Poland: Weekend in Pomerania

In Poland, Travel Guides
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A lot of people when I say “I’m from Poland”, ask “oh cool, Warsaw or Cracov?”. Well, that can be surprising but we have in Poland few more cities, and my personal opinion- much more beautiful than Warsaw.

Place that I want to write about today was my home, my oasis, where I could rest and energize for another great travel. Now, living outside of Poland and hearing a lot of questions, I would like to tell you a little bit about the place that we in Poland call Pomerania.

So Pomerania is one 16 Polish voivedeships, it lies in the central north, by the Baltic sea. Capitol of the voivedeship is Gdansk, very old, very beautiful, long time ago was one of the most important seaports in Europe. Gdansk together with Gdynia and Sopot creates, how we call it 3-city (Tricity). They’re called like that, because they’re situated right next to each other on the coast of Gdansk Bay.

WEEKEND IN POMERANIA

[My little idea of the perfect three-day trip in one of the most charming places in Poland]

DAY 1

Gdansk

As the capitol, Gdansk is the biggest city in Pomerania. As one of the oldest in Poland has also a lot of things to offer.

Gdańsk Głowny {Central Gdansk} is the name of railway station, where you can get, by train (called SKM) from the Lech Walesa Airport and also from every other city in Tricity and small Tricity (Rumia, Reda and Wladyslawowo, that lies west from Gdynia).

Already there you’ll see beautiful old architecture of a city.

  1. Walk through the old town. This is where most of the monuments is located. Right before the main street we can find medieval prison tower and torture house(few years ago there was a torture museum, today it’s Amber Museum in there) built as part of city’s fortification, its foundations comes from beginning of XIV century.
    The main street- Ulica Długa  (Long Street/ Lane) starts with the Golden Gate, created in XVII century. On the street we can see Town’s Hall and very famous Neptune’s Fountain, constructed in 1633 is located by the entrance to Artus Court, right next to the Fountain is located very intresting “theatre in the window”, unfortunately plays are only in polish.
    Long Street ends on XVI century Green Gate that takes us to the River Motława, ferry there crosses the river since XVII century (of course not the same one).
  2. Lunch by the River Motława. On the boulvard by the river is located plenty of restaurants, almost every kind, american, italian… It’s great to sit down, eat some lunch, or drink some coffee and let our legs rest a little bit. From every restaurant we’ll have beautiful view on the river, ships and from some of them on another popular attraction of Gdańsk, Żuraw-medieval port crane. Here also every year usually in the middle of August you can see St. Dominic’s Fair, one of the biggest cultural and trade events on the open air, with almost every kind of product for sale, starting with antics, ending on sweets and fancy fruit knives.
  3. Going back through Floriańska StreetHere we’re getting to less touristic point. My personal favorite and most beautiful street in Gdańsk, full of basements and amber sellers Florianska Street will take you back to middle-ages and make you feel like aristocracy.
  4. Chillout on polish beach. Baltic isn’t warm sea, but beaches are wide, yellow and beautiful…. And crowded. But it’s not impossible to find a spot, but be prepare for lots of people. My favorite beaches are Sopot beaches (but far away from Pier, water there is nasty); Brzeźno in Gdansk; and Jelitkowo Park. The last one is perfect when you don’t like lying on the beach or you think weather isn’t good for that. Jelitkowo Park lies on the border between Sopot and Gdańsk and includes beach, green park and pretty boulvard with plenty of stands with souvenirs, ice cream and waffles. There’s also few nice restaurants.
  5. Park Oliwski- Oliwa Park. Oliwa is a suburb of Gdansk, famous because of Battle of Oliwa, one of the greatest battles in Polish-Swedish war in XVII century. Old Oliwa is very nice to just hang out, but my favorite part is big Oliwa Park with old orangery and Opatów Palace.
  6. In the evening I recommend show up on Długa Street again and see how beaitiful that place become in the night. If you thought it’s beautiful earlier, in the evening you’ll think “that place is so underestimated”.

DAY 2

Sopot and Gdynia

Now it’s time for rest of the Tricity, not so old, but also very impressive.

Sopot is famous polish resort, created in XIX century by John George Haffner, soldier of Grande Armee (Naoleon’ Army).
Gdynia is actually very new city, was built during inter-war years as a seaport, because Gdansk that time had status of Free City (it wasn’t part of Poland).

  1. If you want to relax on the beach a little bit morning is a good time for that, like I mentioned before Sopot beach is one of my favorites specially part on the east from the Pier.
  2. Walk in Sopot. Sopot also has very popular main street. It’s called Monte Cassino and it starts with old St. George’s Church. On the opposite side of the street you’ll see McDonald’s, meeting point of 80% of young people in Sopot. When you get down on the left side, right next to H&M you’ll see typical Sopot postcard picture- Krzywy Domek (crooked little house), but don’t ask me why it looks like it looks, all I know is that it magically appeared on Monte Cassino around 10 years ago and now it’s popular and look funny.
    Now I’ll tell you about a secret place than not every tourist knows. When you cross big square with coffee shops and movie theatre, you’ll see on your left side white building, at the end of that building (still going straight) you’ll see an elevator and blue “i” sign (for tourist information), when you’ll take that elevator to the highest point you’ll get to great viewpoint!
  3. And now it’s finally time for the mysterious Pier, that I mentioned few times before. Walking still down the boulvard(you can see it already from the viewpoint) you’ll get to the longest wooden pier in Europe. During the summer season you have to have ticket to get on pier, but it’s not a lot, it’s 7,50 PLN (around $2) adult ticket. In June, July and August every evening you can watch movie on the pier, it’s very funny expierience when you can sit with friends or family on the beach, eat some snack and enjoy usually some famous movie.
  4. In the afternoon let’s go to Gdynia! Part of Gdynia I’d love to show you is seaport. You can get there by bus 21 or S, and get out on stop “Skwer Kościuszki” (Kosciuszko’s Square). You’ll see there plenty of ships, yachts and probably people. There are two ships museums- ORP “Błyskawica”- WWII destroyer and “Dar Pomorza”- great three-masted sailing ship (that actually still sails, mostly with students). At the end of a square is also nice aquarium with Baltic fish.
  5. For dinner you can sit in one of nice restaurants on Gdynia’s boulvard or go back to Sopot and sit in pretty “Bar Przystań” surronded by fishing boats and with little fishing museum and eat some good Baltic fish.
  6. I haven’t mentioned that before, but Sopot is not only a resort, but also is party capitol of Poland. Whole Monte Cassino in the evening is full of promotors who’ll give you free passes to clubs (tens of them), but one that I’d love to recommend you is “Trzy Siostry” (Three sisters) that are located in SHeraton Hotel’s building. It’s pub-club with very intresting decor and good music.

DAY 3

Malbork/ Hel

On third day of your trip I’ll give you two options, I highly recommend both of them, but if you don’t have time or you don’t like that particular type of spending free time you have an option.

OPTION 1- MALBORK

That’s great option for you if you like museums, history and old amazing things. You can take a train from Gdansk, Gdynia or Sopot to little city of Malbork. In the city located is XIII century Castle of the Teutonic Order,  the largest in the world. Was written on UNESCO’s list at the end of XX century. Aldult ticket is around 10$ including a audioguide in few languages.

OPTION 2- HEL

If you prefer more relaxing time, that’s option for you. Hel is located at the end of peninsula that encompass Gdansk Bay, on one side of the city you can swim in bay on the other in the open sea. You can catch ferry tram from all three cities, price of the cruise is 11$ and it takes around 2 hours. You can hang out on boulvard, check the open sea water, eat some lunch. Famous attraction of Hel is seal sanctuary. 

TRANSPORT 

Whole Tricity has well developed public transportation. From Gdańsk to Władysławowo goes train SKM and it connects city centres of Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot. There is also plenty of buses (red in Gdansk, blue in Gdynia). So you can easly get everywhere by bus or train. Bus tickets are around 50 cents for one way ticket, you can buy them in the bus but watch out if you want to buy ticket in Gdynia bus (blue one) you’ll have to buy 5 together (around $2). Prices of a train depends on where you want to go, they usually starts with 50 cents end on around 1$ (in Tricity).
You can also easly rent a car, but you have to remember there will be always problem with parking in city centre.

WHERE TO SLEEP

If you want fancy hotel in the resort, there are two in Sopot- Grand Hotel and Sheraton Hotel and prices starts with $160.
If you don’t want to spend plenty of money there is plenty of little hotels, guesthouses and rooms in private lodging. You can easly find them in the internet. If you’ll decide to sleep in Sopot almost every place will be fine, it’s not a big city, but if you want to stop in Gdynia or Gdansk better check the location and transport to city centre from those places. You for sure don’t want to stay in parts of those cities called: Orunia Dolna/Górna, Nowy Port, Oksywie.

WHERE TO EAT

There is plenty of restaurants of every kind in whole Tricity, but if you want to try some good polish food I’ll recommend few of my favorites:

-Mandu Restaurant in Gdansk Oliwa- delicious pierogi (dumplings)

-“Bar Przystań” in Sopot- fish (specially flounder, polish “FLĄDRA”)

-Bar “Bursztyn” in Sopot- very close to the beach on Grunwaldzka Street, it’s a cheap restaurant where you can try few kinds of polish food: “barszcz” (beet soup), dumplings, “kopytka” (kind of dumplings without a filling), “leniwe” (like “kopytka”, but sweet), “placki ziemniaczane” (potatoe pancakes).

-“Harnaś” in Sopot- hidden in the woods mountain hut with some polish food from the mountains. Try “Żur w chlebie” (soup made from fermented rye flour served in bowl made of bread)

What else you should try?

Polish beer (“Tyskie”, “Harnaś”, “Kasztelan” etc.)- remember polish legal drinking age is 18.

Pączki– polish donuts, but with a filling. You can find the in every bakery.

Of course, whole Tricity has plenty of other attractions. Those that I told you about are my personal favorites.

As you probably realised my plan for perfect trip in Pomerania is made for summer. Summer season in Poland starts with 1st of May (long weekend) and ends somewhere in the middle of September. I recommend that time for your trip.
Why, you ask? Well, we’re still by Baltic sea (I remind- sea that we share with Sweden and Finlan, mostly cold countries) so our weather isn’t perfect. Still better than UK’s weather I think, but not perfect.

At the end few picture. I’m sorry there’s not a lot of them, but there’s that thing, that when you leave somewhere, you don’t take a lot of pictures of places.

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