Masuria – hardly any landscape in Poland is as beautiful and natural as the legendary land of a thousand lakes. In another article we have already presented the most beautiful Mazury Poland sights for you, here we want to give you the best Masurian travel tips that you need for a relaxing vacation in the north of Poland.
These Mazury Poland travel tips will help you
Mazury – climate and weather
In Poland’s north it can get quite cold, at least in winter. The extreme northeast of the Warmia-Masuria region is even considered the “refrigerator of Poland”, here you have to be prepared for temperatures that can drop below -25° Celsius in January. This is due to the fact that the Atlantic climate here in the region is much less noticeable than the continental influence of Russia. But this also has a big advantage: in summer, when most tourists come here, the temperatures are very pleasant. Really hot, as over 30 ° Celsius, it gets only rarely. The transitional seasons of spring and autumn, on the other hand, are quite changeable and have a lot of precipitation.
Mazury – the best time to travel
You guessed it: traveling to Mazury or Warmia in winter is only for the hardy. Of course, the many museums, castles and palaces will be open, but you will probably be more interested in the untouched nature with its lakes and dark forests. Apart from ice sailing, which you can also do in Mazury, the number of things you can do outdoors is quite limited.
The ideal time to travel is in July and August. The water in the lakes is usually so warm that you can swim in it, all tour operators are open and if you want to sail, hike, bike, canoe or kayak, a real paradise awaits you here. However, many people know this and the region is very popular not only with foreigners, but also with Poles. This means that hotel prices are high and you need to book in time to find accommodation. This is true even for privately rented apartments and campsites.
I would therefore recommend the months of June and September. This is due to the fact that the long Polish summer vacations start uniformly throughout the country at the end of June and end at the end of August. So if you take advantage of the short but warm period before or after, you can not only save a lot of money, but also enjoy Mazury without major tourist crowds.
- Olsztyn: The capital of the Warmia-Masuria region has a beautiful old town and a charming castle.
- Lidzbark Warmiński: Small but mighty! Lidzbark Warmiński used to be the seat of the prince-bishops of Warmia, and here you will find a whole range of sights.
- Reszel: The dreamy little town with its castle hides a scary museum.
- Wolfsschanze: Hitler stayed here for several years during the war. The bunker complex became famous because Count von Stauffenberg carried out an assassination attempt on the dictator here.
- Święta Lipka: One of the most beautiful churches in Poland is worth a detour to the small village on the border of Masuria and Warmia.
- Jezioro Śniardwy: Around Poland’s largest lake there is a lot to discover and you can take a relaxed boat tour.
- Olsztynek: This small town is home to one of the most exciting museums in the country. Here you can learn about how life used to be in Masuria in numerous historical buildings.
- Kanał Elblągski: By boat across the meadow? You heard right. The canal connects the Vistula Lagoon with the Masurian lakes and goes partly over land.
- Krutynia: On the river you can spend hours of relaxing kayaking or canoeing, enjoying the scenery in peace and quiet.
- Frombork: In the small village on the edge of the Vistula Lagoon stands a monumental cathedral, which also houses the tomb of Nicolaus Copernicus.
In a separate article we present you the Top 10 Masurian sights in more detail.
How to get to Mazury?
We have good and bad news for you. The good news is that there is a modern airport in Szymany near Szczytno, which was opened only a few years ago. And now the bad news: there are hardly any flights to this airport, you can only get here form Dortmund, London-Luton, London-Stansted and Krakow. Therefore, we recommend that you travel via Warsaw:
Warsaw has two airports, at least officially. While Chopin Airport (also called Okęcie) in the south of the city can be reached quickly and is mainly served by normal airlines, Modlin Airport in the north of the city is served by far fewer airlines, but you can get to Masuria more quickly from here. There are flights to Warsaw from numerous German and Austrian cities, for example with Ryanair and Wizz Air.
By the way, we have compiled tips for train travel in Poland for you here. In Masuria there are not railroad stations in all places. This has to do with the fact that after the Second World War many railroad tracks were removed and the tracks were brought to the Soviet Union. Especially in the north of the region there are no trains, here you will have to resort to buses. Many intact train stations are still in a pitiful condition.
You can also get to Masuria comfortably by bus, but it takes a bit longer. From abroad, you can travel here with Flixbus*; tickets for Polish subcontractors are also available on the site. The buses are mostly modern, have a toilet and Wi-Fi. In addition to Flixbus*, there are other providers, especially the decentralized PKS. In the places that are not connected to the train network – and there are an alarming number of them in Masuria – you will usually find several private providers at a central location, often going to the regional capital Olsztyn or other places.
The journey by car is long and tedious, but depending on the route you will pass some great sights. The fastest way to get to Masuria from the West is to take the A2 to Poznan, and then take the expressway past Gniezno and Toruń to Masuria, three beautiful destinations that we highly recommend on the way.
You have to keep in mind that Polish highways are subject to tolls and you have to pay just under 20 euros for the route from Germany to Poznan, after that the trip costs nothing more. Information and a price calculator can be found on the website of the Autostrada operators.
While the journey is relatively relaxed, in Masuria it is an absolute game of chance what kind of roads you will encounter. Modern expressways are just as common as real mogul roads and picturesque avenues with trees on both sides of the road.
Polish belongs to the family of West Slavic languages. So if you know Czech, you will understand a few words of Polish. Even if you know a few words of Russian, it will help you. Polish is not an easy language to learn, so the Poles will be even happier if you make an effort and learn a few words:
|Hello!||Dzień dobry||Dshin dobre|
|Good Morning!||Dzień dobry||Dshin dobre|
|Good evening!||Dobry wieczór||Dobry vjetshur|
|How are You?||Jak się masz?||Jak she mash?|
|Nice to meet You||Miło cię poznać||Miou tshe posnatsh|
|I (don’t) understand||(Nie) rozumiem||(Nje) rosumjem|
By the way, you’ll get along fine with English; young residents of the region all learn the language at school.
Many also speak German.
Dining in Mazury
Polish cuisine is quite hearty. Sometimes the same dishes have been cooked for centuries, especially the rural tradition of the country is reflected in the local cuisine. In general there is a lot of meat on the table, but also cabbage and cereals are important ingredients of Polish cuisine.
The main local dishes
- Bigos – stew with sauerkraut, mushrooms and meat
- Pierogi – filled dumplings, which are available either sweet or salty.
- Barszcz Czerwony – originally from Ukraine, beetroot soup.
- Żurek – sour flour soup with egg
- Gołąbki – literally “doves”, cabbage rolls with meat filling
- Dzindzałki – similar to pierogi, but a little smaller and a real specialty of the region.
Masuria is a very safe region to travel. You do not have to be afraid of robberies, but it is best to carry your valuables as close to your body as possible on the bus. Very rarely it can happen that cars with foreign license plates are broken into. It is best to park them in guarded parking lots.
Should something happen, you can call the emergency numbers. Often someone on the end of the line speaks English:
- Police: 997
- General Emergency Call: 112/911
- Fire department: 998
- Card Blocking: 116 116
The health care system in Masuria is on a European level. As an EU citizen, you are automatically insured in Poland, so in case of emergency you can go to a hospital in Masuria. It may be that you have to pay for the treatment in advance. However, you can have the amount reimbursed by your health insurance at home. Often the waiting times in public hospitals and doctors are long, so many go to private hospitals or private doctors, which are more expensive. You can find pharmacies on every corner, many medicines are also available in supermarkets and kiosks. The density of doctors’ offices and hospitals is not particularly high, especially in rural areas.
There are ATMs on every corner in cities, but they are less common in villages. When withdrawing money, it is important not to choose the conversion to euros, but to choose the conversion to the local currency, the złoty. Otherwise, the bank will use an allegedly guaranteed exchange rate, which is always much worse than the actual one.
You can also exchange money in an exchange office (kantor). Here a comparison is worthwhile, often there are several exchange offices in tourist places. There are always two exchange rates, depending on the exchange direction, the worse one is always valid. Some exchange offices also charge a commission, it is best to ask beforehand.
Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. Almost all stores and restaurants have a terminal. GooglePay and ApplePay work without any problems. VPAY cards can also be used without any problems.
Telephone and Internet
With a EU sim card, you can also make calls, surf the Internet and send texts in Poland for the same price as at home. If you are a non EU-citizen, you can buy a sim card at many shops and kiosks for a reasonable price. Network coverage is excellent in the cities and also passable in the countryside. If you run out of data, you can use the many Wi-Fi networks in the cities. Almost all hotels, restaurants and cafés now offer Wi-Fi.