Sopot is a charming seaside town in Poland, off the Baltic coast and a short ride away from the bigger port city of Gdansk. Don’t let it size dupe you as there is much to do here. Here are my top picks:
- Walk the longest wooden pier in Europe: Yes, in a world of superlatives, Sopot holds its own. Wooden and within Europe, conditions apply. Built in 1827, this pier still serves as a quiet & peaceful walkway into sea. Fancy private boats with funky names dock here. An ominous looking ‘pirate ship’ also comes by every once in a while, ferrying passengers on a 40-minute tour around the bay. There’s a restaurant at the end serving patrons. Go up to the deck for a nice wide shot of the entire pier as well as the beach.
- Enjoy the beach: You are at the seaside so get on & take a stroll by the edge of the water, watch kids make sand castles, and feed the birds. Oh, the birds! There is a big flock of swans at the Sopot beach and they know you’re looking 😉 Walk below the pier to observe the strong support structure from below. It makes for an interesting photo point, too.
- Promenade along Monte Cassino: The main street of Sopot is a slightly sloping path perpendicular to the beachfront. It is lined with restaurants serving various cuisines, from local delicacies like potato dumplings to the omnipresent pizza. And the quintessential souvenir shops. Make sure to take a picture outside the crooked Krzywy Domek, quite an unusual building on the exterior, although nothing special from within. Walk further along a park and a historic tower, onto the big square of Skwer Kuracyjny, from where you head up to the pier.
- Enjoy a ‘lody’, Polish for ice cream: While you are walking along the main street or the beachfront, enjoy a flavorful treat at one of the many hole-in-the-wall ice-cream shops. Such a relief on a warm day in June when we were in Sopot. At a couple of euros apiece, you can gorge half a dozen of those, never mind the calorie count when you’re on vacation 😉
- Take a ride through Park Północny: A little beyond the Sopot beach lies a harmonious little patch of green with clearly marked bike paths. Hiring a bike is economical at €5 an hour. You could also enjoy a trike ride or glide along on a skateboard under the green canopy of the park. Along the opposite side of the Pier, you will pass by many cozy beach side residences, hotels and restaurants that will make you want to hang out a little while longer.
Have you been to Sopot? What did you like best?
Cyprus trip : Day 2 & 3
We made it to Cyprus! After our unplanned sleepover in Oslo, we were happy we had lost only about 18 hours. Given that there aren’t daily flights between Oslo an d Larnaca, our worst fear had been what if the next flight was in three days? 😰 Luckily, Norwegian airlines put us on an early morning flight the next day & we were back on track! 😎
We picked up our car from Larnaca airport and drove straight to the Stamatia Hotel at Ayia Napa, by the Pantachou Beach. I have some really nice things to say about the staff here who helped us get in touch with the local Booking.com personnel and changed our booking dates without any extra fees, isn’t that so very service-minded of them?! We predictably spent most of our two days by the pool and in the shallow sea, which was perfect for me since I’m not a very confident swimmer. And at 30ºC, these tepid waters were all we needed!
We lunched at the Ocean Basket both days, their seafood and sushi were simply to die for! A first for us was their olive cake, with alternate layers of pastry, cream and olive jam, so yumm 🤤 Dinners were relatively okayish in comparison, although we selected some of the more famous meat restaurants. We didn’t let ourselves be too disappointed – we made up by gorging tons of guilt-free gelato 😆
For Mr.A and I a little bit of sightseeing is always on the agenda. On our second morning we were up at 5:30 to watch the sun go up at the Sunrise Beach, which lays claim to the first sunrise of Europe! Might be true, maybe not, but serene nevertheless. The Ayia Napa Sculpture Park was a good surprise with many artistic works. We also drove around the seaside to check out Cape Greco for its cliffs & sea caves. Cliff divers were having a grand time as we cheered them on! The Monachus Monachus Arch is a natural sea arch that the wind and waves have carved out over millions of years. Reminded us of the Twelve Apostles in Australia. We climbed a steep flight of steps up to the Ayios Elias Church in Protaras, and took in the sights from the hilltop. Following the customs of the church, we tied ribbons and made wishes upon them…what a romantic thought to trust your faith upon little strings of satin…
As evening fell, we were back walking the streets at Ayia Napa, watching people and enjoying the cooler atmosphere. We came by an amusement park agog with frolickers having a go at roller coasters, giant wheels, bungee jumps and an insane 360degee spinner called Booster. As luck would have it, we chanced upon a free viewing of traditional Greek dance performance put up by troupes from Cyprus and Greece. What an authentic experience! Mr.A found a little kitty by the bushes and contemplated for a while if we should adopt it right then & there, but better sense prevailed 😉 After getting mandatory couple photos snapped at the I ❤ Ayia Napa sign in the city center, we capped the night with more gelatos and called it a day🍦 😊
Next stop : Paphos, another resort town in the southwest of Cyprus!