Masuria – hardly any other landscape in Poland is surrounded by so many myths as the region in the north of the country. Countless lakes, dark forests and largely untouched nature make the region a popular vacation destination for foreigners as well. In addition to all the natural beauties, there are also many traces of the former German inhabitants, magnificent castles and palaces as well as unique churches to discover.
These Top 10 Masurian sights to see
In our article we would like to introduce you to the Top 10 Masuria sights to see, not forgetting Warmia, with which the Masurian region today forms an administrative unit. We are talking about Masuria, as it is common practice, but we mean Warmia and Masuria.
The capital of the Warmia-Masuria voivodeship has experienced a real boom in recent years. Nestled in the Warmia Lakeland, you will not only find countless hip cafés, restaurants and bars, but also a whole range of historical sights. We have taken a closer look at the beautiful castle, the popular city beach with cool beach clubs, an old Jewish cemetery, old German churches and the wonderful market place in a separate article.
Warmia used to be a small state in its own right, ruled by a count-bishop. The undisputed center of power was the now somewhat sleepy Heilsberg (now Lidzbark Warmiński), where the prince-bishops had a massive residential palace built, where once even Nicolaus Copernicus lived. Numerous other buildings bear witness to the old glory of the city, which today has only about 16,000 inhabitants.
Among the most beautiful places of Lidzbark Warmiński are a magnificent brick church, a gate in which cannonballs are still stuck, which Napoleon had fired at the city, an orangery and much more. Finally, a modern hotel was added, which was partially integrated into the castle complex and has been showered with international awards. In a separate article we introduce Lidzbark Warmiński to you in more detail, where I lived myself a few years ago.
To drive to Reszel by car, you need a lot of time and good tires. The remote little town doesn’t want to show itself at first. But once you have arrived, you can experience a fabulously beautiful old town, whose highlight is an old castle. Several museums are located here, including a torture museum. Reszel (bakc then Rößel) was the last European city where witches were burned. Less cruel than in the museum is the castle tower. From here you have a great view of the old town with the town hall and the parish church St. Peter and Paul.
Wolf’s Lair (Wolfsschanze)
Deep in the East Prussian forests, Hitler had a monstrous bunker complex built, which he inhabited for almost three years during the Second World War and from where the war in the East was coordinated. The dimensions of the bunker city are almost beyond imagination, meter-thick walls and a secret airport create an eerie atmosphere. This atmosphere is intensified by the fact that the Nazis blew up large parts of the complex when they withdrew and nature is slowly reclaiming the woodland. A few years ago, a museum was finally set up here, so that today, one can get a lot of information about the history of the plant, where Graf von Stauffenberg once carried out an assassination attempt on Hitler.
A few years ago, a museum was finally established here, so that today you can also get a lot of information in German about the history of the facility, where once Count von Stauffenberg carried out an assassination attempt on Hitler. In a separate article, we will introduce you to the Wolfsschanze in more detail.
Not far away from the Wolfsschanze it is much more peaceful. In Święta Lipka stands the perhaps most beautiful church in North Poland, a baroque gem that goes back to an old legend. Once upon a time, in the neighboring Rastenburg (today Kętrzyn), a prisoner is said to have carved a Jesus figure after an apparition to Mary, which was so beautiful that he was released. He hung the figure on a linden tree and numerous miracles occurred as a result. After the first chapel was built, the Jesuits had the church built, which still exists today and is one of the most magnificent that the country has to offer.
There are said to be about 4000 lakes in Masuria. But which one is the most beautiful? The Jezioro Śniardwy (Lake Śniardwy) can at least claim to be the largest of all and is a paradise for sailors, fishermen and the many tourists who cross the lake on a pleasure boat. It is connected to numerous other lakes by small rivers, so that you can reach it from the picturesque villages of Mikołajki, Ryn or Ruciane-Nida comfortably and above all comfortably by water.
Only a few kilometers south of Olsztyn lies the small town of Olsztynek. It is not so much a popular excursion destination because of its center, but because of the open-air museum at the gates of the town. Here you can find out how the people of Masuria used to live. The museum used to stand near Königsberg (today Kaliningrad) and was then gradually brought to what is now Poland, which was not so easy, because in addition to the many farmhouses, entire churches were even moved here. For us, the museum is one of the most beautiful places in Masuria, because here you can not only learn something about the way of life of the farmers in the region, but also take a leisurely walk through the forest in which the open-air museum is embedded.
Elbląg is located in the extreme west of the Warmia-Masuria Voivodeship on the border with Pomerania and was heavily destroyed during the Second World War. In the last years the town has been beautifully restored, but not on historical kitsch, but the old buildings interpreted in a modern way.
But Elbląg is best known for the Oberländische Kanal or Elbląg Canal, which was established a few kilometers from the city gates. It is a technical masterpiece of the 19th century. It connects the lakes in southern Masuria with the Vistula Lagoon and thus with the Baltic Sea. The main attraction is that it is not a continuous waterway, but the route is partly on land, where the ships continue on rails to the next water point. Today as then an impressive spectacle!
Where is the most beautiful of Masuria? We hear this question quite often and of course there is no clear answer. However, a hot candidate for the most beautiful place in Masuria is the Krutynia River, which runs in a semicircle through the landscape. It is a paradise for canoeists and kayakers and is also suitable for absolute beginners.
You can simply go to Krutyn and rent a canoe there. Then you start your comfortable trip on the river, either alone or in a group boat. Passing old mills, beaver houses and under the chatter of the swans you will drift downstream and just let your soul dangle. You can choose your destination individually, then call the rental company and you will be picked up again – a perfect day in Masuria.
You were already enthusiastic about Święta Lipka? Then wait and see what you can experience in Frombork. Normally you shouldn’t expect too much from a village with only 2000 inhabitants, but here you will find the Frombork Cathedral, one of the most important churches in the country.
The cathedral dates from the 14th century and was once called the “last corner of the world” by Copernicus. Here he worked for years and developed his theories. No wonder that the most famous inhabitant of the city was not only dedicated a museum but also buried in the cathedral. His burial place was discovered only a few years ago and today it looks quite modern. From Fromborg you can also take the ferry to the Vistula Lagoon, take a relaxing walk on the narrow headland and enjoy the view of the Baltic Sea.