If you’re looking for a cheap holiday. The Polish Baltic Sea is pretty alright!

On the beach pation of the Hotel Neptun, Leba.
On the beach patio of the Hotel Neptun, Leba.

Yesterday, “The Tall Young Gentleman” and I returned from Poland and we had a fabulous and rather relaxing time.

However, the fact remains that when I say that I’m going to Poland, people laugh. The fact remains that travellers and tourists see a million reasons why Poland isn’t on the radar. Yes, it’s true that transport can be a bit of a problem if you’re not familiar with the language, and so I explained how easy it is to use the train and why once you get there, Oh-my-god-Polish-food-is-going-to-kill-you!

I’m here to let you know that if you’re looking for a cheap holiday then the Polish Baltic Sea is indeed, pretty alright! Let’s start with the basics:

WHY GO TO THE POLISH BALTIC SEA?

Fish at the Polish Baltic Sea.
Fish at the Polish Baltic Sea.

As you know, I am The British Berliner therefore, logic demands that I live in Berlin. That being the case, it’s enormously easy to travel anywhere in Europe and one of the countries nearby, is Poland. In fact, the German-Polish border is less than two hours away. Yes, just two hours, so if you’re coming to Berlin in the summer (and you should), why not add a couple of days to Poland while you are here, and cross off that East European bucket-list!

HOW DO I GET THERE?

It’s really quite simple. If you’re flying, international airports in Poland are in Warszawa (Warsaw), Kraków, Wrocław, and Poznań. If you’re taking the international train, they generally connect to Warsaw. However, if you’re coming from Berlin like I did, then Szczecin (Stettin) on the German-Polish border is your best bet.

The Deutsche Bahn train going to Szczecin Glowny/Stettin.
The Deutsche Bahn train going to Szczecin Glowny/Stettin.

There are discount prices from the German Railway Service known as Deutsche Bahn or DB. You can get a one-way single ticket from Berlin to Stettin for €10.00. Reduced tickets for €7.50. If you want to make a day of it, a day ticket would be €20.00 and €15.00 respectively. You could use it for every local transport in Stettin and the ticket is valid until 03:00 the next day! For more Information about how to use the  trains in Poland check here.

We paid €72.60 or $100.80 on the outward journey for a seaside trip between two countries, and we paid a rather wonderful €41.50 or $57.45 on the way home. This is how we did it:

In the corridor of the Polish Train.
In the corridor of the Polish Train.

€4.00 or $5.20 from Leba to Lebork. €20.00 or $27.00 from Lebork to Szczecin (Stettin), and €17.50 or $24.20 from Szczecin (Stettin) to Berlin.

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

OMG. You have got to be joking. There was hardly anyone there! I’m used to going to Leba in June or July and for the first time, we decided to go in April. In fact, apart from a German family and a young American couple, we were the only tourists in town!

Nobody coming or going except for us on the Polish Baltic Sea!
Nobody coming or going except for us on the Polish Baltic Sea!

It took us a bit by surprise at first but it was rather nice, and everyone got to know us.

And wave!

It was enormously quiet except for the church bells, and more of the church bells!! Leba is a small town so when we went to the “centrum” it took all of 10 minutes. If you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet then Leba in the Spring is an excellent choice. If you’re looking for a bit more “action” then the summer season is probably better.

WHAT IS THE BEACH LIKE?

The beach is lovely and white. As much as I love my new adopted country, I prefer the Baltic Sea in Poland rather than in Germany. It’s quieter, it’s less crowded, and it’s totally undeveloped! “The Tall Young Gentleman” and I went on a 7 km walk on the beach and apart from an old couple, and a middle-aged couple with a grandmother and a baby, THERE WAS NOBODY ON THE BEACH. We were completely and totally alone.

On our own.

It was marvellous.

We ran around. We made shapes in the sand. We jumped and screamed. Then we got really cold because even though the sun was shining, we were grossly under-dressed as the wind was bitingly sharp and there was no cover. At one point, I got a little worried as we seemed to be walking for miles.

We were, and there were no “land dividers” so that we could go inland and it can be dangerous, as inland is the national park forest, and huge moving sand dunes!

All alone on the Polish Baltic Sea!
All alone on the Polish Baltic Sea!

I DONT SPEAK POLISH.

I’m not going to lie. Most people only speak Polish but there will always be someone around who can help.  If you can speak English, German or Russian. You’re in!

When we tried to buy our train ticket to Malbork, the sales assistant didn’t speak English or German and neither did most people around us, except for one lady who spoke pretty good English. Not only did she translate things for us but I found myself needing 30 zlotys more than I actually had, as that particular train station in Lebork didn’t take EC or credit cards. This wonderful lady who didn’t know me from Adam or Eve, actually paid the extra 30 zlotys that I needed.

Thank you so much Ms. Iwona Wolocznik!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

In the past, we have always been to the same family hotel. We used to stay with a local family that owned 3 houses, restaurants and the gingerbread house that quite aptly sold Paczki, which is a type of doughnut-like sticky bun and Sernik or cheesecake. This time around, I decided to use the services of booking.com and found this wonderful little family run bed and breakfast/pensionen hotel.

This lovely place is called Villa Akacja.

Villa Akacja, Leba. In Poland.
Villa Akacja, Leba. In Poland.

The Villa was lovely. I didn’t know what to expect and was surprised at what we received. We had:

Our bedroom at the Villa Akacja, Leba.
Our bedroom at the Villa Akacja, Leba.

An en-suite double room with a quaint dining table and two chairs. A flat screen TV. A fridge. A hot water boiler/kettle so that you could make your own tea or coffee in your room, free fast WIFI and OMG underfloor-heating in the bathroom!

All this for €22.00 per night!

The dining table at the Villa Akacja, Leba.
The dining table at the Villa Akacja, Leba.

We also had a delicious home-made breakfast that varied daily from pancakes, omelette, different types of bread, salads, yoghurt, juice and slices of cake. At €5.00 or $7.00 per day, they were virtually giving it away!

We weren’t sure if we wanted to have breakfast included but we were so glad that we chose that option. You can also choose not to have an inclusive breakfast as there is also a fully equipped guest kitchen, so that you can make your own meals, which we utilised one night when we had pot-noodles for dinner!

Breakfast at the Villa Akacja, Leba.
Breakfast at the Villa Akacja, Leba.

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

No Problem. Pretty much any Eastern European country is quite cheap and is never going to break the bank. If you’re on a budget, you could do worse. Beer is under €1.00 or $1.00. Meals including a starter are about €6.00 or $8.00 and that was for both of us. Not including drinks!

If you’re making your own meals there are a few local supermarkets around and they are very helpful. We should probably have asked them about the milk situation as I ended up buying a carton of yoghurt instead. It made for quite an interesting cup of hot chocolate I can tell you!

I’M LOOKING FOR A BIT MORE LUXURY, IS THERE SOMETHING FOR ME?

Yep! There is a historical castle on the beach in Leba called the Hotel Neptun. This castle was built in 1903 and retaining it’s style and elegance of times gone by, has become a charming 100-year-old castle-like hotel.

Hotel Neptun: A castle in Leba.
Hotel Neptun: A castle in Leba.

It’s actually on the beach and in the summer has it’s own private beach section for guests as well as a heated swimming pool. The dining room has a sort of English sea-side style with a fire-place, candles and a huge chess-set in the very simple lounge area.

I had previously contacted the hotel for a reservation and they very generously offered a complimentary dinner (excluding drinks) for “The Tall Young Gentleman” and myself.

The dining room of the Hotel Neptun in Leba.
The dining room of the Hotel Neptun in Leba.

We had been there a few times before, for yummy cake, but let me tell you that our dinner was fantastic. It’s not easy satisfying a demanding, fussy, 12-year old boy, but the Hotel Neptun did pretty well. We had:

A lovely salad of ham, peppers, white cheese and figs, and a traditional Żurek Polish sour soup with horseradish, combined with egg and white sausage, for our starter course.

A fantastic salad. With figs!
A fantastic salad. With figs!

We both had guinea fowl breast with French beans and pureed carrots in red-current sauce,  for our main course.

Guinea fowl breast with French beans and pureed carrots in red-current sauce. Yum!
Guinea fowl breast with French beans and pureed carrots in red-current sauce. Yum!

For dessert we had, Crêpes Suzette – pancakes flambéd in orange liqueur, served with vanilla ice–cream and Szarlotka – warm apple pie with vanilla ice– cream covered in anglaise.

Crêpes Suzette – in orange liqueur served with vanilla ice–cream and fruit.
Crêpes Suzette – in orange liqueur served with vanilla ice–cream and fruit.

The meal was delicious and the service was attentive. Drinks were extra and a glass of wine and a soft drink was €5.00 or $7.00.  Thank you Hotel Neptun.

Szarlotka – warm apple pie with vanilla ice– cream covered in anglaise sauce.
Szarlotka – warm apple pie with vanilla ice– cream covered in anglaise sauce.

 WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN I GET TO LEBA?

There is plenty to do in the high/full season. You can:

  • Go to the Slowinski National Park. The National Park is a world protected area of lakes, bogs, meadows, woods and forests.
  • Check out the Sand Dunes. These sand dunes are unique in Europe as they split and move. It’s great. In the summer, the sand is so plentiful that you can surf on the sand and the amount of middle-aged men who think they can do so, is plentiful, but you have to be careful though because it hurts!
  • Go to Malbork. The town of Malbork has the largest Gothic castle in the world and is 4 hours away from Leba, but definately worth going to!
  • Rent a bike, motorbike, or a city-kart. Check thoroughly as on this trip, both the chain and seat of our city-kart broke and fell off!
  • Go fishing or on a pirate boat ride.
  • Go horse-riding or play tennis.
  • Go to the local cinema. It’s in Polish but very entertaining.
  • Bars, restaurants and discos are aplenty.
  • A fair-ground and a mini-circus are also in town during “the season.”
On the city-kart in Leba, Poland before the chain broke and the seat fell off!
On the city-kart in Leba, Poland before the chain broke and the seat fell off!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Learn a few words of Polish such as:

  • Dzień dobry: Good Day!
  • Cześć: Hello and Goodbye!
  • Tak: Yes
  • Nie: No!
  • Proszę: You’re welcome or Please!
  • Dziękuję: Thank You!

Most importantly, have fun!

Some of the local girls that we met on the Polish train to Malbork.
Some of the local girls that we met on the Polish train to Malbork.

For more Information, please contact: Villa Akacja in Polish only.

For more information, please contact: Villa Akacja via booking.com.

For more Information, please contact: Hotel Neptun.

For general accommodation bookings, please contact: booking.com.

For more Information, please contact: Slowinski National Park.

For more information, please contact: the town of Malbork.

This article is not sponsored and even though we received a complimentary meal, all opinions are my very own. For the months of May and June, I’ll be writing about summer time in Berlin, and what to do when you get here.

Watch this space!

Would you consider going to the Baltic Sea in Poland? Have you stayed in a castle before? Do you like fish!!

"The Tall Young Gentleman" and myself, on a sunny day in Leba!
“The Tall Young Gentleman” and myself, on a sunny day in Leba!

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51 thoughts on “If you’re looking for a cheap holiday. The Polish Baltic Sea is pretty alright!

  1. Yes, no and yes to the questions. The food looks amazing. I can’t wait to visit Poland, and at 22€ per night very reasonable. Thanks for sharing this. It looks lovely and surfing the sand sounds like something l might like to do.

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    1. Thanks so much kemkem! OK, so going to the Baltic Sea and liking fish is a-go-go, and you’re yet to stay in a castle. That can soon be ratified. Castles in Europe are one-a-penny LOL! In fact, we got married in a Prussian Summer Palace in Potsdam, about an hour away away from Berlin…
      The food at the Hotel Neptun was truely amazing as they have a proper chef so you know that you’re going to get the good stuff LOL! You sure can’t beat €22.00 a night, and at that price, we should all be rushing down there sailing and drinking champagne!

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  2. hey babe! you look great in that first shot – love your hair! 🙂
    awesome tips by the way.. going one way was expensive, but the return wasn’t! I really need to get my ass to Baltic Sea, Poland… oh, the food shots are stunning too.. u must be a foodie at heart 🙂 Shake on that, mate!

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    1. Thanks for the hair compliment babe and again it was great meeting you guys. Yay! Leaving Germany was a bit expensive but coming back in comparison, was peanuts. You sure do need to go to the Baltic Sea in Poland, while it’s still a bit of a secret LOL!
      Re- Polish food. Love it. 🙂 I’m shaking it daaaarling. Shaking it!

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  3. Your pictures are lovely! I especially love the beach – secluded and quiet.

    I had a bit of a chuckle when it was Poland on a budget – I flashed back to EuroTrip, when they land in an Eastern European country with $1.05 and are treated like kings – but there’s some truth to that scene, it seems!

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    1. Thank you so much Jenna. That’s so sweet of you. Yes, the beach was lovely. We always think of Asia as the perfect location to having “those crystal white beaches” but actually, we have them right here in Europe too LOL!
      I know. It’s awesome! Eastern Europe is peanuts and you get treated awfully well. You always have to remember not to get carried away though. I remember when I first went skiing in Czechosolvakia, the exchange rate for pounds was so low that we ordered everything and I mean everything, on the menu and gave the waiter all the rest of our money as it wasn’t worth re-converting! He was so delighted that he brought out huge bottles of vodka for the whole restaurant to share. Happy Days. 🙂 🙂

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      1. Hahah that sounds awesome! Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to Poland this time around (or any beaches for that matter), but I’ll have to add it to my long list of places to visit 🙂

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      2. Cool stuff. Do you sail? Spain is definitely great at this time of year although I haven’t been to Spain for a while funnily enough. 🙂 Italy and Portugual in recent years yes, but not Spain. Perhaps Greece!

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    1. Thanks very much for your lovely comment about my dress Phil. I felt it fitted the sunshine beach mood rather well LOL!
      You’d love Poland for sure as the community spirit is still running strong there and with a Polish princess on your arm, doors can only but open for you! And we miss the food now as just yesterday my son said, “where are the pancakes for breakfast mummy?” Emmm. In Poland?

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  4. This place seriously should pay you dividends. A fantastic pitch – just consider the fact that this is being said by a Russian about Poland! The B&B looks like a terrific deal, and I am pleasantly surprised by the pictures of food. When I travel I prefer something more interesting and refined than just heaps of bread-potato-meat concoctions. Also I looked up Hotel Neptun, Leba bc that terrace is straight out of my dream vacation. For May holidays the rate is about $140/night, which is unbelievably cheap for a hotel of this level (I just paid $100/night for a rental in Florida). All in all, VERY appealing.

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    1. Thanks so much Anna. Your comment is so nice and spoken by a Russian-American, I totally accept! Believe it, the B&B was a marvellous surprise ‘cos you never can tell. They were lovely. My husband and I are foodies and our son is catching up, it seems LOL! The Hotel Neptun is a really classy and for those prices very affordable. I might even stay there myself the next time we go and if “The Music Producer” is in tow, we have to as he isn’t really one for slumming. He’s German! I’m more flexible on these matters. 🙂 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much Thomas. Staying in a castle is far easier than we think as there are many scattered all over Eastern Europe LOL. In fact, I’ve stayed in a few in Germany too!
      Thanks for making a comment. 🙂

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  5. What an awesome, detailed guide! It sounds like you can great value for money over there; having been in Asia for so long where it feels like every beach is crowded with tourists I’m amazed to hear you had one all to yourselves!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Amy! I know. I couldn’t believe it myself as we all normally fly to Asia for beach loveliness. I mean, I’m going to Asia later in the year too LOL!!

      It’s fantastic to know that really, we don’t have to fly anywhere for fantastic beaches as they are pretty much next door and if you go East, you’ll have them all to yourself. It was awesome. 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much @menopausalmom! I’m glad that you like the pictures as they’re such a reminder and a motivator for us all LOL! I hope that you’re able to put your travelling boots on pretty soon. 🙂

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  6. I’m really happy you had a good time in my country and Słowiński park Narodowy is fabulous! I have really good childhood memories connected with this place but I haven’t been there for many years and I hope it hasn’t changed.

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    1. Thanks very much. Slowinski Park is still fabulous and we had the place to ourselves as no-one was there! We normally go in the summer and even then it’s such a lot of fun especially on the sand dunes or on the bike. Very peaceful although in August, the path, there is a pedestrian path now, can be a little crowded. You should go back if you can. We walked about 8.5km to get from the main gate to the sand dunes and it was good. 🙂

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  7. Hi, we have made our mind to go to nothern Poland for about 9 days at the very end of August. We would definetely visit Gdansk, but we prefer nature and beautil beaches that still remain uncrowded. We have two young kids under 10. Would you have any advice? I am looking for the most stunning natural sceneries or small charming traditional villages. Thank you in advance.

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    1. Hi Kata, I would be delighted to help. The little beach town of Leba (the Polish name is spelt Łeba) would be great. It’s a fishing village of under 4,000 people. I don’t think you can get quieter than that LOL! It’s very family friendly, small and enormously cheap. I chose Villa Akacja because it’s a local B&B. I booked them through booking.com as the lady of the house doesn’t speak English but her daughter does! If you walk down the beach in 10 minutes, it’s pretty empty so no worries there. It remains for non-Polish people unchartered territory and therefore, not over-run, but filled with Polish locals for an authentic taste. You can do Gdansk in a day from Leba. Malbork is also a day-trip.

      To be honest, there’s plenty to do for young children right there. You can go sailing or a mini-cruise around the area. There’s a tiny amusement park, and a mini-circus, the sand dunes are brilliant, bikes are everywhere, as well as ice-cream galore. Have a look around my blog about Poland. Any questions, let me know. 🙂

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  8. I just finished reading your sarcastic post as well as this one. You have such a great energy about you. You’re positive about everything. I love that you take things for what they are like {the beach is empty, oh well} although you must be crazy to go to the Baltic in the spring time! it is soo cold.

    I also love the fact that you know you’re exotic and that the people who take a picture, don’t actually mean to be rude. I live in NY now so I no longer take photos of random people on the street however when I was on a field trip with my class back in the day (in Poland) I did take a photo of a random black tourist (in Szczecin). It was such an exciting thing for us kids and I remember he smiled and waved and my class got so excited. So thank you for being so down to earth with everything.

    I’m glad you like Poland so much. My b/f and I are going on a road trip around Poland this summer so you just gave me some courage since I no longer remember Poland all that well and was worried a bit about getting us lost 🙂

    Hugs to you and “the tall young gentleman”

    PS

    I would recommend also visitng Bohnia salt mine and Bledne skaly. Both very fun!

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    1. Thank you so much Carolina! That’s awfully sweet of you to say so. 🙂 As you know, Poland is one of my favourite countries along with the Czech Republic and to be honest, I have a soft spot for Eastern Europe. I lived in the Czech Republic and Slovakia for 2 years, so I understand!
      I like to think that I put a bit of sunshine into people’s minds as things do go wrong and there’s nothing you can do but to smile about it and to plod on. Getting angry and upset is just going to ruin the precious vacation time that one has. I must indeed be crazy as I’m in the Baltics in March/April
      again and this time I’m even further North into Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia & Finland!

      As for taking photographs of exotic/strange-looking things; haven’t we all done that or worse, been on the other side of people looking at us? e.g. Being fair skinned or red haired in Asia and being starred at or being dark-skinned in places like Siberia or Romania where the only people of colour most people have ever seen has been on a Hollywood blockbuster. My advice to all is always to smile, and ask if you can take a photo. In many cases, the answer would be positive, small-talk takes place, and you’ve made a new friend. Children in particular are as tolerant as we allow them to be and a smile and a wave goes a very long way.

      Have a great time on your road trip to Poland and if you have any questions, just let me know. I’ll be back in Poland again next year LOL!

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