Q. We heard your travel editor on the radio banging on about taking holidays in the "Polish Riviera". Is it a realistic option for a holiday for a young family (two girls, agedthree and five) in August? How would we get there and where should we stay?
D Hudson, via e-mail
A The Polish Riviera extends for several hundred kilometres from the German border to Gdansk, along the country's Baltic coastline. It is a favourite summer destination of Poles, but foreign interest is on the increase among savvy holidaymakers seeking low prices and undiscovered beaches. Temperatures average 25C during July and August, although the mercury has been known to jump to the high 30s.
The most popular beaches are in the Tri-City area - the coastal stretch encompassing Gdynia, Sopot and Gdansk. Sopot has been Poland's most fashionable resort since the early 20th century. It has 4km of beaches and Europe's longest wooden pier with cafés and stalls. Numerous lifeguards patrol the sands, although the water is generally calm. Once your children have tired of sandcastles, Aqua Park (00 48 585 55 85 55; www.aquaparksopot.pl) has several pools, slides and a "wild river". A one-day family ticket costs 152Plz (£26).
A foot and cycle path in southern Sopot leads to nearby Gdansk, a city that dates to 997 and has been an independent state for much of its history. Much of the historic quarter was destroyed in the Second World War, but it has since been beautifully restored. Gdansk is also home to a zoo (00 48 58 552 00 42; www.zoo.gd.pl), which opens daily from 9am-7pm; admission is 8Plz (£1.30) for adults and 4Plz (65p) for children.
Hotels will be filling fast, so if you intend to visit next month, avoid the middle two weeks when the high season is at its peak. It's also worth noting that not all hotels on the riviera can provide family rooms. However, the Hotel Haffner (00 48 58 550 99 99; www.hotelhaffner.pl), near the beach and pier, can offer a double room with two extra beds for 920Plz (£160) a night in August, including breakfast. Swimming lessons are also offered for 25PLZ (£4.30) and bike hire is available for 10PLZ (£1.70). Or the Grand Hotel Sopot (00 48 58 520 60 00; www.orbis.pl), also on the seafront, can offer a large room with a king-size bed and sofabed for €300 (£220) a night, including breakfast. There are also several extremely cheap campsites in Sopot.
Gdansk makes a good base and is ideal if you wish to escape the crowds. Activity Breaks (028 9039 5705; www.activitybreaks.com) has a package at the Kadyny Country Club for £582, which includes seven nights' half-board in a family room, with two free places for children. The hotel has a swimming pool and a cinema for children. Flights and transfers are not included. For a holiday with inclusive flights, the Baltic Travel Company (0870 753 7747; www.baltictravelcompany.com) can offer a package in Gdansk for £1,795 for the four of you. The price is based on a 7 August departure from Stansted on Ryanair, transfers and seven nights' B&B accommodation at the Hotel Lival.
Finally, you can fly direct to Gdansk or Szczecin (at the western end of the riviera) with Ryanair (0871 246 0000; w ww.ryanair.com) from Stansted; Sopot is a 20-minute train journey from Gdansk. Wizz Air (00 48 22 351 94 99; www.wizzair.com) also flies to Gdansk from Luton, Glasgow and Liverpool. Prices in August cost around £150 return.
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