The postcard-pretty voivodeship of West Pomerania by the Baltic Sea has a major international port, the Szczecin-Świnoujście seaport complex. It is one of the biggest in the Baltic Sea, handling cargo and passenger vessels. West Pomerania is also major holiday destination, with beaches and health resorts. The weather is generally mild in this region, the climate influenced by its proximity to the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
West Pomerania is known for the health resorts by its naturally occurring hot springs and mineral springs, especially in Świnoujście, Kamień Pomorski and Połczyn Zdrój. It has almost 800 kilometres of sandy Baltic beaches. The small town of Ustka, which becomes a beehive of activities in the summer, holds an international fireworks festival every July. Two national parks are in the region, one centred around the Drawa river and the other in the island of Wolin.
The region is likewise notable for its cultural wealth, especially in the museums, galleries and theatres of Szczecin and Koszalin. Every summer the International Festival of Organ and Chamber Music is held at St. John the Baptist’s Cathedral in the spa town of Kamién Pomorski.
The city of Szczecin has an unusual urbanscape, with roundabouts and lots of open, green spaces and tree-lined avenues. It echoes Paris’ urban design, because the city was rebuilt in the late 19th century following a design made by the French city planner, Georges-Eugène Haussmann. The city centre sustained heavy damages during the war, but its old tenement houses were later restored.
Mild weather allows for the blooming of pink magnolia flowers along the city streets, the only Polish city with this lovely view. The world’s oldest cinema, the Kino Pionier, opened in Szeczin in 1909.