The biggest advantage of Warmia and Mazury is water. It is the lakes kingdom. Among them, we can find two biggest lakes in Poland (Śniardwy and Mamry) and other 3 from the list of the biggest ten (Jeziorak, Niegocin and Wigry). Mazury region is definitely sailing capital region of the country. Another natural pros of the region include clean rivers that create many kayaking routs. Apart from that there are also artificial canals (e.g. Elbląg Canal, Augustów Canal) built in the 19th century which are currently also tourist attractions.
Another Warmia and Mazury attractions include forests and hills. Forests cover 27% of the area but it is even denser in the most popular tourist zones. Visitors will find here two of the biggest forest complexes in Poland Puszcza Piska and Puszcza Augustowska. In the area there is one national park: Wigierski National Park and numerous landscape d parks (Mazurski, Suwalski, Pojazierza Iławskiego, Brodnicki, Górznieńsko-Lidzbarski and Wzgórza Dylewskie).
Anthropogenic attractions include huge castles, traditional museums, open air museums and Grunwald battleground. The most interesting towns include Lidzbark Warmiński, Olsztyn, Reszel, Kętrzyn, Orneta, Dobre Miasto, Morąg, Nidzica, Nowe Miasto Lubawskie, Brodnica, Radzyń Chełmiński and Golub Dobrzyń.
Elbląg Canal is one of the most original tourist attractions in the country. The length of Elbląg-Ostróda Canal with its tributaries is 151.7 km which makes it the longest navigable canal in the country. The common difference of altitude at water locks and ramps is 103.4 m. The highest ramp is Oleśnica and the difference of levels there is 24.5 m. At canal from Ostruda to Elbląg we can find 5 ramps and 2 water locks. At whole length of the canal we will find 4 water locks. The construction of the canal started in 1844 so it is a technical history monument. In 2015 a thorough renovation was finished. Tourists usually take part in cruises from Elbląg to Buczyniec or from Buczyniec to Elbląg (Elbląg is about 60 km 1 h drive from Gdańsk and Buczyniec is 95 km about 1.20 drive from Gdańsk). Such cruise takes about 4.5 h during which tourists travel by boats not only through water but also through grass fields on ramps. The cruises are organized from June till October. Elbląg Canal cruises are unforgettable experience.
Wolfsschanze (Wolf’s Lair is located in Polish Lake District Mazury in small settlement Gierłoż about 36 km from Mrągowo (about 40 min drive) and 96 km from Olsztyn (about 1.5 h drive). In years 1941-1944 it was the headquarters of Adolf Hitler. This town camouflaged in the forest consisted about 200 buildings including bunkers, barracks, 2 airports, a railway station, a power plant, an air-conditioning facility, a water supply system and a thermal power station. In 1944 Wolf’s Lair was inhabited by 2 000 people. From this place Hitler commanded armies that were conquering the USSR. Moreover, it was also a place where a failed assassination of him was attempted. At the end of the war the bunkers were blown up. Currently, tourists visit the remains of the town and museum with guides. In the complex there are also a hotel, a restaurant and a shooting range. There are also company events, fairs and historic reconstructions organized. It is also possible to have a ride in historic vehicles. Wolf’s Lair is a place really worth visiting.
Boyen stronghold is situated in Giżycko, only 35 km from well-known Mazury resort Mikołajki, 42 km from Mrągowo and 103 km from Olsztyn (about 1h35 min drive). The star shape stronghold was erected between 1843 and 1855 and was designed to protect the pass between 2 great lakes Kisajno (southern part of Mamry lake complex) and Niegocin. It was designed for 3 000 Prussian soldiers and its area is 100 hectares. It was used for military purposes both during first and second world wars. The stronghold is opened for tourists all year long with a guide but from September till March the visit has to be arranged in advance. Apart from admiring stronghold buildings and architecture there are a few exhibitions in a barracks gallery, gun powder laboratory, stable and coach house. At fortress area there is also a youth hostel. The stronghold also offers other entertainment such as historic reconstructions, motorcycle rallies and concerts in the amphitheatre situated also in the fortress. Boyen stronghold is really worth visiting during Mazury trip.
Święta Lipka (Saint Linden) is situated 21 km from Mragowo (about 23 min drive) and 72 km from Olsztyn (about 1 h 15 min drive). Święta Lipka Sanctuary is run by Jesuit priests. The basilica of Our Lady with galleries and a monastery are the most important Baroque monument in northern Poland. The beginnings of the sanctuary date back to the 14th century, when a figure of Our Lady with the Baby was carved out of linden wood and became famous for numerous miracles. The sanctuary can by visited individually or with a group. The group can by guided by one of the Jesuit priests from the monastery. It is also possible to listen to organ concerts. Święta Lipka organs are considered as one of the most advanced instruments of this type in the country. The sanctuary is one of the best well known Catholic places of cult in Poland and really worth visiting.
Lidzbark Warmiński Castle is situated about 50 minutes ride from Olsztyn (about 50 km) and 1:30 h from Elbląg (95 km). It was built in 14th century and has an area of about 2700 m2. Currently, most of the chambers are available for tourists. Castle exhibitions present Gothic art, original interior decorations, furniture, documents about famous inhabitants of the castle, icons, 19th and 20th century Polish paintings. The youngest tourists will be happy to use historic costumes rental located at the castle grounds. Sightseeing of the castle is possible also with a guide. Gothic Lidzbark Warmiński castle is definitely worth visiting.
Summing up, Warmia and Mazury lake districts are truly interesting places to visit and deservedly are one of the most important tourist regions of the country. Try out to spend your holidays in this area and you will surely come back very soon. ITS Poland DMC experts will ha ppily help you to organize your stay in this outstanding area of Poland.
Author: Agnieszka Szwedzińska