The Land of the Masurian Lakes (or the Masurian Lake District) is more than 2 thousand lakes connected by 12 canals, 8 rivers and three locks. The lakes are surrounded by huge forests with landscape parks and nature reserves. This is a land of unique virgin nature, an ideal place for adepts of a secluded and relaxing holiday. There will be something to do for lovers of active sports.
According to CachedHealth, the Masurian Lake District is centered around the largest lake in Poland, Sniardwy, and Lake Mamry with adjacent water bodies. More than 15% of the area of this fertile land is covered with water, and another 30% – with forest.
On the territory of the Masurian Lake District is the National Park “Belovezhskaya Pushcha” – a biosphere reserve of relict forest and the habitat of the world’s largest bison population.
The largest lakes: Sniardvy, Mamry, Niegocin. The largest channels: the Masurian Canal, the Elbląg Canal. Popular resorts: Gizycko.
Mikołajki, Węgorzewo, Ryn, Pish and Iława.
How to get there
The Masurian Lake District can be reached by train, bus or car. The nearest international airports are located in Warsaw, Gdańsk and Vilnius. The main transport hub of the region is the city of Elk.
The railway stations of Warsaw, Gdansk and Vilnius are connected to the Elka station, which in turn is connected by the railway network. roads with Gizycko and Mikołajki. An extensive network of bus routes connects the lake district with many Polish cities: Olsztyn, Suwalki and Warsaw (50-60 PLN, 5 hours on the way).
Boaters will be able to get to the largest interconnected lakes, which form the central system of the Masurian Lake District and are located all the way from Węgorzewo to Ruciane-Nida.
Kayakers may prefer a more “intimate” setting, rafting on small lakes and rivers. One of the best and most popular kayaking routes starts in Sorkvity and runs along the Krutynia River and Lake Beldany.
Those who are “left” out of work will have to enjoy the surrounding beauty from the comfortable deck of one of the pleasure boats run by Żegluga Mazurska based in Giżycko. The boats of this company are equipped with an open deck and a cafeteria and can accommodate hiking backpacks and bicycles. Theoretically, all boats run between Giżycko, Mikolajki and Ruciane-Nida daily from May to September. But, in practice, some trips can be canceled in case of a small number of passengers. The least chance of cancellation is from the end of June to the end of August.
Entertainment and attractions of the Masurian Lakes
The towns of Giżycko, Węgorzewo and Mikołajki have well-known water tourism centers with marinas and bays, well-developed infrastructure, hotels, recreation centers and water sports shops. In addition, there are many attractions in the cities that are definitely worth seeing.
Of the sights of Gizycko, it is worth noting the swing bridge, built in 1889 and the only one of its kind in the country; the fortress of Boyen and the water tower. Named after the then Prussian minister of war, General Hermann von Boyen, the fortress was built between 1844 and 1856. to protect the border of the kingdom with Russia. And since the border ran from north to south and stretched for 90 km along the shore of the lake, the fortress was located in a strategic place, on the isthmus between the lakes Niegotsin and Kisaino, thus blocking the passage between them.
Built in 1900 in the Neo-Gothic style, the seven-story water tower provided the city with running water until 1997. Today, the tower, built of red brick, houses a cafe, but the great attraction here is the stunning view of the city and lakes.
In summer, the Tropicana water park in Mikołajki, located in the Golembiewski hotel and being part of a large recreational complex, is in great demand. The “Tropicana” is equipped with several pools, water slides, a mountain river, a jacuzzi, dry and steam saunas, snow and salt caves. The water park is open to visitors daily from 08:00 to 21:00, a subscription for 1.5 hours will cost 35/20 PLN per adult / child. In winter, ice fishing is especially popular in Mikołajki.
The largest city in the region and the capital of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Olsztyn is known not only for its sights, but also as one of the most popular ski resorts in Poland, where thousands of lovers of endless snow expanses come every year. Well, among the architectural monuments of the city, it is worth mentioning the Gothic castle of the Warmian chapter, and now the Museum of Warmia and Mazury; the high gate is the main entrance to the Old City; the old town hall in the baroque style and the gothic cathedral of St. Jacob.
Tourists go to Ryn to visit the majestic Teutonic castle, originally built in the 14th century, and later reconstructed in the English neo-Gothic style. Currently, the castle houses a collection of local history museum with more than 700 exhibits in the field of ethnography, geology, archeology, art and literature. In addition to the castle, there are other historical monuments in Ryn – this is an Evangelical chapel of the 19th century, a granary of the 19th-20th centuries, a water mill, multi-storey buildings of the 19th century. (you can find them on Swierczewskiego and Kosciuszki streets), as well as a Dutch mill built in 1873.
But Pisz more than compensates for the lack of significant historical monuments with its picturesque meadows and fields, dense forests full of berries and mushrooms, and the crystal clear water of Lake Ros. And yet, walking around the city, you should pay attention to the Church of St. John, the ruins of the Crusader castle, numerous one-story houses of the 18-19 centuries. and a Protestant bishopric.
Yachting on the Masurian Lakes
Giżycko, for example, is home to the largest number of yacht charter operators. At the same time, the city is a recognized sports center for the disabled, who can take part in the national regattas organized here on a regular basis. Many companies for people with disabilities provide special equipment, advice and training.
Due to the huge demand for yacht charter services, operators often replace one another. Up-to-date information, recommendations and a list of active operators can be obtained from the local tourist office.
It can be difficult to charter a yacht in July-August without prior booking, while getting a boat in early June or late September is much easier, but you should look carefully to ensure the most favorable conditions for yourself.
In July-August, you will have to pay about 180-400 PLN per day for renting a fairly large yacht suitable for 4-5 people. Yacht prices often depend on the size of the cabin, the availability of a toilet, a kitchen, and other conditions. Lower prices are set in June and September – often they are half the cost of chartering a yacht in high season. Gasoline, as a rule, is paid for independently, but it happens that operators provide several liters for free. The services of a skipper on a yacht are paid additionally and average about 250 PLN per day.
You should check the condition of the vessel in advance and report any damage immediately to avoid problems when returning it. Come prepared and bring your own equipment: sleeping bag, raincoat and lamp.