Sopot – romantic, crowded and charming.

Fot. Pomorskie.Travel

Sopot, not a big city, situated between Gdansk and Gdynia. On one side surrounded by the waters of the Baltic Bay and from the other by the Tricity Landscape Park. For some group of people, it is the most romantic city in Poland, for others the destination for health treatments, the rest come here to relax and to have fun.

Sopot is a health sea resort. Every year people from all over Poland come here to have health treatments and drink special salt brine and the iodine water from the deep ground.

Sopot is a city with rich history with its characteristic symbol of Poland – the pier. This pier is a symbol of Sopot as well as the longest such object in Europe. It was built Between XIX /XX c. The walking section is over half kilometre long, with its 450 metres leading into the Baltic bay waters. Gradually renovated and modernised, today the pier is proud to have a modern marina, where luxurious yachts and boats can come. Pier is Sopot is the place for strolls and relaxation. You can have a rest on one of the benches, direct Your face towards the sun, listen to the waves and the birds singing, to feel the true happiness.

The pier in Sopot with modern marina, fot. Pomorskie.Travel

Near the pier there are two historical parks – the Northern Spa and the Southern Spa. We can find over 60 different kinds of trees and plants under protection. There is a recreation park, small football pitch, picturesque walking paths and the cycling paths. In the southern Spa there are also so called inhalation mushrooms, where You can try the healthy salt brine.

Sopot - unobvious attractions

Sopot is also the place with a big number of walking paths along the sea shore, where we can walk (or cycle or use a pedicab or roller skaters) towards Gdynia or Gdansk. Along the walking paths there are plenty of bigger and smaller restaurants, serving mainly fish. There are also luxurious hotels along, including almost 100 years old Grand Hotel and spa and health facilities. There is also a Balneological Hospital which offers swimming in salt brine pools and the former lighthouse, from which there is a beautiful view to the pier, beach and the Baltic Bay.

Legendary Grand Hotel, fot. mat. Sofitel Grand Sopot 

The central part of the spa is a pedestrian street called The Heroes of Monte Cassino. This is the place where are most of cafes, restaurants , clubs and the Chamber Stage of the Cost Theatre and characteristic due to its architecture Crooked House. Walking down the city towards South – West we reach the forested part of Sopot with the famous Forest Opera. It is an amphitheatre, which since 1909 is one of the most important point on the concert map of Poland. There are shows, festivals and concerts organised here till today.

Along the Haffner Street (the city founder, by the way), there are the most imposing houses and mansions in Sopot and the archaeological open air museum“Grodzisko” in Sopot. It is something for the history lovers due to the fact that this was the place where the first settlement was located at VIII c.

Sopot is full of life all year long. It is worth coming here during the summer, when the streets are all the time crowded, as well as in the Winter time, when You can only hear the waves and the seagulls

The Forest Opera in Sopot, center of artistic life in the resort

 

Check attractions and points of interest in the vicinity of Sopot in Gdansk or Gdynia.

Jean Georges Haffner

Jean Georges Haffner

     Born in Colmar in Alsace, he was a medical doctor and is remembered and honoured as the founder of the first health resort and spa in Sopot. Taking into account his achievements, for the city to call him the father of Sopot is fully justified.

Jean Georges Haffner arrived to Gdańsk as an Army Doctor with Napoleon's Grande Armée during its unstoppable march across the countries of Europe. He was garrisoned in Gdańsk, the city referred to as the "Gibraltar of the Baltic" by Napoleon, who then granted the city the status of a Free City - n paper. In reality the City and its residents were robbed by Napoleon's officers in the most outrageous manner. Luckily for Haffner, Jean Rapp, General and Haffner's school friend became the Governor of Gdańsk. With such connections Haffner had his ways to implement his serious plans. Next to being a medical doctor and General Pracritioner he was also a hygiene propagator and believed in the reviving powers of sea bathing. Pursuant to his friend's and protector's order, no more than a year after the French took over Gdańsk, Haffner began his work on organising a bathing resort in Brzeźno. This way, the insignificant fishing village on the sea became the first health resort on the Baltic Sea. Initially it was intended to host the French soldiers but it created a new fashion which was followed by others.


After the Russian defeat of Napoleon Haffner did not return to France. He stayed in Gdańsk and for his purposes he chose a small fishing village located on the sea. He apparently decided on this location when he saw Sopot for the first time. He decided that the spot was perfect for opening a bathing resort which in time could be developed into a health resort. He married a wealthy widow in Gdańsk, and offered his medical services to people, ran a public bath and was dedicated his every free moment to planning and soon after to implementing the plans and projects which allowed Sopot to be turned into a city. Under his supervision, with support from the authorities, various new facilities were created, including bathing and recreation facilities in Sopot located around today's Skwer Kuracyjny. The fashion for bathing became more and more popular, so the number of guests grew. Over a few years the sleepy fishing village turned into a health resort and 20-30 years later it became a spa which could compete with renowned centres of its type all over Europe.


There is a fine monument to Dr. Haffner in Park Północny (Northern Park) in Sopot, and the neighbouring Street is also named after him. Also in Brzeźno he is well remembered and the local park is named after the founder of the Brzeźno bathing resort.