Out on the water
Water Activities – Updated 23 August 2022
There's a huge variety of water activities available in Poland. For those people who enjoy getting out on the water, there are many opportunities to do so.
Sailing enthusiasts come to The Great Masurian Lakes in their droves every summer where it is possible to enjoy two weeks on the water without visiting the same lake twice.
Known as the Polish Lake District, this impressive network of interconnected lakes offers sailors excellent facilities including a great choice of sailboats for hire with the most popular places to do so being Giżycko and Mikołajki.
An alternative location for sailors is the Baltic Sea. The 870 square kilometre bay at Szczecin is the most popular place to sail and is shared by Germany and Poland. Gdańsk bay is a good alternative and has many picturesque fishing towns and sea harbours.
If you’re going to sail, you’ll need a license, which you can obtain by completing a course with the Polish Sailing Association. If you have a license issued by the RYA, then that will be accepted too. Without a license, you will only be permitted to use small inland sailing vessels (a sailing yacht with hull length up to 7.5 m or a motor yacht with 10kW engine power). Alternatively, you can hire a larger vessel complete with skipper.
Canoeing, Kayaking & Rafting
There’s an incredible variety of places in Poland where you can get paddling. The Lakeland areas such as Masuria, Kashubia and Warmia contain thousands of lakes and rivers, there’s also canals, various river tributaries and bogs that you could choose.
If the Great Masurian Lakes is your preference, then a good starting point is Olsztyn, located on the Łyna River. There are plenty of companies, which organise trips, guides and equipment. A popular canoeing trip from Olsztyn is to paddle up the Łyna River to the border of Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave.
By far, the most popular canoeing route in Masuria is the Krutynia River, which is considered by many paddling enthusiasts as being the most scenic river in the north of Poland. The recommended starting point is Sorkwity and you should follow the river and Lake Bełdany to Ruciane-Nida, a well-known tourist centre within the Masurian Lake District. The route takes you through 100km of some of the best scenery in Poland.
Another interesting Mazurian route is that of the Drweca River which is one of the clearest rivers in Poland. It is about 200 km long. It starts at Ostroda, flows through forests and wildlife reserves, and goes all the way to the Vistula River near Torun. Comfortable sites for camping are found on both riverbanks. There is an annual “International Canoe Trip on Drweca river”, which is popular among canoeists from many countries.
Czarna Hańcza route
Away from Masuria, you will find other good places to paddle. The Czarna Hańcza route from Augustów to Lake Serwy is extremely popular and includes the 180-year-old Augustów Canal, the Suwałki Lake District and the Augustów Forest.
Many paddling favourites can be found in Poland’s National Parks such as the Biebrza River, which runs through Biebrza National Park, Lake Wigry in the Wigry National Park, the Narew River in the Narew National Park and Brda River in the Bory Tucholskie National Park. Experienced kayakers can often be found navigating the Drawa Route, which runs through Drawa National Park.
Kayakers looking for that special, intense experience should go down one of the three true Mountain rivers, best suited for kayaking. For example, the Bialka running through Tatry and Podhale – horrifyingly cold, rushing, foamy and strewn with granite rocks.
If a leisurely rafting trip (no white-water) is your cup of tea, then the Dunajec Gorge in the Pieniny is recommended. Experienced tourists can seek adventures along more challenging whirls and rocks of mountain rivers. Kayak trips for groups are organised on the Dunajec River, which seems to be the best choice, also because of its picturesque gorges in the Pieniny Mountains.
Head to southern Poland's most picturesque district for a rafting trip on the Dunajec River and walk through the treetops of Slovakia.
Rush through the waters of the Dunajec river and feel the adrenaline rushing through your body. After admiring the scenery from the water, you will head up into the air. Walk the treetop walk in Slovakia and discover the Tatra region – Book tickets