Polish Language Blog

Going to Hel! Posted by on Mar 7, 2011 in Places to visit

Another great place to visit! Don’t be fooled by the name of the city. Nothing could be farther from Hell (piekło) than Hel itself. The Hel Peninsula, a narrow strip of land in northern Poland, is just 34 kilometers long, and at some points less than 200 meters wide. It can trace its origins back to the 12th century when it was the center of the herring trade. Hel city is situated at the very tip of the Hel Peninsula, which has the Pucka Bay on one side and the Baltic Sea (Morze Bałtyckie) on the other.

Image courtesy pixabay.com


Formed by centuries of sand depositions by the sea, the peninsula (which at one time used to be six separate islands) rises approximately 1.5 to 2 meters above the sea level (ponad poziomem morza), with few dunes (wydmy) reaching up to 10 meters in height. Scenic beaches, (Caribbean style beaches) where the sand is as soft as silk (miękki jak jedwab), run along the shores and are intermittently dotted with pretty resorts along the way.

The peninsula (półwysep) became a popular getaway for artists, authors, politicians and rich professionals, in the period between the two World Wars. Resorts and chic hotels, especially in the Jurata area, were quick to follow to leverage the growing population of vacationers. There are a few settlements that were established during this inter-war period, that are popular with the tourists.

The seaside resort of Jurata, the old fishing village (stara wioska rybacka) of Kuznica and Jastarnia, is the heart of the municipality. In Hel you can sail, wind surf, become familiar with the old Kazubian culture, and under the bright sun acquire a tan as quickly as on any Mediterranean beach and.

For natives, spending the summer holidays in the Hel Peninsula quite the thing, so if you plan to go during the peak season, do make advance reservations. The peninsula can also be a real haven (niebo) in the low season, that is June or September, but extra strong winds make it unattractive in the winter months.
I would probably compare this place to the Cape in Massachusetts.
An added bonus of a trip to Hel is that you can proudly proclaim to all that you’ve been to Hel and back!

Do następnego razu! (Till next time…)

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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew near Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.


  1. joey:

    Podoba mi się ten “post”

    Co to jest, “Kazubian culture”?

    Is it possible to have the blog in both languages so that we can choose to read either? It always struck me as strange having a Polish blog written mostly in English but I still like it.

  2. Kevin G.:

    We’re really enjoying reading your posts, thank you so much. We’re also just beginning learning Polish, so a version in Polish wouldn’t help us much :-/

    If you’re looking for ideas to write about, one thing you might consider is when there are two words in Polish for what is a single word in English, like myć/myję versus prać/piorę, grać/gram versus bawić się/bawię się, not to mention the two words for “to know” (that I haven’t even learned yet). There’s probably other examples as well. Those distinctions are pretty opaque to beginners. Just a suggestion.

    Keep up the good work!

  3. joey:

    Hi Kevin,

    I recommend this book to help you learn



    Umieć, it is like to have the ability to do something(a skill), to know how to do something, umiem mówić po polsku! I can speak Polish! A little only to be honest.

    Znać, to know someone, znam Paweł, I know Paweł.

    Wiedzieć, to know some information, Wiem, I know, Nie wiem, I don’t know. Nie wiem gdzie jest toaleta, I don’t know where the toilet is.