We have all heard of Tri-athlons, tri-cycles..but where is this…Tricity?
POLAND – The metropolitan area made of Gdansk, Gdynia, and Sopot in Pomerania has officially become Tricity only around 10 years ago, making 3 apparently different cities become what they are today.
Still a bit confused? Well, every local will tell you that when you visit Poland, you shouldn’t miss the seaside, because yes, they have somewhere around 500 km of beaches along the Baltic Sea. And along with this coast, you will find these 3 major cities, each one with its own vibe and charm; even different government and sometimes, conflicting goals in mind that form together the awesome Tricity along the Polish Riviera.
You will find here beautiful beaches to relax, lots of preserved historical buildings, great food, and awesome places to party in (if you are into that).
1. Study and Flourish in Gdansk City
Some see it as the big brother of the 3 cities because this is the mature, responsible entity, where you go to the university, have your first job and basically take your first steps into adulthood. I found it a fascinating city filled with history, small chic streets and great food.
Get to know the history
First things first, let’s start with the origin of the place. If you are a history buff, chances are you already heard of Gdansk, the magical harbor city with 1,000 years of tumultuous history that I am sure still has a lot of unspoken tales.
This is the place where WWII started, causing them to lose most of the original city structures. But that doesn’t mean it is still a city in ruins because Gdansk is far from that. You will find a modern, beautiful and captivating city that still exudes history, giving you small glimpses of the past. And what a marvellous sight it is!
With the eyes wide open, a day in the city takes you through colourful buildings of very different sizes, window fronted stores packed with amber jewellery, all the while walking on the history-filled pavement stones in the harmonious songs of the seagulls.
Start with the Old Town, and be sure to catch the view of the city from above in Saint Mary’s Cathedral. Don’t get discouraged by the 400 steps in the Saint Mary Cathedral because for a small fee you can even grab the elevator to the top.
After that, get a picture in front of Neptune’s fountain. It is said that the statue of this sea god symbolizes the city’s connection to the sea.
Next, head to the Gradowa Hill to catch the sunset and the panorama of the city. You will immediately spot the Millenial Cross.
Taste the traditional Polish food
Beyond Polish Vodka, is there more to this culture aside from alcohol?
Foodies, get ready for this! Polish food truly has a unique taste. Even though meat and potato-based foods are very popular, their Slavic influences give the food a rich indulgent taste. Of course, every Pole would recommend you’d start with Zurek (their traditional soup) and then taste some pierogi (traditional dumplings filled with all sorts of combinations, from cabbage to mushrooms, meat and even fruits like strawberries); but given the fact that you are at the seaside, fish is the way to go.
Curious as to what else is around Poland? Check out Kosice in Slovakia!
Get out of the city and visit Malbork Castle
Although Gdansk is a great city, that can keep you busy for days, don’t miss out on the chance to see the world’s biggest castle – Malbork Castle.
Just hop on a train from Gdansk Glowny and in 1 hour or so you will be standing in front of the biggest castle you have ever seen. You might get mesmerized by the beautiful view and get off at Malbork Kaldowo, the stop before, but this will only give you the perfect excuse to enjoy the view from the other side of the castle, right next to the river Nogat.
Zamek w Malborku, which is how the Poles call it, is actually a series of 3 fortresses surrounded by a brick wall. It costs 10 euros and I suggest bringing comfy shoes as the standard guided tour takes around 3 hours; but you are also free to wander around as you like. And for good reason, as there are a lot of places to explore: from classy rooms, dungeons, towers, small museums galleries, to and even old toilets.
Fun fact – one of the towers hosts one of the original toilets along with the toilet paper of the Teuton times – cabbage leaves.
On your way out of this impressive castle, you can step into a very modern post office where you can mail to your loved ones your thoughts on a postcard in just a few minutes.
2. Party like a local in Sopot
The place where all the Poles come to relax and the most exciting city of the 3 – Sopot. It is squeezed in the middle of the coast, between Gdansk and Gdynia. The city has a bit of everything for every taste and needless to say, during summer it is packed with the most fashionable people ready to party to the break of dawn.
Take the longest stroll on the Wooden Pier
If you’ve ever visited Sopot, probably the most remarkable memory you have is that of a long wooden pier. This also happen to be the longest one in Europe. It is a breezy walk right above the water with benches along the way where you can enjoy a coffee and watch the boats sail into the sun.
Get the pulse of the city
The party city of the Baltic Sea, Sopot has a reputation that precedes it. Ulica Bohaterów Monte Cassino is the street that gathers everything you need for a fun night on the town; from bars with all sort of cocktails and beers (there are great beers produced in Poland) to restaurants, clubs, and even casinos.
The city also hosts all sorts of festivals as well and if you are passionate about films, plan your trip mid-July to catch the Sopot Film Festival.
Have a coffee in the Crooked House
At one look, this phoot beliw might look photoshopped, but yes, this unusually shaped house in Sopot exist! It’s an amusing building you will spot while you walk along the streets of the city.
You can even go in as it is rather large and, to no one’s surprise, besides art galleries, here you will find more coffee shops, bars, and nightclubs.
3. Gdynia – A city of sea and dreams
There’s a saying in Poland about the 3 cities and it goes something like this…
“Live in Gdynia, work in Gdansk and party in Sopot”.
So far it is spot on with Gdansk and Sopot and I think definitely Gdynia is a great place to live in.
Smaller than Gdansk and for sure “younger”, Gdynia emerged as a seaside resort town around 92 years ago and the flow of tourist keeps on increasing with each passing year.
Much like the other 2 cities of Tricity, Gdynia has gorgeous beaches as well, but this is the place where you come for some peace of mind, meditation and why not, fishing on the wild beaches.
A truly happy place
With 3 gorgeous beaches, a pier and a charming, yet modern city centre, Gdynia instantly had my heart. Some say this is the happiest place in the country and more and more Poles pack their bags and set off for Gdynia in hopes of a better life, a successful business or in search for the love of their life! And who am I to contradict them?
To Hel & back 🙂
Oh, let the cheesy puns roll! Grab a train or a ferry from Gdynia with the direction Hel – a very long and narrow peninsula with sandy beaches, lots of fresh air, exciting water sports and to just relax for the day. Even if you are not big on water sports or lazing on the beach, you can still find some interesting restaurants, museums, and even a seal sanctuary.
Locals get a real pleasure in digging for mushrooms here but they are also experts in picking the ones that are edible, so please don’t go picking on your own, as there are hallucinogenic as well as fatal ones out there.
Sun on your face, sand in your hair and interesting history marks all around you!
A few days spent on the coast of the Baltic sea recharged you with more than just vitamin D. It fills you with good vibes, joy and a desire to explore more.