Hel is a small peninsula in the northern part of Poland. Very narrow and long in shape, the formation comprises mostly of sandy beaches and forests, intersected with a few holiday resorts. The final one bears the same name as the peninsula. It became one of the most popular places to visit during the summertime in the country, mainly because it is a paradise for kitesurfers. In this story, I want to give a short overview of the options for a day trip to the end of Poland, for those who are more interested in sightseeing than outdoor activities.
One of the flagship places of the city of Hel is the Seal Sanctuary (Fokarium). It is a public aquarium also created as a research center, in order to protect the gray seal species that is endangered in the Baltic Sea. Settled in 1999, it is a part of the Gdańsk University's Institute of Oceanography. The main role of the scientists working there is hospitalizing the animals and breeding them to recreate the vanishing species. The Seal Sanctuary is an open-air resort just in front of the seaside. For a small donation, you can visit it to admire the view of the cute animals swimming around the ponds. The best time for the visit is during the feeding hours when the seals go out of their pools (at 11 am and 2 pm every day). During these two time slots, the staff taking care of the animals also gives a short introduction to the public.
The furthest point of the peninsula is a perfect place for a walk. If you go south from the harbor, you will encounter a long promenade that will lead you along the coast. As the naze used to be a military zone, the protective elevations were turned into footbridges that stretch over the seaside on a distance of 527 meters. The peninsula is rich in marvelous sand dunes, the best examples of which you can observe in the national reserve located just outside of the city of Hel. It is a perfect place for nature lovers, where you can see unique examples of the dune ecosystem, such as a specific kind of runty pine tree.
Like every seaside city, Hel has a lighthouse. It was built in 1942 and has an amazing overview of the coast. On a sunny day, you can enjoy the panorama of the narrow peninsula surrounded by water from the three sides. The venue is accessible for visits from May to the end of September, and the tickets cost only a few złoty.
There are quite a few activities that you can consider doing apart from spending your time on a beach in the peninsula. Hel is a city, so you will find all the amenities you could need during your holiday. In the center, there is a boardwalk surrounded by restaurants and cafes, where you can try Polish cuisine and fresh fish. If you are more into history, you can also try exploring World War II traces around the naze. Hel has a very specific geographic location and a truly picturesque nature. Whenever you are visiting the Tricity, it is worth making a day trip to the end of Poland to experience its beauty.
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