Wolin Island

Poland's biggest island is a bit like a bear: it hibernates through the winter, only to wake up in late spring, live intensely through the buzzing, hectic summer season, and calm down again as soon as the school year starts in early September. Little remains from its early medieval origins, when the Wolinianie tribe ruled over the Baltic, impressing friends and foes alike with their might and wealth.

Today's Wyspa Wolin is a place of contrasts: swarming masses of tourists but also a peaceful nature reserve of beautiful, empty forests and meadows. Exclusive hotels and elegant prewar villas contrast with appalling concrete apartment blocks that violate the serene panoramas of most of the small towns. But the island's greatest treasure will not disappoint and has no contrasting counterpart: a beautiful coast of white, sandy beaches, cliffs overgrown with grass, and pine forests clinging to the cliffsides, offering breathtaking panoramas of the changing sea and a kaleidoscope of sunrises and sunsets.

Wolin has two major resorts on the island, and both are worthy destinations. Where you decide to base yourself will depend on your own preferences. Mi?dzyzdroje has the lion's share of the island's hotels, and it is a much more centrally located jumping-off point for exploring Woli?ski National Park. ?winouj?cie has one particularly nice lodging option.

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