A bicycle trip along the Gdansk Bay Loop is a new idea for the promotion of bicycle tourism in the Pomorskie Voivodeship. It was created thanks to the combination of new and already existing, but completely renovated sections of bicycle paths leading around the Bay of Gdansk. The route begins in Hel, runs along the Hel Spit, through Puck, Tri-city and Sobieszewo Island, to the Vistula Spit to Krynica Morska.
The total length of the beautiful bicycle route is over 150 kilometres, and the vast majority of it consists of bicycle paths, pedestrian and bicycle routes. The separation from car traffic contributed to the convenience, safety and greater availability of cycling leisure.
Depending on the individual condition and preferences of the tourist, the new trail may become an inspiration to spend an active weekend at the seaside on two wheels, but it may also be an idea for a series of short, one-day cycling trips with family or friends. However, if you take into account the number of attractions along the route, and also add two days for visiting Gdansk and Gdynia, you can even spend a week vacation on a bicycle trip to the Bay of Gdansk.
Gdansk Bay Loop: section Hel – Puck
In Przejazdowo near Gdansk, the new exit route has its continuation – an asphalt rug leads from here to the new bridge in Sobieszewo over the Dead Vistula River, crosses it, passes Sobieszewo and … continues to the Ditch of the Vistula River and to Swibno. Despite the high standard of workmanship and fresh, perfect surface, a more interesting and visually attractive alternative to driving through the centre of the island will be its southern shore, along the flood embankment protecting the interior of the Sobieszewo Island against the waters of the Dead Vistula.
There is a ferry from Swibno to Mikoszewo to the other side of the Vistula in the season and with a low water level in the Vistula, also carrying cyclists. This is where – in Mikoszewo – the next new bicycle route begins. Everything indicates that in the coming years it may become a real hit and one of the most popular destinations for cycling trips of the Tri-City residents.
It is almost 50 kilometres of heavily hardened, gravel surface running mostly through the forests of the Vistula Spit, all the way to Krynica Morska and further to Piaski on the Polish-Russian border. The cycle route on the Vistula Spit, which was opened in mid-2019, is largely separated from car traffic – access is protected against vehicles by barriers, leaves a comfortable place for cyclists to pass through.
The moment that arouses the greatest emotions among cyclists heading towards Piaski is the journey of a several hundred meters long on the exposed shore in front of Krynica Morska. But right behind it, another unique bicycle path of this expedition begins – a section made of resin pavement leading to the border of Krynica Morska.
On it – after several dozen pleasantly crunching kilometres – it becomes quiet and extremely comfortable. Just like in bed, which can be found in many accommodation facilities in Krynica after the whole trip. And at the very end of the trip, in Krynica Morska, a new, classic bicycle route appears under the wheels of the bicycles, accompanying the seaside promenade of Krynica.
The emotions, but of a completely different kind, will couse the object of the greatest historical value among the sightseeing places on the Vistula Spit – this is the former Nazi concentration camp Stutthof in Sztutowo, the oldest concentration camp in Poland. Near the camp grounds there is a narrow-gauge railway line, used by the Zulawy Commuter Railway, running between Mikoszewo, Sztutowo and Nowy Dwor Gdanski, and the course will be not only an attraction itself, but can be used as a way to get to the bicycle route along the Vistula Spit from the south.
The Gdansk Bay loop can be travelled in both directions, but it seems that the counter clockwise order described in this article will be a more pleasant option. It is a bit like Hitchcock’s – it begins with a beautiful several kilometres long bicycle earthquake between Hel and Jurata, then the tension is built by further scenic sections and great bicycle investments in the Tri-City, and the final culmination will be the picturesque parts of the Vistula Spit route.
The very way to get to Hel can be an attractive and original start of a bicycle trip. In the summer season, from May to September, catamarans of Zegluga Gdanska sail from the ports of the Tri-City to Hel every day. A cruise lasting more than two hours can be a very interesting alternative to the train, which, although arriving in Hel a little earlier, requires a change in Gdynia. The catamaran owner has been thinking about cyclists for years and has created a special loading space at the stern for them.
The ever-growing popularity of bicycle tourism, as well as the Hel bicycle path as a place of weekend rest, meant that in summer, trains from Gdynia through Puck and Wladyslawowo to Hel often run in a double train and have a special wagon with as many as 28 bicycle holders attached. Unfortunately, the increased availability of places for bicycles cannot be seen in the carrier’s online sales system – a bicycle ticket can be purchased at the ticket office or through a dedicated application.
Transport from the Tri-City to the Vistula Spit is still the subject of talks and arrangements between local governments and local carriers. Undoubtedly, the development of cycling tourism on the Vistula Spit needs a constant and reliable means of transport. Due to geographic conditions, the requirements can only be met by buses that regularly run between Gdansk and the towns of Mierzeja Wislana and offer transport of bicycles on a bicycle trailer.
However, this forces the carrier to have an online ticket sales system and the possibility of booking places for bicycles. Until this arises, the inhabitants of the Tri-City are doomed to their own car transport or to the favour of the current carriers, who allow the transport of bicycles in the luggage compartment of buses.
However, Krynica Morska does not have to be the end point of the trip. Thanks to the available cruises on the Vistula Lagoon and the possibility of taking bicycles on board, you can continue your bicycle trip on the other side of the Vistula Lagoon – in Frombork. From here, you can continue your bicycle trip to the north – along the EuroVelo, 10 trail around the Baltic Sea, east – along the Green Velo trail in eastern or south-western Poland – after Green Velo and EuroVelo 10, turn back towards the Tri-City. The latter idea may be an inspiration for the next bicycle weekend on the route Gdansk-Krynica Morska-Elblag-Gdansk.