Ever wanted to see Hell on the earth? Well, it’s actually Hel, not Hell. The long, narrow peninsula derives its name from the small town located at the very end of it. This small town, however, turns into the alternative capital of Poland in the summer. People from the whole Poland, including Polish celebrities, come here to spend their summer holidays – hence it’s sometimes difficult to find a little space for yourself. It might be also difficult to get there in high season, as there is only one road going through the whole peninsula. Therefore, Gdansk to Hel ferry or Gdynia to Hel train are recommended ways to get to the peninsula.
Why should you go to Hel?
You’re not going there to take a picture with Polish celebrities, are you? What everyone goes there for, is the Baltic Sea. In narrowest places, the width of the Hel Peninsula is as little as 200 meters. That’s the distance between the open Baltic Sea to the north, and the bay to the south. In the bay, the water is a bit warmer, and there are almost no waves. In the open sea just the opposite, so that’s the best place to practice water sports. It’s not enough to surf, but it’s OK for windsurfing or kitesurfing.
Hel is the most important town in the Peninsula. It was an important resistance point during the first month of the Second World War. It surrendered to Germany on the 2nd of October, 4 days after Warsaw.
Now it’s an important holiday destination, although except for the sea Hel hasn’t much to offer. What’s well worth visiting is a Maritime Station, where seals are healed before being reintroduced to the sea (opening hours 9.30-18.00, entrance fee 5 PLN). At 9:30, 11:00, 12:30, 14:00 and 15:30 it is possible to take part in seal feeding.
The other place worth visiting in Hel is the Military Museum. It’s’ buildings are spread across the cape, so be prepared for some walking. The tickets to all objects cost 36 PLN, and the museum is open from 10 to 16/19, depending on the month.
Chalupy is a small village located not far from the beginning of the Peninsula. It is famous for its beach. Not that its sand comes from the moon or anything like that. It is just the oldest, and the most famous nudist beach in Poland.
How to get to Hel from Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia
Gdynia – Hel by train
There are trains to Hel leaving Gdynia Glowna. The trip lasts about 1,5 hour and ticket price start from 17 PLN.
Gdansk – Hel ferry
In summer there are ferries that go to Hel from Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia at least once a day during the summer holiday. The trip lasts one hour and the one-way ticket costs 50 PLN. You can also take a bike to a regular boat (+10 PLN) and ride it back for at least some distance. There is a good bike path in the peninsula and as you will be going along the train route, you can switch to train at any time. Tickets may be obtained from Zegluga Gdansk website.
It is not a good idea to go to Hel by car. There’s only one road on the Hel peninsula which is totally crowded during summer. You will waste your time in traffic jam, we don’t recommend that. If you, however, decide to go to Hel by car, consider going to Leba to see the moving sand dunes.