Waterways in Poland – General Information

Unlike those in Germany, France or the Netherlands, waterways in Poland are mostly empty. The lack of barges or other large vessels moving along them means that traffic is very light. Additionally, water tourism in Poland is developing slowly. When cruising Polish waterways on very long routes, you will meet hardly anyone apart from local anglers in their boats.

The waterways in Poland are green and clean; you will often cruise through corridors of greenery and nature reserves. Most of the canals are surrounded by lush vegetation, and almost all of the rivers are suitable for swimming and fishing.

All hydraulic engineering structures (locks, inclined planes with boat cradles, etc.) are open throughout the season (except when being repaired). Most of these structures were built a long time ago and are well maintained. You will feel like you are visiting a hydraulic engineering museum! The service is usually friendly and helpful.

While on waterways in Poland, you may encounter many birds and other animals, including rare species like beaver, elk, deer and white eagles.

The Oder, Warta, and Noteć rivers, the Oberland (Elbląski) Canal, the Nogat river and the Żuławy Loop can be navigated by almost any type of boat. The upper and middle part of the Vistula river, and the Bug, Narew and Pisa rivers are the most beautiful waterways in Poland, but are navigable only for vessels with a maximum scantling draft of 30 cm.

Marinas are being built on the Oder, Warta, and Noteć rivers, the Oberland (Elbląski) Canal, the Nogat river and the Żuławy Loop. In terms of comfort, with some exceptions, they are not as developed as the marinas and ports in Germany, France or the Netherlands. The most beautiful night accommodation is on a river or canal, surrounded by greenery.

Polish waterways are safe and crime-free. Local people are open and friendly to tourists cruising the rivers.

There are no filling stations on waterways in Poland, except for in the Masuria region, the Zegrze Reservoir (Zalew Zegrzyński) and Gdańsk. However, every town and city has filling stations where you can buy fuel.

All small towns and villages have their own grocery shops.