We had tried to visit Swieta Lipka (Holy Lipka) a few times while crossing the Mazury Lake District but had failed to find it until this year. The road layout is very complicated in the area and the few signposts can be misleading. We even had a joke about the devil diverting us from the right route but this year we finally made it. The place made...more
Krutyn is a village in the heart of Mazury situated along the Krutynia Kayak Trail. Here the river is shallow and quite wide and its banks high and pretty steep with many old trees giving welcome shade to the kayakers.The first records of Krutyn date back to around 1500 when it was founded as a hunting settlement close to the modest wooden castle...more
This is a most enjoyable thing to do while visiting Krutyn. The boats are waiting for passengers by the bridge. Their owners are local men who will also entertain you on the trip, telling you about the area, its culture etc. Quite a few of them speak German as well as Polish, but even if you don't speak either, the trip on the Krutynia along the...more
I cannot say I enjoyed our visit there but some people may find this site interesting. It was here at Wolfsschanze or the Wolf's Lair that Adolf Hitler spent over 850 days starting with 24 June 1941. It was here that he issued numerous orders deciding the fate of many European nations, such as about the construction of new death camps or the use of...more
Ketrzyn, a town on the Guber River has a few tourist attractions, but the most interesting is the Gothic Castle of the Teutonic Order constructed in the years 1360-70 but with some later alterations. Through the gate you get into a small courtyard in the shape of a quadrangle. Inside the quad you can see an oval tower added to the castle in 1622....more
Zakret (the bend) is one of three nature reserves around Krutyn. It's a beautiful area of forest and bog with three acidic lakes, at places so overgrown with peat moss and flowers that they form floating islands. But you must be lucky to see them as their formation depends on the wind. The trail leads around one of the lakes with a pier on it so...more
White or pink water-lilies can be found on the Krutynia where the water becomes shallow and in sunny, not too overshadowed, places. The yellow nuphars are more common and can be seen all along the route. Their resilience to the blows they get from the oars and the kayak is simply stunning. As soon as you pass, there they are back on the surface...more
While I wouldn't recommend Warsaw to birdwatchers, unless they are studying the behaviour of pigeons and sparrows, Mazury is the ideal area for bird lovers. The rushes and marshlands surrounding the numerous lakes and rivers are the perfect habitat to many species, 200 of which have been observed here. The lakes abound in waterfowl, like mallards,...more
Don't miss the interesting graveyard of the Old Believers with its Orthodox crosses and decorations. It's a lovely shady place, very pleasant on a hot summer day. Sadly, on your visit to the Convent you will no longer meet any of the nuns, two of whom we saw when we were there about ten years ago. Their graves can now be found here, just opposite...more
The village of Wojnowo was founded in the first half of the 19th century by Polish and Russian Old Believers. Here they built a wooden molenna - their house of prayer and a convent. The convent flourished particularly under the management of the young and well-educated Pawel Pruski. After years of studies of the holy scripts, though, Pawel Pruski...more
Guzianka Lock is situated a little north of Ruciane-Nida and links Lake Beldany with Lake Guzianka. If you are following the Krutynia kayak trail from Sorkwity to Ruciane, you will have to pass through it on the last day of your trip. There is a shop with a small car park by the road there so, if only you can find a free space, do stop to watch the...more
This restaurant is situated by the main road in Zgon. You can sit inside, on the verandah or at the tables in the garden at the back. The main disadvantage of sitting on the verandah is the noise that the passing cars make, especially the heavy lorries. There is a car park in the meadow at the back and a children's playground with swings.The...more
The Kacperek is a roadside restaurant not far from Babieta. The food is good, although they will sometimes serve things that have been frozen for a week. Try to find out what has just been prepared, or deduce it from the smell coming from the kitchen. If it's warm, sit at a table outside, admiring the view - the restaurant is situated slightly...more
This restaurant is run by a married couple and offers excellent freshly made food. Fish is their speciality - after all we are in Mazury - but other traditional Polish dishes are served here as well. If there are more of you, order a different thing each, then you can see what there is and come again to try the other dishes. If you want something...more
While in Mazury, why not join one of the boat trips offered from one of the ports on the lakes? Such trips are available from Mikolajki, Gizycko and Ruciane-Nida, not sure about the other locations. We went on one of such trips a few years ago from Ruciane-Nida but that particular trip was short and rather disappointing.
Here is a list of round cruises from Ruciane-Nida available at present:
1. To Lake Nidzkie
Duration: 1 hr.; Time: every hour on the hour between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.; Tickets: 12 PLN
2. To Lake Guzianka Mala with a view of Guzianka Lock
Duration: 1 hour; Tickets: 12 PLN
3. To Forester's Lodge at Pranie on Lake Nidzkie (the house of K.I. Galczynski, a famous
Duration: 1.5 hr., calls at Pranie for 0.5 hr.: Tickets: 20 PLN
4. To Mikolajki via Guzianka Lock, Lake Beldany, Lake Mikolajskie, Lake Sniardwy with a 1.5
hour stopover at Mikolajki
Duration: 4.5 hours; Time: 10.30 a.m. every day; Tickets: 50 PLN
5. To Lake Sniardwy with the view of islands on the lake by hydrofoil boat
Time: at 6 p.m. - return at 9 p.m.; Tickets: 50 PLN (minimum 30 passengers)
Mind this is the timetable for the high season. Most probably the number of cruises is limited off season and there may even be none in wintertime as the lakes sometimes freeze over.
In the centre of Krutyn, which is just a small village, there is a market place which is really worth visiting. The stalls sell various local handicrafts, amber jewellery and the like.
You can buy embroidered table linen and the famous Boleslawiec pottery as well as a few brands of local honey. The stall-holders often speak German as there are many German tourists visiting the place.
What to buy: Silver and amber jewellery, local handicrafts like wooden spoons or folk toys, some of them really cute, embroidered table linen, honey - any kind you like, you could get a few jars to take home as presents.
What to pay: Most of these products used to be bargains but no more.
If you happen to visit Mazury in June, go to Krutyn on the 23rd of the month to watch the celebrations of St John's Night. We were lucky as it was our last night there and I knew in some places it was celebrated on the following Saturday or... not at all. So we were overjoyed to see the posters announcing the event. St John's Night on the beautiful Krutynia River! We couldn't believe our luck.
The festivities started early - as the main actors there were the local children, the party had to finish before their bedtime. All the children were dressed in white and were wearing wreathes on their heads. Yes, the boys too. :) There was singing, dancing, fortune-telling in front of the bonfire and then the party moved to the banks of the river. The girls were now carrying self-made wreathes which they then dropped on the water from the boat. And some of the young (very young:)) men jumped into the river to catch them. Some had even forgotten to take their clothes off so they were later dripping wet. Now the guests were invited into the boats too and the party moved upstream. Finally, everybody was treated to sausages roasted in the fire. It was all good fun, even better because the smoke from the fire kept the mosquitoes away.
For more pictiures of the festivities see the travelogue.
One thing that you may not like about Mazury is the abundance of various insects, some quite harmless and a pleasure to watch, like the colourful dragonflies or ladybugs, others stinging or biting or even, like mosquitoes, feeding on your blood, following their natural instinct. The worst though are ticks, which may be the cause of some serious...more
The road from Szczytno to Piecki cuts across the Krutynia Kayak Trail at one end of Babieta. The watermill there blocks the waterway and the kayaks have to be carried across the road. At that point, however, you cannot see the road ahead as there are two bends close to the place. And the drivers are often young inexperienced people coming back to...more
Lake Sniardwy has a bad reputation among kayakers. Even in good weather the waves on it can reach 1.5 metres and more, which may develop in a matter of minutes. If you see such waves coming, look for a sheltered place near the bank to wait till the water becomes quiet again. Many boulders, none of them signalled in any way, on the bottom of the...more
This former Evangelical and now Catholic church was built in 1600-1603, with a wooden tower dating back to 1687. It has a late-Rennaissance main altar and an organ from 1806. We couldn't see the interior though as Mass was being celebrated there the only time we found it open. In the hall there is an interesting metal plaque in memory of the local...more
We found this lovely place using the information from our hosts' album. We had passed the place in the car a number of times but it is hardly visible from the main road. This 19th century half-timbered water-mill is situated on the Krutynia between the villages of Krutynski Piecek and Krutyn. You can sit there on the river bank, watching the...more
If you don't turn left into the Babiecka Struga on your way from Lake Gant but go straight on to the Babant River, after 700 m you will come to another lake in the middle of the forest. The Babant is not as frequented as the Krutynia trail, so you may have to manoeuvre the kayak between the overhanging tree branches, the remains of some old piers...more
The Krutynia kayak trail starts at Sorkwity. Its total length is just over 100 km, but if you prefer, you can take a shorter trip, especially if you travel individually. The campsites you pass on the way are:1.Sorkwity, 2.Bienki, 3.Babieta 4.Spychowo 5.Zgon 6.Krutyn 7.Nowa Ukta 8.Kamien 9.Ruciane-Nida.All of them offer a place for your tent, or, if...more
There used to be a chance to take horseriding lessons at Babieta but no more. The grass in the meadows has grown and the horses are no longer there. But there are other places in Mazury where you can learn to ride a horse, like Piecki or Galkowo, which we visited on our last trip to Mazury this year (2009). The stables at Galkowo are owned by the...more
Great place for summer holidays, i was there in 2003 with my friend from my study. We enjoyed a beautiful wild landscape! There are 1000 lakes, most of them are conected with chanels, so You can realy enjoy kayaking. Or sailing, it depends on You :) Becises You can try horse riding in Reszel, there is a big stamble, if You can't ride a horse, don't...more
The inscrutable Mazurian forests are famous in Poland and abroad. Just from Krutyn you can follow at least three trails in the forest where you will encounter huge ancient trees. There are many of them but let me mention just a few. Of course some places are inaccessible to tourists, especially within nature reserves. The dirt road that starts at...more
The weather was lovely that day and we were standing on the bridge between Wojnowo and Ukta watching the kayaks pass, when a group of three foreign tourists appeared on the nearby path. They must have got lost hiking so were pleased to see a road and one of them, who spoke some Polish, asked some local children where they were. They were supposed...more
When you are approaching Ryn from the direction of Mikolajki, don't read a book or consult a map if you are the passenger or you will miss the wonderful red carpets in the fields along the road. I am not sure if the farmers like them as the poppies are just weeds in their fields of rye or barley but they do look stunning, stretching as far as the...more