Wind in your hair, golden sand in your shoes and gentle sun on a face – summer at the Baltic Sea. We visited Ustka for the first time in 2002 and since then we are there almost every summer. In this very personal Mini Guide I show what we fell in love with in this city and what makes us come back.
Ustka is divided into east and west part by the Słupia river and the harbour. We always stay in the western part, because it is less popular, so way calmer. When we want to experience a bit more crazy city life we just go to the eastern part in the evenings.
In Ustka there are two beaches, which are not connected and they also don’t have much in common apart from sand.
The east beach is the main one, because it is closer to the city center and much more touristic. It is easily accessible from the promenade. It is not very big and gets even smaller when covered with crowds in summer time. On that beach you can never get bored. There is an option to rent sunbeds and other equipment. There are plenty of attractions for kids, jumping castles, trampolines etc. It is very easy to get food, either in the beach bars or on the promenade. It is a good option for families with small kids, because water is shallow, which makes is safer for swimming and playing.
In the evenings it is a popular spot for sunset photos. Birds sit on the wooden water breaks and make nice background. If you lucky you can also shoot some ships coming back to the harbour.
If you don’t mind a bit of noise and you like lively places and easy access to different activities east beach will be your choice. However, if it doesn’t sound like a dream, you still have an option.
West beach is a totally different story. It is much bigger and there are not so many people there. It changes slowly with new hotels built in that part of a city, but still it is very easy to find a free spot and not be surrounded by 20 other people. There is also a beach bar there, but it is good idea to bring your own food if you plan to stay a bit longer. Closest bars are in the harbour and by the entrance to “3 molo”.
On a windy days you can meet windsurfers on a calm days – swans. This place is also more popular among people with dogs.
It is not a secret that the weather at the Baltic see is quite unpredictable and in summer time it often rains. You can always just put your rain jacket and have a walk along the see, but if you prefer to stay dry you can do plenty of other things, like souvenirs shopping.
Everywhere from Marynarki Polskiej street towards the harbour and lighthouse there are little shops with toys, beach equipment, photo frames, and jewellery. If you want something more sophisticated, maybe with folklore vibe the best plays to go will be Tourist Information Centre. They sell local products, unusual postcards and books with legends from the region. You can also get a book to read on the beach from a little library for tourists, which is inside their office.
Personally, I can’t come back from the sea side without any amber jewellery. The choice is huge, but to find something unique and good quality might be hard. I recommend the little store in the basement of the lighthouse and the Otoka Amber Collection store in front of the Tourist Information Centre.
Another nice gift idea might be handmade Ustka fudge. It is sold for example in the little shop in the West Port.
Here are some other things to see and do in Ustka, either most popular or just my favourite:
Promenade – it is a long pavement along the eastern part of the beach. It is full of little restaurants – ice-cream, warm wafers, fish, beer…and souvenirs. This really crowded area is usually omitted by Ustka citizens. Tourists come for concerts, gifts and dinner.
Footbridge (kładka) – since few years this new structure totally changed the life of people in Ustka. It is possible now to directly cross the port channel close to the sea. It makes moving between two parts of the city much faster. It is opened only for 15 min every hour. In the evenings it has some illuminations, so it is an additional photo spot for a lot of tourists.
Cruises – for a little adventure on a sea you can try a cruise on one of the ships- Dragon is definitely the most popular at the moment.
Mermaid monument – Ustka has its own mermaid and you can have a photo with her in the harbour.
Once already in the harbour don’t skip fish restaurants. They have the best fish in the city and some of them even offer a fishing tours.
Lighthouse – it is located in the harbour at the beginning of the promenade. Since it is not very high, it is accessible even for ones who are a bit scared of curly staircases. Don’t forget to check out the little jewelery store in the basement.
Bluecher’s Bunkers – history museum in german bunkers from World War II. It nicely shows the history of the city with main focus on the period of war, but not only.
Seekenmoor – it is kind of a swamp in the middle of the forest. To reach it you follow the abandoned train tracks… and then you can read the legend about the ghosts living there and get a bit scared. Might be interesting at night.
If you stay in Ustka for a bit longer it might be worth to see some more nearby places.
One idea is to walk along the beach towards Orzechowo. It is just 7km away. There is a 48 m high tower with beautiful views and entry is for free. Additionaly you can visit dunes – “Wydma Orzechowska”.
Second option is a trip to Dolina Charlotty, You can go there by car, but I also recommend it as a bike trip. It has a big hotel with spa surrounded by ponds. On the water there is a restaurant and a little cottage house for rent. Everything in the middle of the forest. Possible activities include a zoo, riding a horse or an adventure park with ropes. It is a great destination for families with kids. Otherwise, you can also rent a boat or just sit at the mini artificial beach. In summer time a lot of concerts are organised, so it becomes quite a popular place.
Not really nearby Ustka anymore, but just about 80 km away there is the Slowinski National Park. I strongly recommend going there, either just to Czołpino to see the lighthouse, or to Kluki with the Museum of Slovinic Countryside or to Łeba for the dunes. Any place you choose will be beautiful.
I hope this little bit of Ustka made you interested and maybe one day you visit it too. And then come back again and again…