Hel, Poland Beach

Are you going to HEL(L)?

Clear Sea in Hel

Being sent to Hell for your sins used to scare Christians – adults and children alike – enough to keep them from killing their neighbours and to visit church every Sunday. Though if someone had shown them Hel on the peninsula in northern Poland, I think they might have worried less.

Where Is Hel?

Backpack to the north of Poland and you will no doubt meet the Baltic Sea and a very beautiful long stretch of golden coastline. On this coast is Gdansk, a coastal city in Poland that shares the title of the ‘Tri Cities’ with Gdynia and Sopot. A short trek from Gdynia is the 35km-long peninsula that separates the Bay of Puck from the Baltic Sea, and on the end of the peninsula is a town called Hel.

Things To Do In Hel

WW2 Bunker

Hel is a very popular holiday destination for Poles; beautiful clean beaches and clear warm water make it more like Heaven than Hell. Standing on the tip of the peninsula you get a feeling that you’re on an island, with the sandy bay disappearing around a bend and only the sea and the horizon in sight (though you can see Gdansk on a clear day).

Hel also has history. During WW2, Hel was used by the German army, whom built many gun batteries and bases along the peninsula, many of which still stand today and are open to visitors.

After all the walking and sunbathing you’re probably ready for a drink and something to eat. Luckily for you there are lots of restaurants in Hel and you can even get a hot ‘Zapiekanka’ from the beach-side bars. The local drink of choice is Zywiec beer and you can usually get a cold one of these from any of the beach bars.

How To Get To Hel

Hel Sign

Apart from living a life of sin, there’s a train track that runs down the peninsula and you can get a local train (1st or 2nd class) that will take you to Hel station. The train also runs through Jurata, Jastarnia, Kuźnica, Chałupy, and Władysławow on the way to Hel, all of which have their own stretch of golden sand.

If you choose to drive, the peninsula road is generally clear heading to Hel but be warned that if you return at peak times the single carriageway turns into a very long queue. Parking in Hel is easy, but does come at a cost. There are seemingly no free car parking spaces in Hel and manned car parks can cost from 1.5 PLN to 4 PLN an hour (£0.29 to £0.77).

Language

As Hel is in Poland, the local tongue is Polish. Though it’s not uncommon for most restaurants and bars to speak English. Luckily, the Polish for Hell is Piekło, so the locals may not see the funny side of “being sent to Hel.”

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