In the previous article, I told you about the most interesting and noteworthy natural values of the Sobieszewo Island. Today I will focus on what to do to experience the coastal, unique climate of the island even more. Get your bikes ready, warm your shoulders, put on comfortable shoes, and go on the adventure with a smile on your face.
Photo: Beach on the Sobieszewo Island
Although located within the borders of Gdańsk, it is slightly more than 15 km away from its center. It is enough to feel the atmosphere of a small, charming town, close to the bustling city with a rich history. To find out about it, it is necessary... to get to the island. We have three options to do this.
4 years ago Sobieszewo gained a new connection with the mainland. After more than 40 years of using the pontoon bridge (the longest floating bridge in Poland), the drawbridge over the Martwa Wisła (part of the provincial road 501) was put into use, called the Bridge of the 100th anniversary of Poland's Independence, and at the same time the largest object of this type in the country (more than 180 m long). The bridge is open 24 hours a day and the crossing is free.
Units up to 5 meters high pass underneath it. I think it is worth noting the times when the bridge opens (including 08:30, 10:30, 17:00, 19:00) to let larger ships pass. It is definitely a real treat - both for children and adults interested in technology, because we do not have many such solutions in Poland.
Photo: Bridge of the 100th anniversary of Poland's Independence, Sobieszewo Island
On the other side of the island, there is a seasonal ferry crossing (from the end of April or the beginning of May to the end of September or beginning of October), allowing entry to the island from the direction of the Vistula Spit (or departure towards Stegna or Krynica Morska).
To get from one bank of the Vistula to the other, you have to queue, pay for the ride and ... admire the views from the deck of the ferry, which runs every day from 07:00 to 21:00, approximately every half an hour. Importantly, paid travel can be used by both passenger car drivers, motorcyclists, but also cyclists and pedestrians.
It is shorter and narrower than the one in Sobieszewo, but also has a drawbridge and is open all year round. The bridge connects the two banks of the Martwa Wisła. Units up to 8 m high can pass under it, which means that when a taller unit appears, the bridge opens. Therefore, it is worth observing whether its functionality differs from the sobieszewo bridge.
Photo: Bridge over the lock in Przegalina
When we have left the mainland behind us, all the beauty and possibilities offered by the Sobieszewo Island unfold before us. To get to know the amazing nature with its richness of species and forms, I encourage you to be physically active, especially if we used to mainly sunbathe. In my opinion, the best way to get to know the island climate would be a bike trip or exploring the area from the perspective of a kayak.
If you want to feel the charm of the Sobieszewo Island on your own skin, I encourage you to ride the blue bicycle trail. Wincentego Pol (commemorating the geographer, including the creator of the name Wisła Śmiała).
The trail is 24 km long and loops around the entire island. It leads along asphalt roads with low traffic, dirt roads and sometimes very sandy forest paths. It's best to do it on a trekking, cross or mountain bike. Fortunately, the difficulty level is low, so with a bit of enthusiasm and good intentions, with enough time, it should be suitable for the vast majority of tourists.
Why is it worth it? First of all, because we are able to get to know the island from different sides at once, observing nature, architecture and technical thought.
Photo: Bicycle trip around Sobieszewo Island
The bicycle route begins on the drawbridge in Sobieszewo. It leads through the city center, and then along the flood embankment along the Martwa Wisła, it directs us towards Przegalina. On the way, we can admire, among others Sanctuary of Our Lady of La Salette or stray towards an eclectic mansion from the end of the 19th century. One of the oldest buildings in this area also deserves attention - a wooden house built in the first half of the 18th century on a stone foundation. In addition to the architectural curiosities, let's not forget about the beautiful nature, because along the river we will see rushes with rare and protected plants.
When approaching the Vistula, it is worth taking a look at the historic lock in Przegalina. At the end of the 19th century and in the 20th century, it was used to float timber to Gdańsk. Noteworthy are the well-preserved hydrotechnical devices and the unique hydraulic drive of the lock's gate (in the building at 60 Przegalińska Street). Currently, the lock is no longer used, and for transporting water units, the southern lock is used, over which there is one of the bridges allowing entry to the Island.
After returning to the trail, we head north towards the Gdańsk Bay, on the left bank of the Vistula Przekop, passing the port with icebreakers, as well as preserved and restored fishermen's houses.
Less than 12 km from the start of the trip, we will reach Świbno and the aforementioned ferry crossing. Those of you who want to head towards the Vistula Spit have a unique opportunity in the summer season. However, I urge you to stay on the Island and go even further north to the Mewia Łacha Reserve (described in the previous post) or continue the ride along the blue trail.
After Świbno we enter the forest. The road can be sandy, but it leads among the rustle of trees and singing birds, which will certainly compensate for potential temporary difficulties. It is simply a pleasant stretch where you can cut yourself off from the city, take a deep breath and play with the rhythm of nature.
Photo: Bicycle route on the Sobieszewo Island
After driving about 6 km from Świbno, we will reach the town of Orle. Here, particular attention is drawn to the observation tower located on the side of the sea - the Kazimierz water reservoir, which regulates the pressure on the island. At its top, above the treetops, there is an observation deck. I strongly encourage you to make a stop and visit the reservoir and admire the panorama of Gdańsk Bay (with good visibility you can reach Hel), sandy beaches, dune forests, and finally the landscape of Żuławy. Due to the safety of the facility, the entries are free, but limited. So let's make a reservation in advance.
Being nearby, you can also see Forsterówka, a nearly 90-year-old larch manor house, built on the recommendation of Adolf Hitler. Originally it housed the NSDAP residence, later children at risk of tuberculosis and a field hospital were housed there. Currently, the manor house is closed, but according to the plans of the Gdańsk Franciscans, it is to become the center of Polish-German youth cooperation.
After driving about 3 km from Orle, we reach Sobieszewo again. At this point, we have the option of going to the Bird's Paradise Reserve or returning to the bridge and thus ending the trip.
Photo: Bird's Paradise Reserve
If you activated your legs on the bike trail in the previous days, this time I suggest you tire your hands a bit and go on a canoe trip around the island (for more experienced ones) or row the Vistula Śmiała and the Martwa Wisła.
Although this year I have not found any information about guided kayaking trips, I encourage you to take matters into your own hands and go on an adventure.
In Sobieszewo, on Przegalińska Street, there is a canoe harbor on the Młynówka Canal and a canoe rental. The infrastructure, i.e. a picnic shelter, a fire place and a car park, allow for a culinary rest after active paddling.
After booking a kayak, you can sail towards the Bay of Gdańsk, on the way passing under the Bridge of the 1000th anniversary of Poland Regaining Independence, along the yacht marina, the pier at the entrance to the Bird's Paradise Reserve and near a beautiful stone dyke. People who are more experienced and confident in their skills can move further towards the open waters of the Gdańsk Bay, overcome the waves that appear and, making a loop, return from the Vistula Przekop to the marina.
Others can turn back in the vicinity of the National Sailing Center towards the Yacht Club of the Gdańsk Shipyard and the Szymoszewo marina to get back to the place of departure. The route described in this way is about 12 km long. Of course, it can be shortened and made a smaller loop, perfect for the first meeting with a kayak or for active families with children.
Photo: Canoeing on the Sobieszewo Island
I hope you will be able to visit Sobieszewska Island and get to know its charms. I wish you to discover it slowly, to the accompaniment of bird songs, the sound of waves and trees.
I am sure you will find something just right for you. A pleasant vacation.
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