Ok, nobody was prepared for this. I’m writing a travel note right now. I’ve never done this before, I’m improvising and I’ve got no idea how would it end. Nevertheless, I must write about what have I seen, and what you should see too. So, prepare yourself a cuppa and let me introduce you into the world of Kaiserbäden and Ostseekurorte.
If you want to go there, stay in Świnoujście. It it the only Polish city on the Usedom, and it’s much cheaper than German ones. Nonetheless, it has developed communication network, including train (UBB, PKP IC and PR but the best site to search for connection is bahn.de, available in many languages), bus (e.g. KA in Świnoujście, Ostseebus, many private carriers and PKS), ferries and hydrofoils, even planes (there are 4 airports connected with island and city: Heringsdorf (on Usedom), Szczecin – Goleniów and Berlin ones: Tegel and Schönefeld). It means, that Świnoujście is the great base for exploring the beauty of Usedom and surroundings.
Ok, but what would you see there?
Seaport with 41,516 inhabitants. Known for its beaches, Prussian forts, German pensioners searching for less expensive sanatoriums in ehemalige Heimat, spa park, churches (some of them are beautiful), lighthouse and enormous shelter (Underground City). I wasn’t able to visit all the places, but I can describe some of them.
Spa park will be a great place for you, if you want to relax and rest. When the beach is too loud and busy, Freedom Square in city centre is crowed, this place provides you peace and quiet, you can jump into your book, calm down or what you do to relax.
If you want to admire on some old buildings, you must absolutely visit: Stella Maris church (kościół Gwiazdy Morza), Sea District (Dzielnica Nadmorska, with the main street – promenade), lookout tower near Stella Maris church and Freedom Square (Plac Wolności).
If you are interested in military and history, you must visit Prussian forts: Angel Fort (Fort Anioła), West Fort (Fort Zachodni) and East Fort (Fort Wschodni, Fort Gerharda) and underground city, old, nazi shelter (later taken by Poles, adapted for command center in III World War). For some reason, I haven’t visited them, but next year, I’m going to do this.
It’s also great to take the tour through city’s harbour, especially if you love industrial, hard climate.
Moreover, there is a Fishing Museum, placed in old city hall. I think it’s a great place for somebody, who doesn’t live by the sea. – http://www.muzeum-swinoujscie.pl/.
Biggest of the Kaisers (Caesar’s) Spas, also seat of Heringsdorf Municipality (which includes also Seebad Bansin and Seebad Ahlbeck, other Kaisers Spas). Is’s beautiful, rich town with 8968 inhabitants (again, including Bansin and Ahlbeck).
What should you see there? The greatest attraction is, without a doubt, long pier (promenade). It starts on little building with shops and cafes, and ends almost half kilometre from coast. Rebuilt in 1995, previous one has burnt in 50s. There is a great see view from the end. In the end, there’s also restaurant, of course with great view too.
Under the pier runs another great attraction: cycle path from Świnoujście to Bansin, within EuroVelo 10 (transeuropean cycle paths). From the route you can admire beautiful, nineteenth-century villas built for German aristocracy. I can watch them for hours!
The town itself is a great example for nineteenth-century spa German architecture. Sometimes, I thought I’m in Sopot/Zoppot (Spa next to Gdańsk, part of Free City of Danzig). I suggest at least hour wander. You can feel the atmosphere of good ol’ Reich times ;)
However, trip to the seaside without beach? Impossible. So rent the beach basket and relax. It’s another curiosity from the Usedom coast. Invented in XIXth century, when ordinary people started to have free time. They are much more comfortable than fine sand ;)
Around the island
Usedom island is close to 2 big cities – Szczecin (de: Stettin) and Berlin (pl: Berlin). They are connected by buses, trains and trips (you can buy a one-day trip with guide). There are also trips to: Hamburg&Lübeck, Copenhagen, even Swedish cities. They are available in fair prices in many points around the city.
In sum, I have an honour to invite you to visit this beautiful Baltic island. I hope you will have the great time there.
Thanks for reading!Map made by Alexrk2 and published on Wikipedia. Vielen Dank!