Sopot is one of Poland’s most charming Polish cities and one of the most visited resorts on the Baltic. During the day or night, in summer and winter, it enchants tourists with its diversity of attractions, the beauty of its architecture and the openness of its residents. Since its founding, Sopot has been a favourite place for the cream of society to come to relax, it inspires poets and painters, motivates athletes, attracts entrepreneurs and excites foreign guests. In the opinion of its residents, Sopot is a dream place to live. Here dreams come true!
The city’s main promenade, affectionately known throughout Poland as ‘Monciak’ – is the pedestrian Bohaterów Monte Cassino (Heroes of Monte Cassino street), which runs straight down through the heart of the city to the pier. On either side are picturesque tenement houses, galleries, pubs and cafes. In the summer it turns into a colourful 600-metre stream of tourists. This is one of the most characteristic Sopot places, the heart of the city, and hence – the main place for meeting, fun and relaxation.
It is here, on ‘Monciak’, that visitors are attracted to one of the most interesting examples of bold modern architecture – the Crooked House. This building’s design references the drawings of Jan Marcin Szancer and Per Dahlberg – a Swedish cartoonist who has lived in Sopot for years. Since its unveiling in 2004, the Crooked House has become a symbol of the city and is one of the most photographed objects in the city.
An example of more traditional architecture that dazzles with its magnificence is located near the “estuary” of the Sopot promenade – Grand Hotel.
The proud outline of this monumental building, which stands right next to the beach, reflects the rich and anecdotal history of one of Poland’s most excellent hotels. The hotel has played host to hundreds of prominent figures from the worlds of culture, politics and science. Among those whose visits are most often mentioned are Charles Aznavour, Marlene Dietrich, Charles de Gaulle, Fidel Castro, Greta Garbo and Jan Kiepura.
The city is home to a truly wonderful and unique venue – The Forest Opera. This covered outdoor amphitheatre is regarded by experts as one of the most outstanding venues in Europe in terms of the acoustics. Each year it hosts some of the most fame classical and popular musicians for the pleasure of thousands of music lovers. This iconic venue, with its audience of 5,000, has seen some memorable performances by some of the world’s most famous acts such as James Brown, Charles Aznavour, Whitney Houston, Annie Lennox, Sir Elton John, Lionel Richie, Bryan Adams and Simply Red, to name just a few. The International Forest Festival – Sopot Festival (Sopot Top of the Top Festival) has been held here for over 40 years. Another extremely popular event is the Sopot Classic Festival which is a wonderful summer event for those who love classical music.
Sopot also has a well-developed sports infrastructure. In addition to bicycle paths, paths for skaters and the athletic stadium located on the edge of the Tri-City Landscape Park, the city also has one of the most advanced sports and entertainment facilities in Europe – the Ergo Arena. Located on the border of Sopot and Gdansk, the modern construction can hold 11,000 with standing room for 15,000 spectators. The design of the facility allows a whole range of sport competitions to be hosted here. Volleyball, basketball, handball, martial arts and, interestingly, the ability to present hockey, motor sports or even windsurfing, make this a very special venue. In 2014, ERGO ARENA hosted the IAAF Indoor World Athletics Championships and regularly hosts the highest quality musical events and theatrical performances. The comprehensive technical facilities available also allow you to organise conferences, business meetings, fairs, banquets, galas or other less conventional events.
People who love sport should pay a visit to the Sopot hippodrome. This is one of three such venues in Poland. An excellent track and a picturesque location (the Hippodrome sits between forested moraine hills and the Bay of Gdansk) helps to make it a leading equestrian sport venue. With beautiful riding halls, track and open green spaces, the Hippodrome hosts international equestrian competitions and is a centre for recreation for residents and guests.
The most popular attractions for visitors in the summer however is the Baltic Sea and Sopot’s wide, sandy beaches which stretch for 4.5 km. They attract water enthusiasts and sunbathers while those seeking peace and quiet can discover a unique atmosphere and delicious cuisine offered by the restaurants dotted along the shoreline. Sopot beach is one of the best maintained beaches on the Bay of Gdansk and is very highly rated in all national rankings in terms of cleanliness and management and safety.
It is difficult to imagine a tour of Sopot, however, without a walk along the most characteristic places in the city – the pier or Molo. Sopot’s pier is the longest wooden pier in Europe and reaches over 511m into the sea. Dating back to the 1820s, since its creation the pier has been a signature Sopot spot.
The Sopot marina not only offers wonderful views of the city’s famous beaches but was also created for those who prefer to spend their leisure time on the water in Sopot. The modern marina is located at the end of the pier and was built in 2011. The marina offers spots for up to 103 vessels to moor across three pools. The marina has increased the attractiveness of the city as well as contributing to the protection of the pier against the destructive effects of waves and wind.
Another interesting place for water lovers is the Sopot Aquapark. The water attractions here have been designed for visitors of all ages. The main part of the park features swimming pools of various sizes connected with each other by flow channels and bridges. There are also slides and a wild river feature.
You can also spend time actively in the winter in Sopot. Łysa Góra (Bald Hill), found close to the centre of the city and on the edge of the Tri-City Landscape Park has a ski-lift which is nearly 300 metres in length and which takes you up to 110m above sea level where the slope offers you a drop of 39m. This is the one place from which you can enjoy views of the sea while skiing. Two ski runs, a toboggan run, a ski school, professional instructors and a well-stocked equipment rental and service await guests. It also caters for the increasing number of snowboarding enthusiasts and a new snow park has been created.
Those who’ve been enchanted by the historical anecdotes of the resort, can expand their knowledge about its past at an early medieval fort found at ul. Haffner, just 400 m from the sea. The fort is a remnant of a fortified settlement which existed from the 8th to the 10th centuries. This is Sopot’s oldest artefact. Bordered by the Grodowy and Kamienny streams, the fortress is located on a wooded hill, on top of which is a courtyard with dimensions of 45 x 49.5 m, surrounded by ramparts. Since 1998, a small open-air Skansen has operated here under the supervision of the Archaeological Museum in Gdańsk. Festivities and educational meetings are organized here, promoting the history and cultural artefacts of the early Medieval Pomeranians. In 2011, at the foot of the fortified hill, an exhibition and educational pavilion was opened.
These are just some of the attractions of Sopot. The openness and hospitality of the inhabitants, renowned throughout Poland, combined with the city’s natural and architectural treasures make Sopot the heart of the Tri-City, a heart which beats with the rhythms of festivals, concerts, club parties, sports competitions, parades, festivals, business conferences and cultural and business events which take place throughout the year.