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. If you want to go on a day trip to Hel, Gdansk is a good starting point. It might be 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.
Things to do in 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 the 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 practise water sports. It’s not enough to surf, but it’s OK for windsurfing or kitesurfing.
Hel is the most important town on 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.
Hel Maritime Station
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 10 PLN). At 9:30, 11:00, 12:30, 14:00 and 15:30 it is possible to take part in seal feeding.
Hel Military Museum
The other place worth visiting in Hel is the Military Museum. Its 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.
Hel Fisheries Museum
Hel Fisheries Museum stands out in the Hel landscape, as this is the main building overlooking the Promenade. It presents the history of the fishermen of Hel, their equipment and customs. The ticket costs 16 PLN (10 PLN reduced) and includes the viewpoint located on the tower. In front of the museum, there is a monument of Neptuno, which is a copy of Jean de Boulogne’s monument standing in Bologne, Italy. It was first meant to be placed in another Polish city, Plock, but it turned out that the authorities didn’t allow it to stand there.
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 (entrance 26, then to the left).
Water sports in Hel peninsula
As Hel peninsula has access both to the open sea and the Bay of Gdansk, it is the perfect place to practise water sports. There are many kitesurfing and surfing schools along the peninsula.
How to get from Gdynia to Hel
Gdynia to Hel by train
There are trains to Hel leaving from Gdynia Glowna train station. The trip lasts about 1,5 hours and the ticket price start from 17 PLN. It is possible to take a bike on the train, but the number of bikes allowed on the train is limited, so it’s best to buy the ticket on the internet or at the cash desk at least one day before the journey.
Gdynia Hel ferry
Gdynia to Hel ferry runs every day until the end of September. It leaves Gdynia to Hel at 10 am and the trip lasts 1 hour 5 minutes. There are two other options (at 1 pm and 4.30 pm) but they run only if there are enough passengers. The same ferries leave Hel to Gdynia at 3 pm (unconditionally) and 11.30 am and 6 pm (if there are enough passengers). The ticket for Gdynia – Hel ferry costs 75 PLN and 30 PLN for the bike. (125 PLN return ticket+40 PLN for the bike). You may only buy tickets at the cash desk.
The bike path from Wladyslawowo has good quality (except for a few hundred meters) and for a long time goes in the shadow.
How to get from Gdansk to Hel
Gdansk to Hel ferry
In summer there are ferries that go to Hel from Gdansk at least once a day (8.20 am) during the summer holiday (until the end of September). After the ferry leaves Gdansk, it makes a quick stop in Sopot on its way to Hel. The trip lasts about 2,5 hours and the one-way ticket costs 85 PLN (return ticket: 140 PLN). You can also take a bike to a regular boat (+30 PLN, return +40 PLN) and ride it back for at least some distance. There is a good bike path in the Hel peninsula and as you will be going along the train route, you can switch to train at any time. If you prefer to go back by boat, the ferry from Hel to Gdansk leaves at 3.20 pm). Tickets may be obtained from the cash desk (Dlugie Pobrzeze Street 12).
Gdansk to Hel train
There are some direct trains going from Gdansk to Hel, and the regular ticket price starts from 19 PLN but you should ask or look for special offers. The trip lasts 2-2,5 hours. You may also get to Gdynia first as there are more options from there.
How to get from Sopot to Hel
Sopot to Hel ferry
Sopot to Hel ferry runs once a day until the end of August, but only if there are enough passengers. It is the same ferry that starts from Gdansk at 9.15 am. It leaves Sopot at 10.30 and goes back from Hel to Sopot at 3.30 pm. Ticket costs 85 PLN (+30 for the bike).
Going from Gdansk to Hel by car
It is not a good idea to go to Hel by car at all. There’s only one road on the Hel peninsula which is totally jammed with cars during summer. You will waste your time in a 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.