If you are visiting the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, don’t miss one of its biggest attractions – Slowinski National Park in Poland. Famous for its moving dunes, this is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Poland, well worth a little detour you might have to take to get there.
This is also one of the reasons why it took me so many years to visit Slowinski National Park, but when I finally got there, I was amazed by the exceptional nature and stunning views.
If you would like to see this gem of northern Poland, I put together this guide to help you plan your trip to Slowinski National Park too.
Where is Slowinski National Park
Slowinski National Park is one of 23 national parks in Poland, established in 1967. It is located in the northern part of Poland, on the Baltic Sea shore, in the central part of the Polish coast. The nearest town is Łeba, right on the border of Slowinski National Park. Gdansk is 100 km away and Warsaw, the capital of Poland, 450 km away.
Best time to visit Slowinski National Park
To be honest, any popular destination on the Polish seaside is a no-go zone in the summertime, and Slowinski National Park, together with nearby Leba, is no exception. From the end of June till the end of August, the place is packed with people and full of kitschy attractions that you simply don’t want to deal with.
I suggest visiting Slowinski National Park shortly before or just after the summer season. This way, the weather will still be fine (although it can get a bit tricky on the Polish Baltic coast), and both Leba and the national park will be fairly empty.
I recently was there in early June, and it was the perfect time to visit Slowinski National Park.
How to get to Slowinski National Park
The easiest way to reach Slowinski National Park is by car. It would also help you move around the area much easier. You can rent a car for your trip to Poland here.
If you travel by public transport, it’s possible to visit Slowinski National Park, too; however, some places within the park might be slightly more difficult to reach.
When traveling by public transport, you need to first get to Leba and base yourself there to further explore Slowinski National Park. Unfortunately, outside of the summer season, there are no direct trains and buses to Leba from the main cities in Poland. Still, it’s not a big issue.
You need to get to Lebork first – the town that is located on the main railway line in north Poland, with frequent trains to/from Gdansk as well as direct connections to Warsaw, Krakow, Olsztyn, or Szczecin.
Once you arrive there, you will find a bus station right in front of the train station. From Lebork, there are frequent minibusses to Leba, often connected with the train schedule.
The distance from Lebork to Leba is just under 30 km, and the trip by minibus takes around 40 minutes. The bus stop in Leba is a short walk from the town’s center.
Where to stay when visiting Slowinski National Park
The main town in the area is Leba, and that’s where you will find plenty of accommodation options to choose from. Not all of them are available all year long, though, so depending on the time of your visit, you might have a more limited choice.
Alternatively, you can stay in Rowy, on the other side of the national park. It is possible to get there by public transport, too; however, visiting the best attractions in Slowinski National Park will be slightly more difficult.
If you travel by car and don’t want to stay in the main tourist hub, there are other nearby places that don’t welcome so many tourists and feel a bit secluded even in the summertime, such as Smoldzinski Las, Osetnik, or Lubiatowo.
How to get around Slowinski National Park
From the center of Leba, it is around 3 km to the entrance of Slowinski National Park. You can walk or bike there (part of the path goes through the nice park where you can also stop at the old evangelical cemetery), but you can also take a taxi or use the golf cart services. If you travel by car, there is a parking place at the entrance that you can use.
Once you pay the entrance fee and are within the park’s borders, your options for getting around are either walking / cycling or using the golf cart services again. For a small fee, the golf cart will take you all the way to the Slowinski National Park’s highlight-moving dunes (located some 5 km from the entrance).
Other attractions in the park are reachable only by car (through another entrance than the one leading to the dunes) or by walking/cycling.
When I visited Leba and the moving dunes, I walked all the way – altogether, it was around 30 km, but it was such a nice day trip in the beautiful scenery. I used the main route through the forest to the moving dunes, and from there back to Leba, I walked along the beach. If you don’t mind walking a bit, I can definitely recommend this itinerary.
What to see in Slowinski National Park
The main reason to visit Slowinski National Park is to see the famous moving dunes.
The most popular ones are Lacka Dune (it is around 30 meters in height) and Czolpinska Dune, with a maximum height of 56 meters. They were created by nature due to the heavy winds from the Baltic Sea, and their look, shape, or height might vary depending on the current conditions.
This is a truly amazing and beautiful place. When you wander around, you might feel like you are in a desert, with so much sand around and great views from the upper parts of the dunes. Only a small area is available to tourists, so when visiting the place, stick to the designated trails.
On the way to the moving dunes, you can stop at the former German secret testing ground from World War 2. Back in that time, German scientists tested anti-aircraft missiles here.
Today you can wander around and see the remnants of the testing ground as well as see examples of anti-aircraft missiles. You need to pay a small fee to visit the place, but it’s really interesting, not only for fans of the military.
In the village of Kluki, on the other side of Lebsko Lake from Leba and the dunes, you can visit the open-air museum focusing on the Slovincians, their culture, and traditions. This ethnic group, originally Slavic but later Germanized, used to live in the area around Gardno and Lebsko lakes.
Inside the museum, you can visit a few regional houses that are centuries-old and a perfect testimony to the Slovincians culture.
Another interesting place, not far from Kluki, is the sunken forest near Czolpino. The beach in this area is lined with the remnants of the oak and beech forest that was located here a few thousand years ago.
It was discovered only recently when the storm moved the sand around, showing what was left of the forest and creating an otherworldly scenery. It’s better to visit the place as soon as possible as no one knows when the sea can take it away again.
While you are visiting the sunken forest, you can also stop at the lighthouse in Czolpino, which opened in 1875. The lighthouse is open to visitors, from the top, you can admire the beautiful scenery of Slowinski National Park and beyond.
And, of course, don’t miss Leba. Even if the town technically isn’t in the national park, it’s a natural getaway to the area.
In the summer season, it’s pure madness, but outside of it, this is a sleepy town with a beautiful, wide, and sandy beach, perfect for long walks. You can also find some interesting architecture there, including the Baroque Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the 17th century, old fishing houses, and a beautiful art-nouveau Hotel Neptun, located next to the beach.
Northern Poland is often overlooked by foreign tourists, but there are some really interesting places to visit there too. I covered some of them on this blog, if you would like to read more about this area:
- 19 Amazing Things to Do in Gdansk, Poland
- 7 Amazing Day Trips from Gdansk, Poland
- 10 Great Things to Do in Sopot, Poland
- Visit Hel, Poland – the Gem of the Baltic Sea
- Visiting Malbork Castle, Poland – the Largest Castle in the World
- Visit Elblag, Poland – a Surprisingly Pleasant City
- Frombork, Poland – Gothic Architecture, Nicolaus Copernicus and More!
If you are looking for articles about a specific destination – check out the map with all the articles I’ve published (and their locations).
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