First post about my beloved country!
Poland is really beautiful and I’m proud to invite you today to my favorite Masurian Lake District (Polish Pojezierze Mazurskie), one of the most remote region in the country. It’s located in the north-east Poland, towards the border with Kaliningrad and Lithuania. In the common language it’s called the “Land of a thousand lakes”, but in fact it contains more than 2 000 of them! Add to that dense forests landscape, high forest cover and lack of industrial infrastructure. Moreover, in 2011 the district was elected as one of the 28 finalists of the New7Wonders of Nature.
All of it makes Masuria perfect destination for communing with the nature, practicing water sports such as swimming, kayaking or inland sailing and experience unforgettable Slow Travel adventure.
WHY MASURIA IS GREAT FOR WATER SPORTS AND SLOW TRAVELS
Masuria is called the “Land of a thousand lakes”. In fact there are around 2 600 of them.
These lakes were ground out of the land by glaciers during the Pleistocene ice age around 14 000 – 15 000 years ago, when ice covered northeastern Europe. By 10 000 BC this ice started to melt. The retreating glacier shaped strongly the land. Nowadays terrain is rather hilly, with connecting lakes, rivers and streams.
Forests account for about 30% of the area. The northern part of Masuria is covered mostly by the broadleaved forest, while the southern part is dominated by pine and mixed forests.
Region is free form heavy industry and engineering, making the landscape a mix of blue surfaces of the water and green tree cnopies. Just beautiful!
Due to it’s location, historical past and lack of heavy industry, Masuria doesn’t have good road infrastructure and it’s not good connected with central Poland. As for Polish people this is not and obstacle, they often choose this region for summer holidays. Foreign tourists (except Germans) are still rare there. Showing up of citizens from other countries than Germany may still cause surprise as well as curiosity. That’s why it is a great destination for people looking for places free from mass international tourism.
You will find there authenticity, you will enjoy the nature and observe ordinary life of Polish people living on the province.
Time passes there differently and people are not in hurry. There are less and less places like this in the world, especially in developed countries.
KAYAKING IN MASURIA
Thanks to its post-glacial landscape, Masuria is full of lakes and rivers connected with each other, forming network of waterways. The most famous, most beautiful and the longest one is kayak trail on the river Krutynia. This varied route, measuring some 100km, has the status of the “most stunning canoe trail in Europe”.
Current of the river, with numerous bends, is actually slow. Width of the river reaches 30–40 meters and depth is from 1,5-2,5 to 3–7 meters. To make the entire 100 km, you need to be in good physical condition, but previous kayaking experience is not needed.
KAYAK TRAIL ON THE RIVER KRUTYNIA – PRACTICAL INFORMATION
- Most famous part of canoe trail begins in Sorkwity and ends in Ruciane-Nida (see the map below). It’s recommended to do it in this order, because then you flow with the current of the river.
- Choosing the accomodation around Sorkiwty, you will be closest to the starting point, but having a car you can easily move between the villages.
- To get to Masuria, it’s the best to land by plane in Warsaw or Gdańsk and rent a car there. From Warsaw or from Gdańsk to Sorkwity is around 215 km. You will do it in at least 3 hours, because of bad quality roads.
- Starting in Sorkwity and ending in Ruciane Nida, you will pass through 20 lakes, 8 rivers, 2 canals and 6 nature reserves!
- The whole kayak trail is 109km long and to follow its entire course takes 7 to 8 days, but it’s possible to select some sections even for 1-day trip.
- Along its entire route, you have the opportunity to see the wealth of the surrounding natural beauty as well as many attractions including the Filiponi Monastery in Wojnowo and the Wild Animal Park in Kadzidłowo.
- During the trip you can sleep in the tent or in summer houses available everywhere on the way.
- Along the whole length of the Krutynia river there are points to hire kayaks. It is usual for visitors to leave their car when they pick up their kayaks and collect it where they finish the trail.
- Some companies also organise kayak tours for groups. River rafts can also be hired in the village of Krutyn.
TIPS AND HINTS
- During the 1st day, starting form Sorkwity I truly recommend you to stop for short walk in the village Grabowo by the lake Kujno. This small village is famous from its wooden sculptures created by a villager, depicting various scenes from the life of the inhabitants. Beautiful local art.
- On all the way you will cross many canoe bars. One of the most famous is located in village Borowe. You will find there typical polish food – delicious pierogi. Be sure to stop there for lunch and try the ones with blueberries and cream. Yummy!
- Feel free to use the jetties. If the owner explicitly forbids you, respect his request, but there is an unwritten rule in the Masuria that kayakers can use all jetties. Just remember not to leave trashes.
- Before you start, study good the map and check where are the estuaries connecting the lakes. It’s hard to find them many times, as they are hidden between the trees and lake grass.
- Best time to go is from June to August (polish summer).
PROPOSITION OF THE 7 DAYS KAYAKING
To paddle the whole trail of Krutynia you should reserve 7-8 days. This is the proposition of the trail:
- 1st day: Sorkwity – Białe lake /15km
- 2nd day: Białe lake – Zyzdrój lake /16km
- 3rd day: Zyzdrój lake – Zgon /22km
- 4th day: Zgon – Krutynia /13km
- 5th day: Krutynia – Ukta /12km
- 6th day: Ukta – Iznota /15km
- 7th day: Iznota – Ruciane Nida /15km
Kayaking Krutynia river trail is one in a kind experience. If you like to spend your holidays in an active way, I’m sure you will enjoy it and you will fell in love in Masuria 🙂 Are you interested to organise kayaking in Masuria? Feel free to ask me for more advices! Write a comment with your questions and I will help you with a pleaseure.