In mid-March our friends Klaudia and Marc invited us to visit Gdansk and the known seaside town of Sopot, on the coast of the Baltic Sea.
Sopot is mostly known as a “resort town”. With only 40,000 residents the city is very small yet always attracting tourists, even during the cold season. Sopot is also known for it’s 515.5 meters long wooden pier, the biggest of its kind in Europe. The pier goes deep into the Bay of Gdańsk. I think it costs about 6zt to go on the pier, however we were there on a off-season evening and no one asked us to pay anything.
Unfortunately it was rather cold (around 5*C) when we went to visit so there wasn’t much going on. On the positive side – there weren’t many tourists, so it was easy to walk through the pier, the beach and the main street. I am sure during the summer months this little town is packed with Polish folks, international tourists and the infamous stag-party dudes.
My favorite thing about Sopot – the sea. I have loved the sea since I was a little kid and there is something magical about it that still seduces me. The familiar smell, the calming sound, the: “let me try to see the other bank”. I love the sea. Even the cold Baltic sea in winter.
As we were taking a walk on the beach we have noticed a few people looking for amber in the sand. Well, we’ve decided to find some amber as well and here is the first result:
I have to warn you: amber-picking is addictive. First you find a few small pieces and you get all excited. Then you find a tiny bigger one and get more excited. Then you actually start ignoring the tiny ones and only take the slightly bigger ones. An hour passes without you realizing and all you are thinking is: “Just one more bigger piece, then I stop”. Cool activity and the amber can be used as a good souvenir or gift. Here is our final result:
Monte Cassino Street is the street that goes from the railway station all the way down to the Sopot beach. This is THE place where you can find loads of shops, cafes, bars, clubs and a lot more. Younger people should know that legal drinking age in Sopot is 21 and not 18 like in the rest of Poland. Yes, they will check your I.D. at the entrance.
The original plan was staying at the hostel. However, Klaudia suggested we rent a flat instead, since it wouldn’t cost more. I am quite sure the apartments go for a lot more money in the summer but in mid-march we were charged 160zt per night. That’s only 40zt per person – same or cheaper than a hostel. The place was located in a residential neighborhood and 10-15 minute walk away from the Monte Cassino street.
On the second night our heaters stopped working – however it didn’t get any colder in the apartment (gotta love the cement walls). The next day when we were leaving we were reimbursed half of the night’s fee for the “inconvenience”. Later that day we also received a call from the owners of the flat who wanted to make sure we heard their apologies. To be honest I was very surprised by such level of attention and care for customer. I guess if I come back to Sopot I will stay at the same place.
Unfortunately our visit to Gdansk only lasted a few hours. It was cold, rainy and late in the day. The city is beautiful with its cobbled streets and numerous churches. From my own experience I can suggest to spend some time in the Old Town, enjying its beautifully restored renaissance buildings. Take a walk along the canal and wander into some of Gdansk’s churches.
Gdansk also has a variety of great museums and I hope I’ll be back to this city to explore it a little more.
Have you been to Gdansk or Sopot? Share your experiences in the comments!