I recently visited Sopot on September 24, 2019. It was the first time I’d been to this showstopper of a seaside resort in złota jesień (golden Autumn).
SKM – GDAŃSK GŁÓWNY TO SOPOT GŁÓWNY
The SKM commuter train goes from Gdańsk Główny to Sopot Główny in around twenty minutes.
After entering the main hall of the train station in Sopot, hook a left and head outside onto Dworcowa Street. On your right, look out for the tourist information centre. On your left, there is a hearty array of cafe bars, restaurants and clubs. These places are for people who are a lot younger than me.
At the top of the hill, you will find a remarkably baffling pedestrian crossing. Out of all the pedestrian crossings I’ve ever seen, this one has to be the ripest for replacement by a set of traffic lights.
After the confusion has worn off, feast your eyes on the Church of St.George. This is located on the site of Sopot’s former market square.
WHAT IS SOPOT MOST FAMOUS FOR?
Sopot is synonymous with quite a few things. Leading the way is Bohaterów Monte Cassino Street, which is an entirely pedestrianised area. Heaving with tourists in the summer months, but pleasantly manageable in late September, Monte Cassino comprises mostly shops, cafés, restaurants and clubs.
The star of the show on Monte Cassino is Krzywy Domek (crooked house). As the name suggests, the shape of the house is bizarre. Krzywy Domek is a commercial building that contains restaurants, cafés and shops. Moreover, it contains the “Wall of Fame” – the Polish version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Essentially, those who take part in cultural events put their signatures on the wall of the Krzywy Domek.
At the end of Monte Cassino Street, you emerge triumphantly onto Skwer Kuracyjny. This a large square with a smattering of gardens, trees, eateries and cafes.
On and on you trundle eastbound towards the Baltic Sea. First of all, another one of Sopot’s main draws – the Old Lighthouse. This is located next to the entrance to the pier.
The construction of Sopot’s lighthouse was completed in 1904. It’s original function was that of a chimney for the boiler that heated the spa waters. The architect constructed a viewing tower and lighthouse around the chimney in order to disguise it. A stone spiral staircase takes you up 135 steps to the 25m viewing platform. Here, you can revel in splendid 360-degree views of the coast, pier and the rooftops of Sopot. Admission fees to the lighthouse are currently 6zł for adults and 4zł for children. Group tickets are available for a minimum of 20 people.
Sopot Pier – the longest wooden pier in Europe. Now that I live in Gdańsk, my lifetime visit count to Sopot has almost hit double figures. Therefore, I have already had my fill of the pier. Besides, it costs 8zł to walk on it during peak season.
Having said that, there are few activities more pleasant than strolling along Sopot Pier on a summer’s day. Stop to sit on a bench to relax, admire the views and inhale the insane quantity of ozone that exists in Sopot. Indeed, the amount of ozone at the end of the pier hits therapeutic levels. And, yes, it’s been scientifically proven. The local spa patients are in for a treat. Or their lungs are 😉
Exit the pier and immediately hook a right. You will find a colourful array of stalls selling amber jewellery and various types of earrings, bracelets and necklaces etc.
Wallet firmly in pocket, my wife and I could not wait to walk northwards along Aleja Franciszka Mamuszki. This is a beautiful coastal path sandwiched between Sopot beach to the right and Northern Park to the left. The sky was blue and the sand wonderfully golden. ‘Golden Autumn’ at its best.
As you walk further north towards the district of Sopot Kamienny Potok, Northern Park becomes more and more secluded and forest-like. Hugging the beach on the other side of the path, there is a scattering of wooden-built restaurants which serve everything from pizza to pierogi dumplings.
All in all, Sopot deserves its Finding Poland ‘Real Gem’ status.
Finding Poland summary and score:
Stunning architecture, mind-blowingly fresh air, divine walks along the seafront, pleasant to avoid the summer crowds on Monte Cassino Street – 10/10