Tricity & surroundings

You don’t have to be able to pronounce “Lech Wałęsa” properly in order to visit Gdańsk, but after a visit to the fine, Hanseatic Baltic Sea port and the neighboring Sopot and Gdynia, you will understand how the brightly-painted Baltic Tri-City has risen above the conflicts of the last century and is now a breath of fresh air.

 

  • Old Town of Gdańsk

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The first clue to the history of the city is seen on the Upland Gate to the Old Town, which is decorated with the emblems of Poland, Royal Prussia and Gdańsk, indicating the ownership changes the town has experienced. Pass by the Renaissance Torture House and Gothic Prison Tower to visit the historic interiors of the Town Hall, dating back to the 14th century. Then we take a stroll along the main thoroughfare, Długa Street, visiting the famous Artus Court, built in 1481 as a meeting place for wealthy burghers, who shared a passion for King Arthur and the Round Table, very fashionable in Hansa towns at that time. Stop at Neptune fountain – the symbol of Gdańsk, which owes its many riches to the bounty of the God of the Sea, among which is amber, displayed at the nearby Amber Gallery. Leave Długi Targ through the Green Gate, a gatehouse built for the visits of the kings of Poland and now Lech Wałęsa has an office here. Next to one of the most beautiful streets in Gdańsk, Mariacka Street, where St Mary’s Church stands. The church, founded in 1342, one of the biggest in Europe, is large enough for 25,000 faithful. At the Motława River bank – the Old Crane and wooden granaries are reminders of the trade which underpinned the wealth of Hansaetic Gdańsk.

 

  • Sopot

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Sopot is a seaside town on the Baltic coast. It is well known as a tourist resort destination and as a spa resort. It is famous for it wooden pier – the longest in Europe. It is plenty of good hotels, beautiful beaches, nice pubs and restaurants. It is said that Sopot is the best spot for summer in Poland.

 

  • Gdynia

Gdynia is a part of the Tricity conurbation. It is a relatively new city so there are not many historical monuments. But there are many examples of pre-war architecture. Recently it becomes more and more popular as a summer holidays destination.

 

  • Westerplatte Peninsula

Trip to Westerplatte Peninsula, where for 8 days, 182 Polish Soldiers held off thousands of Nazi forces, supported by artillery, planes and naval units. The Monument to the Defenders of the Coast commemorates not only the Westerplatte garrison, but also other soldiers fighting against the Nazi army on other European coasts. A visit to the French military cemetery in Siedlce district which dates back to Napoleonic times, with over a thousand graves from WW2. In Gdynia harbour one can admire “Błyskawica” (“Lightning”), a WW2 destroyer.

 

  • Stuthoff – former Nazi cencentration camp

A 40-km drive east of Gdańsk takes you to Stuthoff, a former Nazi death camp, where over 85000 people perished. The gas chamber, crematorium and prisoners’ barracks have been preserved. Founded in September 1939, evacuated in 1945, Stuthoff was the first concentration camp the Germans built in Poland and the last to be liberated.

 

  • Malbork – Teutonic Knights’ castle

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A one-hour drive south of Gdańsk takes you to Malbork (Marienburg) – the seat of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, dating back to the 14th century, an outstanding example of medieval defensive construction. The vast redbrick fortification which dominates the Vistula riverbank has the been the backdrop for many a medieval film epic. It has a wealth of treasures, including Teutonic armour and weaponry and an amber room. Admire the sinister Gothic traps, which the Teutonic brothers invented to rid themselves of inconvenient members and guests. There is the possibility to extend the excursion to the whole day and visit other Teutonic castles on request.

 

  • Kaszuby region

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A relaxing drive through the picturesque region locally known as Kashubian Switzerland for its charming, hilly landscape, with its numerous lakes. Stop at the breathtaking Radunia River gorge and walk through the river valley, a nature reserve with some rare mountain flora, unusual at such low altitude. Kartuzy – the capital of the region – is bordered by three lakes. One of them, called Cloister Lake, lies at the foot of a monastery dating back to the 14th century. One of several monks’ dwellings has been preserved. In contrast to these Christian retreats, nearby “Świętopełek Forest” and Sobótka Hill were the scene of pagan ceremonies. Diner at a local inn with folk entertainment. Visit to the Necel family’s pottery business, in Chmielno, where you can watch a short presentation of how they make pots by hand. Select the best, newly-made pieces to purchase. Visit to an open-air museum of traditional Kaszubian lifestyle and culture.

 

  • Peninsula Hel

This narrow peninsula 34km wide and 200 m wide at its narrowest point is an ideal place for holidays. It was formed by sand deposited by the strong currents. The area is inhabited by the Kashubians, a separate western Slavonic people with their own language and customs (in Jastarnia, Hel street names are in both Kashubian and Polish). Each of the resorts has its own particular atmosphere: Jastarnia resembles a fishing village with enchanting nooks, fishermen’s cottages and cosy taverns while Jurata is a very upmarket resort. Hel Peninsula is also famous for its beautiful unspoilt beaches on the Baltic side.

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