Poland is a largely landlocked country with the exception of the northwestern side of the country which lies on the Baltic Sea. Poland’s coastline extends from the Gulf of Gdańsk to the Bay of Pomerania, and it is along this coastal region that divers should choose to stay when visiting Poland for a scuba diving holiday. To the south, Poland shares land borders with Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Slovakia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kalingrad Oblast.
The Baltic Sea is well-known all over the world for its magnificent wreck diving, with innumerable wrecks to explore. The area holds historical war-time significance and many of the ships were affected by harsh weather conditions too. Divers will find cruisers, war freighters, submarines and wrecks that date back as far as the 17th century. Luckily for divers wishing to explore the many wreck sites in Poland, the Baltic Sea has low levels of both oxygen and salinity the deeper you descend, which makes for wrecks that are well preserved and in great condition.
Many of the wrecks that lie in the Baltic Sea near Poland have yet to be explored, and very little is known about the history of some wrecks. With the more recent discovery of technical diving and sonar technology, more wrecks have been uncovered, making this destination a top choice for wreck diving enthusiasts. There are wrecks suitable for all diving levels, with many of penetrable ships lying at depths of between 20 and 30 meters and even some for total beginners which range from 4-18 meters. Other wrecks have come to rest in deeper waters, between 40 and 70 meters, which is perfect for rebreather and technical divers looking for a challenge. The area with the largest number of known and diveable shipwrecks lies between the Gulf of Gdańsk and the western coastal area of Leba.
It is best to scuba dive in the Baltic Sea between March and October as there is good visibility and comfortable water temperatures, but for those interested in ice diving this is also a possibility in the winter. Water temperatures range from 15°C to a chilly 1°C throughout the year, and air temperatures can be as low as -6°C in winter and between 18 and 30°C in summer.
Surpassed only by Finland, Poland has the greatest number of reservoirs and lakes in Europe. Recreational scuba divers enjoy lake diving all over the largely landlocked country where divers encounter perch, pike, eels, zebra mussels and catfish. Many dive training operators will make use of the reservoirs and lakes to train their clients, and these areas are also used for recreational diving trips. It is also possible to wind surf and sail yachts on the many lakes and reservoirs in Poland.
A large portion of Poland’s tourism focuses on historical sightseeing opportunities as well as mountain climbing, hiking and rural landscape viewing. For those who enjoy being active whilst on holiday, Poland is an ideal destination with plenty of hiking and climbing opportunities around the Karkonosze mountains, Table Mountains, Bieszczady Mountains, Pieniny and Tatras mountains. The country is also largely covered in forest and is home to the Białowieża Forest and the scenic Masurian Lake District.
The coastline along Poland is crammed with wreck sites to explore. It’s important to note that some wreck sites have restricted access due to them serving as war graves such as the freighters known as Goya, Wilhelm Gustloff and General von Steuben which transported refugees from Germany during WWII. These freighters were targeted by Russian submarines at the top, and many lives were lost when the freighters sank. It is advised to make use of a local dive operator if wanting to explore these restricted war grave wreck sites.
The Groźny wreck is a relatively easy dive that stretches between 10 and 18 meters deep. Originally constructed to be a Soviet war ship, the Groźny was used by the Polish People’s Republic Navy as an anti-submarine ship between 1957 and 1971. The Groźny was then purposefully sunk to become a training site for military divers. The vessel now lies upright at a relatively shallow depth and offers divers the chance to see inside the well-preserved engine room and swim through a corridor to get a better feel for this historic ship.
Another vessel that was used by the Polish Navy is that of the 42-meter wooden hulled Delphin, which set sail on its maiden voyage in 1942 from New York. Used between 1942 and 1957 as a minesweeper, she too was sunk for military dive training purposes. This wreck site is ideal for beginners as the maximum depth is 21 meters and there is little current to speak of. The Delphin remains in excellent condition and its metal superstructure has been stripped of all equipment, making this vessel safe to swim through. Divers are able to explore the captain’s bridge, the hold, a few corridors and the hull.
The 74-meter long Terra was built in 1935 and has become a wreck site of great interest for a number of reasons. As an oil tanker that was power driven, the Terra came to rest at 44 meters back in 1944 thanks to 2 Soviet torpedos fired from the Lembit (S-4) submarine.
For technical divers, the 177-meter Franken is a good choice for wreck sites in Poland. Building of the Franken began in 1937 and was not completed until the start of WWII in 1942. The Franken was responsible for supplying battleships with minesweepers and torpedoes, and was eventually bombed in 1945 where she came to rest at a depth of 47 to 72 meters.
Scuba diving, specially wreck diving, is very popular in Poland, and as such it is easy to arrange a dive through local diving clubs, training agencies or recreational dive companies. There are a number of full-service dive resorts in Poland too, where divers can be certified to any level including technical diver.
Guided diving is a popular choice in Poland regardless of whether it is coastal, reservoir or lake diving.
Poland boasts 17 airports, with international connections originating in Gdańsk , Warsaw and Kraków. There are cheap direct flights from many European countries including the UK, and internal domestic flights are also cost-effective.