My most recent visit to Sopot on September 24, 2019, 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 gets you 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, a hearty array of cafe bars, restaurants and clubs for those who are a jot younger than me.
At the top of the hill, you will find a remarkably baffling pedestrian crossing. Of all the pedestrian crossings I have seen in the world, this one has to be the ripest for replacement by a set of traffic lights (yes, I do feel for drivers sometimes).
After the confusion has worn off, you should be able to feast your eyes on the Church of St.George, located on the site of Sopot’s former market square.
WHAT IS SOPOT MOST FAMOUS FOR?
Sopot is synonymous with a few things. Leading the way, perhaps, 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 of 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, as well as 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 – a large square with a smattering of gardens, trees, eateries and cafes.
On and on you trundle eastbound towards the Baltic Sea, but first, another one of Sopot’s draws – the Old Lighthouse, located right next to the entrance to the pier. Construction of Sopot’s lighthouse was completed in 1904. The structure’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 where 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.
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 along the pier during peak season.
There are few activities more pleasant than strolling along Sopot Pier on a summer’s day whilst stopping to sit on a bench to relax, admire the views and inhale the insane quantity of ozone that exists in Sopot. This is certainly the case towards the end of the pier where (and it’s been scientifically proven) the amount of ozone hits therapeutic levels. All the local spa patients are in for a treat. Or their lungs are 😉
Exit the pier and immediately hook a right in order to 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 cannot wait to walk northwards along Aleja Franciszka Mamuszki – a beautiful coastal path with Sopot beach to the right and Northern Park to the left. The sky is 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