No Polish summer would be complete without a trip to the seaside. Aware of the fact that Poland has some of the most beautiful, white sandy beaches in Europe, we took a trip up to Łeba – the holiday town that time forgot.
The drive from Warsaw is around 520km. The first 380km to Gdynia you will do in three hours; the next 140km will take you three hours! You know you are getting close to Łeba when your car starts to experience the intense rocking and shaking of some of Poland’s most HORRIFIC roads: when two direction roads lined with trees, full of pot holes, hardly fit one car, with Polish truck drivers overtaking you at 100km/h on blind corners.
The biggest attraction in Łeba are the Moving Sand Dunes which are a part of Sowiński National Park. The dunes move from 3.5 to 10 meters per year under the influence of wind, which is not limited due to the lack of vegetation.
As the dunes are a part of the National Park no cars are allowed. There are however, four ways to get to the actual sand dunes: boat, melex drive, bike rental or a brutal 6km walk each way. We chose the 15 minute melex ride which was worth 15 PLN each way and sat comfortably with satisfaction as we passed groups of people hating life, who had underestimated the 1.5 hour walk. We were mostly impressed by one father carrying his two year-old daughter, while his wife pushed their other child in a stroller along the 6km hike through the forest and sand – fuck that!.
Despite the distance the sand dunes are well worth the trip. They are really, really big. REALLY!
If you plan to visit the beach (or any of the three beaches, creatively named Beach A, Beach B or Beach C – not to be confused with Beach D, which doesn’t exist) you should already be here by 5am. Not necessarily to experience the sunrise but to fight with the other 100,000 Poles for the perfect spot on the beach (or for that matter ANY spot on the beach). When you are packing for your day on the beach do not forget the following necessities of every Polish tourist: 2 windbreakers to protect yourself from tourists (not even the actual wind), 3 sunbeds, 4-pack of Tyskie cans (cheap, Polish beer), 6 towels for you and your four kids and at least three inflatable animals varying from pink ponies to aggressive sharks and crocs. Don’t worry about sunscreen, “Lobster Red” is in fashion in 2015!
Once you are done burning your skin, you can cool off with a dip in the Baltic Sea, which will be around 15 degrees Celsius. That is, if you are lucky and catch a warm current.
The polish seaside highlights are generally focused around food. If during your stay in Łeba you haven’t had the following, you can’t really say you’ve been there:
- Eat a zapiekanka
- Have a gofry with whipped cream
- Devour a chicken schnitzel (traditional schabowy)
- Enjoy amazing fruit drink at the bar next to Beach B.