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.
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The Gdansk Bay Loop consists of several sections of marked bicycle routes in the Pomorskie Voivodeship. Between Hel and Swarzewo, orange signs inform about the R10 route, which connects the city of Hel with EuroVelo 10 – the European bicycle route around the entire Baltic Sea. It is its route that is used by the Gdansk Bay Loop in the next, middle section – from Wladysławowo to Jantar. In the urban areas of Gdynia, Sopot and Gdansk, the route runs along a network of urban bicycle routes, including a part of the seaside promenade, which is extremely popular in the summer season. The final part of the route on the Vistula Spit – from Jantar to Krynica Morska, and even further to Piaski – is again the R10 bicycle route, this time connecting Krynica Morska with the EuroVelo 10 route.
The piers at the end of the Hel Peninsula can be considered the beginning of the route, both for pedestrians and cyclists. About 500 meters of the promenade has been raised about one meter above the level of the dunes and their natural vegetation, providing a rare opportunity to cycle in this type of environment. In the high season it will be difficult to drive smoothly here, but in the rest of the year this place can be delightful. Right next to it, there is one of the most originally located restaurants in Poland.
For the first 35 kilometres, the trail runs along the Hel Peninsula. Its first, eight-kilometre section from Hel to Jurata, one of the first tourist bicycle routes in Poland, was thoroughly renovated last year and today the route is covered with a completely new, hard and natural surface. The number of cyclists in the summer season probably puts it at the forefront of the most popular bicycle routes in Poland.
The enormous popularity of the bicycle path on this section also translates into a large diversity of people riding it. You can meet here people looking for a quiet beach by the open sea, riding with a supply of drinks and a beach screen in the basket, but also bicycle travellers, for whom Hel is often another point to visit on the Polish coast lighthouse route.
A dozen or so columns of cyclists rushing here before noon usually mean day-old guests who, a quarter of an hour earlier, descended from one of the two catamarans going to the port in Hel from the Tri-City. Those who remember the terrible technical condition of the route to Jurata that prevailed here last year, today they make big eyes when they see the new, smooth route and smile even more.
The standard of the created tourist route – the entire route, not only in the Hel section – does not differ from the conditions that can be found on bicycle routes in Western Europe, for example in Germany or Austria, often mentioned as a model for organizing bicycle tourism. Thanks to the separation of bicycle and the car traffic, families with children, disabled people with their pilots or seniors can also set off on bicycle paths around the Bay of Gdansk.
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And it does not even bother the fact that a large part of the Hel bicycle route, as well as the section between Wladyslawowo and Puck, is still covered with the archaic Baum cube, which do not like. The solid and, fortunately, even and flat surface holds up surprisingly well, thus reducing the chance of its immediate replacement with a new asphalt surface.
One of the two other new fragments of the bicycle route along the Hel Peninsula was paved with the pavement brick. We are talking about the seaside promenade in Jurata, built by the city in recent years. Once the trail ran along the main street of Jurata, now it has been moved to the Puck Bay itself. The second new section in Chalupy has a similarly attractive route, but here it was possible to replace the controversial pavement brick with a smooth asphalt and concrete surface.
A bicycle wandering around the Hel Peninsula will be diversified by many sightseeing attractions scattered throughout the Hel area. It is worth visiting Hel ports, where you can still find a boat returning from fishing, although more and more often in the ports on the Baltic Sea, dozens of yachts and recreational boats are more visible than fisherman boats.
The Fisheries Museum in Hel, located in the building of the former Evangelical Church next to the port, in the oldest preserved building on the entire spit, tells about the traditions of Baltic fishing. Right next to it, there is a Seal Sanctuary, part of the sea station of Gdansk University, packed with tourists in summer. On the other side of the town you can see the silhouette of the lighthouse, which offers the best view of this unique area.
Hel scythe is also famous for dozens of military facilities scattered around its area, built both during the Second World War and after it, as part of the Cold War armaments. Among them there is an interesting Museum of Coastal Defence near Hel, there is also a complex of unusual bunkers on the beach and in forests near Jastarnia. The Hel bicycle path is only 400 meters away from the extraordinary view of the heavy combat bunker Vulture -“Sęp” standing on the beach by the open sea behind Jastarnia.
The most diverse section of the Gdansk Bay Loop, in terms of the surface is the section between Puck and Kosakowo. The trail, initially leading along a new asphalt bicycle road, turns into a hard forest road in the forest section next to the Sealer Settlement in Rzucewo. Later, after a few kilometres on very rarely used public roads, it turns to more natural surfaces around the Beka nature reserve. Fortunately, each section is paved, usually quite smooth, and its width allows two cyclists to pass each other or a bicycle with a trailer for children to pass safely.
From Swarzewo, the bicycle route around the Bay of Gdansk is already accompanied by the signs of EuroVelo routes No. 10 and 13. The first is the European bicycle route around the Baltic Sea, the second – the longest of the EuroVelo routes, almost 10,000 km long Iron Curtain route. It is thanks to these investments, financed by the European Union, a dozen or so modern-looking bicycle shelters have been erected on the Pomorskie bicycle routes, providing shelter from heat or rain for the cyclist.
The most attractive location seems to be the shed located on the outskirts of Puck, on a small cliff overlooking the Puck Bay. Bicycle shelters in the Pomorskie Voivodeship are also accompanied by bicycle stands, tables and benches, and sometimes there is even a place to organise a barbecue.
The section from Hel to Puck is the first part of our trip around the Bay of Gdansk, visit pomorskie.travel to find out the details of the trip through the Tri-City, as well as the final stage to Krynica Morska and Piaski.