Going to back to my fabulous 6 nights birthday spread at loveable and relaxed Sopot in Poland.
In Sopot is all about relaxing, great food, Baltic sea, white sandy beach, a white pier, excellent Mojitos, prestige Grand Hotel and beautiful villas. Sopot has the most expensive properties prices in the whole of Poland and properties don’t come cheap anywhere in Poland.
But Sopot isn’t much more … but Gdańsk is.
Gdańsk (Danzig in German) is the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and the capital of Kashubia, Poland’s principal seaport and the centre of the country’s fourth-largest metropolitan area. Nearly 500.000 people live in there today.
It is a port city on the Baltic coast of Poland. At the centre of its Main Town, reconstructed after WWII, is the colourful facades of Long Market, now home to shops and restaurants. Nearby is Neptune Fountain, a 17th-century symbol of the city topped by a bronze statue of the sea god. Gdańsk is also a centre for the world’s amber trade; boutiques throughout the city sell the ossified resin.
Gdańsk is also the home to Konkatedralna St. Mary that is often called the “crown of Gdansk” is one of the two or three largest brick churches in the world. Inside the church are room for 25,000 people.
Plus the very exciting and interesting European Solidarity Centre that tells the story about how Poland broke free from the Russian iron fist and got its freedom 13 September 1989. It all started in Gdańsk and Gdynia. The remarkable story about the power of the people … that without any weapons took their country back.
Didn’t visit the centre this time, but l visited in 2015 … spent 4 amazing hours. Related post: “because freedom is priceless”
Gdańsk is about 20 min train journey from Sopot. It’s Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport that we flew into.
I have been visiting Gdańsk in total 6 times through the years and it has the most beautiful stare miasto /”old town” and I ever been to. And have I been to quite a few all around Europe. Its beauty is striking and with been totally destroyed during WWII – nearly flattened. About 90 per cent of it was destroyed.
70 years of reconstruction has transformed the city – today restored to breathtaking glory. I personally never get tired to enjoy it.
The weather forecast was more or less promising rain every day, so we decided that our first full day with a big sun on the map … we had to enjoy Gdańsk and we had a delightful day … with full summer weather,. But we also returned on our last day … same weather, same beautiful city.
My friend Anna Liisa begged me 3 years ago to bring her to the city with the beautiful houses, after seeing my images from Gdańsk. So we were ticking off another destination for her and I always want to go back for more.
Dlugi Targ is the main street in the old town … also where the most photographed fountain in the world is located, Neptune. Only I must have about 100 images of it in total. When walking along Dlugi Targ I never look down or straight ahead … it is all the details on the house ridges that have my eyes and all the beautiful details they provide.
But there is also so many other details … signs, doors, lamps, windows and barristers. The old town is one of Europe’s largest historical centres, 30% of the streets have had the same names for more than 500 years. The construction of the present Town Hall was initiated in 1379.
It easy to understand why Gdańsk is such a popular tourist destination.
In 2015, Gdańsk was visited by 1 988 396 visitors.1 281 877 are domestic tourists and 706 519 are foreign tourists:
• 22.31 per cent from Germany
• 19.66 per cent from Scandinavia
• 19.47 per cent – UK residents
There is one MUST for me those days when visiting Gdańsk and that is to visit Bistro by Goldwasser. Goldwasser is an institution in Gdańsk containing their famous restaurant on the harbour walk (Długie Pobrzeże), their pretty cafe and vacation apartments in the old town.
Bistro by Goldwasser is located on Dlugi Targ by the Green Gate and it’s not only my favourite … but also a waterhole for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski. Their patio is so pretty and they always changing the fabrics on the seat pads and cushions.
For the first time, I had lunch there … we both went for Deep Fried Cambert. Absolutely delicious. Always so nice to sit there at the patio and watch all the people walking by … and just let life get a delightful break.
Gdańsk is the city of amber, more than any other Polish city I have visited. Shops everywhere …. but mostly on the harbour walk (Długie Pobrzeże) and Mariacka. There is a bit too much of it … hard to see “the forest for all the trees”, but there is some stunning jewellery.
Along the Długie Pobrzeże, there is restaurants and more restaurants … museums and the famous crane. Żuraw was first built in 1362 but burnt down in 1442.
A new crane was built in the period of 1442-1444. It consisted of two brick towers which had the abovementioned wooden lifting mechanism installed between them. The Crane belonged to the town and was managed by a crane master.
There is one thing you can’t do when visiting Poland and that is returning home without enjoyed the fantastic “Grycan – Lody od Pokoleń” ice cream. One of the best … I have had. Met the brand for the first time in Warsaw, a family ran business that started in 2004 and today, nearly 130 parlours all over Poland. There is one in Sopot, but I couldn’t find it … but on Dlugi Targ they have a lovely parlour. Their coffee is good too.
There is much to see … and do … and enjoy in Gdańsk, but I will let you explore that yourself. For me, Gdańsk is one of the ultimate tourist destinations… in Europe with great food, excellent wines, fantastic hospitality and so affordable.
“The soul of Poland is indestructible… she will rise again like a rock,
which may for a spell be submerged by a tidal wave, but which remains a rock.”
Sir Winston Churchill,