Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship is one of the 16 voivodeships contributing to Poland's territory. The voivodeship is located in the northwestern part of the state, constituting part of the state border with Germany to the west. The northern part of the area is bordered by the Baltic Sea. To the east is the area bordered by Pomorskie province, and to the south by the provinces of Wielkopolskie and Lubuskie. The region's capital city, Szczecin, is located near the Baltic Sea and the German border on the river Oder. Thus, the town functions as one of the major seaports of the area. This city is the voivodeship's cultural, historical, economic, and educational center. Geographically, Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship is located on primarily low-lying land, with a considerable number of lakes. The province is one of the most forested areas in Poland, with various national parks and preservation areas protecting local nature. Regarding the area's history, Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship was part of different nations and cultures throughout the years, all combining to create today's cultural diversity of the territory.
Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship offers various natural attractions. From beaches up north, through Lakelands in the central parts and forests stretching across the province. Swimming, fishing, kayaking, and other water activities are available in the number of lakes that the area features. Essential ports are in the cities of Szczecin, Świnoujście, and Police. A few of the predominant seaside cities include Międzyzdroje, Dziwnów, Kołobrzeg, and Mielno. The Lighthouse Trail is a touristic route along the various lighthouses and cities on the Baltic Sea coastline. The lighthouse in the town of Świnoujście presumably receives the most visitors in comparison to other lighthouses, as it is the tallest lighthouse in the Baltic Sea, with a height of 64.5 m. The area is also one of the greenest of Poland's provinces. Various national parks and preservation areas protect the original and endangered species, such as bison in the Wolin National Park. The forests offer hiking and cycling as outdoor recreational options for visitors. One such natural destination is the Crooked Forest, a grove of relatively odd-shaped and crooked pine trees, hence the name. The forest is located near the town Gryfino and is classified as one of the region's protected areas.
The capital city of the Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship, Szczecin, is one of the cultural and historical attractions of the region. With the exception of the original old town which is filled with historic buildings, Szczecin offers another historical site, the Pomeranian Duke's Castle. The origins of the court can be dated back to the 12th century. In current times, various events for kids and adults are held in the castle, such as concerts or movie nights.
Hortulus Theme Gardens is a complex of show gardens located approximately 8 km from the Baltic shoreline. The gardens function as plant nurseries and places for relaxation and entertainment for visitors. Every year a Culinary Festival of Edible Flowers takes place in the gardens, during which meals prepared with lavender, rose, fuchsia, and other garden decorations are served, along with recipes.
The Slavs and Vikings' Center is located in the city of Wolin. Functioning as an open-air museum, the center showcases the lifestyle and traditions of Slavic and Viking tribes inhabiting the area of Wolin island approximately 1,000 years ago. The museum consists of 27 huts which are replicas of early medieval Wolin. In the city of Wolin, the Festival of the Slavs and Vikings and the Viking Fair are held annually. During the festival, visitors have an opportunity to learn about medieval crafts and warrior weapons and taste medieval cuisine.
Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship stretches across the north-western corner of Poland, on the shore of the Baltic Sea. The Szczecin Lagoon also belongs to the voivodeship's region, forming a part of the border with Germany. The rest of the northern border is formed by the Szczecin and the Koszalin coastlands. Generally, Zachodniopomorskie is located on a low-lying territory, with several morainal hills and river valleys. Over 1,500 lakes can be found on the territory, prevailing in the central and southern areas, where the Pomeranian Lakeland is located. Predominant rivers flowing through the region include Oder (Odra), Rega, Parsęta, Ina, and Drawa. The highest peak of the Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship is Góra Krajoznawców, at an altitude of 247.5 m above sea level, located in the Bytów Lakeland. Pomeranian Sand Mountain is a name of an artificial sand embankment with a height of 245 m above sea level.
One of the most forested areas in Poland is the Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship. Approximately 35% of the province's area is covered in forests, mainly pines. Most of the forests in the region are protected either as national parks or landscape preservation areas. Two national parks are located in the West Pomeranian territory, Wolin National Park and Drawa National Park. Wolin National Park covers most parts of Wolin Island. The park is known for its sea cliffs of Gosań and Kawcza Góra and is also a notable bison preservation area. Drawa National Park, on the other hand, is located in the southernmost part of the voivodeship and stretches across the borders to Greater Poland and Lubusz voivodeships.
Almost half of the Zachodniopomorskie Province is used for agricultural purposes, with chief crops being cereals, rapeseed, fodder, and sugar beets; however, the maritime economy prevails in the region. Szczecin port is linked to other ports on the Baltic Sea, constituting the largest port complex in Poland. Significant industries include fishing, fish processing, brewing, timber, and furniture.
Two different climate conditions meet in the Zachodniopomorskie area. Maritime climate conditions are typical for the northern and western parts of the voivodeship, whereas the eastern part is situated in the continental climate area. The warmest month in the area is July, with an average daily temperature of 24°C, while January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 3°C. The month of July is also known to receive the most precipitation, with an average of 61 mm. February tends to be the driest month, with an average of 25 mm of rainfall.
Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship is located in the northernmost part of Poland on the shores of the Baltic Sea, bordering Germany to the west. Due to its location, Zachodniopomorskie, or West Pomeranian Voivodeship, was a point of interest to various states such as Poland, Brandenburg, the Teutonic State, Sweden, Denmark, and the German Empire, throughout its history. Until the 10th century, Zachodniopomorskie was inhabited by Slavic tribes. However, in 1000, the first bishopric in the city of Kołobrzeg was established, and Christianity started spreading through the region. Duchy of Pomerania was created in the 12th century and lasted until the 17th century. The Eastern part of the region was incorporated into the Polish state, whereas the western part became under German rule. Between the 13th and 16th centuries, Western Pomerania, as part of the German Hanseatic League, saw significant economic development, prevailingly in trade.
In the 17th century, the West Pomeranian Voivodeship was divided between Sweden and German Brandenburg. Partitions of Poland took place in the 18th century, during which the Polish territory was divided between Russia, Prussia, and the Habsburg Monarchy, until eventually, Poland as an autonomic state ceased to exist. After the first partition in 1772, the area of Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship experienced rapid economic development. A port in the city of Świnoujście was constructed, and shipbuilding, cement, chemical, and agri-food industries began to develop. After World War I, Zachodnipomorskie Voivodeship territory became part of the German Reich. By the end of the Second World War, the eastern part of West Pomerania became under the rule of Poland, and the German population was resettled from that area. The western part of West Pomerania became under the rule of the Soviet Union. After the fall of communism, the eastern part of West Pomerania became Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship of Poland and the western part of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany.
After the Second World War, there was a relatively large amount of the population was forced to resettle. Nowadays, Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship is inhabited by the Polish majority. The most represented ethnic group in the region is the Ukrainian minority. West Pomeranian Voivodeship is divided into 21 self-governing districts, with the biggest cities in the region being Szczecin, as well as Koszalin, Stargard, and Świnoujście. The area is considered one of the greenest in Poland, with vast natural, cultural, and historical diversity.
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