As far northwest as you can get in Poland without leaving the country, Świnoujście (shvee-no-ooysh-cheh) is an attractive seaside town occupying the eastern end of Uznam Island. There's a touch of faded grandeur along its waterfront promenade, and it emanates a relaxed atmosphere despite its role as a major port and naval base. There are plenty of green parks and a choice of watery views over sea or river, something that may have inspired its famous literary residents from its 19th-century German past (when it was known as Swinemünde), including novelist and travel writer Theodor Fontane and poet Ernst Schrerenberg. Other notable visitors included Kaiser Wilhelm II and Tsar Nicholas II, who met here in 1907, sparking fruitless hopes that their friendship would avert a European war.

The town remains popular with Germans, mostly elderly day-trippers from the former GDR. Of all the Baltic’s resorts, Świnoujście attracts the most sedate crowd and those looking to rave by the sea should move on quickly.

Świnoujście’s location makes the city a handy entry point for travellers across the Baltic, via ferry services from Sweden and Denmark; it also has a border crossing with Germany.