The Great Masurian Lakes - in search of silence, wind and sun
The Land of the Great Masurian Lakes is Poland's most convenient area for practising sailing. The region encompasses 45 lakes linked by 12 canals, 8 rivers, and 3 locks. It is also here that Poland's two largest lakes are situated: the Sniardwy (114 sq km) with its eight islands and the Mamry (104 sq km) with its 33 islands and 180 km of shoreline.
The most interesting sailing routes are those of Pisz - Mikolajki (28 km), Mikolajki - Gizycko - Wegorzewo (65 km), Mikolajki - Ryn (18 km), Mikolajki - Ruciane-Nida (20 km), Pisz - Okartowo (26 km), Pisz - Rucian-Nida - Karwica (55 km), Gizycko - Mikolajki (37 km). Sailing from Mikolajki to Ruciane we pass near Lake üuknajno and the üuknajno reserve which is the largest Central European breeding ground of about 2,000 wild swans (Cyngus olor) and home to many other birds. Those who enjoy the sailing experience in the region of the Great Masurian Lakes for the first time should try the main one-week route: Pisz - Mikolajki - Gizycko - Wegorzewo (93 km). Many side trips are also possible.
The marina at Mikolajki known as the sailors' village can also accommodate larger yachts. It is the seat of the harbour master's office, has sailing gear shop, sailor's hotel and boatbuilder's workshop. Sailing boats and yachts can be chartered. Almost all lakeside and riverside centres on the routes described in this brochure have similar facilities. Several marinas in the region of the Great Masurian Lakes have mooring places, shops catering for sailors, general supplies stores, boat- -builder's workshops, boat slips, connections to power source, telephone service, overnight accommodations, bars and taverns.
Those interested in military engineering might like to visit Gizycko where between the lakes of Kisajno and Niegocin stands a powerful Boyen Fortress erected by the Prussians in the mid-19th century. It occupies an area of 1.2 sq km and its fortifications are 4.5 km long.
Poland's longest lake is Lake Jeziorak (27.5 km), located some 150 km west from the Great Masurian Lakes' region. It spreads over the area of 35 sq km and its shoreline is 64 km long. Lake Jeziorak has twenty islands and a city of I¸awa sits on it lakefront. I¸awa has a number of marinas, hotels, sailing gear shops, workshops and taverns. Lake Jeziorak is linked with the water system of the Elblag Canal by the Kraga bay, Lake Dauby and the Karnicki Canal. Not only Elblag but even Gdansk can be reached from Lake Jeziorak by those who decide to take advantage of the existing network of waterways including lakes, rivers, canals with locks, and slips making possible the overland transport of yachts and boats.