Thursday, July 24, 2014

Some of Europe's Top Beaches Aren't Where You'd Think They Are

In the summer a lot of folks tend to head for the beach.  Now, we all know that his is not my style, so I look for some more unusual things to do.  But, I thought that I would throw in a little beach lore just to make the sunbathers happy.

Gdansk, Poland is one of the more historic cities  in the world.  It's a seaside city on the shores of the Baltic Sea, and it's got enough history to keep anyone busy for weeks.  Gdansk is one of the most northern cities in Poland and they have been at the center of some serious conflicts.  They've been taken over by the Germans, the Russians, The Prussians,The Swedes, The Fins, and Napoleon came knocking as well as Hitler.  Many cities in Poland were completely destroyed in WWII, like Warsaw.  But Gdansk is not only the shipping hub for this hearty souled country, it's got some of the best historical sites left in the country.

The crane in Gdansk harbor is the oldest port crane in the world.  This city has an old town and a new town that is only slightly newer.  It has the largest brick gothic church in the world.  It has all kinds of buildings, monuments, and amazing things from days past.  This city is full of culture and art.  There are all kinds of museums and parks.  There are so many things to do that you won't have time to be bored.

If when you're in Europe you're like me, you like to see castles and palaces.  Gdansk is up to that task as well.  Malbork Castle is a great spot to learn about the times of old and monarchies that went with them.  Let's not forget the ongoing history between Russia and Poland that dates back to the times of Catherine the Great and the Polish Prince that may have been the father of the new Romanov Dynasty.

Water is a theme in Gdansk.  The harbor is huge and full of cargo ships, and cruise ships.  You can visit some historic naval vessels while you're in town, and if you're lucky, you can take a trip on the pirate ship.  That's right.  Everyone has been bitten by the pirate bug, and this is a great way to get a look at the city from the water.  It's just for tourists, so be one and enjoy that ride.

So, you've come to Gdansk.  You've gathered some Amber, seen some great old buildings, forts, castles, and a pirate ship.  But, yes, I mentioned the beach.

Across a long bridge there is one of three islands in the area, and it's the one that's man made.  It called Sobieszewo Island.  This is a great place to not only enjoy the beach, but take a hike in the woods.  This is a natural spot and it's gorgeous.  You will love the scenery, the waves, the sun, and the quiet.  It's not the most popular beach in the area, but it's good.  Oh, did I mention that the area around Gdansk, Poland on the coast of the Baltic Sea is a hotspot for summer beachgoers?  Welcome to Europe, baby.  Forget the Riviera.  This is hardcore.

There is a tricity area around Gdansk.  Gdansk is one of the three cities.  Gdynia is another.  Here's a great place to take a ride on a go kart, see a warship, go to the aquarium, and hang out on great beaches.  They are golden sandy beaches with lots of sun.  This is more of a resort town, and a great place to visit.

But even Gdynia isn't quite the resort town that would make my eyebrows raise.  The third city in this northern beach trifecta is Sopot.  This is the resort town.  This is the place that you will find resort hotels, water parks, crowded beaches and spas.  This is the adventure for anyone.  If you ever wanted to go to the beach, but you didn't want to go to the same old places.  If you've ever wondered is there a place to go to the beach that isn't over one hundred degrees and one hundred percent humidity in the summer, then this is for you.  The hotels are grand and old.  The scenery is beautiful.  There are great activities for the kids and spas for you and your significant other.  This is where the Polish people go on local vacations.  And it's as beautiful now as it's ever been.  This is the place where you will still find little pieces of Amber on the beach.  This is the place that was virtually untouched by most conflicts.  This is the place to be.

And if you get tired of the beach, you can always go down to Monte Cassino Street and see some of the more interesting sights like Krzywy Domek or Crooked House.  There is an endless list of interesting sights in this tricity area.  You won't get tired.  There are also monuments to war heroes, lost sailors, and the Jewish people who were murdered by Hitler's men.  There's always something interesting and absolutely always something historical to do in this area.

Sopot, Poland is home to the longest pier in Europe, too.  It hosts a lot of walking space, some great views, and a lot of amazing sunsets.  It doesn't have an amusement park on it, or a hotel, but it's beautiful.

So, if you're looking for a beach, I found one.  Not far from northern Russia along the Baltic Coast, where they are famous for their frozen winters, is a resort area like no other.  Come and sunbathe on the coast of the Baltic in Sopot, Poland.  Enjoy the tricity area of Sopot, Gdynia, and Gdansk.  Have some history with your tan, and have a great time in the summer.

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