The Czarna Hancza route - in the tribal land of the Jatzvingians

The first inhabitants of the region were Jatzvingians, who probably came here as early as the 2nd century AD. The only remnants of their material culture are their burial grounds and few archaeological finds.

Whimsical but crystal-clear waterway of the Czarna Hancza winds its way through the beautiful and diversified countryside. The route runs through the Wigry National Park, the beautiful Augustow Forest and along the unique Augustow Canal connecting with the river basins of the Vistula and Nemunas in Lithuania. The trail is not difficult and tourists have much time to enjoy the wonders of nature.

The 109 km Czarna Hancza route is best covered within 9- 12 days - travellers should take their time and admire one of Europe's most attractive waterways. The most convenient place to start the tour is the sailing centre at Augustow where the loop itinerary may also be ended. You may rent kayaks from the local rental centres or use the more comfortable way - enlist for a guided organised tour with all gear, overnights, meals and insurance provided. If you feel like staying on water a bit more, take a supplementary trip down the Rospuda watercourse.

The length of a daily leg ranges between 9.5 and 22.5 km, and the trail runs across lakes and along river courses and through canals with locks dating from the early 19th-century. Additional attractions may include hikes in forests, traditional sauna baths, angling, fauna and flora photographing, and recording of birds' voices. The trail is well-marked and there are many camping sites.

Organised group tours are available between June 15 and August 18. However, auxiliary trips can be arranged and itineraries can be altered; for example, a sailing tour of the Augustow Lakeland can be added.

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