When people think of Poland as a tourist resort they often think of pretty old towns, gorgeous beaches and great food. That is all true, but getting off the beaten track and delving intrepidly into lesser travelled parts of Poland can provide some unique and unforgettable experiences. What is rarely discussed are Poland’s islands. Largely because they are unknown and often unnoticed. The weirdest thing is, many of these islands attract hundreds of tourists each day, yet those tourists are still unaware they are actually on an island! Here are 7 unique Polish islands to check out.
Wolin is probably the most famous of Poland’s islands, yet it still manages to escape the tourist radar somehow. It not only has some of Poland’s nicest beaches, once a year it hosts a crazy Slavs and Vikings festival. On a first glimspe of the map, many people may not even realise that Wolin is an island as it is connected by many bridges to the rest of Poland. The largest towns on Wolin are Wolin itself and the popular seaside resort of Międzyzdroje, which has some great bars and a nudist beach at Lubiewo.
Wyspa Bolko, Opole
The city of Opole has the Oder river running through it. But what people often miss is the fact that right in the middle of this city, with the river running on either side, is an island. Wyspa Bolko is no small island either – on it there is a park, trees, a zoo, an amusement park and some cafes and bars. It’s a perfect place to watch the sun go down and possibly attend a music festival.
“River Wierzyca Island”, Starogard Gdański
Slap bang in the middle of Kociewie’s capital Starogard Gdański is a unique island surrounded by the River Wierzyca. It is so unknown as an island that it is the only one on this list that doesn’t even have an official name yet! Not only does it house a quirky hotel (Noclegi Rekord) and a Premier Division basketball stadium (Polpharma), but there are two other gems here. One of them is an old palace (pictured below) called Pałac Wichertów which has sadly been left alone and is in need of refurbishment. It can be admired from the outside. The other curiosity of Starogard Gdański’s island is that it has a football stadium dedicated to Kazimierz Deyna, Poland’s football hero from the 1974 and 1978 World Cups, and the Olympics in 1972 (where he won a gold) and 1976.
Sobieszewo Island is an island on the Baltic sea, just off the coast of Gdańsk and is one of only three Polish islands located on the Baltic coast. The fascination here is that it is the only Polish island which was created by human effort! Sobieszewo Island has been classed as an ecological island since 1994, and in 2018, it will host the Polish scouts convention. You can get there by ferry or bridge from the Polish mainland, but as it’s big and only a few metres from the city, you might not even have noticed it is an island! There are lots of hotels, shops and restaurants on Sobieszewo.
Did you know that Poland and Germany share an island? Welcome to Uznam, the island which belongs to both Germany and Poland and indeed has a border you can cross between the two countries! One minute you are speaking Polish and using the Polish złoty, the next minute you are speaking German and paying in Euros. There is harmony here and apart from road signs and the culture change, the border goes largely unnoticed and is crossed thousands of times daily. There is also a train line across this border and buses operate frequently too. The best place to visit on the Polish side is the seaside town of Świnoujście, where there are beaches, churches, a windmill and a lighthouse to check out. The island has been divided since 1945 and has bridges to Wolin (first island on this list). Uznam’s population is 76,500 (45,000 are in the Polish part, 31,500 are in the German part) and the Germans refer to the island as Usedom.
Chełminek is as remote and unknown as it gets in Poland. This island used to be German. It has been Polish since 1945, yet still the island remains uninhabited. Nobody lives here. On Chełminek there is a former lighthouse, a small harbour and some narrow railroad tracks, which were built in the twentieth century. The island is surrounded by nature with rushes, ferns and alders. It is only 400 metres (.2 miles) from mainland Poland and sits in the Szczecin Lagoon.
Did you ever dream of buying an island in Poland and actually owning it? Well here in the Pomerania Province, on a tranquil lake, Jezioro Lubie is up for sale. You can buy Schulzewerder Island if you have enough cash. It’s on a gorgeous lake and has a campground on it with birds and trees all around and fish in the lake. Outdoor activities can be enjoyed in this region, including canoeing, horse riding, fishing, sailing and water-skiing. It’s a very peaceful island, but it gets cold in the winter.
And if all that wasn’t enough travel inspiration to get off the beaten path, check out some of these remote villages in Poland!