Recently, I had the pleasure of touring Northern Europe. Besides relaxing and spending time with my family, my objective was to test the outer limits of the trip by discovering at least one ecotourism activity in each of the cities that we would be visiting. In the third of a series entitled Ecotourism in Northern Europe, I invite you to appreciate the wonder of Gdansk.
Facts about Gdansk:
A coastal city on the Baltic Sea, Gdansk combined with the rest of its “tri-city” Polish neighbors, Gdynia and Sopot, features a great amount of lakes and forests; lots of recreational activities including kayaking, canoeing and hiking; and spa and health rejuvenation vacations all with a conscious eye toward environmental preservation.
Although 12 miles separates the “tri-city” neighbors, car and bus transportation is a bit difficult due to a lack of road infrastructure – a legacy from the days of Soviet rule. A better alternative is the electric train that runs frequently through the “tri-city” neighbors and only takes 35 minutes. Once within Gdansk, there are also plenty of trams that reach all corners of the city.
- Partake in a kayak tour around Gdansk that takes you through the natural as well as some man-made water routes of the city. Take the route through the sightseeing and historical parts of Motlawa and Oplyw Motlawy and find yourself in beautiful natural surroundings right at the center of the city. You will be surprised to see such a variety of birds among the historical Gdansk fortifications.
- Although Gdynia is the youngest of the three “tri-cities” and an industry shipyard city, it offers vast green areas a marina, and an aquarium that emphasizes conservation.
- Nearly 30 percent of Poland is protected land in the form of national parks, nature reserves, and landscape parks. Although not within the city limits of Gdansk, Slowinski Park, which is one of Poland’s 23 national parks, is approximately 100 miles due west of the “tri-city” and offers many ecotourist activities. Registered both on the UNESCO list of World Biosphere Reserves and the International Ramsar Convention of protected waterways, the main attraction of the park, which stretches for 21 miles along the Baltic coast, is the shifting dunes that reach 140 feet high. Hiking routes as well as cycling paths are well marked and nature enthusiasts can also enjoy the nearby lakes that are replete with birdlife as well as plentiful beaches and even a mini-desert.
Part 4 of this series continues with suggested ecotourism activities in Visby, Sweden.
Check out other articles in the Ecotourism in Northern Europe series including eco-itineraries for:
- Helsinki, Finland
- Riga, Latvia
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