Sailing the great lakes of the Mazurian Lake District
It is easy to trace the lake route on maps. The main route of the Great Lakes of Mazury starts on Wiartel Lake close to Pisz. This lake connects with the huge Nidzkie Lake through a navigable stream. The water region, although in a great part closed for vessels, remains accessible for sailors. The lake, situated among the fir and pine forest of the Puszcza Piska is one of the largest of Mazury, and at the same time its shores are almost entirely undeveloped. The only bigger settlement – the town of Ruciane-Nida – is located on its western end, west of the pass leading to other big lakes.
Further down the route of the Great Lakes of Mazury, through the Bełdany Lake and along a peninsula, wild konik horses are bred in a huge reserve. A small ferry operates at the end of the peninsula. The Bełdany Lake transforms into Mikołajskie Lake. The route to the east leads to the largest Polish Lake – Śniardwy. In Mikołajki, the summer capital of Poland, the Tałty Lake starts. Then the route goes through the Szymoncki and Tałtowski Channels and through the Tałtowisko, Szymońskie, Jagodne and Boczne lakes. The shortest channel of Mazury – the Kula channel – leads to Niegocin Lake. According to the sailing tradition a watershed between the reception area of Wisła and Węgorapa is located there. From that place on, water seems to flow north straight to the Baltic Sea. For many many years, this is where the appointing of sailing students into true “lake wolves” takes place.
Between Niegocin and the connected by canals lakes of Kisajno and Dargin, the town of Giżycko is situated – a town known to sailors mostly because of a bridge moved by human muscle and the massive Boyen Fortress, but also for the many festivals held there, delicious bream, which are even in the town’s coat of arms, and… for motorcyclists’ rallies. After traversing the channels in Giżycko ones sails into the complex of the Kirsajty and Mamry lakes, which is full of islands. The route ends in Węgorzewo. The length of the route described exceeds 100 kilometres.
It is possible that the journey will soon be extended to the Baltic Sea. At the moment only 2,500 metres and several locks on the Mazurski Channel are missing in order to create an attractive water way.
Along the whole route a sailor may expect not only charming and magnificent swimming and fishing spots, but also “cult” marinas and towns. The most famous places along the route which have not been mentioned above are: the “Pranie” forester’s lodge located on the high banks of Nidzkie lake, the extraordinary recreational complex of Galindia is situated on the western bank of Bełdany near the mouth of the Krutynia river and a Bicycle Village on the eastern bank. In Ryn, at the end of Ryńskie Lake where the Tałty Lake starts, the second biggest Teutonic castle, inferior only to the one in Malbork, was converted into a luxurious hotel. The Zęza Tavern in Sztynort is the subject of many talks and the place of many cultural events.