Mazuria… could you find it on the map? And yet it’s one of the wildest, most beautiful regions in Europe, Poland’s ‘green lung’, not far from the Russian border, a place that’s also called the ‘land of 1,000 lakes’.
A thousand lakes? No, that’s wrong! There are over 2,000 lakes in Mazuria! The largest and the best known is Lake Sniardwy, 22 km long and covering an area of 115 sq. km. It also has a dozen or so islands and islets. All this means there’s plenty of scope for boating on your holiday in Poland! If you’re a fan of Pénichettes® and you’re used to sailing on rivers and canals, these waters will be a new experience for you. And the forests, too. You’ll be amazed at how totally unspoilt the natural surroundings are in this region, with its unusual wildlife – lynx, stags, storks, bison, even wolves! In fact you can visit the wild animal park at Kadzidlowo, which isn’t far from the Locaboat base. Your departure point is actually the little town of Mikolajki, which has a fish as its emblem because it was once home to a king who ruled over all the waters of Prussia – or so the story goes. But these days the town is full of sailing enthusiasts and traditional old taverns. The first place you stop on your holiday in Poland will be Gizycko, the lakeside’s largest town, where an order of German knights was established in the 14th century, to bring Christianity to the region.
During July and August, Gizycko, whose local nickname is ‘Poland’s summer capital’, organises a whole range of festivals: hip hop, chamber music, organ, jazz and sacred music. There are some impressive regattas too: the hundreds of sailboats making their way across the lake is a breathtaking sight…
On your holiday in Poland, you’ll pass by a lot of very old villages; you’ll see Ryn with its gorgeous fortified castle, Pisz with its ‘saw tooth’ facades, and Rucina with its handsome, opulent-looking houses.
There are other lakes too, some of them linked by canals such as the Elblag canal that was built in the 19th century, and they’re well worth a detour before you turn back for home.