautiful pier, in the village of Orlowo. It’s a lot quieter there and you can take a stroll along the beach from the pier to the Orlowo cliff. I actually have a tattoo on my body that was inspired by this cliff, so I was very happy I finally got to see it for myself!
Tricity remains very a popular destination for Polish people to visit. The northernmost town of the three is Gdynia. When you look at the city in Google Street View, it looks like it consists entirely of docks. The port and water activities are indeed a major part of the life in Gdynia. If you want to see a couple of historical ships such as Błyskawica or Dar Pomorza, then at Aleja Jana Pawła II you’re at the right place. I particularly enjoyed the Gdynia city beach. How cool must it be to live in Gdynia, you don’t even need to leave town to go to the beach. I can imagine lots of people come chill here after work or school.
Your daily dose of culture and history can be had at the Emigration Museum in Gdynia. Throughout history, many Poles have left to country for various reasons. The Emigration Museum tells their stories, from the 19th century, over the second World War up to present day. Very interesting place and well worth the visit!
I’m not gonna spend too much detail describing the city centre but it’s obvious that it is absolutely stunning. It might just be one of the most beautiful cities in the entire Poland! The historic city centre is a real showstopper. Because of the trading business, Gdansk once was the richest city in the Republic of Poland! After the war, But Gdansk has much more to offer.
For example the Shakespeare Theater. Although it looks a bit atypical from the outside, the interior is very beautiful and can be changed into different set-ups, one of those is a central stage where people gather around it, just like in Shakespearian times!
In Zaspa, one of the quarters of Gdansk, you can find over 60 wall paintings on the various apartment blocks. It’s really cool to wander around on a good day to try and spot them all!
Where to eat?
There’s tons of good places to eat, for every budget, and I only had the opportunity to try a few. But for breakfast I really enjoyed Cały Gaweł, near the train station and shopping mall in Sopot. It offers a selection of several typical regional breakfasts, which is really cool. My favorite place for lunch is Restaurant Correze in Gdansk. This restaurant has a cozy interior and offers views of the walking bridge to Olowianka island. Dinner I enjoyed most in Eliksir, both cocktail bar and fine-dining restaurant, although Restauracja Walter in Sopot is a close second.
Where to stay?
I stayed at Hotel Molo, a new and contemporary hotel right in the centre of Sopot. Rooms are clean and modern but lack a bit of charm. It’s a modern business hotel but it has all you need. The train station is located underneath the shopping mall adjacent of the hotel. The pier and beach is only a short walk away.
As Sopot is the middle one of the three cities from Tricity, conveniently located between its larger sisters Gdansk and Gdynia, it’s only a short drive away to get to one of the other cities. Alternatively, you can take the SKM city train, which provides a good connection around the Tricity-area.
All in all it was great to be back in Poland and explore Tricity, a region in Pomerania consisting of Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia. It’s a region I hadn’t visited before and didn’t know much about it. I had a really great time thanks to the PROT and the Polish Tourism Organisation.