Although a bit of a throw on the tape, but we made it! For those of you who are going to the Tri-City for the long weekend in May, as well as for those who are just wondering what to do with the upcoming free days, which are exceptionally favorable this year, I am in a hurry to help.
I have prepared a proposal to spend time actively and get to know the charms of the close vicinity of Gdańsk from a slightly different perspective. I invite you to read!
If I think about it, the May cruise to Hel is a tradition for me, which I started during my high school visits to the Tri-City, and which I continued during my studies and long after graduation. Trips often had different faces - from the very desire to sail on a catamaran and have fun on board, through the desire to spend a pleasant or developing time in Hel, to the sport challenge of returning from Hel to Gdańsk... by bike.
I think I can offer you exactly the same.
Photo: Bicycle route on the Hel Peninsula
This year, Żegluga Gdańska launches cruises to Hel on April 28, 2023, so there will be plenty of opportunities to sail during the long weekend. However, I encourage you to take a close look at the schedule of connections, because until the beginning of July there will be only one trip a day on the route Gdańsk-Gdynia-Hel and back Hel-Gdynia-Gdańsk. It is also worth considering that it is not possible to buy tickets online - you have to do it traditionally at the ticket office in Gdańsk (located at the Green Gate on the Motława River) or in Hel.
If I can give some advice, I think it's wise to do it in advance, because experience shows that there are days when there are more applicants than places and not everyone waiting for a cruise will actually go on that day.
Some preparation for the trip may also help. Although I wish us all sun, warmth and blue skies, the weather in May on the Baltic Sea can surprise, and in the Gulf of Gdańsk the wind can accelerate quite well. That's why I think that taking appropriate clothes, e.g. a jacket protecting against gusts and a hat, is not a bad idea even when the weather is favorable on land. I know that opinions are divided, but personally I prefer watching the sea and waves from a cool deck in warm clothes, than hiding below deck and giving up the spectacle of nature.
Photo: Hel Peninsula from a bird's eye view
Why is it worth visiting this small town at the very end of the Hel Peninsula? There are many reasons! Lovers of history and nature will find attractions here, as well as fans of sunbathing, because while in Hel, we have a lot of choice - we can spread a blanket on the side of the open sea or a calmer bay. Just remember that the return ship leaves after about 3 hours, so that time is relatively short.
I must admit - this has been the goal of many of my trips since early childhood. The Maritime Station of the University of Gdańsk is open to visitors daily from 10:00 to 16:00. It is worth appearing around 11:00 or 14:00, when lectures and feeding of seals take place.
The Seal Aquarium is a special place. In the complex of three breeding basins and several smaller separations (for young and sick animals), scientific and didactic activities are carried out, aimed at recreating a gray seal colony in the waters of the southern Baltic Sea.
Although I do not know the names of the seals currently staying there, since childhood I remember the seal Balbina, the puppies, i.e. baby seals, and the slogan that was in the seal center "a seal is not a fish" ;) I hope that the observation of these fascinating animals will interest you and allow you to better understand the need to protect them for future generations.
Photo: Hel - Seal in the Seal Aquarium
I think that lovers of history, militaria, fans of fortifications and railways need no introduction to this object. However, if you haven't had the opportunity yet, I encourage you to catch up and visit the Hel Museum Complex. They include:
so depending on our tastes, many of us can see what we like best. The facilities are open from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM (in April) or 5:00 PM (in May).
In MOW you will find, among others:
Photo: Catamaran of the Gdańsk Shipping Company
As I mentioned, the return from Hel is also possible by the catamaran of Żegluga Gdańska. However, if you are eager for more adventures and want to test your fitness after the winter period, a bicycle trip from Hel to Gdańsk (or shorter, because there is a railway line connecting Gdynia and Władysławowo near the route, so you can take a train with a bicycle, e.g. on stations in Swarzewo, Puck, Reda) is a proven alternative to enter the cycling season.
Due to the distance between the two cities by land (depending on the destination in Gdańsk, it is about 100 km), there is not much time to visit Hel. It all depends on your condition of course.
The conventional beginning of the route is usually a bridge at the end of the Hel Cape. Further on the road between Hel and Swarzewo, we follow the R10 route, connecting Hel with EuroVelo 10 - a European bicycle route running around the entire Baltic Sea. It is worth paying attention to the recently renovated fragment of the bicycle road from Hel to Jurata (one of the first bicycle paths in Poland), because the comfort of riding in the season attracts really large groups of two-wheel lovers. After all, the entire section of the route along the Hel Peninsula, approximately 35 km long, partly in the forest, is interesting and there are really plenty of places to take a short break in beautiful natural surroundings with a view of the Baltic Sea or the Gulf.
Photo: Hel - Seaside promenade along the beach
The fragment between Swarzewo and Puck also does not differ. In these areas, with favorable wind conditions, you can spot many windsurfers, as this area is particularly predisposed and considered one of the best in terms of water sports opportunities in Poland. I also encourage you to stop in Puck - a pleasant, small, but well-kept and full of attractions town on the route with a charming promenade.
I must admit, however, that my favorite section is not the obvious one near the sea, but the section between Puck and Kosaków, located near Gdynia. The route is varied in terms of surface, and therefore more demanding, because in addition to asphalt, we will also find forest paths, among others: in the vicinity of the Settlement of Seal Hunters in Rzucewo. This is another worth visiting or at least a stop on the route.
And the next one, relatively close, is the Beka Nature Reserve, my personal favourite. In the area of seaside meadows, which are constantly under the influence of salty sea waters, the natural environment of sandpipers is protected - small, but interesting and worth getting to know birds. It is a wonderful opportunity to spend time in silence interrupted only by the singing of birds, observing one of the few such reserves in the country.
Photo: Beka Nature Reserve
From Kosakowo to Gdynia is a "stone's throw". In the Tri-City, the route runs along the network of urban bicycle roads, leading again to the Gulf of Gdańsk, to end with this popular and nice accent in Gdańsk.
I encourage you to think about your possibilities, pack your bikes for the catamaran (it is worth buying a ticket in advance) and set off on the return route on two wheels. No matter where you end your trip, it's worth a try.
I hope that among the proposals everyone will find something for themselves, thus diversifying their stay in the Tri-City. I wish you a lot of sun, wind in your hair and beautiful memories. And see you - on the ship or on the way back by bike.
Photo: Bicycle trip Hel-Gdańsk
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