Summer Sports in Poland

Canoeing is one of the many summer sports you can experience in Poland
Canoeing is one of the many summer sports you can experience in Poland

"We're goin' where the sun shines brightly. We're goin' where the sea is blue. We've seen it in the movies. Now let's see if it's true." You may not have seen a Polish summer before, but, yes, it is true. A summer holiday in Poland is playing with the waters and the sun - exploiting the outdoors to the hilt and indulging the sportsman within you. If you are an extrovert and a sports enthusiast, then summer in Poland is your dream come true.

The months between May and August are a combination of spring and summer and the sun sports a molten gold hue. Biking, trekking, long distance running, kayaking and canoeing are pursued anxiously; people lust for life in the sun. This sun frenzy is again revived in the months of September and October, which are warm and dry, usually, and known as the "golden Polish autumn".

North Poland is where the action is, if you are interested in sailing and windsurfing. Most of the lakes are found in this part of the country. Interconnected by rivers and canals, some long and winding sailing routes are distinctive features of these water bodies. The adjoining picturesque landscapes, swaying woods that whistle, aquamarine suds and the piercing yellow all around, make sailing an exquisite pleasure, a lazy dream that charms the mind into numbness and puts the body onto song.

Moderate winds and other favorable conditions have made Drawa, Kashubia, Ilowa, Olsztyn, and Suwalki Lakelands develop as renowned water-sports region. The jewel in the crown, among these places, is, however, the Mazurian Lake District.

The Mazurian Lake District is fondly and proudly called as the 'land of the thousand lakes'. Numerous postglacial lakes connected with snaking canals and rivers, form a huge water stretch of about 1200 kilometers long. This region is famous throughout Europe and Mamry Sniardwy, two of Poland's largest lakes, are found here.

Many water sports centers are built along the lakes. In Gizycko, sometimes called Poland's water sports capital, you can find numerous marinas, hotels, hostels and many places renting out water sport equipment. Other important lakeside centers are those of Mikolajki, Ruciane-Nida, Wragowo and Wegorzewo. These centers have a good supply of comfortable accommodation with excellent facilities. They all offer a full range of services for yachting enthusiasts and many attractive events for summer tourists.

The town of Augustów is very popular with lovers of boating and windsurfing as it is located amidst lakes and very close to the edge of the magnificent Augustów Forest. The forest stretches far to the north and reaches Lake Wigry, a favorite destination for sailors. In addition to the lakes, the coastal waters of the Baltic Sea are also a windsurfer's delight. Polish seaside resorts are famous for their beautiful sandy beaches and favorable winds. Beach sports are also in vogue.

Some lakes have the "quiet-zone" tag. The ear spluttering motorboats, jet skis and excursion boats are scrupulously banned. These places are meant to bring out the ornithologist, the angler in you. Many varieties of cormorants grace these quiet waters; patient anglers have been known to catch Northern pike or European catfish, some weighing up to 50 kilograms. On Lake Necko in Augustów, one of the great attractions is a water ski lift.

Canoeing is the king of summer activities in Poland. It does not require exceptional skill to begin and you may not become a champion but it is easy to get the hang of it, quickly. There are over 2000 courses along wild, unregulated rivers for both experienced and novice canoeists. This activity is ideal for both the loner and the one who is involved with the family.

Canoe ride organizer companies take care of everything from guides, canoes, food and camping equipment, booking places for you to stay overnight, and organizing campfires and excursions to country towns or the numerous nature reserves. An organized outing, always, teems with the possibility of making new acquaintances. An individual ride, on the other hand, spells freedom.

The most popular canoeing course in Poland is the Masurian Krutynia Route. The river is almost 100 km long and flows through many scenic lakes. The Krutynia is a relatively easy route, enticing the canoeists with its breathtaking scenery. The Brda routes in the Bytów Lakeland (Pojezierze Bytowskie) and the Tuchola Forest. The Radunia in Kashubia and the Drawa in the Drawa Lake District. It also traces the rivers in the Suwalki Region (the Czarna Hancza flowing through Lake Wigry and the Augustów Forest) but the best part it covers is the Rospuda. Lovely and wild are some of the other major canoeing trails in other rivers.