Poland: HEL PENINSULA – The Baltic Sea
August 2, 2016
Hel is in the northern part of Poland, where there is a nice coast with the beautiful beaches and wide offer of water sports. The main advantage of this place is that the Baltic Sea is partially separated from the land by the peninsula. It makes the place safe but in the same time the sea is not very calm there, there is a nice wind and waves.
To be honest last weekend I have visited this peninsula after a long time. As a kid I used to go there every summer and spend one or two months in one of the villages there called Jurata. This is a really beautiful place with a wide pedestrian zone leading to the pier full of street artists willing to draw your portraits or decorate your hair. My current visit brought good memories and I did not come back disappointed, frankly, I did not feel like coming back at all.
I am from the capital which is in central Poland so we decided to reach Hel by car, it took more or less 5 hours and we still had time to go out after the arrival.
The first night we spent in Władysławowo – one of the cities on the beginning of the peninsula. This is one of the biggest summer destinations for people going to the seaside area in Poland. The city is small but still has some attractions to offer. That night there was a big event – Ballantine’s Brazil Shake Party in latin rhythms. That party took place in the beach bar with many other bars around, you could find food, drinks and music, all very close and very well situated. The only disadvantage is that you can’t pay by card there but there is a cash machine close by as well. Finally we ended up spending most of the night on the beach close by just talking and laughing. After some time a group of people joined us and we were singing sea shanties accompanied by the guitar sounds.
You need to know that sailing is very popular in Poland and people from everywhere are coming to the seaside or to the lakes area (where by lakes you are able to reach the sea after few days) to sail. Usually they are renting a boat and many of us have actually a license that allow us to sail without any help of other people.
So finally singing those shanties made us all in a good mood remembering all our past sailing experiences and camps from there times when we were teenagers. We all came to the conclusion that we need to organize a sailing trip soon so maybe you will be lucky enough to read another article about it.
As we arrived in the evening the first day got over quite fast. We came back home in the middle of the night to go to Hel itself the next day. Hel is the name of the peninsula (Półwysep Helski in polish) and also the name of the city on its end. You should know that there is usually traffic on the peninsula so I suggest you to go there in the morning if you have a car or taking a train which stops at every important city along the peninsula. We actually got up late so we had to take some small back road in the middle of the field to avoid traffic on the main road which by the way takes 1 to 2 hours depending on the day of the week. If you plan to take a train, just enter the train and buy the ticket directly from the conductor (instead of waiting in the line on the platform).
That day we decided to catch some sun on the beach we found a small spot just by the sea and we were prepared for the wind. It is important to have a wind screen in the polish seaside, some people are laughing about it but believe me – it is useful. The thing is that the weather over here is unpredictable so when there is some sun out there you should be able to take advantage of it so when there is a wind you must shield yourself and separate from it. The sea here calms your soul with its waves sound and your eyes with its deep dark blue – green colour. Everywhere there are seagulls which complete the perfect picture. After spending all day relaxing on the beach we went for a dinner – you definitely need to eat fish here. There are nice restaurants all over the boulevard so just pick one that you like and enjoy. Each restaurant in each city on the peninsula provides fresh fish. The curiosity is that the price of the fish is given by 100 g so the final bill will show the price.
After having an amazing food we came back home with the intention of sleeping early and getting up in the morning. Instead of that we spend hours solving a logical game which we found in the flat and writing greetings for our Air Bnb host. Just a small tip, usually everything is already booked long back during the summer, make sure you have a place to stay. Just in case it is too late there are also some nice camping areas.
The next day we went to the beach in Jastarnia (the middle of the peninsula) and after few hours we moved to another side of the city (really nice route walking on the beach) where the windsurfing spot is. There is a windsurfing school on the south side of Jastarnia. You can have windsurfing and kitesurfing lessons for few days or if you just need a fast reminder how to deal with the board and the sail you can have it on hourly basis with an instructor. You can also rent an equipment (including the wetsuit if it’s cold). The waves on the south side are usually perfect for wind sports and this place is famous for this particular reason in Poland – it is full of windsurfers even the weather is cold. Basically the bay is filled with the colorful sails all day and only in the late evening it becomes calm and empty.
After that tiring but amazing experience which is windsurfing (for some of us it was the first time) we went for an amazing fish (as I mentioned before, it’s a specialty in most of the restaurants on the peninsula so you must be prepared for eating fish during all your stay). Then we decided to come back to the beach and relax a bit more as we are beach lovers. Just a small advice, please do not try to open a bottle with a lighter or another bottle especially on the beach full of sand – take an opener before leaving home! It can save your life or at least hand.
Another day full of good experiences got over and it was the time to go back home as unfortunately we had only a weekend to spend in the beloved seaside. That time I remembered how much I was always dreaming about living on the seaside but then I got so cold during the evening that I ran away to the car and now I am only dreaming about the seaside in a constantly hot country. Don’t forget to take sweater, long trousers and jacket when you are going out for the whole day or you will definitely freeze. Don’t worry, during the day it is really hot, but it it’s not around 30 degrees in day don’t expect a hot night.
You can understand the popularity of this place as there is always someone you know going there in the summer for a weekend or more. The prices are actually comparable to the European standards but our polish seaside is really beautiful and it is worth to visiting it once in a lifetime (or more if you love windsurfing and inspiring, unpolished sea). Just to let you know, it is also amazing it winter, it reveals that dramatic and exciting view.
Things to do in Hel Peninsula
- Leave early to the beach (and sunbath with a wind screen)
- Wind/Kite surf
- Eat fish
- Drink local beers
- Have fun on a beach parties
Until next time!
If you have questions, comment below!