Poel Island is an island in the Baltic Sea, straddling the spot where the Bay of Wismar meets the Bay of Mecklenburg, part of the Hamburg metropolitan area. It is around 40 square kilometres, with long sandy beaches and rare salt marshes. The island has around 3,000 citizens, and much of the land is given over to agriculture. This sparse population means the island has some of the cleanest air in modern times. The flat coastal landscape has an air of solemnity, though the island itself has plenty of joys to offer.
When To Visit
There’s no bad time to visit Poel Island. Perhaps surprisingly for its northern position, it’s actually warmer than much of Germany throughout Winter. The island does not see much snow and offers pleasant hikes all year round.
That said, for the many watersports on offer, Summer is probably the most pleasant time to visit. June is generally the month with the heaviest rainfall, although its Baltic location means the island sees rain most days of the year. Throughout the summer months, the daytime temperature will generally sit in the early twenties, which is perfect for sitting on the beach.
Where To Stay
For a relatively small island, there is a lot of accommodation on offer. By far the most numerous options are the holiday flats. There is a holiday flat to suit every taste and budget, spread across each of the island’s towns. Prices vary wildly depending on the time of year and the apartment in question, but there’s usually something available for around £60 a night.
There are a number of hotels across the island. In summer, the average price is around £100 a night. In winter, this drops to around £50. Many hotels have great restaurants available, and the Ferienpark in Gollwitz offers a cafe, sauna, and a shop.
Arriving at Poel is much easier than one might expect! It is connected to the mainland via an embankment, and it is simple to drive over from nearby Wismar. There are buses that run approximately hourly. By far the best way to arrive at Poel is to take the ship from Wismar. This costs 15 euro a head, and arriving this way means dramatic views of the approach, with an almost fjord-like coast on the way into Poel.
Once at the island, there isn’t a comprehensive public transport system, as the island is not big enough to sustain one. There are buses, although the scenery is idyllic enough that for most journeys it is vastly preferable to walk or cycle.
What To Do
Poel’s unusual salt marshes and semi-isolated nature make it a fantastic opportunity to see rare birds. There are guided walking tours available to give you the best chance of spotting one of these gorgeous creatures.
For an alternate view of nature, try taking a boat out to the Baltic Sea and do some fishing. It’s a moment of tranquillity few places in the modern world can offer, and a glimpse into the incredible way of life for these fishermen.
For the active traveller, there are a plethora of sports available. There are pedal boats, windsurfing, sailing, water skiing, just to name a few. Once you’re done on the water, there’s beach football, tennis, even horse riding!
Hiking is one of the best entertainments the island has to offer because the landscape is so rare and interesting. Exploring this baltic gem really makes you feel like a wayward adventurer. Take a stroll and see what wonders you’ll discover.
For more traditional sightseeing, there’s the island lighthouse, the Inselmuseum, and the Kirchdorf church. All offer a glimpse into the fascinating history of this unusual island, and all are well worth a visit. When visiting the church, don’t miss getting a tour right up to the belfry! These can be arranged in person with the church staff.
Fancy a rest and a lounge in the sunshine? The island has dozens of long, sandy beaches. Why not spend an afternoon relaxing, or building sandcastles with the kids? There’s even a dog-friendly beach if you wish to bring your pooch along!
For the more adventurous traveller, there’s a nudist club on the island, close to Hinterwangern. On an island as in touch with nature as Poel, why not give it a try?
The island is too small to sustain a bustling nightlife, but that’s not why visitors return time and again to Poel. That said, there are a number of friendly pubs and restaurants where you’re guaranteed a great evening.
The obvious speciality of Poel is fish. The island positively thrives on it, and you can’t visit without treating yourself to some of the freshest fish you’ll ever taste. There are many restaurants scattered across the island offering incredible quality fish for great value. Or, if you have a holiday apartment with a kitchen, visit the fishmonger and cook your own!
The island also has incredible cakes to offer, and cafes such as Ladencafe are the best place to try these out.
Other specialities of the region include dishes such as salted herring on black rye bread, fried herring (brathering), and Wismarer cheese boards.
For a full day of shopping, it’s best to take a day trip to the nearby city of Wismar. For the most part, Poel’s offering of stores is limited to the small assortment of supermarkets and corner stores, which is all its residents need to sustain themselves. However, there are a few notable shops worth a visit.
The first is the fishmonger, for fresh-caught fish year-round.
Margit Aude is a wine store on Fahrdorf Ausbau. Why not visit, pick up some of the region’s best wines, and spend a relaxing evening enjoying the Poel air?
For the adventurous among us, check out the sports shop Kitekurs Ostsee, in Timmendorf. You’ll be ready for a full day on the waves in no times.