Canoeing is one of the cheaper forms of activity. The equipment is inexpensive and can be rented at a reasonable price. No licenses or courses are needed in Poland to hire a canoe. To complete the selected section of the route, you do not need to be in advanced shape or stamina. Canoeing is not particularly demanding, it is easy to adjust the pace of the trip to your own abilities, and the variety of water bodies means that, depending on your needs, you can choose a river with a calm flow or a lake and no major obstacles.
(on the way you can find equipment rentals, waterfront shops, riverside hostels and campsites).
In some areas you don’t even need your own paddling skills. Gondoliers are waiting by the Krutynia River, thanks to which tourists can see the most beautiful part of the river at an express pace and effortlessly. The Dunajec River, in turn, is served by traditional rafts, on which you can enjoy an exciting rafting trip with folklore element.
Bird watching lovers should try water labyrinths of the Narew, the serpentines of Jegrznia, Biebrza and Płociczna. A large part of Polish rivers is unregulated, most flow through relatively uninhabited areas, crossing forests and meandering in meadows. Their surroundings are usually quiet and peaceful, so the chance to meet rare species of animals is quite high.
If you are an extreme activities lover, you can join raft trips on the Oder, leading from Nowa Sól all the way to Szczecin itself or to row from Bory Tucholskie to Hamburg; the route is about 900 km long and leads through the Brda, Bydgoszcz Canal, Noteć, Warta, Oder and Elbe. Extreme rowing enthusiasts should also try one of the 3 genuine mountain rivers suitable for canoeing use (Białka, Dunajec or Poprad Rivers). For example, Białka, flowing through the Tatra Mountains and Podhale is terribly cold, rushing, foamed and paved with granite boulders and is a real challenge.
Krutyń village, one of the places where you can start your journey, is situated 21 km from Mikołajki (21 min drive) and 83 km from Olsztyn (1 h 17 min) in famous Mazury Lake District. Krutynia trail is considered one of the most beautiful canoeing trails not only in Poland but also in Europe. The river along its course changes its character, crossing Piska primeval forest it is shallow and rapid, then it becomes a lowland river with picturesque meanders among shrubs. Tourists can admire not only the river and a wide variety of plants but also many birds. The trail also leads through Mazury Landscape Reserve. The whole trail has 116 km (60 km of which is stagnant water) and tourist need about 9 days to cover all of it in a canoe. The biggest body of water along the trail is Mokre Lake (Wet Lake) which is 8 km long and has the area of 815 hectares. Of course you don’t need to cover the whole river at once. Local companies offer a few hours, weekend and a few days trips. Campsites are about 13 km from one another along the whole trail. Krutynia canoeing trip is unforgettable adventure and amazing opportunity to meet pristine nature.
Brda is considered to be the most beautiful canoeing trail in Poland and Europe. Long, easy to sail, perfectly marked, it has two great advantages - many lakes along the trail and countless forests that accompany it along the entire course. Nature lovers should be delighted. The bottom of the river is hard, gravel, and sparsely overgrown in long stretches. The significant difference in elevations between the source and the estuary to the Vistula River makes the Brda river swift. The extremely varied, winding course of the river, vast forests, picturesque lakes, primeval nature and numerous side routes have attracted many canoeists for years. The river is available for canoes on a length of 233 km, starting from Lake Duży Pietrzykowskie . The upper, very picturesque part of the Brda River is quite troublesome due to the current overgrown with reeds. Before the estuary to Lake Szczytno, Brda - the upper section in the 300-year-old beech forest, which is a nature reserve, there are several hundred cormorant and heron nests. The main attractions of the middle section are the picturesque lakes (including Szczytno, Charzykowskie, Długie, Łąckie). Having passed the village of Rytel, the Brda flows among the pine forests of Bory Tucholskie. The hospitable shores of the Brda River, with a dry, sandy base, are easily accessible from the water. You can camp in many charming glades, among old forests. Apart from small clearings, perfect for small groups of canoeists, there are many well-developed camping sites.
Rospuda flows above Lake Czarny at 175 m above sea level and ends in Lake Rospuda at an altitude of about 122 m above sea level. The river basin is 900 km2. The length of the Rospuda trail is 68 km, and it takes about 5 - 6 days to complete it. Rospuda flows through nine lakes and crosses two phosiographically different lands: the Suwałki Lake District with its rich postglacial relief and the flat outwash plain of the Augustów Primeval Forest. Such a course influences its diverse character and variability of the surroundings, from an almost mountain river with high, often forested banks and gorges with a rocky bottom to a typical lowland river meandering lazily among the reeds in a marshy valley.
Summing up, Poland is an ideal place for canoeing holidays both for beginners and also professionals. It is also ideal for nature lovers and people who like to contemplate it in peaceful surrounding far from the crowds. If you would like to discover more canoeing holidays options contact Polish travel agency ITS Poland to create your ideal trip plan and start your Polish adventure right now!
Author: Agnieszka Szwedzińska