What are some of your favorite memories of Sopot?
My favorite memory is not something I would like to have again, ever!
The thing is that lufthansa is the preffered flight out of Gdansk which flies at 6.40am for connections to Munich and then ahead to Asia.
It is a tradition for me and my friends to not sleep of course as I have to reach airport at 5am.
packing done, all money spent barring the taxi fare, headed out for party to come back at 4.30, pick up the bag and rush out. Perfect planning.
In May 2013, the mistake i did was that I came back from the party st 4am, which was 30 mins earlier than usual and all hell broke lose. I had nothing to do for next 30 mins and as expected, i put up the alarm and went to sleep, only to be woken up by the phone ringing to check all is okay with my boarding, but unfortunately it was 6.30am. Yes i missed the flight and hence I cannot call myself a perfect traveller anymore. All because of sopot!
How would you spend 36 hours in Sopot?
1000hrs: go to the Gdansk Old Town - for a walk around the alleys where the Germans took over in WW2. The old buildings are not so old, the whole city was actually re-built.
1400hrs: go to one of the restaurants by the canal, near hilton hotel for some polish/german cuisine
1600hrs: go to Gdansk Stocznia, the place where uprising began against communism in the 70s.
1800hrs: Head to Monte Cassino in Sopot to have drink/dinner and soak in all the history that you just witnessed. If people around you are interested, start discussions on Poland, Germany and Russia. You can spend hours!!
2000hrs: head back to the hotel to get some rest
2300hrs: get dressed for the party, head to Monte Cassino, start with Czekolada club 1st floor, then after an hour move to Versalke club which is in same compound.
0200hrs: head to Spatif, the place where you would not get place to set a foot, but once you do, you would not like to come back.
Though there are 4 more good clubs, but keep it 3 for the night.
0500hrs: head out and go to the kebab store (if not drunk lying on the floor,) eat Zapiekanka or a Kebab and head back.
1400hrs: wake up, head for Gdynia - Cafe Bollywood for some wholesome Indian Food. Have a sheesha, one of the best in town.
1600hrs: take a walk around Gdynia pier which is much quieter than Gdansk or Sopot
1900: Dinner at Zlota Rybka in Sopot, have a Schwab (pork ribs) and go back to the Sopot beach for relaxing.
2200: Get dressed for the party again... repeat!
What kind of practical information should first-time visitors know about Sopot?
To be direct, Sopot is a party place. It lies in the middle of the tricity (gdansk, sopot, gdynia) and actually very few people live here. Most of them live in Gdansk and Gdynia but come to Sopot for beaches, food and clubs.
Good thing is that Poland is one of the least expensive countries I have been in Europe. A cheeseburger in McD will cost 3.50 PLN, which is less than a euro.
A beer is around a euro or max euro and a half. No compromise on quality though.
I do not speak polish but I have spent around 4 months and I can safely say that you can get through with English.
Transportation is okay, there is a train (a very slow train!!) called SKM connection the tricity which is also cheap. The taxi's are available on call, you can get all numbers online. Buses will be more difficult to take because of small stations named only in Polish langusage.
From the airport, a taxi would cost 80 PLN to reach city centre. If you plan it right, you can take a bus Route 110 to Gda?sk-Wrzeszcz Railway Station (3.60 PLN) and then take a train to either Gdansk, or Sopot or Gdynia and it will cost between 2.80 to 5.80 PLN. So you can reach your destination within 1 hour in less than 3 euros for sure.
What are some precautions that people should take while exploring Sopot?
Drunk people can be a problem for any city, same holds true for Sopot. But I have seen police patrols at popular places, so it is not much of a worry.
All the clubs have bouncers and they are more strict than usual. So avoid any fights.
On weekends, avoid white bright shoes for men. Better to wear black.
Any other indispensable pieces of advice to share?
Winters can be pretty severe, so plan the travel between May and September. Gdansk airport is connected via low cost flights like Wizz air to continent and Ryanair to UK. But overall, it is still not well connected. Only Lufthansa is main airline, so flights can tend to be expensive of not booked in time.
The tricity is worth visitng, and can be seen in not so expansive budget too.
When the sun is out, there is no better place to be other than the pier. With beaches on both sides, this a good place for biking, running, rollerskating and beach volleyball. There is a promenade running 5km on each side for all these activities.
If you want to go to a club for party till 6am, but still want to avoid college crowd and want to mingle with, how to say, a little more matured people (though totoally drunk!) Spatif is the club for you. The music is much different than regular club music and has a latin/old school feel.
Monte Cassino is an expensive street for food and drinks but this place seems to defy logic. Where all beer is 12 PLN per glass on an average, this place serves at 4 PLN, bang in the middle of the street. Needless to say, most happening place even on weekdays. Should i say more?
This is the whole street - Monte Cassino - the most famous in small city of Sopot. It has few shops, so not big for shopping but it is an awesome place for food, drinks, clubbing (and club hopping) and relaxing on the beach. There is mexican, italian, indian, spanish tapas and of course polish cousine restaurant which have good service and they charge accordingly. It is certainly not cheap.
Then there are clubs - Versalke, Czekolada, King Kong, Spatif, Ego, Dreamclub (and the list goes on...) which open at 10pm and then go on till the last customer, usually 5 or 6 am. It is one of the liveliest places I have every seen in Europe.
For people who are looking out for something more, there are 2 gentlemen clubs - Cocomo and Show - i wont give much details here, i am sure right people would have understood by now.