The Hel Peninsula, to the northeast of the Tri-City, is a pencil-thin strip of land that juts out into the Baltic Sea. This picturesque stretch of windswept, sandy beaches and pine forests is saturated with local holidaymakers in the summer months. Although the resort villages have the usual trappings of kitschy amber shops and fish-fry shacks, the peninsula retains a throwback-to-yesteryear charm. So much so, you can almost see a sepia glazing around you.
Aside from beachcombers, the area also reels in health-conscious vacationers who come here for its microclimate of salubrious iodine-rich air. It is a place to wind down, but the peninsula also has a reputation for high-speed pastimes. The Puck Bay is very shallow, making it a natural wading pool for beginner windsurfers; even 200m (656 ft.) from the shore, the water comes up only to your waist. However, daredevils take to these waters, too. The winds pick up enough gusto for old hands to get adrenaline kicks from kite surfing.
Before the area became a holiday zone, it was a Polish naval base. The navy has moved out, but what remains in the surrounding waters are over 1,500 shipwrecks, mostly casualties of World War II, attracting divers to dip in for viewing.
From end to end, the peninsula measures 34km (21 miles). At the northwestern tip, where the strip of land joins (or, rather, leaves) the mainland, is the fishing port of Wadysawowo (pronounced va-di-swa-vo'-vo). And at land's end, so to speak, is Hel, another fishing port. In between Wadysawowo and Hel are the small villages of Kuznica, Jastarnia, Chaupy, and Jurata. All of them are tourist hubs. From the Tri-City, Hel is a popular destination for a day of kicking about in the sand. In summer, if you plan to stay overnight or do any watersports, book at least 2 months ahead. Off season, the special deals in the spa hotels are the reason to come.