Sopot and Gdynia are the duo that makes up the other two cities of the Tri-City area. Neither can outmatch Gdansk's historical sites, but each has its own distinct appeal.
Sopot's blend of small-town charm and cosmopolitan chic give it a special spot in the hearts of Poles. The century-old villas, embellished with turrets and crowned with cupolas, contribute to a beguiling, fairytale-like atmosphere. In 1823, Jean Georges Haffner, a doctor in Napoleon's army, introduced the idea of reaping the health benefits of sea-bathing in the waters of Sopot, and subsequently elevated the town into a fashionable seaside resort of the moneyed classes. This was the kind of place where, in order to properly summer, you had to be somebody. During the Communist period, the resort lost some of its sheen; the idea of decadent seaside frolicking didn't chime with the reigning ideological aesthetic. Since 1989, however, Sopot has mounted a comeback, cashing in on its former glamour while affirming its identity as Poland's top summer party town. During the day, its waterfront attracts sun, sea, and sand lovers. After dark, party animals flock to the most happening clubs in the Tri-City. In July and August, the visitor density surges up; late spring and early autumn are the best time to enjoy Sopot without jostling for hotel rooms or beach space.
While Sopot has obvious appeal, Gdynia, the most northerly of the Tri-City set, is an acquired taste and often skipped by tourists. You, too, could do the same unless you have time to spare. It is a concrete mass that started life as a quiet fishing village. In the early 20th century, the Treaty of Versailles created the Free City of Gdansk and thrust Gdynia into the newly reformed Polish State. It became Poland's access point to the sea and, in May 1921, the development started to convert it into a modern port. Today, it is a port city with all the trappings of a seaside town.