Spacious sandy beaches, the port running tourist cruises, some good restaurants, interesting shops with amber jewelry
Probably a better place to visit off-season
gold beaches and yellow amber
If you have a day for exploration, take a passenger boat from Gdynia, Gdansk or Sopot to Hel or Jastarnia (only from Gdynia). You can go on a round or one-way trip, but give yourself some time to visit Hel and have a meal there before you return to the city. Unfortunately, the boats run only in the high season, which this year, for instance, ended...more
The scientists at the Seal Sanctuary at Hel look after seals which, for various reasons, were unable to live in their natural habitat and then, when they get stronger, release them into the Baltic Sea, where seals have become very rare. A visit to the sanctuary is an interesting experience for children and adults alike. The seals look quite happy...more
Hel is mainly famous for its sea and beaches. The town is surrounded by the Baltic sea from three sides, partly by waters of the bay. The beach in many places is really wide and there is plenty of place to rest, play or sunbath. However, during high season (June, July, August) Hel is extremely crowded and it is good to reserve a room in advance...more
At the battery named after Heliodor Laskowski you can see a plaque commemorating its commander Lt. Zbigniew Przybyszewski. His battery heroically put up a fight against the overwhelming German forces for 32 days in the campaign of 1939. Hel was the last place in Poland to surrender. Lieutenant-commander Zbigniew Przybyszewski survived the war....more
The forest leading to the beach hides numerous remains of the defence of Hel in 1939: anti-aircraft gun emplacements, bunkers, pillboxes and even one of the guns. You can now reach them walking along Kuracyjna St, which used to be closed as part of a military area. It's a nice walk even for those who are not interested in war memorabilia. The...more
If you can't take a trip on one of the big boats going to Gdansk or Sopot, don't despair. You can still enjoy a round boat trip into the open sea on one of the smaller boats. They are there off season as well and for the small sum of 10 (for 30 min.) or 15 (for 45 min.) zloties will take you along the coast to see the war time shipwrecks, the...more
If you crave for adventures, perhaps you would like to take a trip by water-taxi from Hel to Gdynia? This speedy boat will take you there in just 15 minutes. Tightly fastened to your seat, you will still feel the excitement of travelling on the water at the high speed of 90 km/hour and very close to the surface. The taxi doesn't go off season when...more
Walking along Wiejska St, the main street of Hel, you will see some charming 19th century fisherman's cottages. Half-timbered, with tiny windows and with low wooden fences around them, they remind me of doll's houses, but they still serve their purpose. More and more of them have been beautifully restored in recent years so don't miss a single one....more
In Fokarium there are several adult seals: Balbin, Unda, Joel and some young ones.Last news from this place, I have read on the interenet page Balbin was dead;( I don't know the reason of it but it is sad news. The new seal man is coming from Sweden and we all hope he will be great new main man in the seal's team.more
Fokarium is an aquarium only with seals. It is operated by Gdansk University but it is open for tourists. In early spring you can meet there baby seals which will be released to sea in may. The fokarium is open every day from 8.30 till 20.00.Seals are a natural part of the sea but unfortunately the population of seals in Baltic Sea is decreasing...more
ul. Boczna 11, Hel, 84-150, Poland
Good for: Couples
The Izdebka, the name of which can be translated as a cubbyhole, is a tiny restaurant in a half-timbered fisherman's cottage dating back to 1844 in the main street of Hel. Tiny as it is, it is still a great place with a lot of character, with Kashubian ornaments and all kinds of interesting objects of local art on display. The owner, and chef at...more
Situated opposite the port but a little above it, this restaurant and the Oceania next to it, offer a lovely view of the sea if you take a table on the terrace. But we would never have betrayed our Izdebka had there not been a long queue for the tables there and the place had not been in the process of complete renovation this year.We ordered fish...more
Right on the harbour, this restaurant is really only a glorified stall. It's rough and ready with seating on benches and tables shared with your fellow diners. The advantage of course is that the fish are so fresh you can practically imagine them leaping out of the sea and onto your plate. The smell of fish and chips was so pungent that we folowed...more
The music is great there. Suits all tastes. The people are very young though. It's on the beach. It's very crowded during summer.you need to go to camping Solar in Chalupy to get there. there's also another beach club called Surf Bay club but music is mainly bad disco. http://www.chalupy3.pl/ casualmore
We went to a nightclub located right next to Hotel Riviera. It was a basement with some flashing lights and no people. When I say no people, I mean absolutely none! There wasn't even a DJ, just some CD's playing! Hel is a wonderful place to be with the people you love (whom you have to bring with you), but don't come here to make new friends, or...more
6 Reviews and Opinions
You may take a ferry (water tram) from Gdansk and Sopot to Hel. The tram runs from June 21st till September 14th everyday. The trip takes not more than two hours one way and you will have possibility to observe canals in Gdansk the coast. You may sit in the tram or outside what is great when the weather is nice.:)more
You can reach Hel by various means of transport. First, you can take a bus from Gdynia or Wladyslawowo. There are a few firms operating there so the buses are frequent and you can see more places along the peninsula by hopping on and off. The road borders on the Pucka Bay at places so you get great views on a clear day.Secondly, you can take a...more
This was not actually a shop, just a small one-man operation on the pier. The smoking unit was behind, plus a table, chair and scales in front - a complete retail unit with no frills attached. This stall was particularly eye-catching being directly opposite the futuristic looking blue and white building on the pier. This building represents everything modern and cosmopolitan about Hel and is very far removed from the simplicity of one man selling his fish. The photo actually shows the other blue and white building behind the stall - a port a cabin WC!
What to buy: No problems deciding what to buy as there was only one item for sale - smoked fish. I didn't buy any because Iwasn't sure what fish it was and didn't quite have the vocabulary to ask. But judging by the amount of customers we saw coming and going, the product was more than satisfactory.
What to pay: A few zlotie per kilo
You shouldn't be surprised if, even if you speak good Polish, you might not be able to understand some local people in shops and other public places on the Hel Peninsula. Quite a few of them are bilingual - they speak Polish when talking to the Poles and Kashubian among themselves. Those are the descendants of the autochthonous population of Pomerania - the Kashubs.
The Kashubian language and folklore have been enjoying a revival in recent years. The colourfully embroidered table linen or clothes and beautiful stylized floral ornaments on their pottery truly delight the eye.
In the summer months - starting with mid-June till the end of August - Hel changes from a nice quiet seaside town to a noisy crowded place hard to reach and hard to leave as the only road leading to it is one enormous traffic jam. All the seasonal eateries now open and the existing ones put up marquees or just put tables out in the street, which...more
You certainly won't step on an unexploded shell if you walk along the beaten tracks to the beach or around it, but the woods around Hel may hide unwelcome surprises. When sappers were checking the area for mines and bombs after the war, their instruments could only detect them down to the depth of no more than 30 cm, or so we have been told by a...more
This is a Polish resort town that is very much unexplored by foreign tourists. Therefore, watch out. You might have a difficult time communicating if you come any time other than summer. In the summer, there's plenty of young people vacationing here, and they all know English, provided that you speak clearly and slowly. You can always nicely ask...more
When I was in Hel there were only 5 of seals, belonged to the species grey seal. The species is most popular in the Baltic Sea, although it is also threaten by extinction.
The "seal-rium" in Hel town actually is a part of Sea Station of Oceanography Institute of Gdansk University. They main goal in scietific - to made research on seals, porpoises, Baltic ecology or so. But in the public opinion they are an institution which is trying to save and rebuild seal population in Baltic Sea. It is also contribution of "propaganda" Station employees, who often says in media about seals.
Finally these animals become symbol of Hel, although it is almost impossible to see them in their natural environment around Peninsula. Full stalls of merchants will try to sell you a seal mascot... If you will buy one I suggest you to do it in Station's shop, because the profits from there are dedicated for seals and the place for them. But still do not believe if they will persuade they save seals by growing them and then releasing.
Since the place exist (first seal - 1992; present pools - 1997) they realised just a few animals, and perhaps one of every two was quickly killed in fishing nets. Do not misunderstand: the Station make a great job (scientific, educational), but opinion that they will reserve seals in Baltic Sea is only "optimistic propaganda" and the magnet for media and tourists.
Just outside the Seal Sanctuary you can find information on Hel and animal and plant life in the Baltic, which we found very interesting. But probably the most striking and educational was the information about the durability of various objects that people tend to throw into the sea.Believe it or not, a bus ticket lasts in the sea for 2-4 weeks, a...more
We saw this old boat tucked into the corner near the entrance at the port of Hel. It had all the marks of having been used for a long time but, though a little rusty, it was still in working order and must have been at sea recently. I could imagine it going out in a storm, a tiny dot tossed by the waves but always back on the surface when the...more
Visitors to the seal sanctuary at Hel used to drop a lot of coins into the pools, perhaps trying to make sure that they return to Hel some day. When, however, some coins were found in the stomach of a dead seal, this had to be stopped. Now the people at the sanctuary have thought of an interesting way of making money for the upkeep of their...more