Hel is located within the Pomeranian Voivodeship on the tip of the Hel Peninsula, 33km from the Polish mainland.
Historically Hel was a prosperous fishing port and its location as a maritime gateway to Gdańsk made the village an important trading centre. A fishing harbour was built in Hel in 1893 and the village was granted the status of sea-side resort in 1896.
During World War II, the Hel Peninsula was one of the longest-defended pockets of Polish Army resistance. Just 3,000 soldiers of the Coastal Defence Group defended the area until 2nd October 1939.
Today, you can find a park near to the train station that has a memorial to the 1939 defence of the town during the German invasion. At the end of the war the village was the last part of Polish soil to be liberated.
In 1960, a road linking Hel with Jastarnia on the mainland was built and this acted as a catalyst for the tourism industry.
Nowadays, the harbour serves primarily as a yacht marina, though there are some fishing boats and ferries to Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia in the summer.
The primary attraction in Hel is the peninsula, beaches and fresh sea air; however there are a few attractions that are worth a visit in addition to a few good restaurants.
Hel houses a sea life biological laboratory and there are interesting examples of naval armament and equipment exhibited throughout the town. There is popular beach along the shore between the inner and outer harbour walls, with a seal sanctuary (the Fokarium) just behind it. There is a Fishing Museum that forms part of the National Maritime Museum in an old church on the sea front.
The most easterly edge of Hel, which was once a military territory, can now be accessed by the general public making it possible to walk all the way around the peninsula.
The Pomeranian Voivodeship has 316 km of coastline with sandy beaches and a staggering 2,901 lakes. If you wanted to swim in a different lake every day, it would take you almost eight years!
The epicentre and capital of Pomerania is Gdańsk, northern Poland’s metropolis, which together with Gdynia and Sopot forms a conurbation called Tricity – one of the main cultural, commercial and educational centres of Poland inhabited by over 1.2 million people.
Pomerania also boasts two national parks, Slowinski National Park and Bory Tucholskie National Park, it also has nine landscape parks and 127 nature reserves. In total, one third of Pomerania is occupied by green areas, which attracts tourists from all over Europe who can enjoy a number of outdoor activities in the region such as cycling, hiking, angling, canoeing and birdwatching to name a few.