The Great Wielkopolska Loop (Wielka Pętla Wielkopolski)

The Great Wielkopolska Loop is an inland waterway that is almost 700 km long. It stretches from Santok and the Warta river to the outskirts of Bydgoszcz via the Noteć river through Czarnków and Nakło, and then from there to the Górnonotecki Canal (Kanał Górnonotecki), Lake Gopło and the Ślesiński Canal (Kanał Ślesiński) and to Konin. Then, the route goes via the Warta river through Poznań and Międzychód to Santok, where the Warta meets the Noteć. This is one of the most important water routes in Poland. It is also one of very few routes that can be done from start to finish by a boat with a scantling draft greater than 30 cm. The most impressive parts of the loop include the section of the Warta river from Konin to the outskirts of Poznań, the lower Warta river after Poznań, the lower Noteć river after Krzyż and the Górnonotecki Canal before Lisi Ogon, which flows through forests. How can you cruise along the Great Wielkopolska Loop? You can go in either direction (clockwise or anti-clockwise). Regardless of your choice, you will encounter long sections where going against the (sometimes quite strong) current will be unavoidable. The author of this guide suggests dividing the loop into at least two sections. The first runs downstream from Konin on the Warta river through Poznań to Santok. The second section runs north from Konin via the canals and lakes and the Noteć river to Lisi Ogon, and then further west to Nakło and Santok. This will ensure a quiet cruise, without disturbances caused by the noise of your engine struggling with the river’s current. How much time do you need to cruise the Great Loop? This depends on the crew, and how many stops you plan to make and for how long. On the sections with locks you have to consider the fact that every lock takes about 15 minutes. Lock keepers are kind people and keep their colleagues at the next lock informed about a boat coming. Going through the lock after normal operating hours is usually possible, but you will be charged double. The absolute minimum time for cruising river sections with the current is Konin-Poznań-Santok: 3-4 days; Konin-Lisi Ogon-Santok: 5-6 days.