To have a successful walking escapade in the surroundings of picturesque nature, you do not have to travel tens of kilometres beyond the city. The phenomenal location of Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia, is generally mentioned when talking about sandy beaches and the Baltic Sea, we do forget about the blessings which are given to us by thickly wooded hills stretching across the western part of metropolitan melting pot. Deciding on one of the marked out interesting tourist trails here, you can in an instant forget about the vicinity of an urban noise.
Yellow “Trójmiejski” trail
A proof of that is for example the enormous popularity of a yellow “Trójmiejski” trail, that links Gdańsk and Gdynia. A 47-kilometre long trail leads across the hills in the edge zone of Wysoczyzna Gdańska [Gdańsk Moraine Upland]. Diverse landform and the richness of forest nature create a fairy tale atmosphere in a relatively short distance from busy roads. Meeting a boar or a roe deer should not be a surprise to us – there is an abundance of them in Trójmiejski Park Krajobrazowy. We will start our hike in the area of PKS station in Gdańsk, where we can find traces of the early modern period fortification of the city.
Further, we will see a lot of charming valleys and valleculas, starting with Królewska and Jaśkowa in Gdańsk Wrzeszcz, through Dolina Strzyży [Strzyża Valley] on the area of Brętowo district and Dolina Radości [Happiness Valley] in Oliwa, ending with Dolina Kaczej [Kaczej Valley] in Gdynia. In the Gdynia part of the route, it is worth to turn one’s attention to Źródło Marii [Maria Spring] – a charming stream with a spring near a chapel of the same name.
In Gdynia, more specifically in the area of Wzgórze św. Maksymiliana [St. Maximilian Hill], there starts a “Zagórskie Strugi” trail. A route marked black leads mainly through thick forests. Despite the trail being 57 kilometres long, you will not get bored at all because of interesting landscapes with numerous hills and charming valley streams – one of them, situated near a Piekiełko forest settlement, can be found in the trail’s name.
The starting point of the hike are the outskirts of Gdynia and Rumia, and the ending one is a border between Wysoczyzna and Pradolina Reda-Łeba [Reda-Łeba proglacial stream valley]. This is where we will find Kalwaria Wejherowska, a cluster of 26 chapels scattered on three hills called Góra Oliwna, Góra Syjon and Góra Kalwaria. The cherry on top is Wejherowo city that is a periphery of Pojezierze Kaszubskie [Kashubian Lake District].
Red “Wejherowski” trail
A 55-kilometre long red “Wejherowski” trail also links Tri-City with Wejherowo, but it has its start in Kamienny Potok, a district of Sopot situated in the neighbourhood of forests. The trail’s course is similar to the one of “Zagórska Struga” trail – here we will also visit Lasy Wejherowsko-Chylońskie and reach a charming Zagórska Struga valley. However, in the second part, we will hike to see a few beautifully located lakes – Zawiat, Wygoda Wyspowo and Pałsznik. The last one is situated on the terrain of Pałecznica nature reserve that protects rare plant species. In the plan of the hike, it is worth to take into account a longer stay in Marszewo, more specifically in the local Leśny Ogród Botaniczny [Forest Botanic Garden] with interestingly designed educational trails. The trail will lead us to Wejherowo, in which except for already mentioned Kalwaria, we should see an 18th century Pałac Przebendowskich – currently, in this palace there is a Muzeum Piśmiennictwa i Muzyki Kaszubsko-Pomorskiej [Museum of Writing and Kashubian-Pomorskie Music].
A blue “Kartuski” trail
From Kamienny Potok, we can also go on to another corner of Kashubia, to the west – to Kartuzy. A blue “Kartuski” trail amounts to almost 70 kilometres, and in its starting sections we will visit, among others, Lasy Oliwskie [Oliwa Forests] in Gdańsk with a charming Dolina Radości and a historic water forge. The most interesting in terms of nature is the road along Radunia river. Beautiful landscapes of the river’s water gap (also called Przełom Babidolski [Babidolski Water Gap]) protects a reserve called Jar Raduni. In this area, it is worth to stay a little longer in Żukowo town, to see a Gothic minster left one time by Norbertines sisters. In the area of Kartuzy, that is at the very end of the trail, there is a Stare Modrzewie reserve with a group of majestic trees.
Green “Skarszewski” trail
What about a hike to the south? In Kamienny Potok we can also choose an 82-kilometre long, marked green, “Skarszewski” trail. As the name suggests, we will head towards Skarszewy, a city on the periphery of Kociewie. Our hike in majority will take place in forests neighbouring with Sopot and Gdańsk, as well as in the eastern part of Pojezierze Kaszubskie. We will reach, among others, two lakes – Otomińskie and Przywidzkie – in the area of which there are traces of old-Slavic hill forts. A similar attraction – an 11th century Gnosna hill fort – we can find on Zamkowa Góra by Wietcisa river, in the north-west direction from Skarszewy. In the final part of the trail, it is worth to visit Szczodrowo village, where we will find an unusual wooden church of Saints Apostles Simon and Jude Thaddeus from 16th century.
Black “Wzgórza Szymbarskie”
Who feels like going for a longer hike, can enter in Sopot the start of a black “Wzgórza Szymbarskie” [“Szymbark Hills”] trail. This 120-kilometre route reaches as far as the centre of Kaszubski Park Krajobrazowy, along the way showing practically all assets of Kashubia region. Let’s mention at least present in the name Wzgórza Szymbarskie with Wieżyca, the highest point of North European Plain (329 metres above sea-level), or Centrum Edukacji I Promocji Regionu [The Regional Centre of Education and Promotion] in Szymbark with an upside-down house and the longest board in the world. The trail covers also Raduńskie lakes with Lasy Mirachowskie [Mirachowskie Forests] and nearby nature reserves Kurze Grzędy and Turzycowe Lake. The trail ends in a Sierakowice village.