In North-East Poland, close to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, Masuria, the “land of a thousand lakes”, stretches from South to North, a network of lakes, canals and rivers fringed by great forests of pine, oak and silver birch. A nature-lover’s paradise, the whole area boasts a rich fauna: lynx, deer, bison, wolves, wild boar, beavers as well as a wide range of birds, such as swans, cormorants and grey herons. The destination is becoming more and more popular for self-drive boat hire.
Masuria, which until World War 2 was part of East Prussia, was converted to Christianity by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century. During your cruise you will be able to see their ruined castles atop many hills, especially at Gizycko, Worgorzeno and Ryn.
The little towns along your route have been popular since the 1920s for their boating, fishing and bathing, and there are many festivals and concerts you can enjoy during your boating holidays in summer months.
The town of Mikolajki, which hosts our start base, stands on an isthmus and is one of the most attractive in Masuria. There are many historic buildings dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. Between Ruciane Nida and Mikolajki do visit the Wildlife Park at Kadzidlowo. As well as the zoo, you can see inside a beautifully restored traditional house. At Gizycko, the vast fortress of Fort Boyen stands as a reminder of Poland’s troubled past. Further north, the little town of Wegorzewo on Lake Mamry is only 20 km from the Russian frontier; it’s an attractive place to visit both for its many craft workshops and for the sandy beach at Ogonki 7km south-east.