Sunday, June 15, 2014

Gdansk and Sopot - Polish city & beach holiday combination!

It's been a busy spring and start of the summer for the blogger - but still time for small trips! During Easter, mid April, we headed to Gdansk (or formally Gdańsk - and in German, BTW, Danzig), Poland. My second trip to Poland this year!?

Gdansk is the biggest city in Northern Poland, located on the Baltic coast. It is Polands main sea port and home to about 450.000 people. It's also part of Tricity (Trójmiasto), together with Gdynia and Sopot. Gdansk has an interesting history, as a free city, as part of the Hanseatic league as well as under German rule. It is and has been a part of Poland since 1945.

The most famous view of Gdansk


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Things to do in Gdansk

Though still an industrial town, Gdansk is quite the tourist hub today. Most of us tourists head to the impressive, yet quaint (more so than e.g. Warsaw) old town.

Industrial Gdansk

Not so industrial Gdansk: the old town

If you like churches (and I might point out here, even if you don't like), you'll love Gdansk. There seems to be one in every corner. The one to visit is the St. Mary's Church (Bazylika Mariacka). This Gothic "monster" of a church is one of the largest brick buildings in Europe. With over 100m in length and 66m in width it can fit up to 25.000 people inside!?! Admire the sky-high vaulting, altars, the astronomical clock... and, if you're lucky, climb up the 78m tall tower for eagle eye views of the city. Sadly we weren't lucky - the Easter processions closed the stairs to the tower. Next time then!

How else to spend your days in Gdansk? -- Visit the museums? Take a river cruise? Go shopping? Eat 'til you drop? Try the local beers? - Sounds like a plan!

The city, with its beautiful avenues, parks and riversides, makes up for a great walking, or cycling terrain! Gdansk is in fact criss-crossed by Motława, Leniwka and Vistula rivers - if you have time or need the exercise you'll find plenty of tracks there outside the city centre.

Plenty of sightseeing to do in Gdansk on a beautiful day

For food: I can recommend Tekstylia on ul. Szeroka for a great local meal - try the breakfast, lunch, dinner... they're all great! Pueblo on Ul. Kołodziejska serves terrific Tex-Mex and cocktails. For Argentinian steaks, almost as good as in Argentina, head to La Pampa, also on ul. Szeroka.

Night time in Gdansk

It's so cheap in Poland so here's your chance to eat up, stock up on anything you need and stay in a nice four star hotel.. Enjoy!

Polish beach holiday - Sopot!

If you have an extra day during your Gdansk trip and the weather is nice then head out to Sopot. This is the Nice or Cannes of Poland, with long sandy beaches and a bit of glitz & glamour! Luxurious beach houses are side by side on the shoreline, with - no doubt - the local & international celebs walking about during the summer.

Sopot is also famous for its wooden pier that stretches 500 meters to the sea. In high season it will be surely busting with boats and yachts, as well as tourists. Try the local seafood - the best restaurants are super popular and were already crowded during Easter. But worth the try!

To reach Sopot from Gdansk take the local train or if you're lazy just take a taxi. You can make the 10-15km distance also by bike - like we did (thanks to Scandic for the free bikes all throughout our stay!). Just start driving north out of the city; yu'll probably find your way to the massive PGE Arena and once you pass that you can already start heading west/northwest and will reach the shoreline soon. There's a loooovely tree-lined pedestrian & cycling path along the sea for your last few kms to Sopot. During Easter it was buzzing with families on foot, bikes and inline skates. No better way to spend a sunny day there!

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