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It is the Polish Riviera! Neglect St Tropez – head to seaside Sopot for glitz and glamour at a fraction of the worth



Sugar daddies are wolfing caviar blinis. Bottles of Moet are flowing in nightclubs. All completely regular in Sopot on the Polish Riviera.

This seaside city has had a South of France really feel ever since Frenchman Jean Haffner based a sauna and seashore cabins right here in 1823.


The large distinction from Cannes or Good — other than the temperature — is that every part is remarkably good worth. I’m staying on the Sofitel Grand Sopot lodge within the coronary heart of the resort, the place former company embody Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo.

Come August, rooms right here price £200 an evening, falling to £80 in off-season. You can hardly get lunch in Cannes for that.

Sunbeds line Sopot’s 2.5 mile-long seashore, resulting in Europe’s longest picket pier, which acts as a sort of catwalk above the ocean. Bikini-clad girls clutch chihuahuas whereas glossy yachts dock alongside. Hipsters in Ray-Bans saunter up and provide jetski rides.

Baltic bliss: Tristan Rutherford reveals that Sopot in Poland has a 'South of France' feel, with a 2.5-mile stretch of beach and Europe's longest wooden pier

Baltic bliss: Tristan Rutherford reveals that Sopot in Poland has a ‘South of France’ really feel, with a 2.5-mile stretch of seashore and Europe’s longest picket pier 

Past the pier is Mamuszki 15, a restaurant with 200 seashore chairs on the golden sand. It has its personal sauna and Balinese therapeutic massage studio, sited the place Jean Haffner constructed his authentic bathhouse two centuries in the past. Lunch is Baltic herrings grilled to perfection, with a dill consomme.

That prices a fiver and you should utilize the restaurant’s non-public pool, too. Within the Twenties, some swimmers went nude. That’s as a result of Sopot belonged to the Free Metropolis of Danzig (close by Gdansk), which was later included into the German Reich.

In the course of the Roaring Twenties, Deutsche Luft Hansa would deposit moneyed holidaymakers instantly on the seashore through a seaplane from Berlin. Sopot featured saucy cabaret, however most actions have been mass shows of muscular positivity. Interval images present pier-diving contests, group gymnastics, seashore archery and Wagnerian opera exhibits. Sopot was fancy even then.


It’s fascinating to promenade previous Sopot’s attractive Belle Epoque villas, the place home costs are among the many highest in Poland. Probably the most extravagant villa hosts the Sopot Museum. Right here curator Justyna Gibbs makes use of historic photographs to clarify how, following World Battle II, Sopot grew to become a socialist St Tropez.

Sopot's pier 'acts as a kind of catwalk above the sea', says Tristan

Sopot’s pier ‘acts as a sort of catwalk above the ocean’, says Tristan 

Tristan stays at The Sofitel Grand Sopot hotel (above) in the heart of the resort

Tristan stays at The Sofitel Grand Sopot lodge (above) within the coronary heart of the resort

Come August, rooms at The Sofitel Grand Sopot lodge price £200 an evening, falling to £80 in off-season

The actress Greta Garbo is among the former guests of The Sofitel Grand Sopot hotel. Above is one of its guest rooms

The actress Greta Garbo is among the many former company of The Sofitel Grand Sopot lodge. Above is one in all its visitor rooms 

‘In 1961, Poland’s first rock membership, Non-Cease, opened in Sopot,’ says Gibbs.

An elite group of presidency and army holidaymakers got here from socialist nations such because the Soviet Union and Hungary. Fidel Castro jetted in to smoke cigars by the sand.


Polish vacationers took the direct prepare from Warsaw, then tuned into The Beatles through Radio Luxembourg. In the course of the Sopot Worldwide Tune Pageant, Boney M banged out Rasputin whereas wearing sequined pantaloons.

Sopot, like St Tropez, was initially a fishing village. This meant that overseas garments and illicit books may very well be landed on the seashore. ‘Sopot was a window on the West and possibly probably the most liberal city in Poland,’ says Gibbs.

Tristan travels by train to the Hel Peninsula (above), which contains 20 miles of white-sand beaches

Tristan travels by prepare to the Hel Peninsula (above), which incorporates 20 miles of white-sand seashores

Sopot has previously welcomed legendary visitors such as Marlene Dietrich, pictured above in France in 1933

Sopot has beforehand welcomed legendary guests reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich, pictured above in France in 1933 

The nation’s first disco, Musicorama, opened within the Grand Sopot lodge in 1970. The launch poster promised music from Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull. They most likely didn’t know what had hit them.


Time to go to a far newer nightclub named Tan. Cripes, I really feel outdated. The membership is sponsored by Chivas whisky. The drink is sloshed over two dancefloors as a thumping beat propels palms within the air. For gown code learn ‘half bare’.

At Tan, the shot of selection is Ostoya Vodka. It’s alarmingly drinkable. Disgrace that tomorrow I’m driving the railroad to Hel.

The Hel Peninsula incorporates 20 miles of white sand seashores. The £5 prepare from Sopot calls at Jurata (an Insta-generation surf seashore), Jastarnia (for Riviera-style lodges) and Chałupy (Poland’s first naturist seashore). Subsequent you arrive at Hel, a chi-chi seaside escape. Hel is heaven for beachcombers, seafood lovers and swimmers, though the ocean hardly ever exceeds a Baltic 70f (21c).


Again in Sopot for a pick-me-up, head for the Haffner Resort, which carries on the wellness spirit 200 years after Monsieur Haffer began the primary spa. Therapies embody a paraffin foot wrap (£31), however I am going for a soothing Ayurvedic therapeutic massage, drifting off and never worrying about lavish South of France costs.

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