Surrounded by the waters of the Baltic Sea on three sides, Hel is a unique town in Poland – and each year it attracts thousands of people wanting to spend time at the seaside. Hel offers them exceptional holiday opportunities, full-time relaxation on the beaches and a famous seal centre, the only one in Poland. During the summer plenty of people relax here in private houses, on camping sites and in guesthouses.
The town is still developing as an important sea fishing base and as a region interesting for enthusiasts of history, but the typical, healthy maritime climate makes the place a real paradise for those who just enjoy sunbathing and swimming in the sea. There is a single long and wide sandy beach on the high seas side while on the Puck Bay side is the “small beach”, near the port and promenade with its narrow and irregular coastline and several capes. The shallow and calm waters of Puck Bay’s “Little Sea” give fishermen an opportunity to fish safely. That is why all towns of the Hel Peninsula are situated on this side, separated from the sea by the forest and the sandbar.
Hel is situated in the Pomeranian Voivodship in northern part of Poland, on the tip of the Hel Peninsula and some 34 kilometres from the Polish mainland. There are other seaside towns on the peninsula, including the famous Jurata (10 km) where Polish presidents spend their holidays, Jastarnia (13 km), Kuznica (20 km), and Chalupy (25 km) where windsurfers can enjoy the best winds in this part of Europe.
The name of Hel exists in Danish documents as early as 1198, but the first settlement in this place was much earlier. At that time most of inhabitants were fishermen, all other goods being brought here from other nearby locations. There were also some taverns, for the many sailors who often visited Hel. The 15th century saw the building of a new church of St. Paul, patron of fishermen. This church still exists to this day, currently playing the role of Museum of Fishery.